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Tourist Places To Visit In Dambulla
Most tourists visit Dambulla, enroute to Sigiriya, to see the ancient rock citadel amidst a lush green tropical forest. Strategically located, the bustling town forms an integral part of the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka and its wondrous tourist attractions may be numbered, but in terms of the memories you’d collect here, they’ll be limitless. From exploring the famous Golden Temple to exploring Sigiriya’s Rock Fortress, there’s a considerable number of tourist places to visit in Dambulla and you can expect your travel expenses to be reasonable, as most expenses relating to tourism, food and shopping here are quite easy on the pocket.
Dambulla Cave Temple
Situated 92 miles east of Colombo, the Golden Temple of Dambulla is declared a world heritage site and towers nearly 160 m over the surrounding grasslands. Dating back to the 1st century BC, the Dambulla Cave Temple houses 5 caves under a huge drooping rock, fixed with a drip line to keep its interiors dry. The temple’s architectural facets include embellished arched porticos, sloping entrances, and ceilings adorned with elaborate religious images keeping up with the silhouettes of the rock. Most images here are of Lord Buddha and his followers, in addition to other Gods and Goddesses.
Located on Sri Lanka’s only arid zone, at the Dambulla - Kandalama Road is Sam Popham’s Arboretum with a gorgeous ensemble of birds, trees, dragonflies, butterflies and animals, resting comfortably in their natural dwelling. Established by Sam Popham who was exceptionally fond of trees, the Arboretum was set up in 1963 on a 7½ acres of scrubland. After Sam gave it away to the Fundamental Studies Institute for research, conservation & education purposes, they developed the place with an additional 27 acres of vegetation as an extension of the Arboretum. It is a classic, semi-evergreen, dry forest with an abundance of trees like the Palu, Margosa, Weea, Ebony, Tamarind, Milla, Ceylon Iron Wood and Velan, in addition to other trees. One of the best things about visiting the Arboretum is the Night Safari, which takes you on a wilderness trail of an uncommon slender Loris.
Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre
The Dambulla DEC (dedicated economic center) is actually a wholesale market of fruits and vegetables, laden with exotic varieties of goods, busy with trucks off-loading the produce and men carrying large bags on their shoulders. It is worth visiting this place to witness the gorgeous display, competitive bids and work in progress of a wholesale crop market.
Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs
An ancient burial site situated 5 km from Dambulla, close to Ibbankatuwa Wewa, Galewala DS, the Megalithic Tombs is a renowned site associated with pre-historic and proto-historic eras and considered as a leading well-preserved spot from the period of 500 BC. People who lived in the country at the time were adept at pottery and secured using different heating methods. They were known to bury their dead and deposit their ashes in a clay pot with their valuables. Megalithic refers to something made of stone. Excavations conducted onsite revealed tomb clusters, with each catacomb surrounded by 4 stone slabs, covered with another slab on the top and some of these clusters still retain the potted articles long after their excavation.
An archeological forest site, the Kaludiya Pokuna got its name from an ancient pond that carried dark water. Rich with flora and fauna, the forest inhabits a diverse variety of both wide-spread and endangered species of greenery and wildlife. Kaludiya Pokuna has a few ancient ruins including a stupa which is called the 'forgotten temple'. Encompassed by farmlands and human colonies from the North, East and West sides, the site remains unscathed by mankind and the primates aren’t provided for. The site’s free of unruly & illegal practices of timber extractions, hunting or woodcutting.
Kaludiya Pokuna houses a large populace of primates, primarily the purple-faced langur, the tufted gray langur, red slender loris, toque macaque and other herbivorous animals including the spotted deer, the Asian elephants, wild boar and the sambar, in addition to the bird species, which include crested serpent eagles, black eagles, white-bellied sea eagles, brahminy kites, and fishing cats, leopards and Indian rock pythons.
Jathika Namal Uyana
One of the biggest pink quartz mountain ranges and also the largest ironwood forest in South East Asia, Jathika Namal Uyana is set amidst the ironwood trees, about 25 mins from Dambulla. According to popular research, the Pink Quartz in Jathika Namal Uyana carries with it more than 550 years of history. With the planting of a rare Ironwood trees forest in 8th century AD, serving as a sanctuary for Buddhist Monks and then as a prison camp, where the prisoners had to plant trees, the site influences vegetation over 260 acres. Namal Uyana is a dry zone and has over 102 species of exotic plants, 82 of them being herbs. It protects small medicinal plants from the harsh sunlight by giving them shade and creating an illusion of being a cool place to visitors.
The forest is also rich with natural water which flows from the pink quartz and spreads into 3 different directions within the forestry. When you enter, you can see a small but incredible 1000 years old waterfall that flows down an overflowing Pathra, shaped differently (made of clay used by ancient Buddhist monks), and spanning the 3 directions. However, when the water falls from a certain height, it gets evaporated and one can see it then flowing almost a kilometer away in UranKotte.