Of all the many cave temples in Sri Lanka the Raja Maha Vihara at the village of Dambulla is by far the most impressive. It consists of a series of five caverns. The temple is on the summit of a huge slope rock face that rises more than 350 feet above the village.
The most interesting is the largest cave, which is the fourth on your right after you pass through a gateway. The ceiling of this cavern is fully illustrated with paintings that follow the natural folds of the rock so closely that it almost appears to be made of cloth. Among the cave’s numerous statues are the earliest devala statues to appear in a Buddhist image house.
The cave’s history dates to the 2nd or 1st century B.C. when King Valagambahu took refuge here after being driven out of Anuradhapura by invading armies.