Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that King Valagam Bahu took refuge in the lst century B.C. He later turned the Caves into a rock temple.Dambulla Some of the frescoes are over 2.000 years old and there is a coIossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the living rock, some 14 metres long.
Of all the cave temples in Sri Lanka, the five caves that form the Raja Maha Vihara at the village of Dambulla, by far is the most impressive. Dambulla is about 12 miles south west of Sigiriya, on the Matale-Anuradhapura Road. The largest cave carries some 48 statues of Lord Buddha alone, with statues of some Hindu gods, (Vishnu and Saman). The statues of the Hindu gods date back to the 12th century, when Hinduism took root in Sri Lanka and started influencing the arts.
The history of the caves themselves dates back to the 2nd or 1st century B.C., when King Valagam Bahu who was escaping the invading army that drove him out of Anuradhapura, took refuge in these caves.