Travel Guide to Dambulla

Indian Embassy in Dambulla

Indian Embassy nearest to Dambulla is located at
31 Rajapihilila Mawatha,
P.O Box No 47, Kandy 20000
Phone: 812222652

Visa Process for Indian Visitors to Dambulla

  • Original passport
  • A photocopy of the first as well as the last page of the passport
  • Confirmed air tickets
  • Day-to-day itinerary

Time required: 1-2 working days

About the Location

The city of Dambulla in Sri Lanka is just 5 hours from the bustling Colombo. It's the centre of vegetable distribution in the country. Located in the Matale District, Central Province, Dambulla is famous for the Dambulla Cave Temple. The area is believed to be inhabited from as early as the 7th to 3rd century BC. The statues and paintings present in the caves of this area date back to the 1st century BC.

Places to Visit in Dambulla

There are many exciting places to visit in Dambulla and around the city.

Among them you should not miss the following:

  • Dambulla Cave Temple: The golden temple is one of the largest and best-preserved temples of Sri Lanka. The caves around the temple are the major source of attraction and comprise of almost 153 statues of Gautam Buddha depicting his entire life and his struggles. It also consists of pictures, paintings and statues from the earlier period. These include the four sculptures of gods and the three attractive statues of the Kings of Sri Lanka. It is believed that before the arrival of Buddha, the caves were occupied by the native people of Sri Lanka as there are various burial sites here and human skeletons dated to be 2700 years old have also been found here. The interior of the caves is well maintained and are decorated with paintings of Buddha, Vishnu, and Ganesha. The temple consists of the five wonderful caves, constructed during the 1st century BC and covers a large area. One cave has a huge statue of Buddha that is 14 meter high and inscriptions from the same period are also found here. It is one of the best Dambulla points of interest and a world heritage site.
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress: Most travellers combine a visit to Dambulla cave with a visit to Sigiriya's ancient rock fortress. This 660-foot column of rock is located in the middle of a dense and green tropical forest and is called the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.  This ancient rock fortress was built by King Kasyapa to be the capital and house the royal palace. It is one of the prime tourist places in Dambulla.
  • Popham's Arboretum: Popham's Arboretum is situated in Kandalama, Dambulla and its construction was started in 1963 when a person called Sam bought around 7.5 acres of jungle land to conserve the antique biological diversities of the Sri Lankan dry forest. Many tourists flock to visit this place every year to enjoy the scenic view and to know about the various species of the plants that are found here. You can see the valuable timber plants and the skills like tree surgery that are helpful in the growth of plants. The highlight of the Popham Arboretum are the plants such as Ebony, Helambu Palu, Milla, Satinwood, Weera, Ceylon Iron Wood(Na), Rathu, Tamarind, Velan, Margosa etc. This place remains open from 9 am to 5 pm and is closed on Wednesdays.
  • Jathika Namal Uyana: It is also known as the pink quartz mountain of Asia. According to the archaeological researchers, the pink quartz was found in a massive amount at this place and dates back to 550 million years. It is basically a centre that preserves almost 120 species of tropical plants and trees, out of which 58 are medicinal herbs and plants that are often used to make medicines. The mountain also provides a home for 18 species of birds and some animals like deer, monkey, elephants, leopard etc. This place that has natural resources in abundance is of great geographical and historical value. Travellers can relish seeing the various inscriptions, the statues and stupas from the reign of king Devanampiyathissa all the way to the reign of King IV Dappula, and Bodhigara. The ironwood trees are a useful resource, used for the treatment of skin diseases, throat pain, nerve diseases, heart diseases, and also are a treat to the eyes. The national tree of Sri Lanka is ironwood as it originated here and has a height of about 1200mts from the sea level. These trees have beautiful bright red leaves, which later turn into deep green shades as they age.
  • Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium: Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium is the only one and a first stadium that is located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. This stadium is constructed overlooking the Dambulla rock and Dumbulla reservoir.
  • Kandalama Lake: Hot air ballooning is one of the most popular things to do in Dambulla and appeals thousands of travellers from all over the globe. You are usually picked up from your hotel in the early hours, usually before sunrise, and dropped at the Kandalama Lake, which is the main take-off point. The flight one hour long, and gives you the most memorable experiences ever. During the flight, you will witness the lush green landscape of Sri Lanka along with the numerous heritage sites of Sigiriya and Dambulla. You can also spot the wildlife of Sri Lanka like elephants and water buffaloes from the sky.
  • Minneriya National Park: A great way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Sri Lanka is to take a jungle safari to Gilitale or Minneriya National Park. Both the national parks give you an opportunity to enjoy an unperturbed company of nature and its wonders. Here, you will get to see hundreds of elephants roaming around in all their glory. You can take a ride on the back of one of these elephants as well. The place is full of different kinds of flora and fauna that are really pleasant to witness. Also, you can have a wonderful time watching the 150 different types of the resident as well as migratory birds that are found here. The jungle safari is a combination of adventure and rejuvenation, which any activity-lover would love to do.

How to Reach Dambulla

Flights are available up to Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayaka, from where tourists can travel to Dambulla by bus or a hired car. Dambulla is approximately 45 kilometres from Gal Oya junction on the Eastern Railway Line. Whereas the distance from Matale on the Main Line is also the same. After you reach this place, you can reach Dambulla either by bus or a hired car. Sri Lanka boasts of having three deep-water ports. They are located in Galle, Colombo and Trincomalee. Kankesanturai is another harbour in Sri Lanka. After reaching any of these locations, visitors can travel to Dambulla either by bus or a hired car.

Travelling in Dambulla

Tuk-tuks (i.e. three-wheeler rickshaws) are available everywhere in the city, and it is a preferred mode of transportation within the city. There is the convenience of pickup service from your local hotel by air-conditioned, luxury vehicles also. It takes just an hour or two to tour the Dambulla cave temples so you can visit Sigiriya the same day. Bus to Sigiriya can be found from the Dambulla bus station. A tuk-tuk trip to Sigiriya is also convenient trip.

Best Time to Visit

Dambulla's climate is classified as tropical. Dambulla experiences very extreme weather, regarding heavy rainfall and increase in temperatures. The place experiences rainfall from April that continues until January. The best time to travel to Dambulla is between January and May, as the city experiences relatively reduced levels of rain during this period. December to March is the time when most foreigners visit the country to escape the harsh winters in the European and American subcontinent.

What to Pack?

Your packing list should include loose-fitting airy short sleeve tops and comfortable pants or capris. Generally, breathable, lightweight cotton or quick-dry clothing is best. While planning on heat, women should still do what they can to dress modestly in respect of Sri Lankan culture. If you are visiting temples, both genders will need long pants and sleeves. For the heat, remember sunscreen and a hat. Don’t forget to carry necessary medicines and an umbrella as it often rains there. Please carry mosquito repellants.

Top Delicacies

There is a government run “Traditional Foods Sales Centre”.  It exists to preserve local traditional foods, but for the travellers, it's an excellent chance to do some culinary exploration. There are some more good restaurants within the city. There's nothing more common to eat as Sri Lankan food than a nutritious plate of rice and curry.

Indian Restaurants in Dambulla

  • Saman's Restaurant at Saman's Restaurant | Samans restaurant, Kandy Rd, Dambulla, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka. Serves Sri Lanka and Asian food. Call the restaurant at +94 66 2 284412
  • Gamini Hotel & Bakers at Cote Junction, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka. Serves Indian, Asian, and Sri Lankan cuisine. Call the restaurant at +94 77 609 6337
  • FreshTalk at Kurunegala Road, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka. Serves Southwestern, Chinese, and Sri Lankan cuisine. Call the restaurant at +94 76 944 9283

Shopping List Essentials 

Dambulla is a huge and modern market town which is considered a commercial hub of Sri Lanka’s North Central Province. The shopping streets are full of stores offering bicycles, household utensils a bewildering array of agricultural implements, and much more. You need to bargain a lot in the street markets, and it will be beneficial if any local accompanies you.

Healthcare Centers

Dambulla has decent medical facilities for any emergency. Dambulla Base Hospital, Dambulla Ayurveda Hospital, Jeyarthanapura Hospital etc. are places where you can find proper medical treatments. Colombo is not far away, and tourists can visit Colombo too for any medical need. Being a tourist it will always be recommendable to have health insurance to secure your medical emergencies.  

Emergency Contact Numbers

  • Police Emergency Hotline: 118 / 119
  • Ambulance / Fire & rescue: 110
  • Accident Service-General Hospital: 011-2691111
  • Tourist Police: 011-2421052

Local Do’s & Don’ts


  • Carry insect repellent
  • Leave your valuables in the hotel safe


  • Don't drink the tap water
  • Don’t take a selfie with Buddha
  • Don’t wear shorts in public

Basics of Local Communication

The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. Sinhala is the native language of the Sinhalese people, who constitute approximately 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s population. Tamil is Sri Lanka’s second official language. Majority of Sri Lankans are conversational in English, so you are unlikely to face communication issues. Sri Lankan English might not be entirely comprehensible to native English speakers due to the accent and words borrowed from local languages. If you are planning to visit Dambulla, you can surely keep in mind the following essential Sinhala Phrases:


English Sinhala/Tamil
Good Morning Subha udeasanak
My Name is Ma-ge na-ma
Where is Ko-he-dha 
Yes Owu
No Nae
Please Karu-nah-kara
Sorry sa∙maa ven∙na
How much is this Meka Kiyada

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What kinds of medical coverage’s are provided??

The following medical expenses are covered: 

  • Travel insurance includes medical expenses, repatriation, and emergency medical evacuation. Even dental care expenses such as acute anesthetic treatment of teeth are covered.

What is a deductible?

“Deductible”means a cost-sharing requirement under this policy, that provides that the insurer will not be liable for a specified rupee amount or percentage of claim amount or number of days or number of hours, as specified in the policy schedule and which will apply before any benefits are payable by the insurer. A deductible does not reduce the sum insured and is applicable per event, upto the specified limits mentioned.

What Is Not Covered Under the Travel Insurance Plan?

  • Medical Expenses (inclusive of Repatriation and Emergency Medical Evacuation), Daily Allowance in case of hospitalization, Compassionate Visit benefits, the following will not be payable for Any pre-existing condition, Routine examinations, Expenses for rest or recuperation at spa/ health resort/ sanatorium, Pregnancy (including childbirth, miscarriage, abortion or related complications ) or treatment relating to the removal of physical flaws or anomalies (cosmetic treatment or plastic surgery).
  • Cosmetic surgery, unless such cosmetic surgery is rendered medically necessary as part of treatment for accidents and burns whilst being abroad.
  • Suicide, attempted or wilfully self inflicted injury or illness, mental disorder, anxiety, stress or depression, venereal disease, alcoholism, drunkenness or the abuse of drugs, or any loss arising, directly or indirectly, from any injury, illness, death, loss, expense, or other liability attributable to HIV and/or any HIV related illness including AIDS and/or any mutant derivative or variation thereof however caused.
  • Treatment which could be reasonably delayed until the Insured’s return to India, which will be decided jointly by the treating Physician and the Emergency Assistance Service Provider and shall be in accordance with accepted standards of medical care.
  • The Insured taking part in naval, military or air force operations; war and nuclear perils.
  • Insured engaging in air travel unless he or she flies as a Fare Paying passenger in an aircraft licensed to carry passengers.
  • Participation of the Insured in winter sports, mountaineering and such other professional sports or any other hazardous or potentially dangerous sport for which the Insured members are adequately trained, physically fit and using proper equipment. and that too only if specifically agreed and mentioned in the policy schedule.
  • Hazardous occupation, or if engaged in any criminal or illegal act.
  • Medical Expenses in respect of Experimental, investigational or unproven treatments or treatments which are not consistent with or incidental to the diagnosis and treatment of the positive existence or presence of any Illness for which confinement is required at a Hospital. Any Illness or treatment which is a result or a consequence of undergoing such experimental or unproven treatment.
  • Naturopathy treatment.
  • Non Allopathic treatment e.g. - Ayurvedic, Yogic, Homeopathic, Unani treatment(s).
  • Under no circumstances shall this insurance contract be deemed to provide cover and no liability be incurred to pay any claim or provide any benefit hereunder to the extent that the provision of such cover, payment of such claim or provision of such benefit would expose us to any sanction, prohibition, or restriction under United Nations resolutions or the trade or economic sanctions, laws or regulations of the European Union, United Kingdom, United States of America & India

You can avail the Travel Insurance online and enjoy the benefits offered by ICICI Lombard General Insurance (Bharti AXA General Insurance*)

What Is Covered Under Travel Insurance?

Loss of passport and documents:

Reimbursement of actual expenses incurred in connection with obtaining a duplicate or fresh passport or reasonable cost of replacing/obtaining the stolen documents/ tickets if the passport belonging to the Insured / Insured Person be lost

Home Fire Insurance Contents & Home Burglary Insurance (contents):

Cover against any loss or damage of the Contents at Home of the Insured in India caused by Fire and Allied perils or through burglary and/or housebreaking while the Insured is on a trip abroad.

Hijack Distress Allowance

Payment of distress allowance in case of hijack of a common carrier for more than certain number of hours whilst on the trip. You can easily avail the allowance by filing a claim online through Travel Insurance cover online process.

Medical Expensesinclusive of Repartration  and Emergency Medical Evacuation

If you are sick or injured during the journey, your medical expenses can prove to be costly. In such cases,  Travel Insurance cover greatly helps. The insurance company also offers a cashless settlement with the network hospitals or you can also opt for the reimbursement process within 30 days of hospitalization.

Legal Expenses

Payment of legal costs and expenses incurred by the Insured towards claims from third Parties for compensation in respect of death or disablement arising due to an injury whilst on a trip abroad.

Personal Accident

Payment of compensation if the Insured sustains accidental bodily injury during a trip resulting in death or Permanent Total Disablement or Permanent Partial Disablement within 12 months of occurrence of such injury.

Trip Cancellation/Or Interruption

Payment towards the non-refundable prepaid payments incurred on the trip being cancelled and additional cost of transportation in case of Interruption: due to medical problems, personal employment problems or natural disasters or other listed reason in policy wordings.

Trip Delay

 Reimbursement of additional expenses if trip is delayed beyond a period, due to airline problems, medical problems, personal employment problems or natural disasters.

 Daily Allowance in case of Hospitalisation

 Payment of daily allowance for the days the Insured is hospitalised beyond a specified number of days, as mentioned in the Policy Schedule, for which a valid claim is admissible under the Policy whilst on a trip abroad.Emergency Accommodation

 Payment of compensation for the additional cost of emergency accommodation if the Insured/ Insured Person could not stay in the accommodation originally booked due to ­fire& flood, earthquake, storm, hurricane, explosion, outbreak of major infectious diseases.

Why do I need Travel insurance?

During a trip there are chances of unfortunate events such as loss of checked in baggage, medical emergency, loss of passport that can spoil your international trip, be it business or leisure. Travel insurance can protect you from such events ensuring that you are left stuck in foreign land.