More or less at the heart of the Cultural Triangle, the dusty little town of DAMBULLA is famous for its remarkable cave temples: five magical, dimly lit grottoes crammed with statues and decorated with some of the finest murals in the country, offering a picture-perfect snapshot of Sinhalese Buddhist art at its finest.

Dambulla stands at an important junction of the Colombo–Trincomalee and Kandy–Anuradhapura roads, and is a convenient base for exploring the area. The town itself is one of the least attractive in the region, however, strung out along a single long, dusty and traffic-plagued main road. The centre is marked by the usual clocktower, north of which stretches the main run of shops, housed in a dispiriting string of ugly modern concrete buildings; to the south of the clocktower lies the town’s bus stand, an anarchic wholesale market and, further south, most of its guesthouses.

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