Dambulla

One part of Sri Lanka’s world famous ‘Cultural Triangle’, and considered one of the most important cities in the country because of its historical, cultural and agricultural value. The area is said to have the largest deposits of rose-quartz in South Asia, and the main highlight is the Dambulla Rock Temple. Built in 1BC by King Walagambahu, the monastic complex is cut right into the rock and consists of five main caverns which contain over 150 statues of the Buddha, ranging in composition, posture and size. Being a sacred pilgrimage site for over 22 centuries, the temple is a masterpiece of ancient engineering combined with modern preservation techniques. For the nature lover, Dambulla’s National Parks, Minneriya and Kaudulla are some of the best places in the island to spot elephants, and for those who are bored of the usual safari, can go about doing it in a hot air balloon.