Dambulla also called the Golden Temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. It is more than 2000 years old.
The temple is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but the last ticket gets already sold at 5 p.m. To avoid the crowds and the heat as well visit the caves early in the morning or late afternoon. Dambulla gets busy with pilgrims, locals, and tourists throughout the year, especially at weekends. It's a steep walk to the top with hundreds of concrete steps and without any shelter. The walk takes at least 10 minutes but it depends on your fitness level. It's a strenuous climb up but you get rewarded with a spectacular view from the top.
Tip for the Entrance: When you enter the cave area, you have to remove your shoes and walk barefoot. The stones are hot most of the day. It's advisable having a pair of socks to protect the feet from burning heat and sharp rocks.
Showers can occur throughout the year. During May decreasing rainfall while June to September are the driest months. Therefore, it's often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the time. Most precipitation from October until December. January to April it's frequently sunny. Dambulla is a year-round destination; usually the most pleasant weather conditions between January and September with showers or even downpours just for an hour.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for LKA at location (7.88,80.65) from 1991-2015
Rising almost 200 meters (660 ft) from flat plains, this ancient rock fortress provides visitors with one of the most dramatic views in Sri Lanka.
This is one of the most stunning historical sites of Sri Lanka. It's also very popular and heavily crowded at times. We show you how to avoid the crowds and make the most out of your visit. Also, make sure to read our 7 must-know tips before you visit at the end of the article.
Avoiding the Crowds
It's significantly less crowded in the early morning and in the late afternoon. If you want to avoid midday heat and beat the crowds at the same time, be there at 7 a.m. sharp or visit in the late afternoon. Visiting later in the day (about 2 hours before they close) also gives you the perfect light for a good shot of Sigiriya Rock. Especially the intriguing fresco paintings are at their best in the late-afternoon light. However, for a perfect photo, it needs to be sunny. Avoid weekends and public holidays if possible, as in addition to foreign tourists many local and domestic visitor are there. Overview of public holidays: Sri Lanka Public Holidays. Opening hours from 7 am - 5:30 pm. The entrance fee is costly (30 $ in 2017), and the experience may get spoiled when you arrive at midday while sharing the place with tons of other tourists.
Climate / Weather
'Dry season' in this area is from May to August/September but often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the year. October until December are the wettest months. From January to May it's frequently sunny. We spent two days at Sigiriya in January, and the weather was quite nice. Helpful weather overview: Climate - Average Monthly Weather Sigiriya
Sigiriya is a year-round destination. It usually offers the most pleasant weather conditions between January and June. However, showers can occur throughout the year.