History of the Dambulla Cave Temple
The history of the Dambulla cave temple dates back to the reign of King Vattagamini Abhaya (103 BC and 89-77 BC). Originally, the Dambulla cave temple was used as a place of retreat by King Vattagamini Abhaya whom the sinhalese called Valagamba. King Valagamba fled for his safety to this cave , abandoing his Kingdom at Anuradhapura, during the South Indian invasion and had done so for 12 years. Once the King regained power over his kingdom, King Valagamba converted these magnificant caves into a place of worship-a temple. This was done so by constructing walled partitions under the rock overhang which spans the entire area as a single large cave. He got drip ledges made along this large cave and made it suitable to withstand rainy weather and avoided water seeping inside the caved areas.The three cave temples named as Devarajalena, Maharajalena and the Paccimalena were constructed by him.
After several centuries King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 AD), who made Polonnaruwa his kingdom, renovated the Cave temples and it is believed that monks dwelled in this cave during the times.
King Keerthi Sri Nissankamalla (1187-1196 AD ) was much involved in uplifting the place with many additional Buddha images being constructed and gold plating some seventy three Buddha images in the cave temple.
King Buwanekabahu (1372-1408 AD), King Vickramabahu III (1360-1374 AD), King Rajasinha I (1581-1591 AD) and King Vimaladharmasuriya I (1592-1604 AD ) are the Kings merited with the uplifting of the status of the Temple at various times of the years gone by.
There are five temples at the Dambulla Cave Temple and they are:
Cave 1: The Devaraja Lena, The cave of the 'lord of the Gods'
Cave 2: The Maharaja Lena - The Cave of ' Great Kings '
Cave 3: The Maha Alut Viharaya - The Cave of ' Great New Temple'
Cave 4: The Paccima Viharaya - The Cave of ' Western Temple'
Cave 5: The Devana Alut Viharaya - The Cave of ' Second New Temple'
Architecture, History and Travel of Sri Lanka / Auth. https://www.srilankaview.com/