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Magnificent mural cave paintings on the ceilings and walls in the Dambulla Caves. This temple complex dates back to the 1st century BC. and is a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, it is a cave monastery, with five sanctuaries, the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 m2 ) are of particular importance, as are the 157 statues.
Prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these cave complexes before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as there are burial sites with human skeletons about 2700 years old in this area, at Ibbankatuwa near the Dambulla cave complexes.
The rock of Dambulla is the centre of a Buddhist cave-temple complex established in the 3rd century B.C. and occupied continuously to this day.