Among the remarkable evidences of great antiquity in Ceylon, we recall the elaborate cave-temples of Dambula, hewn out of the primitive rock, and which have existed at least two thousand years, representing an infinite amount of patient labor, which must have been executed with tools admirably adapted to the purpose assigned.
About fifteen or twenty miles from Dondra, there is an ancient and famous rock-temple after the style of that at Dambula, already described. It is called the temple of Mulgirigalla, the place being still a sacred shrine kept up for the benefit of the faithful.
These cave-temples of Dambula are cut in a solitary mass of rock, rising from the otherwise level plain to about five hundred feet in height and four times that in length. This is undoubtedly the most remarkable group of cave-temples upon the island.
The remains of one of these capacious tanks which stimulated industry and insured abundant crops in Ceylon so long ago is to be seen at Kalawewa, near Dambula, already spoken of, and is known to have been built fourteen centuries since.
In the first and largest of the stone chambers of this huge rock at Dambula, besides the large recumbent figure of Buddha, there is a statue of Vishnu, held especially sacred, and before which solemn oaths in litigated cases were administered, without any other recourse for settlement.