Cave 1 – Cave of the Divine King

The first cave is called Devaraja lena (lena in sinhalese meaning cave), or "Cave of the Divine King." An account of the founding of the monastery is recorded in a first-century Brahmi inscription over the entrance to the first cave. This cave is dominated by the 14-meter statue of the Buddha, hewn out of the rock.

It has been repainted countless times in the course of its history, and probably received its last coat of paint in the 20th century. At his feet is Buddha’s favorite pupil, Ananda; at his head, Vishnu, said to have used his divine powers to create the caves.

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