Gadaladeniya Temple – Kandy


Gadaladeniya Temple is located in Pilimathalawa, Kandy.And the temple was constructed in 1344 by King Bhuvanekabahu IV. A South Indian architect, Ganesvarachchari, raised the temple and therefore had a South Indian touch in its intention.
Gadaladeniya temple is also recognised by the names of Saddharmatilaka Vihara and Dharma Kirthi Vihara. The rock outcrop, upon which the temple attains, has a carved inscription with the temple's structure details. The latter is named "Vijayothpaya" or "Vijayantha Prasada", which is named after the mythological dwelling of god Indra.

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History of Gadaladenyia Temple

Gadaladeniya Temple is a Buddhist temple located in the Kandy district of Sri Lanka. It was constructed in the 14th century during the reign of King Bhuvanekabahu IV, who governed the Kingdom of Gampola from 1341 to 1351.

The temple was constructed by a South Indian architect named Ganesvarachari, who the monarch invited to design and build the temple. Ganesvarachari was a practitioner of the Dravidian form of architecture, which was prevalent in South India at the time.

The Gadaladeniya Temple is renowned for its distinctive architectural design, blending South Indian and Sinhalese traditions. The temple is constructed on a rock outcrop and features a sizeable octagonal stupa (a dome-shaped structure that holds Buddhist relics). The stupa is surrounded by a circular walkway and four smaller sanctuaries, each containing a statue of the Buddha.

The temple also features a vihara (a monastery or dwelling place for Buddhist priests) with intricate carvings and murals depicting images from the life of the Buddha. In addition, the temple's main chamber is decorated with murals depicting the Jataka tales, which are stories about the previous incarnations of the Buddha.

Over the years, the Gadaladeniya Temple has undergone several renovations and restorations. In the 18th century, the sanctuary was renovated by King Kirti Sri Rajasinha of Kandy, who added a new shrine and several other features to the temple. In 1980, the temple was designated a protected archaeological site by the Sri Lankan government.

Today, the Gadaladeniya Temple remains an important religious and cultural site in Sri Lanka, attracting visitors worldwide. Its distinctive architecture and gorgeous artwork continue to inspire and fascinate people today.

Main Shrine of Gadaladenyia Temple

The primary shrine of Gadaladenyia Temple is the Viharaya or Buddha sanctuary, the temple complex's central tower. The Viharaya was constructed in the architectural style of the Gampola period and featured exquisite carvings and decorations.

Inside the Viharaya is a giant Buddha statue in the seated posture, known as the Samadhi Buddha. The figure is said to be over 500 years old and is one of the primary attractions of the temple.

In addition to the Samadhi Buddha statue, there are several lesser Buddha statues and statues of bodhisattvas and other figures from Buddhist mythology. Furthermore, the walls of the Viharaya are decorated with intricate murals depicting scenes from the Jataka tales, which are stories about the previous incarnations of the Buddha.

The Viharaya is an essential place of worship and meditation for Buddhists. Many visitors come to the temple to offer flowers, incense, and petitions to the Buddha and other deities.

Secondary Shrine of Gadaladenyia Temple

The secondary shrine of Gadaladenyia Temple is known as the "Vishnu Devalaya" or "Vishnu Shrine". It is located on the right side of the primary shrine and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the most prominent deities in Hinduism. The shrine was constructed during the reign of King Parakramabahu IV, who was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu.

The shrine has a unique architectural design with intricate carvings and embellishments. It is constructed on a raised platform and has a mandapa or entrance chamber with four columns. The mandapa leads to the primary sanctum sanctorum, which contains a statue of Lord Vishnu. The figure is carved out of stone and depicts Lord Vishnu in his traditional form, with four limbs and bearing his weapons.

The monument's walls are adorned with exquisite frescoes depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The frescoes are done in vibrant colours and have intricate details. The shrine's ceiling has a stunning lotus design in the centre, surrounded by intricate geometric patterns.

The Vishnu Shrine is a significant part of the Gadaladenyia Temple and is visited by devotees from all over the globe. It is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and exhibits the country's unique combination of Buddhism and Hinduism.

How to reach Gadaladenyia Temple

Gadaladenyia Temple is located in the Pilimathalawa area, about 15 kilometres from Kandy City in Sri Lanka. The temple can be reached by car or public transportation.

If you are travelling from Kandy, you can take a bus from the Kandy bus stand to Pilimathalawa and then take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the temple. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi or rent a car to reach the temple.

If you travel from Colombo, you can take a train or bus to Kandy and then follow the route mentioned above to reach the temple.

The temple is on a hill, so you must climb stairs to reach the main entrance. Therefore, wearing comfortable shoes and carrying water with you is advisable.


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