Weherahena Temple – Matara
Weherahena ( Veherahena) Temple is a large tunnel temple, considered the most significant in the society, making up for its shortage of ancient history. The temple's antiquity can be determined from the 19th century when his teacher dismissed a particular monk. Having only minimum types of equipment, the monk gathered the villagers in the area to build a tiny clay house for him. The monk eventually came up with making his place into a grand temple devoted to Lord Buddha.
The most crucial feature from the outside is the giant statue of Lord Buddha in the seated posture, which held the sense of the monk who initially settled down. Moreover, the most prominent characteristic inside the temple is the comprehensive tunnelling system that has been done, retaining its title of being one of the more unique temples on the island. Furthermore, the tunnel walls are intricately painted with the previous lives of the Lord Buddha, making the walk through the temple's inner sanctum all the more enjoyable.
History and Architecture
Weherahena Temple was built in the early 20th century by Ven. Matigahathanne Saddhatissa Thera, a well-known Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka. The temple complex is spread over about 5 acres and is built on a picturesque hill overlooking the Kumburugamuwa village. The temple's architecture uniquely blends traditional Sri Lankan and modern styles. The temple's main attraction is the 39-meter-high Buddha statue, the tallest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka.
The temple has several other vital structures, including a Bo tree, which is considered a sapling of the original Bo tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, a Stupa, a Bodhi Mandapaya, a Dharma Shalawa, and several other meditation centres.
Significance and Importance
Weherahena Temple is an important religious site for Buddhists in Sri Lanka and visitors worldwide. The temple is considered a place of worship, meditation, and learning. In addition, the temple allows visitors to experience a Buddhist temple's peaceful and serene environment and learn about the Buddhist way of life.
The temple is also significant due to its cultural and historical importance. The temple complex is home to several artifacts, statues, and paintings depicting Lord Buddha's life and the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The temple also has a museum that showcases a collection of ancient artifacts and antiques, including coins, pottery, and weapons from different periods in Sri Lanka's history.
Unique Features of Weherahena Temple
Weherahena Temple is unique in many ways. Some of the features that make this temple stand out from other temples in Sri Lanka are:
The Tallest Buddha Statue
The 39-meter-high Buddha statue at Weherahena Temple is the tallest in Sri Lanka. The figure is made of concrete and is covered with gold paint. The statue is visible from far away and provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding area.
The Tunnel of Enlightenment
One of the most exciting features of Weherahena Temple is the "Tunnel of Enlightenment." This tunnel is a long, dark passage that leads to a chamber where a replica of the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves in India is displayed. The tunnel is designed to represent a person's journey towards enlightenment and is a unique feature of this temple.
The Meditation Centers
Weherahena Temple has several meditation centres that are open to visitors. These centres allow visitors to learn about meditation and practice it in a peaceful and serene environment. The meditation centres are designed to help visitors achieve inner peace and tranquillity.
Visiting Weherahena Temple
Weherahena Temple is open to visitors every day from 7 am to 6 pm. Visitors must dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple complex. Photography is allowed, but visitors are requested to respect the temple's religious and cultural significance.