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Gadaladeniya Temple

Overview

Gadaladenyia Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Pilimathalawa, Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located on Gadaladenyia Road, just up from the Gadaladeniya junction of the Colombo – Kandy Road, approximately 12.5 km to the west of Kandy and 3 km from the ancient buddhist temple, Lankatilaka Vihara. It is considered one of the largest rock temples in Sri Lanka.

The history of the temple goes back to the 14th century. According to historical reports this temple was built in 1344, under the patronage of King Bhuvanekabahu IV, who reigned from 1341 to 1351 A. D., by the Ven. Seelavamsa Dharmakirti. The architecture of the temple was designed following Hindu artistic styles by, Ganesvarachari, a South Indian architect. On the rock outcrop, upon which the temple stands, is a carved inscription regarding the temple’s construction. The temple was constructed in the Dravidian architectural style incorporating Sinhalese architecture from the Polonnaruwa era and other Indo Chinese architectural patterns.

Celebrated scholarly monks who have resided at the temple include Sangharaja Dharmakirti II, the author of the Sangharaja-Nikāya (14-15th century) and Vimalakirti I.

The temple was abandoned until King Vira Parakrama Narendra Sinha (1707-1739) handed over it to Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thero, who’s pupils have looked after the temple ever since.

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