Gadaladeniya Temple in Sri Lanka is an old monastery built over a rock in Diggala in the district of Kandy. According to an inscription carved into the walls the temple was built in 1344 AD by King Buwanekabaghu the fourth. The temple was designed by the South Indian architect Ganesvarachchari in a design similar to South Indian architecture.
Gadaladeniya Temple in Sri Lanka: 5 Things You Should Know
- The main shrine room has one large seated Buddha statue under a Makara Thorana (dragon arch) and four standing Buddha images.
- The main seated Buddha is supposed to have been made out of rock, plastered and painted gold.
- The Makara Thorana is decorated with the gods and heavenly bodies.
- The walls and pillars are all carved in true South Indian style with elephants, dancers and other figures.
- The chamber within the dome has a Buddha image that was destroyed by the Portuguese.
- The shrine next to the main Shrine is dedicated to God Vishnu and next to the Vishnu temple is a large stupa built on bedrock by King Parakramabaghu the fifth.
- This large main stupa has a roof held over it on four pillars, and four smaller stupas ringing it in the four cardinal directions. Each smaller stups has a shrine room and flower pedestal. This structure is known as Vijayothpaya, or Vijayantha Prasana named after the palace of God Indra.
- After suffering from neglect for a few centuries, the temple was handed over to a Buddhist priest by the king Viraparakrama Narendrasinha in the 1700s and has remained with the monastery since.
- The temple was originally known as Dharma Keerthi Vihara according to the wall inscription and only received the name Gadaladeniya dur to the village of the same name where it’s located.
- Other names for Gadaladeniya are Saddharmathilake” and “Saddharmalankaraya.