Gadaladeniya Rajamaha Viharaya which is an ancient monastery is constructed on the flat rock at Diggala in the district of Kandy. This temple is believed to have been built by King Buwanekabahu IV in the year 1344. The chief architect of this temple has been a South Indian named Ganesvarachari. Due to this reason the temple is a South Indian design.
If you are traveling from Kandy travel along the Colombo – Kandy Road passing Peradeniya up to Pilimathalawa. Then you should travel along the Gadaladeniya Road to reach the Temple of Gadaladeniya at the Gadaladeniya junction.
The Temple has the main shrine room where Buddha Statue is seated under a Makara Thorana and there are four standing Buddha images. The Makara Thorana is decorated on both sides with images of like gods Brahma, Suyama, Santhusuta, Natha and Maithree, and two other attendants.
The chamber within the Sikhara (dome) has had a Buddha image a long time ago but has been destroyed by the Portuguese. Next to the shrine room is a Devale (shrine) which is dedicated to God Visnu. According to Mahavansa, Visnu Deiyo was selected as the guardian to protect the land of Sri Lanka and Buddhism at the time of Buddha’s passing away. Therefore this deity has a special place among the Sri Lankans.
By the side of the Visnu Devale is a very unique Stupa that is constructed on a rock. This has been constructed by King Parakramabahu V. This stupa has a roof which is held with the support of 4 pillars. Another 4 smaller stupas are built on small shrine rooms around the main stupa. This whole structure is named the Vijayothpaya or Vijayantha Prasada which is named after the mythical palace of god Indra.
This temple was neglected for some time and then it was handed over to the Velivita Saranankara Thero by King Viraparakrama Narendrasinha who ruled Sri Lanka from 1707 to 1739.
Though this temple is known as “Gadaladeniya” presently, an inscription has named this temple as “Dharma Kirthi Viharaya” which is the name of the monk who founded this temple. In a work named “Nikaya Sangrahaya”, this temple is named as “Saddharmathilake” and “Saddharmalankaraya” later it is named as “Gadaladeniya Viharaya” after the village which it is located.
This is a beautiful yet interesting temple that amuses its every single visitor.
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