This temple was built way back in the past and is considered to be the oldest building in Kandy. It is dedicated to Natha, a god of Indian origin considered to be one of four protectors of the Tooth Relic. It is one of the two visible temples in Temple Square.
The temple was built by King Vickramabahu III and it repeats the fundamentals of the Dravidian architecture. Buddhism and Hinduism are connected at this Kandy’s devale, which is dedicated to the god Natha. This temple was a site of the ceremonial ordination of Sri Lanka’s ancient kings.
The temple has 3 floors, although the upper floors have no utility. It has a crowning vaulted roof. The enclosure has two other stupas and recent excavations have revealed the basis of a third. The nearest stupa of the temple is supposed to contain the remains of the bowl that contains the sacred tooth. It would have been broken by relic hunters in 1889. Bodi, the sacred tree, is considered to have come from one of the 32 cuttings of the most sacred Bodi in Sri Lanka, which is in Anuradhapura.
At this devale, Natha is venerated as Senkadagala Devindu (the god of Senkadagala, or Kandy), due to a legendary link with the establishment of the kingdom of Kandy. The main shrine itself is built in the architectural form of a gedige and carries a decorative frieze around the base of the vaulted roof above the inner sanctum. This feature is not found anywhere else in Sri Lanka and says a traditional legend about the selection of Kandy as the capital city. It was selected for this purpose, according to the legend, during the declining years of the Gampola kingdom, it was the site of a miracle: a spot where a hermit had witnessed a hare being hunted by a jackal, then turned on his pursuer making the hunter become the hunted.
Visit this temple to learn about Sri Lanka’s long history.
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