Located in Matara district the temple is a very famous tourists attraction as it is the largest and first ever tunnel temple in the world.
According to history, the temple was believed to be constructed during the 20th century and the temple was inhabited by Arhat Bikkus in Asia since ancient times. It is believed the foundation for the temple was laid by Revetha thero as he was sent there as a punishment transfer where he later gathered the villagers in building the temple.
It was the monk’s idea to make the largest tunnel temple in Weherahena and it was recorded that this was the largest Buddhists statue built in the world during the 20th century.
Foundation stone was laid in 1939 with the support of Buddhist political movement led by the famous leader of Buddhists revival Anagarika Dharmapala. 600 feet tunnel was built by carrying out excavations through mounding earth metal crusts.
Thereafter 39m Buddha statue was completed. During 1976 the temple was opened for the public to offer prayers and for Buddhists pilgrimage. The whole tunnel was depicted by Buddhist Jataka kata paintings.
Japan and China had donated to complete the temple. Many cultural artifacts related to Japanese and Chinese culture are present in the temple.
Featured photo credit: Nishaan Lakmal. Do not use without permission.