Old Temples of Kandy - 1 :
Gadaradeniya Viharaya
(Kandy, Sri Lanka)

Travel over the old temples of Kandy is travel that knows the richness of Sri Lankan architecture.

Three buddhist temples (Gadaradeniya Viharaya, Lankatilake Viharaya, and Embekke Devale) in suburbs have a different style and a different structure(stone, brick and wooden). The diversity, though those were made in the same region at the same time, might show the wide range of Sri Lankan culture.

The Gadaradeniya Viharaya is located in the hill to the southwest of the candy. It is the entrance to three temples.

When entering the gate, the huge undulating rock shows up. The exposed bedrock is precincts in the temple, and the hollows on the surface become the small ponds where lotus bloom receives the visitors. The main shrine and the praying hall with red tiled roof at the inner part and the cross planning hall with Stupa and the roof at the gate are put directly on the rock. I express unstinted admiration for that such bedrock was founded as a site of the temple. Among a lot of sacred ground that connected with rock in Sri Lanka, here is the most significant place because of the perfection of three beauties, that is, the form of bedrock, the balance of the landscape of bedrock and the architecture, and the design of architecture.

The main shrine puts two domes of the brick on the stone main body. It was built in 1344 by Buvanekabahu IV and it seemed to have become the south Indian style because the architect from South India was related. But, the decoration is moderate compared with the architecture of South India. I had the impression similar to the discreetness of the Neoclassicism architecture except the pillar or the handrail around the porch and the molding of pillar of exterior wall.

Inside of the shrine, the thinking Buddha image as a principal image is deified and it seems to have been destroyed by Portugal and have been reproduced in 18th century. Besides, Hinduism statues included a Vishnu image are also enshrined. The lacquer work of door, the fresco painting and the halo of the Buddha image on that various deities were carved show the creme of traditional Sri Lankan craftsmanship in that time and make the inside of shrine sublime to the graceful space.

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

About 1 hours by car from downtown Kandy.



Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka (A. Senneviratna + Benjamin Polk, Abhinav Publications, 1992)

2007.10 Photos and text in Japanese version

2008.09 Photos in English version
2018.01 Change of photos and English text

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Gadaradeniya Viharaya (1344)

Photo by Daigo Ishii