Dowa Temple (Bandarawela, Sri Lanka)

In the southern part of the Hill Country, along the road heading to Ella from Bandalawella is the Dowa Temple. It was the beginning of the temple that the king, who escaped the attack of the Indian Tamils in the 1st century BC, had hidden here temporarily.

A white gate is facing the road. The contrast with the greenery of a big tree overhanging branches is cool and comfortable. When going down a gentle staircase, a flat square appears and a beautiful teaching hall with red tiles and white pillars stands in the center. It has a platform for teaching under a vaulted ceiling.

In front of the teaching hall, the approach road bends a little and descending steps appears. The skillful line of flow correspondent to the terrain is similar to the approach of the Japanese shrine and I felt it close. The treetop of the linden tree, that is in the middle of the staircase, spreads at the height of the eyes as if it had been the second gate made of green.

Beyond the steps going down along a slope, the main hall appears. From the cliff at the back, rocks flow out towards the main hall, waving softly like a torrent. This place is also a sanctuary linked to a wonderful rocky landscape.

The main hall is a sheltering hall for the Buddha statue dug out from the rock and mural paintings on the rock. So, the building itself is also lacking in attraction. When entering, brilliant lotus flowers and Buddha are drawn on the rock like a canopy hanging down, and the base of the rock is surrounded by Buddha's nirvana statue.

Unlike Dambulla, the Buddha statue here is protected with a glass case. When looking at the Buddha through the glass from the room which floor is tiled, it seems that somehow the Buddha swims in the aquarium. That was a marvelous scenery.

After the visit to the white stupa worshiped in the cave at the back of the main hall, visitors go out again and go up the rock behind the main hall to visit the Buddha figure carved on a rock face on the vertical side of the cliff.

As for how to analyze the form of a rock and process it into a place of prayer in Sri Lanka, the Dowa Temple shows various kinds of connection with rock.

At the depths of the stupa in the cave, it is said to be a 10 km tunnel from the Dowa Temple to Ella even if the entrance is blocked with bricks now.

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

15 minutes by car from Bandarawela.



Lanka Library Forum

2007.12 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version

2018.01 Change of photos and English text

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Dowa Temple (1st century B.C. - )

Photo by Daigo Ishii