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Lankathilaka Viharaya

  Province Central
  District Kandy
  Nearest Town Kandy
  Period 1153-1186 A.D.
  Ruler King Parkramabahu


Built by King Parakrambahu, and later restored by Vijayabahu IV, this dramatic brick building was once five story’s high and embellished with flowers, creepers, animals, birds and statues of gods. The two gigantic columns at the entrance, now broken to a highest of 58 ft., must originally have been at least double that height. The cathedral-like aisle leads to a standing Buddha statue, now headless, which was 41 ft., tall. The exterior walls are ornamented with delicate sculptures which depict various buildings of the Polonnaruwa era. In front of the Lankathilaka is a pillared ‘mandapaya’ with 40 stone chaste-ornamented pillars.

This temple is situated at Handessa - a cruciform building that server as an image house of The Buddha. The temple is full of exquisite painted scenes of the lives of 24 former Buddha’s and there is a colossal seated image of the Buddha. It commands unfolding village scenery of charm and beauty.

Location Kandy (Handessa)

Lankatilaka Vihara is situated on the top of hill of grey gneiss, where we find inscriptions by King Bhuvanekabahu the fourth (1347 AD) & King Vickramabahu the third (1351 AD) narrating the construction of the temple. A long magnificent flight of steps cut into the rock takes us to the temple. The view from the summit is glorious with tea plantations & surrounding hills brought closer to the sight. According to the legend, when a monk reported the sight of a golden bowl floating on the surface of a nearby reservoir, the king took it as an auspicious sign & wasted no time in having the temple built close to the reservoir. The present imposingly solid-looking building of two stories was originally four stories high. It was renovated & the tile roof added in 1845. Even from a distance you can see this elegant roof standing out at the end of the rock.

The main building of the temple is the innermost Buduga or image house with Buddha statues. It is surrounded by six shrines or devala representing six Hindu & local deities, i.e. Hindu God Ganesh, Hindu God Skanda, God Vishnu, Goddess Pattini & local divinities Maha Sumana Saman & God Vibishana. Among the statues are lovely low-relief carvings of elephants. The walls & ceilings are covered with well-preserved frescoes, some of the oldest & best examples of the Kandyan style.