This scared place is one of the three famous Temples that are located near Peradeniya and can be reached by travelling along the main Colombo-Kandy road and turning off at Pilimatalawa. The Lankatilaka Raja Maha Vihara is located in the Udunuwara area of Kandy which is also known as the Lankatilaka Temple or the Blue Temple in Sri Lanka’s hill Capital. It was constructed on uneven rock which can be overlooking the Hanthana mountain range.
The History of Blue Temple dates back to Gampola Era and it was constructed during the courtesy of King Buwanekabahu IV. Lankatilaka is a most unique structure in itself that having been built entirely on the top of an uneven rock outward and rising up to a height of eighty feet. Based on legends to be found on the Temple’s copper inscription that one learns which the foundation of granite was placed on the rock shallow and the rest of the structure was made of bricks.
The History of Lankatilaka Vihara
According to historical reports King Buwanekabahu IV hand over the construction of this Temple to his Chief Minister Senalankadhikara. South Indian architect Sthapati Rayar was in control for the design which blends Sinhalese architecture of the Polonnaruwa period with Dravidian and Indo Chinese styles. The Temple building took the shape of a cross with the four sides expanded outward. Although it was originally four stores high, all that remains today are the ground floor and part of the first floor.
Lankatilaka was devoted to the worship of Lord Buddha as well as several deities including Deities Vishnu, Saman, Vibhishana, Ganapathi, Skandhakumara and Kumara Bandara. It can be seen that the people of that era who resided in the Gampola and Kandyan kingdoms not only had a strong belief in the worship of deities, but were also devoted followers of the Buddha and His teachings.
The Structure in the Temple
The Lankatilaka Raja Maha Vihara can be move toward from two directions. One entrance is through the Sanghawasa, located at the bottom of the rock from where the steps leading to the Vihara begin. One can see large rice storage bins known as ‘Atuwa’ within the premises. A breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape can be enjoyed while climbing the stone stairway.
Beautiful arches and monuments enrich the thick outer walls that making this as architectural genius of that era. There are many inscriptions in both Sinhala and Tamil languages cut into the solid rock which describe the facilities provided to the Temple and the land gifted by Kings.
The Vihara complex contains of the Temple building where the Dagoba and the Bo tree. A large image of Lord Buddha’s footprint engraved of stone and known as the Buddha Siripatula can be seen near the Bodhigharaya. The propagandizing hall stands in front of the main Temple entrance and a remarkable feature is that its roof is with flat tiles while round tiles cover the central part of the roof creating beautiful patterns.
What are the things of magnificent?
The main Temple or Buddha Image House is built of granite covered with plaster and encompasses three stores high. Striking examples of architectural design and wall paintings adorn the walls and ceiling inside this building providing a scene of rich colour and skillful craftsmanship. A Moonstone or ‘Sandakadapahana’ lies at the entrance bordered by two Korawakgalas manner the Gajasinha design.
Enter through the arched doorway and the eye is drawn towards the two paintings of lion figures which have become one of the most recognizable and unique features of Lankatilaka Vihara. A statue of the Seated Buddha sheltered by a Dragon Arch or ‘Makara Torana’ takes pride of place within the Image House’s interior. Surrounding the statue are designs of trees and flowers which promote the ‘Bodhi’ concept and the walls are adorned by paintings from ‘Suvisi Vivarana’. However the place of Lankatilaka Raja Maha Vihara is the most important Temple when you travel in Sri Lanka.