Big Buddha - Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue

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Timings : 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM

Entry Fee : LKR 250

Big Buddha, Kandy Overview

Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya or Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha is a Theravada Buddhist temple atop a hill in Kandy. True to its name “Big Buddha” is known for being a powerful and giant Buddha statue that overlooks the princely state of Kandy. It shows Buddha taking the Dhyana Mudra position, which was how he attained enlightenment. A trip to the Big Buddha serves as a pilgrimage, adventure and overall soul-searching experience. 

This statue is on the Bahirava Kanda hill, which means the devil’s hills in Sinhalese due to its height and intensity. The white marble Big Buddha is lit beautifully during the nights with yellow lights beaming from the hilltop. It offers panoramic views of Kandy throwing light on the civilization, Kandy lake, evergreen forests and tea plantations.

At an altitude of 27m, the winds rush through like never before; it does not cease the many tourists who flock to the hills to offer their prayers and thanksgiving through lamps, candles and garlands. The experience of climbing the flight of stairs to pay homage to Buddha is a scenic trek.

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History of Big Buddha - Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue

Hector Kobbekaduwa, Minister of Land, donated the land where the temple is built. Ampitiye Dammarama Thero, a monk of Amarapura Nikaya, had the vision to erect Big Buddha in the early 1970s. Dammarama lived in a makeshift dwelling to petition for funds for the construction of the temple. The temple became a controversy by the monks of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic who opposed it. They believed it would underplay the importance of the Siyam Nikaya (their monastic order). However, in the 1980s Hinatiyana Dhammaloka - chief monk of the Amarapura Nikaya, petitioned to President Ranasinghe Premadasa and got the legal rights to build Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya and the land was given to Dammarama.

In the late 1980s, Dammarama began the construction of the statue of Buddha and finished in 1992. It was officially inaugurated on 1 January 1993 by then President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Shopping at Big Buddha - Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue

There is an old souvenir shop nestled on the hilltop. They have religious articles and small handcrafted souvenirs that holds memories of history and adventure.

How To Reach Big Buddha - Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue

One can reach the base of the Big Buddha by tuk-tuk. From there it is a 20-minute walk up the hill to reach the statue. The trek is steep and slightly strenuous but the views upon reaching the top are worth it. It is best to trek in the evening around 4:00 PM to beat the afternoon heat.

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