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Lankatilaka Temple in Sri Lanka, Kandy Overview

The famous Lankatilaka temple of the Gampola period, attached with a rich history and incredible architecture, portrays the essence of Sri Lanka from the 14th century during the Gampola reign. It is located in Kandy near the Gadaladeniya Vihara Buddhist temple. The Lankatilaka temple was built on Panhalgala rock, a natural rock and has three sections - the Temple building (which has the Buddha Image house in the east and Temples of God in the west), the Stupa and the Bo tree. Various rock inscriptions in sinhalese and tamil can be found defining the history of the land and the temple.

This Buddhist Temple, also known as Lankatilaka Viharaya is situated in Udunuwara of Kandy in Sri Lanka and is one among the three famous Western temples. Located centrally among the two other temples, Embekke Temple is situated in 4 KM south of it and Gadaladeniya, 4 KM north of it. Lankatilaka means Lanka’s adornments or island’s ornament, belongs to the primary monastery of Polonnaruwa, which is now buried under history, unlike Lankatilaka Viharaya of Kandy. With a touch of Dravidian and Indo-Chinse style of architecture, this temple of Polonnaruwa era has much resemblance with temples of southern India.

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Architecture of  Lankatilaka temple

Also known as the Bluish temple, this Buddhist Viharaya was designed by a South Indian architect named Sthapati Rayar. The architecture is Gedige-type of buddhist architecture along with a Dravidian and Indo-Chinese touch. One important specification of traditional holy buildings in Sri Lanka is that bricks are used for the monument construction apart from stones pillars, windows and doors. But the use of granite for the building of this monument reveals the Dravidian as well as South Indian influence upon Sri lanka, at large. The temple has an inner wall dedicated to Buddhist Shrine and the outer wall for Hindu deities. Originally built as a four-storeyed temple, the roof construction of Lankatilaka Temple has collapsed in parts due to architectural dissimilarities with respect to climate in Sri Lanka. Later kandyan style of roof, a tiled roof for a rainy, hill country like Sri Lanka, was erected rather than a stone roof which is better in a dry climate area.

History of  Lankatilaka temple

Historically rich Lankatilaka temple was established during the reign of King Bhuvenaikabahu IV. King Bhuvenaikabahu IV first chose Gampola region as his residence during the mid-14th century. The famous Shila lekhana inscription of 1344AD is a historically enriched source of  relevance on behalf of the temple. This inscription is the first to mention about Natha, the ‘lord’, and Maitrai, the future Buddha as Bodhisattva.

Best Time to Visit Lankatilaka temple

The best time to visit this place and this temple is during the month of July and August. Although summer does not get over by then, the ambience offers preferably a much milder atmosphere in the hilly region. Also the very famous Perahera festival is also held during this time.

How To Reach Lankatilaka Temple

The drive to Lankatilaka Temple from central Kandy is an exquisite one with views of paddy fields, historical places and diverse vegetation. One can easily reach Vihara by rail routes. There are three railway stations which are 
  • Peradeniya Junction Railway Station - 10.1 KM
  • Kandy Railway Station - 16.73 KM
  • Nawalapitiya Railway Station -  29.6 KM

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