Constructed on the flat rock bed of Diggala in the heart of Sri Lanka's hill capital Kandy lies the magnificent temple of stone that is known as the Gadaladeniya Temple. Believed to have been built in 1344 by none other than King Buwanekabahu IV this ancient monastery was first identified as Gadaladeniya Viharaya in the ancient text Saddharmalankaraya although it is also referred to as the Dharma Kirthi Viharaya and Saddharmathilake in ancient Buddhist scripture.
Designed and executed in the architectural school of South India which is commonly known as the Dravidian style, the main architect of the Gadaladeniya Temple was a South Indian native named Ganesvarachari. Composed almost entirely of stone the nearly 666-year old temple's entrance houses monumental stone pillars which uphold a massive stone slab roof.
The central shrine room features four Buddha images in the standing position as well as one of Lord Buddha under the shelter of a Makara Thorana. The two faces of the Makara Thorana have been decorated with pictures of deities with the likes of Maithree, Brahma, Santhusuta, Natha and Suyama in addition to two attendants. Inside the shrine the stone and plaster Buddha statue gazes down upon pots of milk rice that have been left as offerings since time immemorial. As sturdy as it was during its heyday, the 638-year-old doorway composed of jack wood also stands today with its intricately painted facade. The temple also houses a beautifully adorned wooden chest of considerable size which contains ancient sculptures and paintings of great historical and cultural significance.
Right next to the main shrine room visitors will find the devale dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu. It is said that Lord Vishnu holds special significance to the island as the deity was chosen as the guardian of the island nation and its Buddhist roots after the passing of Lord Buddha. Adjacent to the Vishnu devale lies a stupa sheltered by four pillars and a roof. Four shrine rooms are located around the main stupa while four small satellite stupas are contained within the structure. Named the Vijayantha Prasada, this quarter of Gadaladeniya Temple is also called the Vijayothpaya after god Indra's mythical palace complex.
Visitors in search of elegant hotels in Kandy should look to the John Keells Hotels Group for the hill capital's best accommodation options. Renowned as one of the top hotel groups in the Sri Lankan hospitality industry a wide variety of luxury Kandy hotels are on offer under the ownership of the conglomerate.