Kelaniya Rāja Mahā Vihāra

Photographs from this famous pilrimage spot in Sri Lanka where it is believed Lord Buddha once visited.


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Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara



The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara or Kelaniya Temple is a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, seven miles from Colombo. Buddhists believe the temple to have been visted by the Buddha, eight years after Awakening. The Mahawansa records that the original Stupa at Kelaniya enshrined a gem-studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached.

The temple flourished during the Kotte era but much of its land was confiscated during the Portuguese period. Under the Dutch, however, there were new gifts of land, and under the patronage of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha the temple was rebuilt. It was refurbished in the first half of the 20th century.

The temple is famous for its image of the reclining Buddha and paintings which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and incidents from the Jataka tales. There are paintings from the 18th century in the Kandyan style, as well as 20th century paintings by Soliyas Mendis.

The main building in the temple now was only completed in 1946, and features some fine statuary, including the famous Muragal statues, mischievous dwarfs who are seen to be upholding the building, as well as Hindu and folklore gods.

Text adapted from Wikipedia (retrieved, October 1st 2012)


Photographs by Maya

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