They are rich in architecture, taking you back in time
An island country, Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea from three sides. As for the documented history, it goes back 3,000 years as there also is evidence of prehistoric human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years ago. Owing to its expansive history, heritage, and cultures, Sri Lanka is an amalgamation of cultures that are influenced by various colonial periods and kingdoms. As a result, one can explore and soak in the country and its rich heritage by taking a tour of its ancient temples. So here is a list of a few of the best ancient temples of Sri Lanka that you must visit once.
One of the most ancient temples in Sri Lanka, it is a temple complex dedicated to Buddhist guardian deity Kataragamadeviyo and Hindu War God Murugan. For centuries, the shrine has attracted Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka and South India who came to the temple through an arduous pilgrimage on foot. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, the temple has seen Sinhalese Buddhist devotees coming to pay their respect. This ancient temple, for the most part of its existence, was a jungle shrine that was very difficult to access.
Mahiyangana Raja MahaVihara
An ancient Buddhist temple in Mahiyangana, it is believed to be the site of Gautama Buddha’s first visit to the country. This temple complex is also one of the Solosmasthana, the 16 sacred religious locations in Sri Lanka. Regarded as a striking example of the country’s finest architecture, the Mahiyangana Raja MahaVihara temple owing to its ancient status, has been declared as one of the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka.
Sri DaladaMaligawa – The Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic or Sri DaladaMaligawa; is commonly known as the Glorious Tooth Palace. This Buddhist temple is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and is famous for housing the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Historically, the relic was held by Sinhalese kings as they ruled the country. In today’s time, this ancient temple of the tooth has become a World Heritage Site, all thanks to the relic.
Sri Vajiraramaya Temple
Located on Colombo’s Vajira Road, Vajiraramaya Temple is a beautifully ornate Buddhist temple. The temple complex is not only famous for being the centre point of teaching the west about Buddhism but for the grand Buddha statues and stunning architecture.
A few other ancient temples of Sri Lanka that are worth the visit are Naguleswaram Temple, Buduruwagala, Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, Isipathanaramaya Temple, MaviddapuramKandaswamy Temple, and Sri PonnambalamVanesar.