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Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara (Kelaniya Temple)

Kelaniya, Peliyagoda, Sri Lanka


Roughly 10 kilometres from the centre of Colombo, the Kelaniya Temple is one of the most well known Buddhist temples in the Colombo area and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in Sri Lanka. Built on the banks of the Kelani River, (which flows from Sri Pada/Adam's Peak), the temple is said to be particularly sacred, as the Buddha visited the site on his third visit to Sri Lanka.



Roughly 10 kilometres from the centre of Colombo, the Kelaniya Temple is one of the most well known Buddhist temples in the Colombo area and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in Sri Lanka. Built on the banks of the Kelani River, (which flows from Sri Pada/Adam's Peak), the temple is said to be particularly sacred, as the Buddha visited the site on his third visit to Sri Lanka.

The Temple Site

As you arrive you will pass a multitude of food carts and a large rather dreary looking water feature. After climbing a set of stairs to the temple courtyard you are immediately greeted with a small water fountain and the main temple building, which soars above you with its beautiful sculptures of carved elephants and Hindu gods and astrological images. The stark white stupa (dageba) is situated to the right of the temple and the bell tower and the sacred Bodhi tree, adorned with Buddist flags, to the left. There are people praying by the huge statues and people light wicks in terracotta pots filled with coconut oil. The smell of incense fills the air...

The Temple Building

Inside, the temple building is divided into four sections or 'houses', all of which have a distinctly different style. In one of the houses you will find a seated Buddha statue and in another, a magnificent reclined Buddha statue and two additional seated Buddhas. Unfortunately, the original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in AD1510, so all of the paintings are fairly modern (18th and 20th century). Still, the murals that line the walls and ceilings of the temple are incredible, depicting historical scenes of Buddhism and the major events of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The beauty and detail of the patterns and designs on the temple walls will leave you in awe.

Be Enlightened... My favourite time of day to visit the temple is in the late afternoon, when the setting sun casts its light on the leaves of the Bodhi tree and the air is still and quiet with the impending nightfall. However, as it is one of the largest and well known temples in and around Colombo, it can get busy at times, especially on poya days and weekends, so if peace and quiet is what you're looking for then avoid these times. Still, the temple and it's courtyard surroundings are the ideal place to sit and people watch, or, if you can evade the crowds, to reflect or to meditate. Whether you are Buddhist or not, the peacefulness is captivating and you are bound to leave feeling a little more, well, enlightened.

TIP

Don't forget to remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds. They can be kept at the small counter to the left of the entrance. Weekends and poya days are very busy, so avoid, if possible. The 'Duruthu Perahera' (Kelani Procession) is held every year on the day prior to the January poya day.

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Kelaniya, Peliyagoda, Sri Lanka

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Jaanya

Kelaniya Rajamaha viharaya is one of the most sacred ancient Buddhist temple located in Kelaniya, Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. It is among the country's sixteen holiest Buddhist shrines (Solosmasthana)
The Kelaniya Stupa enshrined a gem-studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached.
Lord Budhdha's second visit to Nagadeepaya, Sri Lanka was in the fifth year of enlightenment to settle a dispute between two Naga Kings, Chulodara and Mahodara over the possession of a Gem Studded throne.
After having listened to the Dhamma sermons by Buddha the Naga kings paid homage to Buddha with overwhelming faith and the throne was offered to Lord Buddha by two Naga kings.
The throne was then presented to Naga King Maniakkika- Ruler of Kelaniya by Lord Budhdha as he pleaded for a souvenir to worship. King Maniakkika in turn constructed a Cetiya (Stupa) covering the Gem studded Throne in Kelaniya for thousands of devotees to worship and invited lord Budhdha to visit the holy site.
Lord Buddha together with 500 Arahats (Supremely enlightened beings) visited Kelaniya and preached Dhamma, on Wesak Poya Day, after eighth year of enlightenment as Lord Budhdha . (which was approx. 2600 years back) It was lord Buddha's third and final visit to Sri Lanka. “The sin of a life time are all rendered null, Once Kelaniya is worshiped a single time"

J
2

5/5

0

Jaanya

Kelaniya Rajamaha viharaya is one of the most sacred ancient Buddhist temple located in Kelaniya, Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. It is among the country's sixteen holiest Buddhist shrines (Solosmasthana)
The Kelaniya Stupa enshrined a gem-studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached.
Lord Budhdha's second visit to Nagadeepaya, Sri Lanka was in the fifth year of enlightenment to settle a dispute between two Naga Kings, Chulodara and Mahodara over the possession of a Gem Studded throne.
After having listened to the Dhamma sermons by Buddha the Naga kings paid homage to Buddha with overwhelming faith and the throne was offered to Lord Buddha by two Naga kings.
The throne was then presented to Naga King Maniakkika- Ruler of Kelaniya by Lord Budhdha as he pleaded for a souvenir to worship. King Maniakkika in turn constructed a Cetiya (Stupa) covering the Gem studded Throne in Kelaniya for thousands of devotees to worship and invited lord Budhdha to visit the holy site.
Lord Buddha together with 500 Arahats (Supremely enlightened beings) visited Kelaniya and preached Dhamma, on Wesak Poya Day, after eighth year of enlightenment as Lord Budhdha . (which was approx. 2600 years back) It was lord Buddha's third and final visit to Sri Lanka. “The sin of a life time are all rendered null, Once Kelaniya is worshiped a single time"

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