Kele Dambulla Viharaya

Not to be confused with Dambulla Viharaya

Dambulla Raja Maha Viharaya (popularly known as Kele Dambulu Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Dambulla in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

Locals link the history of this temple to King Valagamba [(103, 89-77 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2002]. King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782 A.D.) is said to have contributed to the development of the temple (Abeyawardana, 2002). The old text Sangaraja Sadhu Cariya mentions offerings made to the temple by the king (Abeyawardana, 2002). A Sannasa issued in Saka Year 1668 (1746 A.D.) records about lands (paddy fields) offered to the temple by Lewke Disawa upon instructions from the Kandyan Court (Abeyawardana, 2002; Bell, 1904).
The temple is said to have served as a security frontier in ancient times (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The cave temple
The cave temple is 52 ft. 3 in. long and 16 ft. 4 in. wide (Bell, 1904). The front wall of it does not rise up to the rock but at 9 ft. it touches the leaning roof (Bell, 1904). The roof touches the rock at a height of 17 ft. (Bell, 1904).

The cave temple accommodates a large recumbent Buddha statue of about 48 ft. 30 in. long [(from Siraspota to the feet) Bell, 1904]. Against the left wall of this statue is an image of God Visnu is found. Portraits of Patagama Nilame and Lewke Disawa wearing the peculiar red conical hat of the day are also found among the murals (Bell, 1904). The murals are said to have done by the famous artist Devaragampola Silvath Thena (Abeyawardana, 2002).
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7. pp.84-85.
2) Bell, H.C.P., 1904. Report on the Kegalle District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: XIX-1892. Government Press, Sri Lanka. pp.38-39.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 3 July 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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