Sri Lanka is not only popular for Buddhist culture, her history and several religious places take the visitors back to the period of Ramayana. The nation that is popularly known as Pearl of the Indian Ocean attracts innumerable visitors across the globe every year for its over thousands of years old religious places, remaining of ages old civilization including natural resources like mountains, beaches etc. It’s always better to research the spots before discussing with travel agencies offering Sri Lanka tour packages in your locality. Here are brief descriptions of some popular religious places in Sri Lanka.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
One of the most popular Buddhist religious places in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, Gangaramaya Temple and its architecture is able to give you a varied mix of Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Thai architecture. It was known as the home of famous Buddhist scholars like Weligama Sri Sumangala, Ratmalana Sri DharmaramaThero and PanditBatuwantudawe to name a few.
Kelaniya Raja MahaVihara
The Kelaniya Raja MahaVihara or popularly known as Kelaniya Temple is situated 7 miles from Colombo. The temple is said to be hallowed during the period of Lord Buddha when he gave his final visit to Sri Lanka, almost 8 years after his enlightenment. Hence, the history of Kelaniya Temple goes back to even before 500 BCE. Most Sri Lanka tour packages based in Singapore or other cities will surely include a visit to the Kelaniya Temple.
Munneswaram temple is considered as one of the most sacred Hindu temples located in Puttalam district. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is said be in existence since 1000 CE and its historical facts are linked to popular Hindu epic Ramayana. A visit to this temple will surely give you a glimpse of ancient Dravidian architecture that was prevalent in both Sri Lanka and southern parts of India.
Temple of the Tooth
Temple of the Tooth is situated in the royal palace complex of 15th century’s Kingdom of Kandy. Presently, Kandy is a big city in Sri Lanka located in the central province. This temple is said to be dedicated to and thus preserved Gautam Buddha’s left canine tooth that was previously kept as a precious asset in Dantapuri, modern Puri, a religious city in eastern India. Alternatively, Kandy is itself known as the last capital of the kings of Sri Lanka and has been declared as a World Heritage Site mainly for the presence of this Buddhist Temple. Other important religious places in and around Kandy are DegaldoruwaViharaya (a cave temple with beautiful wall paintings), LankatillekeRajamahaViharaya constructed in 15th century, Mahiyangana (considered as first stupa in Sri Lanka) to name a few.
Dambulla cave temple
Popularly known as Golden Temple of Dambulla, this religious site was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. This site is located around 150 kilometers east of Colombo. Travel agencies usually include Dambulla cave temple in their itineraries. Dambulla is not only the largest cave temple (600 feet high) in Sri Lanka, the numerous paintings and over 150 status inside the cave and most importantly over 2700 years old burial sites with human skeletons at Ibbankatuwa are some major attractions and should never be missed.
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