The picturesque Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya, which is also known as Kelaniya Temple is one of the most venerated sites of worship in Sri Lanka. Located seven miles from the city of Colombo, the temple can be quite easily accessed in less than half an hour from the city.
History of the Temple
Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya has an incredible history. The temple which dates back to 500 BCE was visited by Lord Buddha himself during his third and final visit to Sri Lanka. He is believed to have preached to the masses seated upon a majestic throne. According to the Mahawansa, the gem studded throne upon which Lord Buddha sat was enshrined in the original stupa at the temple.
Throughout the years the temple was destroyed by invaders. In the ancient times the Dravidian invaders wreaked havoc in the territories of the temple. During the colonial era, Portuguese destroyed the temple too. But each time the majestic temple was renovated and rebuilt. Between 1927 and 1946 Mrs. Helena Wijewardene, a famous local philanthropist funded the building project of the new temple.
The remarkable murals of the temple enhance the appeal of this ancient site of worship immensely. Striking works of art done by the prominent local artist Solias Mendis can be witnessed here. A large image of a reclining Buddha as well as an 18 foot stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara can also be found within the temple.
Events Done by the Temple
Every year in the month of January, Duruthu Maha Perahera takes place in Kelaniya. The perahera is the official procession of Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya. Countless masses of devotees gather around the streets of the city to witness the marvellous procession.
When you are travelling in the island with Green Holiday Centre, trips to this iconic temple can be arranged. It can be easily included in travel itineraries that cover the key landmarks in Colombo.