Old Temples of Kandy-2: Lankatilake Viharaya (Kandy, Sri Lanka)

Lankatilake Viharaya is a kilo distant to the south from Gadaradeniya Viharaya. It is also a buddhist temple constructed on the rock hill. The present gate seems to be the back gate, and, the cliff side's gate would be originally the front gate.

The temple was in the downhill that descends from the present gate towards the cliff. It was completed in 1344. The main frame was the brick make, and it was originally four stories but, later, it was converted in three stories. The pillars and the wall with statues of 16 elephants were divided into three layers by a red tiled roof for preventing rain.

Originally, a big stupa had been put in the center on the fourth floor and small stupas on four corners, so it might have looked like the shrine with stupa in the Gadaradeniya viharaya. The stupas seemed to have rotted away and to have replaced the roof for protection. It would be stronger architecture if roofless, but the red tile that usually used in Sri Lanka connects the temple with the scenery of surrounding houses and the impression is more softened. The balance of the grandeur of the architecture and the harmony with scenery is a charm.

Inside the temple, The monk guides and opens the key to god's shrine one by one. On the back side, the corridor along the outside wall surrounds around the center core. The wall that is seen from the inside is like the cave though I didn't imagine from the outside. As the wall goes up, the brick is pushing out and forms a dome. The core is finished with white gypsum on the brick that was piled up. The deities related to Hinduism included a pretty Ganesh are enshrined in thin shrines encavated in the core; two shrines in the both wings on the front side and one shrine in the center on the other sides.

Since it was not possible to enter in the main room on the front side from the corridor, we had to go out. When entering in the main room through a big porch with arch form, the divine Buddha image is put on the front of a narrow space accompanied with attendant images. The halo with deities' relief that is too real is ornamented on Buddha's back, and, in the ceiling, the picture like the mandala is drawn. All arts combines red on the ground of gold color, and it shows that this space is a special place in white construction within and without.

To Japanese Version

access : About 1 hours by car from the downtown of Kandy

reference materials :

Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka (A. Senneviratna + Benjamin Polk, Abhinav Publications, 1992)

Upload:2007.11

Update:2008.09

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Photo by Daigo Ishii