Among the three temples in a row near Kandy, Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya is a unique one.This temple is built on a rock at the village of Gadaladeniya on the border of Udunuwara and Yatinuwara. of Kandy District.
According to an inscription at the site, Gadaladeniya temple was built by King Bhuvenkabahu the 4th in the year 1344 A.D. According to the inscription, the temple was named Dharmakirti Viharaya after the name of the Buddhist monk who founded it. A couple of Buddhist literary works titled “The Nikaya Sangrahaya” and “Saddharmalankaraya” had named the temple “Saddharmatilaka” and “Gadaladeniya Viharaya” respectively.
Gadaladeniya was home to the celebrated scholor monks Daharamakirti the second and Vimakiriti the first whose contributions towards the literary development of the times was of immense value to the nation.
The temple remained neglected till the time of King Narendrasinghe who dedicated the shrine to Velivita Sangharaja and since then the temple was in the custody of his papillary succession.
The main shrine, built upon a rocky outcrop at the top end of the monastery site is of South Indian appearance. It houses a fine seated statue of Buddha framed by a Makara Torana (Sinhala: dragon
arch) decorated with numerous images of gods, over it. The images as described in the Gadaladeniya inscription represent the deities Salerea, Brahma, Suyama, Santhusthika, Natha and Maithri.
On either side of the main seated statue is a standing statue of Buddha.
In the middle of the temple compound, is a secondary shrine with wings extending in cruciform angles. Each wing is a small Buddha shrine with a sikhara in matching proportions and weight mounted over it surrounding the larger sikhara mounted on the hub of the wings.
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