Embekke Devalaya is situated near other two great temples such as Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya in Daulagala, 8 km from Kandy. The vahalkada or the entrance porch of the devale also has 16 wooden pillars with some of the finest wood carvings, including a carving of a “mother and child”.
The roof of the shrine is of great significance. The roof without a central beam, holds together 26 rafters of the roof by means of Madol Kurupuwa, a giant wooden pin, a fine example of medieval carpentry. The ingenious example of classic carpentry resembles spokes in the wheel of a cart. The giant pin is carved too with traditional designs.
Embekke Devale is the finest living example of architecture and art in wood in Sri Lanka. Embekke Devale
It’s treasure trove of. Almost every inch of the wooden structures are decorated with elaborate carvings: rafters, beams columns, brackets, door-ways, doors and windows. Nothing is spared.
Among the best masterpieces on the capital pillars are the hansa puttuwa (entwined swans) double headed eagles, and entwined rope designs, mother breast-feeding child, soldier fighting on horseback, female dancing figures, wrestlers, women emanating from a vein, bird with human figure, combination of elephant-bull and combination of elephant-lion.The main chambers of Embekke Devale are main sanctum, digge the dancing hall and the drummers’ hall.
The main sanctum
The main sanctum having high roofs runs with the traditional design of Devale shrines of the Kandyan period. The roof itself has singular features. The rafters are slanting from above towards the incoming visitor and are caught together and kept in position by a “madol kurupawa”, a kind of giant catch-pin the like of which we do not have elsewhere.
The digge set up with 32 square-shaped pillars is 53 feet long and 26 feet wide. Most of these intricately carved wooden pillars have stone pillars as their base. The digge is decorated with no less than 128 designs and 256 floral designs, 64 lotus designs on pekada or brackeys, 30 on beams and 36 on cross-bars totaling 514 in all.
The Hewisi Mandapaya Drummers’ hall is of high-pitched roof wood carvings on its ornate pillars. An abandoned Royal Audience Hall at Gampola was the source of some of the woodworks at the Drummers’ hall.
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