Temples

Sri Lanka has a specific mirroring in many religions. It is a place of pilgrimage for Hindu and Buddhists as well as for Christians. Though major religion is Buddhist (70%), there are also many colourful Hindu temples and quite some emerald green mosques as well as churches, in particular in towns that had known Portuguese or Dutch sailors in the past. Just go explore – old historical locations such as Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada), Kandy, Kataragama or Buduruwagala (close to Wellawaya), Dambulla not forgetting Polonnaruwa, Annuradhapura and many other places. Abundance of colours, smells, decorations and most importantly calm and serenity.

   
Shapes in gold1
1 Details of the golden buddha statue at the golden temple in Dambulla.
Under the tree2
2 Places of worship may have different appearance. This one was in the middle of the square in the Galle fort that is turned into a parking lot of a kind. There is a huge tree in the middle and underneath that tree a lovely statue hidden amongst rusty agricultural vehicles. Goddes of a harvest? Who knows!
Elephants multiplied3
3 Decorations of a shrine in Galle fort.
Stone flowers in white4
4 Single colour is not a flaw when tracing the light. Serenity of the lake side temple near Hikkaduwa blue lake.
White dagoba5
5 Giant ancient dagoba near Tissamaharama lake is shining like a white light house among the lush green rice paddies.
Well behaved6
6 One must take off his/her shoes when visiting sacred places. It may be particularly tricky on a hot day in places with dark stones on the ground. Burned soles is not necessarily a pleasant experience so look for grass to save your feet!
Muslim temple in Kataragama7
7 Small mosque in Kataragama temple complex is a beautiful blend of green and blue shades. Interesting to see and friendly welcome.
Decorations and offerings8
8 Main temple is decorated by elephant heads and many peacocks on the wall. Worshippers carry large fruit offering plates into the temple to make it blessed. To leave it unguarded for a few minutes may result it into its disappearance due to cows or monkeys.
Triple peacock9
9 Kataragama decoration from coloured wire - three peacocks with large tail.
Divine tree10
10 Decoration and golden fence of kataragama buddha tree.
And the light will guide you11
11 Use a candle or oil burning lamp to pray. Look out for curious and hungry cows that seek for any green leftovers put in the bin.
Evening prayer12
12 Kataragama picturesque evening prayer. It is very noisy, lot of red lights, dark, hot. Vivid. Main priest arrives on a red carpet with two aides, they cover him by golden umbrella. After a short stop in the temple he comes with incense and a bell to bless all visiting waiting outside.
Ganesha shrine in the woods13
13 Small Ganesha outdoor temple near Ella emerges unexpectedly in the bend of a road leaving the town to the east. While climbing the road eyes search something to rest on apart from tea plantations and huge eucalyptus trees. Nice colourful scenes in serenity.
Flowers to go14
14 Stop and buy small baskets of flowers to offer in any temple. Sometimes they still boast in scent when freshly cut - chrysanthemums, frangipani, and others - but always stand out with colours.
Dutch style in Badulla15
15 Entrance gate to Badulla temple looks different - only later one recognizes a distinct dutch colonial architecture. However once inside, this feeling completely disappears.
White shrines16
16 White shrines of the main buddhist temple. They shine painted in white and decorated in colorful fabric - usually red and then added by a layer of other colors. All that in Badulla town in highlands.
Entrance to hindu temple17
17 Statue at the beautifully carved door of a hindu temple in Badulla. it may go uncovered, as the temple is incorporated into the block of houses and does not stand out at the first glance.
Modern hindu temple18
18 Would you guess this to be a hindu temple? check it out in Badulla for yourself. Once inside, a completely traditional experience prevails.
Prayer flags19
19 Sun shines on decorative flags around the large holy tree in Badulla.
Lost in nature20
20 Buduruwagala is an ancient buddhist temple. Hidden in woods and wetlands south of town. 5 mins stroll from where the road ends. Large rock uncovers its treasures. over 1000 years old rock carvings of huge Buddha + 6 other figures not that easily distinguished from the stone. Powerful experience.
Gilded decorations21
21 Ganesha temple near Ella, by the road from Ella to Wellawaya. All drivers stop by to pray and ask for their daily luck in driving.
Colourful elephants22
22 Mighty elephant and other figures usually decorate any buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Notice the heavy decorations on animals and regularity in pattern.
Drive by a temple23
23 A small almost modern temple in a bend of the main road from Ella down south. traditions of temple and modernism in building marry the two to a practical reunion.
Yellow and orange in heat24
24 A temple at noon near Habarana. A glimpse through temple gates to monks who hide themselves from heat under large yellow umbrallas.
Dambulla Buddhist museum25
25 Strikingly decorated buddhist museum at the foot of the dambulla rock temple staircase-pathway.
Cave temple in Dambulla26
26 Most valued sight in Dambulla - historic cave temple complex of 5 caves heavily decorated in sculptures and painting. Outside look completely different - white, strict and simple.
Dambulla cave Buddhas27
27 Surprise hidden in five caves of Dambula rock temple. Relatively large caves with carvings, heavy decoration and lot of figures. it gives one to forget the heat and bare feet burning black rock outside.
Filling the space28
28 Some caves in Dambulla rock temple are quite small and so it is amazing to see a Buddha statue filling the cave almost completely. It needed a fisheye to capture the scene at some places. On the other hand feet would not be seen otherwise.
Orange queue29
29 More modern addition to the Dambulla temple complex. almost the first thing you notice when searching for ticket office.
Blue entrance30
30 Somptuous hindu temple in Negombo. We came too late to be able to enter, but even the closed gates provided a beautiful views to catch into our cameras.
Quick glimpse31
31 All is in harmony - gates, fence, statues telling the story, even the motorcycle driver.