12 Famous Buddhist Temples In Sri Lanka To Explore

 In Holidays, Honeymoon, Sri Lanka, Travel

The emerald island of Sri Lanka is surrounded by some of the most beautiful Buddhist temples. Visiting them would make you feel the weight of its ancient history and rich culture spread all around. But, what truly sets this place apart is its deep connection to Buddhism, which has been immersed in the country for centuries. There are many places to visit in Sri Lanka, but you must witness the beauty of Buddhist temples. 

The famous Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka have a long way and are scattered all around the place. Also, they have their own special significance for those seeking to have high power and find inner peace. 

Finding the best Sri Lanka trip packages would let you explore the divine beauty of the country. But, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy stands out as one of the most significant temples, as visitors can feel the powerful energy and reverence that is spread all around this place.  

So, make sure you are visiting the best Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and making the best out of your trip.

Famous Buddhist Temples In Sri Lanka 

1. Dambulla Cave Temple

dambulla-cave-temple
Image Source : Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla cave temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. 

It is made up of five caves, which have intricate murals and over 150 Buddha statues. Also, the largest cave houses a 14-meter-long reclining Buddha statue, while the others also have many murals and statues attached. 

Visit the beautiful place and experience a breathtaking glimpse of the place, adding to the overall enchantment of the historical treasure. 

Time: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

2. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – Kandy 

temple-of-the-sacred-tooth-relic-kandy
Image Source : Sri Dalada Maligawa

It is one of the must-visit Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka! Your journey would be incomplete to the place without including this gem. Located in the cultural capital of Kandy, it is one of the most sacred sites for Buddhists in the country. 

The temple is known for housing a tooth relic of Lord Buddha, making it an object of veneration and a pilgrimage destination. So, why not spend your time in the most beautiful place and know more about its fascinating history? 

Time: 5:30 AM – 8:00 PM 

3. Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple

pidurangala-royal-cave-temple
Image Source : Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple

The Pidurangala Royal Cave temple, is one of the must visit Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is located near the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress and is known for its stunning views. 

It is a unique charm as it is not only a place of worship but also an archaeological site to witness. Pilgrims and tourists alike are drawn to the tranquility of the temple, where they can also explore the cave art, meditate, and absorb the good energies.

So, have a chance to immerse yourself in the cultural legacy of this remarkable destination. 

Time: 5:00 AM – 4:00 PM 

Suggested read: Honeymoon places in Sri Lanka

4. Mihintale Temple

mihintale-temple
Image Source : Tripadvisor

Mihintale Temple is a very significant place in Sri Lanka’s cultural and religious aspects, as it is considered the cradle of Buddhism in the country. 

It is located near the Ancient city of Anuradhapura, and Mihintale is a sacred mountain closely associated with the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. 

There are various structures, including stupas and monastic buildings. So, the pilgrims need to climb the grand staircase leading to the summit to pay homage to this sacred site and the area is also dotted with ruins of ancient monasteries and meditation caves where monks once lives and practiced. 

5. Rumassala Temple

rumassala-temple
Image Source : Tripadvisor

It is located in the Galle district and is said to be a beautiful white site where Hanuman, the monkey god, brought medicinal herbs to heal the soldiers during the epic Ramayana battle in Sri Lanka

It is a modest structure, having intricate carvings and beautiful paintings depicting the scenes from the Ramayana. The travelers and devotees come here to offer their prayers and seek blessings. 

Also, nature adds to the charm, providing an opportunity for visitors to explore the diverse flora and fauna and enjoy the soothing views. 

6. Seema Malaka Temple

seema-malaka-temple
Image Source : Seema Malakaya

Located in the heart of Sri Lanka, Colombo, on the serene Beira Lake. The temple is unique and built on three different platforms, connected with a series of bridges, 

This temple is characterized by a modern and minimalist architectural style, making a harmonious blend of traditional elements all around. Also, it is supported by wooden pillars and interconnected platforms, giving it a huge appearance as it is floating on the water’s surface. 

The hall also has a sacred Bodhi tree, a symbol of enlightenment, adding to the spiritual ambiance. It is known as a cultural landmark for tourists who are visiting the place. 

7. Ruwanwelisaya Stupa 

ruwanwelisaya-stupa
Image Source : Ruwanweli Maha Seya

Ruwanwelisaya Stupa is a big, round building in Sri Lanka. It looks like a giant dome and is really old, built more than 2,000 years ago. People made it to honor Lord Buddha, who was a very important teacher. 

The stupa is very special for Buddhists because it has a part of Buddha’s body inside, like ashes or a relic. Many people visit Ruwanwelisaya to pray, meditate, and feel peaceful. The stupa is surrounded by a big area where people can walk and spend time with family and friends. It’s a very important place in Sri Lanka and shows how much people respect and remember Lord Buddha.

8. Kandy Esala Perahera

kandy-esala-perahera
Image Source : Kandy Esala Perahera

The Kandy Esala Perahera temple is a special place where people gather to celebrate a festival called Esala Perahera. This festivalis one of the best festivals in Sri Lanka and  happens in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. The temple is important because it is a place where people come to worship and celebrate together. 

During the festival, there is a big parade with elephants, dancers, and musicians. The temple is beautifully decorated with lights and colorful decorations. People from different parts of Sri Lanka and even from other countries come to see the parade and enjoy the festivities at the Kandy Esala Perahera temple. It is a time for joy, prayers, and coming together as a community.

9. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi 

jaya-sri-maha-bodhi
Image Source : Tripadvisor

The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi temple is a special and important place in Sri Lanka. It is famous because it houses a sacred tree called the Bodhi tree, which is linked to the Buddha. The Bodhi tree is said to be a descendant of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. 

People from all around the world visit this temple to pay their respects to the sacred tree. The temple is a peaceful and serene place where visitors can meditate and reflect. It is a symbol of Buddhism and an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi temple holds a significant place in the hearts of people who follow the teachings of Buddha.

Suggested read: Nightlife in Sri Lanka 

10. Anuradhapura

anuradhapura
Image Source : Wikipedia.org

Anuradhapura Temple is a very old and special place in Sri Lanka. People built it a long time ago, and it’s one of the oldest temples in the world. 

The temple is in a city called Anuradhapura, and it’s a big, ancient place where people used to pray and do important ceremonies. The temple has tall towers called stupas, and they are really amazing to look at. 

Many people come to visit the Anuradhapura Temple because it’s a peaceful and sacred place. People believe that the temple has a lot of history and spiritual significance. It’s a wonderful place to learn about the past and feel a sense of calmness.

11. Polonnaruwa

polonnaruwa
Image Source : Wikipedia.org

Polonnaruwa temple is a very old and special place in Sri Lanka. It is like a treasure from the past. People built this temple a long time ago, and it’s full of amazing things. There are big stone buildings with carvings that tell stories. 

The temple has a big statue of Buddha, who was a wise and kind teacher. People come here to pray and learn about history. It’s like a time machine that takes us back to ancient times. The trees and gardens around the temple make it a peaceful place. Polonnaruwa temple is like a living history book that helps us understand how people lived and worshipped in the olden days.

12. Sri Dalada Maligawa

sri-dalada-maligawa
Image Source : Sri Dalada Maligawa

The main highlight of the Sri Dalada Maligawa is its housing of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, making it a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists worldwide. The tooth relic is enshrined in a golden casket within the temple, and its possession has been a symbol of political power throughout Sri Lanka’s history.

The architecture of the Sri Dalada Maligawa is a stunning blend of Kandyan, South Indian, and Indo-Aryan styles, showcasing intricate carvings, colorful paintings, and a beautiful array of traditional Kandyan roof structures. The temple complex also includes a series of smaller shrines, pavilions, and museums that further enrich the visitor’s experience.

Suggested read: Things to do in Sri Lanka 

Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

How many Buddhist temples are there in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka, a beautiful island in Asia, is home to a lot of Buddhist temples. There are many of them scattered throughout the country. These temples, also known as viharas, play an important role in the lives of Buddhists. While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number because new temples can be built, and old ones may be renovated, there are hundreds of them. Each temple is unique, with its own history, architecture, and spiritual significance. People visit these temples to pray, meditate, and participate in religious ceremonies. The temples in Sri Lanka contribute to the rich cultural and religious heritage of the country.

What makes Sri Lanka’s Buddhist temples unique?

Sri Lanka’s Buddhist temples are special because they are filled with colorful decorations and ancient stories. The temples have tall towers called stupas that sparkle in the sunlight. Inside, there are statues of Buddha, who is a wise and peaceful teacher. People come to the temples to pray and meditate, surrounded by beautiful paintings that tell tales from a long time ago. The temples also have big celebrations, where everyone joins in singing and dancing. What’s really unique is that these temples are like a peaceful haven, making Sri Lanka a special place for those seeking calm and spiritual wisdom.

Which are the most famous Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is home to many famous Buddhist temples that hold deep spiritual and cultural significance. 

One of the most renowned temples is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, where a sacred tooth of Lord Buddha is believed to be enshrined. This temple attracts pilgrims and visitors alike, offering a glimpse into the rich Buddhist heritage of the island. 

Another notable temple is the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of ancient cave paintings and statues. The Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo is also popular, known for its vibrant architecture and a blend of modern and traditional elements. These temples not only serve as places of worship but also as cultural landmarks, reflecting the enduring influence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

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