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Elamaldeniya Raja Maha Viharaya in Sri Lanka

Elamaldeniya Raja Maha Viharaya is a famous cave temple in Pitabeddara area of Southern Province in Sri Lanka. This temple is blessed with an amazing scenic environment and known as one of the fascinating temple situated in the southern part of the country. Location of Elamaldeniya Raja Maha Viharaya lies about 18 km away from the Morawaka town and 8 km from the Pitabeddara town in Akuressa.

The history of Elamaldeniya Raja Maha Viharaya takes time back to the 2nd century BC of Anuradhapura era. This temple was built by King Saddhatissa on a rocky hill isolated from human habitation. It was built with a great honor during the time he ruled ancient Rohana kingdom during 161 to 137 BC as a prince. The new temple is situated at the base of the rock and to reach the cave temple you have to climb about 500 stone steps. These steps are made out of granite and have been well laid.

The beauty of Elamaldeniya Raja Maha Viharaya
Entrance to the temple contains a Dageba and a small Bodhi tree and some steps slopes down to a creek flowing between two hills. Another set of steep steps commence from the creek and leads to the cave temple, the Dageba, and Devalaya. When you reach the vihara premises you can see the Dageba far away on another mountaintop. From the vihara premises, you have to climb down to the bottom of the mountain and then you have to climb the next hill. Firs,t there are about 150 steps to climb down and then there is a refreshing water stream to cross which comes from
Sinharaja forest.

After that, there is a huge straight path to climb for about 200 stone steps to get into the shrine area which is a cave temple built on a natural rocky platform. Interior is very cool and comfortable even on a very sunny day. A large reclining Buddha statue in this cave shows the Buddha in the state of parinibbana along with the value of Elamaldeniya Raja Maha Viharaya. All the statues in the cave has been covered by a large transparent glass.

On one side of the cave is the “Devalaya”. There is a story connected with a local god called Rajjuru Bandara along with this interesting religious place. This temple and devale are known to be dedicated to Deitie “Getambaruwa Rajjuru Bandara God”. Devale is more famous than the cave temple among the locals and it has gain a lot of people attraction towards this site. Most of the people who come to this temple seems to be making the journey to visit the Devale alone. In the other side of this rock hill,l there is a water drip coming from the rock itself and there is a small tank at the bottom to collect them. Above the cave temple roof is a drip ledge to stop water from coming to the temple. But above this man made drip ledge is a larger natural ledge created by two huge boulders sitting on one another. All these marvellous creatures have been the main reason for the increasing numbers of tourist attraction to this religious place.

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