The three temple loop near Kandy
In Sri Lanka’s ancient capital of Gampola sits three revered Buddhist temples – Embekke, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya.
Each legendary temple is a short distance from one another and are usually visited by intrigued travellers in succession, known as the ‘the three temple loop’.
The three temples are revered for their excellent craftsmanship and historic importance to the Gampola era of Sri Lanka and are well worth a visit when close to Kandy.
The three temples
The Embekke temple was built by King Vikramabahu III to honour King Mahasena who ruled Sri Lanka from 277 to 304 AD. The Devalaya (temple) has three main areas; the Sanctrum of Garagha, Dancing Hall and the Drummers Hall which is beautifully decorated with splendid wood sculptures and carvings of dragons and fierce battles between lions and elephants.
A mere kilometre away stands the imposing Lankatilaka Vihara (monastery), the best example of architecture during the reign of King Buwanekabahu IV who made Gampola the capital of Sri Lanka during the mid-fourteenth century. Built on natural rock, the temple mixes stone, plaster and wood within its uniquely Sinhalese architectural style and is home to many ancient paintings which draw people from afar.
Lastly we arrive at the Gadaladeniya temple which is made almost exclusively from stone and is considered one of the largest stone temples on the island. It is another example of an imposing temple built during the reign of King Buwanekabahu IV during the mid- fourteenth century and following the Sinhalese architecture style from the Polonnaruwa era. The main shrine in the temple has a seated Buddha statue underneath a dragons arch (‘Makara Thorana’) which is richly decorated.