5km from the city of Kandy
The temple is built into a large rock outcrop & consists of three small
connected chambers: the first two-the digge & antechamber - are built
outside the rock & topped by wooden roofs. The third chamber, the main
shrine, is cut into the rock itself.
The digge has a few old wooden pillars & a couple of drums hanging from
the rafters; it's unusual in that it's directly attached to the rest of
the temple, rather than occupying a separate pavilion as is usually the
Old wooden doors under a Makara Torana (Dragon Arch) lead into the
antechamber, which preserves a fine moonstone & a sequence of paintings
showing scenes from the Jataka stories (stories from the 550 previous
births of Buddha), painted in five vivid red panels.
The doors leading from here into the main shrine have metal fittings
which were formerly studded with jewels. The principal image is a large
reclining Buddha; the wall opposite the reclining Buddha is painted with
scenes from the previous birth of Buddha together with pictures of
stupas at Sri Lanka's principal pilgrimage sites.
The finest painting is on the ceiling. Buddha's battle against Mara, the
demon of death & destruction: a magnificent artistic depiction of
Buddha's internal spiritual battle against the temptations. These mural
dates from the 1770s & 1780s. 18th century social life in the Kandyan
Kingdom is reproduced in a series of highly stylized & charming wall
paintings. The dress & decorations in the paintings are a consummate
combination of Western & Eastern cultures reflecting the era of the
Portuguese in Lanka.