Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya temple at Unawatuna


After the trip to Kanneliya rainforest, and after lunch, we packed up everything and it is a new beginning to an unknown destination. As the temperature is uncertain, the monk says that he is not sure where we are going. I do not ask questions. We have more surprises in that time and it is sometimes good not to be the one that organizes and knows everything (my usual job home) but the one who just welcomes life and knows nothing 😉.

The bus seems to go to Galle, an old historic citadel, then suddenly turns to a street in the opposite direction before stopping beside a small lake in front of a huge palm grove Buddhist temple. We are at Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya temple at Unawatuna.

Only few tourists come here because it is hard to find and tuktuk and taxi drivers don’t know it. This temple is located 4 km from Unawatuna near Galle. It was initially built 200 years before JC under rocks suspended between others. This made me think of Celtic dolmens that I have seen in Bretagne (France) recently. Monks live there for about 1500 years.


A huge 9 meters high statue of Buddha greets us at our arrival up the long staircase that leads to the top of the hill, next to the Dagoba” (the pagoda), and a large terrace that overlooks the whole area where we can appreciate wonderful views over the region including rice fields and palm groves.


On the right up, the stone that forms the ceiling of the room you see at the left of the door, painted with fine patterns

The building of the main temple, left to the big Buddha statue, houses a huge statue of Reclining Buddha and dates around15th to 16th century.

The walls of the hall are covered with sculptures and paintings that represent certain moments of life of the Buddha (beautiful but has no right to take pictures).

The roof of the room which houses the largest reclining Buddha is actually beneath a huge stone that was painstakingly painted with colorful fine designs.

Ce temple a été construit alors qu’Anuradhapura, une ville au nord du pays, était encore la capitale du royaume de cette île.

As in all Buddhist temples, you must be barefoot and knees and shoulders covered to enter.

The temple is located in a beautiful natural environment and the entire site was declared a sacred area.

The temple hosts actually 15 monks and novices in formation. This is currently the holidays. The horde has about thirty students in the novitiate at regular study season.


Trail under the big stones


Bodhi Tree


Prayers flags


View of the area around the temple. as rice fields and palm trees. The houses of the monk below.


Stair to the Bodhi Tree


The large terrace at the top of the big stair and the Dagoba

Before ending this journey, the group picture :


Dhamma School prefects, Ven. Kusala Thero, the monk-guide of this temple, and the High Priest of Heenatiya temple, also principle of the Dhamma School

More about this temple :


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