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Sri Lanka is home to some of the most beautiful temples in the world. Whether you’re looking for a spiritual experience or simply want to take in the majestic beauty of these incredible sites, there’s no shortage of incredible temples to explore in Sri Lanka. From the ancient rock temples of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to the colonial architecture of Kandy and Galle, Sri Lanka’s temples are a perfect blend of old and new. In this blog post, we’ll explore the 10 best temples in Sri Lanka that you must visit on your next trip.

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1. Sri Dalada Maligawa – The Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic

Otherwise known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, this is one of the most sacred places in Sri Lanka and an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. Located in the hill capital of Kandy, this ancient temple was built in 1595 AD to house the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. The tooth is believed to have been taken from Buddha’s funeral pyre in 543 BC and is now displayed in a golden casket which is housed in the inner sanctum of the temple. 

The temple complex is beautifully decorated with sculptures and wall paintings and includes shrines, pavilions, and other structures. It is also home to many other Buddhist artifacts, including statues, flags, and banners, which are all significant to Buddhist beliefs. The temple is open to visitors every day, but it is especially crowded during the annual Esala Perahera Festival. During this festival, a procession with hundreds of dancers and drummers carries the golden casket containing the sacred relic of the Buddha around the streets of Kandy. 

Visiting the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is an awe-inspiring experience and a must-see destination when traveling in Sri Lanka. The temple complex offers a unique insight into local culture and Buddhism and is worth exploring.

2. Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple

This is located in Maviddapuram, Sri Lanka, and is one of the oldest and most revered Hindu temples in the country. This historic temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to have been built by the King Kavantissa of the Ruhuna Kingdom in the 2nd century BC. The temple is set in a beautiful location surrounded by lush green fields and towering palm trees.

The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, and the temple also has idols of other deities such as Ganesha, Murugan, and Natarajar. The temple’s most striking feature is its beautiful gopuram, which stands nearly 150 feet tall and is covered in intricate carvings and sculptures. Inside the temple complex, there are several smaller shrines dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses.

Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple is also known for its numerous festivals, which take place throughout the year. During these festivals, devotees from all over the country come to the temple to offer their prayers and partake in various rituals. The festival of Thaipusam is especially popular among devotees and it involves carrying kavadi – ceremonial palanquins decorated with flowers and fruits – through the streets of Maviddapuram.

Visitors to Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple can also explore the many ancient ruins located near the temple complex. These ruins include the ruins of a palace, granaries, and even a fort. The temple also serves as an important cultural and religious center for Hindus living in Sri Lanka.

3. Sri Vajiraramaya Temple – Colombo

This temple, located in Colombo, is a sacred place for Buddhists. The temple was built by Venerable Bebe Ananda Mahathera during the early 1900s and it is home to one of the most important relics in Buddhism – the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. The relic is believed to be 2000 years old and is kept in a beautifully decorated stupa in the temple. The temple also houses many statues of Buddha, such as the standing Buddha with a sash draped over his shoulders.

The Sri Vajiraramaya Temple complex consists of two main buildings – the Uposatha Building and the Preaching Hall. The Uposatha Building is where devotees gather to observe important Buddhist rituals. The Preaching Hall is where religious discourses are held by Buddhist monks. Every Sunday morning, there is a religious discourse given by Venerable Bebe Ananda Mahathera. In addition to the buildings, there are also many beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the temple.

The Sri Vajiraramaya Temple is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and attracts many devotees from all over the world. If you are ever in Colombo, make sure to stop by this incredible temple and experience its unique beauty and holiness.

4. Buduruwagala

Located in the southeastern part of Sri Lanka, Buduruwagala is a stunningly beautiful ancient Buddhist temple complex. The main attraction here is a set of seven statues carved into the cliff face, which date back to the 10th century. These statues represent the Buddha in various postures, as well as a group of Hindu deities including Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma. The tallest statue is 51 feet tall and is believed to represent the future Maitreya Buddha. 

The area around Buduruwagala also offers visitors spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Here you can explore the ruins of the ancient monastery and take in the stunning views of the nearby mountain range. There are also several other attractions in the area such as a massive footprint attributed to the Buddha, an old irrigation tank, and a few stupas that have been recently restored. 

Visiting Buduruwagala is an experience that will stay with you forever. Whether you’re a fan of Buddhism or just looking for some incredible views of nature, this is one destination that should not be missed.

5. Isipathanaramaya Temple – Best Temples in Sri Lanka

The Isipathanaramaya Temple, also known as the “Temple of the Sacred Fire” is one of the most important Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka. Located in the heart of Colombo, this magnificent temple was built in the mid-19th century by a group of devoted Buddhist monks led by Chief Monk Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayake Thera. The temple stands proudly amidst a lush green park and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

The temple houses many ancient and modern artifacts, including a massive white dome known as the Bodhiraja Dagoba, which was built to enshrine a relic of the Lord Buddha. The grounds are filled with statues of Lord Buddha, murals depicting ancient stories, and gardens that are home to exotic birds and animals. Inside, visitors will find several shrines dedicated to various deities, along with a variety of religious services and ceremonies that take place throughout the day.

The Isipathanaramaya Temple is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists, who come to pay homage to the sacred relic and seek blessings from the resident monks. It is also home to many important spiritual gatherings, such as Vihara Dhanu, an annual event where thousands of devotees gather for meditation and prayer. With its serene atmosphere, spectacular architecture, and spiritual significance, the Isipathanaramaya Temple is an essential stop for anyone seeking a spiritual experience in Sri Lanka.

6. Naguleswaram Temple

Also known as Nallur Kovil, this is one of the oldest and most sacred temples in Sri Lanka. Located in the northern part of the Jaffna Peninsula, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the five Pancha Ishwarams (five major Hindu temples) in the country. The main deity is Shiva, and there are also separate shrines dedicated to Ganesha and Murugan. The complex includes a Nandi shrine and a tank.

The temple dates back to the 8th century AD and has been a significant site for Hindu pilgrims over the centuries. It is also an important religious center for Tamil Hindus and Tamils in general, as well as an important cultural heritage site. The annual Nallur Festival held here is one of the biggest celebrations in Sri Lanka. During the festival, devotees perform various rituals such as bathing idols with milk and offerings of food, clothes, and jewelry. 

The temple complex is divided into two sections – the outer area and the inner area. The outer area consists of several structures including gopurams (monumental towers), a sacred tank, and several other structures. The inner area consists of two sections – the Maha Mandapam (the main hall) and the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) where the main deity resides.

The walls of the inner sanctum are decorated with beautiful sculptures and murals depicting various Hindu deities. Some inscriptions are also found here, which provide interesting information about the history of the temple and the kingdom it belonged to.

7. Kataragama Temple – Kataragama – Best Temples in Sri Lanka

Located in the small town of Kataragama, in the Southeast of Sri Lanka, is the famous Kataragama Temple. It is one of the most important temples in the country and a popular destination for pilgrims. The temple complex consists of several Hindu and Buddhist shrines, including a temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, one of the main deities in the Hindu faith.

The temple is believed to have been built around the second century BC by King Vattagamini Abhaya of Anuradhapura. It was later developed by subsequent rulers and expanded over the centuries. Today, the complex contains six major temples, two shrines, two ponds, and many other smaller shrines.

The temple attracts thousands of devotees every year who come to pray and make offerings to Lord Murugan. In addition to religious ceremonies, the temple also hosts various festivals throughout the year such as chariot processions and fire-walking events.

Kataragama Temple is also known for its beautiful architecture and sculptures. The façade features elaborate stonework and carvings of various Hindu gods and goddesses. Inside, visitors can admire intricate paintings and statues depicting various Hindu deities. 

All in all, the Kataragama Temple is an impressive sight to behold and a must-visit for any traveler exploring Sri Lanka’s rich spiritual heritage.

8. Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil – Colombo

Located in the heart of Colombo, the Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil is one of the most important Hindu temples in the city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is highly revered by locals and visitors alike. The temple features a five-story gopuram that stands tall as a symbol of faith and devotion. Inside, visitors can find the shrine of Lord Shiva and other deities associated with him.

The temple is known for its vibrant festivals and ceremonies that take place throughout the year. On major festivals like Maha Shivaratri, hundreds of devotees gather here to offer their prayers and offerings to Lord Shiva. Apart from religious services, the temple also offers a range of cultural and social activities such as music concerts, dance performances, and more.

Apart from religious activities, the temple also features several sculptures, artwork, and inscriptions that are believed to date back to the 16th century. The complex also features a garden, ponds, and a children’s playground which makes it an ideal spot for family outings. With its rich history and vibrant culture, the Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil is a must-visit destination in Colombo.

9. Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara

This is a stunning temple located in the Uva Province of Sri Lanka. This temple was built in the 3rd century BCE and is considered to be one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country. It is believed that the Buddha himself visited this temple during his travels in Sri Lanka. The temple consists of four shrines, three of which house statues of the Lord Buddha, and the fourth one contains a statue of the Goddess Tara. 

The temple also has a bodhi tree planted by the Lord Buddha himself and it is said to be over 2,000 years old. The surrounding area is filled with beautiful Buddhist artifacts, making it a great spot for pilgrims. One of the most interesting features of this temple is the presence of two large stone elephant sculptures which are believed to have been carved by King Dutugemunu in the 2nd century BC. 

This temple is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over Sri Lanka, as it is believed to be an important place of worship for the Lord Buddha. Visiting this temple is a must-do while exploring the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

10. Dambulla Royal Cave Temple – Best Temples in Sri Lanka

Located in the central province of Sri Lanka, the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple is one of the most sacred and renowned Buddhist temples in the country. The complex consists of five main caves filled with various Buddhist statues and wall paintings that date back to the 1st century BC.

The temple was originally built during the Anuradhapura period in the 1st century BC and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The most impressive feature of the temple is the beautiful and intricate mural paintings covering almost every surface of the caves. These vivid and colorful murals depict scenes from the life of the Buddha as well as stories from the Hindu epics.

Aside from its stunning artistry, the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple also boasts some spectacular sculptures including a 15-meter-long reclining Buddha statue, numerous standing Buddhas, and a large seated Buddha. Visitors are also welcome to explore the many galleries, shrines, and chambers that are located throughout the complex.

The temple also serves as an important religious site for Buddhists from around the world and hosts many pilgrimage groups throughout the year. The Dambulla Royal Cave Temple is a must-visit for any travelers looking to explore the amazing culture and history of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is home to some of the most beautiful temples in the world. From the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic to the magnificent Buduruwagala, there are plenty of stunning temples to explore. Visiting these temples can be an incredible experience and a great way to gain insight into Sri Lanka’s culture and history. If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, be sure to check out some of these amazing temples.


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Make sure you’ll see the entire collection in Framey App, including addresses, opening hours, and contact information!