Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara

Attraction Kelaniya Colombo Sri Lanka Published on: 13-11-2015

1 hours 30 mins
09:00 AM - 04:30 PM
09:30 AM
11:00 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
0.00 USD

Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple basking on the province of Sri Lanka. The chief monk, Kollupitiye mahinda Sangarakkitha thero is in charge of the Viharaya.

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Why Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is special ?

he temple became one of the most venerated places after the Arahat Mahinda thero and sangamitta thero brought Buddhism to Sri lanka.

The reclining statue of Lord Buddha and frescoes painted on the walls of the temple are attractive. The paintings regarding the arrival of their Sangamitta and Thero Mahindra bringing the sapling of Jayasri Maha bodhi is interesting. Many Jathaka stories, landmarks of Sri lankan Buddhism are depicted in the frescoes. Traditional Sinhala designs and patterns are carved in the pillars. The old paintings in the image house (Vihara geya) are belonged to the Kandyan era.

The temple was concerned and gained its highest glory during the Kotte kingdom. In 1510 Portuguese destroyed the temple. The Dutch empire confiscated a part of the Kelaniya temple perimeter. Gradually the original Dagoba has been lost today due to the foreign invasions. Albeit king Kirthi Sri Rajasingha gifted the premise back to the bhikkus King Uttiya (brother of King Devanam piyatissa) revamped the temple with adding a quarter or a Sanghawasa to the Viharaya. The sacred area expands about 10 acres. you can see the shimmering Kelani river besides t the temple.

During the month of January the temple become crowded with many devotees and travelers in the manner of Duruthu Maha Perahera is started from Kelaniya raja Maha viharaya. Drummers, dancers, colorful elephants and many more are strolling in the Perahera. The sacred reliquary is also exhibited in the Perahera. It is one of the glorious evens to feast and exhibit our historic, cultural and religious heritage. Stupa, old shrine, new shrine and Viharageya are included to the Kelaniya Vihara complex.


What to explore at Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara?

The Temple Site

As you arrive you will pass a multitude of food carts and a large rather dreary looking water feature. After climbing a set of stairs to the temple courtyard you are immediately greeted with a small water fountain and the main temple building, which soars above you with its beautiful sculptures of carved elephants and Hindu gods and astrological images. The stark white stupa (dageba) is situated to the right of the temple and the bell tower and the sacred Bodhi tree, adorned with Buddist flags, to the left. There are people praying by the huge statues and people light wicks in terracotta pots filled with coconut oil. The smell of incense fills the air...

The Temple Building

Inside, the temple building is divided into four sections or 'houses', all of which have a distinctly different style. In one of the houses you will find a seated Buddha statue and in another, a magnificent reclined Buddha statue and two additional seated Buddhas. Unfortunately, the original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in AD1510, so all of the paintings are fairly modern (18th and 20th century). Still, the murals that line the walls and ceilings of the temple are incredible, depicting historical scenes of Buddhism and the major events of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The beauty and detail of the patterns and designs on the temple walls will leave you in awe.


How to get to Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara?

Kelani Viharaya is situated about 6 kilometers away from Colombo. It can be approached from the Colombo – Kandy Route and turning to Biyagama road at the 4th mile post.

Selling points

  • A place to get all your sins washed
  • Nice park to walk around
  • Old and Traditional Buddhist Temple
  • Carm and very quiet place to worship
  • Excellent Budhist Temple
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3.0 days
62.96 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
18 places




Kelaniya Colombo Sri Lanka

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Tips for you

  • When you visit there, you should wear long cloths.
    What to wear
  • You will be impressed by the reclining Buddha as well as the gorgeous wall paintings.
    What to see
  • The whole area around the temple is fully decorated with lights and paper lanterns.
    What to see
  • You can see the moon stone and guard stone near the entrance to the Shrine.
    What to see
  • There are many beautiful and meaningful statues of Lord Buddha within the vast temple ground.
    What to see
  • You can buy some sweets, small statues and other gift items from outside of the template.
  • You have to remove your shoes near the entrance.
  • If you walk across the parking lot, you can see the Kelani river.
    Things nearby


TripAdvisor View more

plan on spending a fair amount of time here. There is an awful lot to see and enjoy, never mind 'watching' the constant stream of worshippers who tend to be colorfully dressed. The history goes back to 500 BC. You will be impressed by the reclining Buddha as well as the gorgeous wall paintings. You have to remove your shoes near the entrance. The stones can be very hot. Bring socks you don't care about getting dirty beyond 'repair' and some handy wipes if you dare to go barefoot. this temple is about 7 miles (10km) NE of Colombo

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