Kovilakanda, Sri Lanka
Visit the 'Pinnacle of Lanka'The Lankatilake Temple in the village of Rabbegamuwa near Kandy dates back to 1344, and is a fine example of a Buddhist-Hindu shrine of the fourteenth century. The Buddhist shrine faces east and the Hindu one is oriented to the west. Originally four stories in height, Lankatilake is depicted on Sri Lanka's 500-rupee bill, and has royal origins.
Outside the image house, a sprawling expanse of rock is inscribed with one of the largest inscriptions in Sri Lanka. Written in both Sinhala and Tamil characters, the text provides information about the founder and architect of the temple. Below the rock where the temple is situated, is a luxuriant panorama of hills and valleys and terraced paddy fields. The main gateway to the complex is on the eastern side via a flight of steps carved into the rock hillside.
In the image house, the most visible features are Kandy-period paintings on walls and ceilings, and a large Buddha statue, with colors remarkably preserved. Precious objects are stored in a locked cabinet, and not generally on view. The temple conducts an annual Perahera each September, paying homage to the venerated Tooth relic, housed in Kandy.
When you visit, be sure to meet the Buddhist monk who is caretaker of the shrine. He welcomes visitors, and is happy to practice his English, as he explains the history and significance of the temple.
Lankatilake is a 20-minute tuk-tuk ride from Kandy city. A visit is easily combined with a stop at the nearby Gadaladeniya Temple.