Sri Lankans, who did art as a subject during their school days, may heard about the paintings at Degaldoruwa Rajamaha Viharaya. This temple is so famous for the Kandian style paintings.
Location of the Degaldoruwa Temple:
This hidden gem of art is located close to Lewella, Kandy and it is not far away from city center. From Lewellwa take Sirimalwatta road cross the bridge then take the turn to right hand side. Please refer the following Google map and you can get help from villages to find the directions.
We visited this place during a weekday and there were no visitors at that time. We met a very and kind & pleasant thero (monk), who was in his old ages. He kindly open the temple doors for us and explain about the history of the temple.
Construction of Degaldoruwa Rajamaha viharaya was started by king Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe and completed by king Rajadhi Rajasinghe.
Degaldoruwa temple was build not in a natural cave, in a spacial man made cave. This cave temple is not big in size when compared to Dambulla.There is a 18 feet long reclining Buddha statue, 2 seating Buddha statues and 4 standing Buddha statues. Two seating Buddha statues are located left and right side of the cave, between two standing statues each.
Cave walls are decorated with Kandian era paintings done based on the Jathaka Katha and with many decorations. Cave roof has painting on “Mar Parajaya”, “Mahi Kanthawa”, “Sadivya loka – six heavens” and “Suvisi Viwarana”.
We heard that this paintings were restored by famous Italian painter “Lusiano Maransi”, who did a great job in restoring the destroyed Sigiriya paintings. But today authorities need to have a proper steps for reservation of these painting for future generations. Same time you can contribute with some donations to the temple.
There are steps towards the left side from the temple towards to of the rock and you can see a Boo tree and Dageba over there.
The Cave Temple in Kandy with famous Wall Paintings.
The Degaldoruwa Temple was built in 1771 AD by King Rajadi Rajasinha and was initiated during the rein of his elder brother King Kirti Sri Rajasinha [1747-1782 AD].This is considered as a Cave Temple with Kandyan era Paintings and Architecture.
This temple is situated at Amunugama, a village near Kandy Town.The easiest way It can be reached from Kandy is via the roadway over Lewella Bridge or by proceeding along Kundasale road and turning left at Nattarampota.
The temple had been built at a place where two rocks were touching each other from above and below.The rock mass has a height of about 40 feet. A Cave had been made by breaking the rocks large enough to accomodate the Shrine Room of the Buddha and an area leading to the Shrine Room.
The paintings at the temple were the work of four painters. These paintings are recognized as some of the best examples of the Kandyan era paintings. Four ” Jathaka Stories ” are drawn at this cave temple of which one is the famous Vessantara Jathaka story.
In the Shrine Room ceiling, which is a rock surface, is also painted the scene of the Lord Buddha and the Mara and his forces. There is also a painting of Mahi Kantawa or the Earth Godess on the ceiling.
There is a Bo tree and a Stupa at a terrace above the summit of Rock Temple and a path with carved steps on the rock from the lower terrace and then an ascend of a pathway leading to Bo Tree and Stupa area.
The Degaldoruwa Tamba Sannasa or the Copper Plate Grant of King Rajadi Rajasinha describes the construction details of the temple