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Updated by Alexandra Wendt on Feb 26, 2016
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Temples to Visit in Ambalangoda – roam in the spiritual paradise

Devotees have uniformity in the dress code that is white. They have uniformity in their walking pace, slow and measured. That is the uniformity of the sight you get to experience in most temples.

1

The Galgoda Sailatalaramaya Maha Vihara

Reaching this temple is somewhat a daunting task. You need to take 208 steps. And that climb is really worth, as you get to see the world's longest reclining Buddha statue. The Buddha statue was built primarily by donations of the pilgrims. Once you finish the climb, you will be able to see as far as Holy Sripada. This is best experienced if you enter the temple during the sunrise, or at least before 10 am.

If the 208 steps are a spot of bother, you can take the road that leads to the temple. As a foreigner there is a nominal fee you will have to pay. But with the striking scenery held in comparison, that fee could count for almost nothing. The temple has also hung a photograph of a German monk with a cow he saved from the abattoir.

The best way to approach these temples is to stay at a boutique hotel in Sri Lanka such as The River House.

2

The Sunandaramaya Maha Vihara

This temple is not only one of the earliest Buddhist temples in the southern coast, but also claims to be in possession of the biggest gateway of the island. You can also see murals that depict the Buddha's birth stories. If you visit this temple with a guide, they will enlighten you on what each mural say about the Buddha's previous life.

3

Gangarama Raja Maha Vihara

Another reputed temple for its popular Kandyan murals, Gangarama Raja Maha Vihara is said to have been built during King Kirti Sri Rajasinhe's period. The temple is easy to locate as it is built by the Mahaweli river in Lewella. You will come across a rock inscription in the temple that explains how the king built the temple.

During the king's time, the temple was more into education under the supervision of Ven Welivita Sri Saranankara Thera. As usual, the temple's murals portray the Buddha's previous lives. They are known as examples of Kandyan Sittara Art. Apart from the murals, you will also come across the large standing figure of the Buddha which is about 27 feet high. All these murals and paintings will give you insights about the great connoisseur that was King Kirti Sri Rajasinha.

4

Seenigama Vihara

There is one thing so unique about Seenigama Vihara. The temple is built on its own island. Interestingly this is one of the two temples where you can seek revenge if you are robbed of something really valuable. So you will see a good crowd thronged here to seek revenge! Located about 2 kilometres north of Hikkaduwa, you can also see how the victims of theft prepare themselves for the robbery. It is a preparation of oil made with chilli and pepper. The victim has to light a lamp with that oil and mouth a sacred recitation. If someone falls in great trouble, they would probably be your robber.