Must-visit Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

Must-see Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country known for its captivating cultural heritage and breathtaking natural landscapes. Travelers from all corners of the world cannot fully experience a trip to this captivating island without immersing themselves in the wonders of its must-visit Buddhist temples. The temples not only display the impressive architectural skills of ancient Sri Lankan craftsmen but also provide a glimpse into the deep spiritual and religious importance of Buddhism in the country. Discover an enchanting collection of Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka that will leave every traveler spellbound. Explore these sacred sites and immerse yourself in their profound beauty and tranquility.

Tips for Touring Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

Before you visit any Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, make sure you read these important tips:

  • Dress yourself in clothing that reflects a sense of modesty and respect. It is important to dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees and refraining from wearing revealing clothing.
  • Please refrain from capturing images or recordings of Buddha statues or devotees without obtaining their consent.
  • Maintain a serene and reverent sense during moments of prayer and meditation.
  • Please remember to take off your shoes before entering the temple.
  • Adhere to the guidelines and protocols of every temple.

Must-visit Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

1. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) (Kandy)

21 Days in Sri Lanka

Situated in the enchanting hill capital of Kandy, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic holds a special place in the hearts of many who seek solace and enlightenment. This temple is home to the revered tooth relic of Lord Buddha, attracting countless pilgrims from around the globe.

The temple’s breathtaking architecture, detailed wood carvings, and peaceful atmosphere attract tourists who are interested in experiencing Sri Lanka’s rich religious and cultural heritage.

2. Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple): Dambulla

Dambulla Cave Temple, Must-Visit Caves in Sri Lanka

Perched on a majestic rock massif, the Dambulla Cave Temple, also referred to as the Golden Temple, holds the prestigious title of being a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to a collection of five caves, each adorned with stunning murals and more than 150 statues of Lord Buddha.

The temple’s ancient rock paintings and sculptures provide a captivating glimpse into the island’s artistic and religious customs, attracting tourists interested in history and art.

3. Ruwanwelisaya in Anuradhapura

21 Days in Sri Lanka

Standing tall in Anuradhapura, the Ruwanwelisaya is a remarkable testament to the rich architectural heritage of Sri Lanka. At this revered location, embellished with detailed carvings and encompassed by meticulously designed gardens, visitors can discover a serene sanctuary to gain insight into the importance of stupas in Buddhism and embrace the ethereal atmosphere that saturates the ancient remnants of Anuradhapura.

4. Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara: Kelaniya

Kelaniya Temple

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a great significance temple cherished by generations of Sri Lankan Buddhists for over 2,500 years. The temple’s vibrant murals, intricate carvings, and imposing stupa create a captivating atmosphere for tourists looking to delve into the island’s rich religious and cultural heritage.

5. Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo

Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

Located in the bustling city of Colombo, the Gangaramaya Temple showcases a captivating blend of contemporary and classic elements in its architecture. This vibrant temple complex is home to many religious artifacts, statues, and paintings. These features make it a popular destination for tourists seeking to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of Sri Lanka’s capital city.

6. Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple

Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

Situated close to the renowned Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. Located within a vast cavern, the temple proudly displays a serene Buddha statue in a reclining position, surrounded by an array of captivating murals and sculptures. Ascending a challenging staircase is necessary to reach the temple and Pidurangala Rock, yet the breathtaking views awaiting the summit make the effort truly rewarding.

7. Seema Malaka Temple

Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

The serene Beira Lake surrounds the bustling city of Colombo, home to the Seema Malaka Temple. The temple stands proudly, its three distinct platforms linked together by a network of graceful bridges. The temple complex showcases numerous Buddha statues and provides a serene escape from the lively city streets.

8. Mihintale Temple

Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

As the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Mihintale Temple holds immense importance in the country’s cultural and religious heritage. Numerous structures, including stupas and monastic buildings, are available for discovery. Therefore, the pilgrims must ascend the majestic staircase to the summit, where they can honor this revered location. 

Additionally, devoted monks once inhabited and used the surrounding area’s remnants of ancient monasteries and meditation caves.

9. Hendeniya Rajamaha Viharaya, Kandy

Old Buddhist rock cave temples abound in Sri Lanka, and the Hendeniya Rajamaha Viharaya is only one of them. The 12-kilometer-long UduNuwara rock temple, often called “Galgane Vihara,” is located 12 kilometers outside of Kandy. King Wickremabanhu III built the temple for his consort, Henekanda Biso Bandara, as the local belief goes. Once more, this temple provides a glimpse into the rich Buddhist heritage and culture of Sri Lanka.

10. Buduruwagala, Wellawaya

Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

The Buduruwagala temple showcases a magnificent display of seven Buddha statues delicately carved into a massive rock wall. These intricately carved statues are associated with a particular school of thought and have a rich history dating back to the 10th century. These statues exude a profound sense of beauty and craftsmanship. They provide a window into the deep-rooted traditions and beliefs of Buddhist culture.

One of the most impressive sights on the island is the massive Buddha statue, standing at an amazing height of 51 feet (16 m).

How can I go to these temples?

We recommend planning your tour with a travel agent like Overa Tours to access these renowned Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Because of their secluded settings, most temples have limited public transportation options. By planning your tour with a local travel company, you can effortlessly navigate the country’s roads. This ensures you can safely visit every temple.

If you need assistance, feel free to contact us.

Wrapping up

You cannot fully enjoy a trip to Sri Lanka without immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring Buddhist temples that grace its landscapes. Immerse yourself in the captivating allure of ancient architectural wonders and be amazed by awe-inspiring religious artifacts. Bask in the serene ambiance of sacred sites. These must-visit Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka promise a truly enriching experience for tourists from all corners of the world.


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