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Asgiriya Temple

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Asgiri Mahavihara pirivana, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

6:00 AM - 9:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Krishan
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Asgiriya Temple in the late afternoon when the sun casts a golden glow over the temple's intricate architecture, which is not only a perfect photo opportunity but also a quieter time for contemplation. Don't miss the chance to observe the resident monks during their evening prayers; it's a serene experience that truly captures the spiritual essence of Kandy."

What is Asgiriya Temple?

Asgiriya Temple, also known as Asgiriya Maha Viharaya, is a revered Buddhist temple located in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It stands as one of the principal Theravāda Buddhist monasteries that has played a significant role in the spiritual and cultural life of the country. Nestled within the hilly terrains of Kandy, the temple is part of the complex that includes the famous Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa), which is a sacred site housing the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Asgiriya Temple is not just a place of worship but a symbol of religious heritage that harmoniously blends with the captivating beauty of the surrounding landscape.

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History of Asgiriya Temple

The history of Asgiriya Temple is deeply intertwined with the history of Kandy and the spread of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It was established during the 14th century and has since been a center for Buddhist education and religious practices. As one of the two head temples, along with Malwatte Viharaya, of the Siyam Nikaya—one of the three main Buddhist orders in Sri Lanka—Asgiriya plays a critical role in ordinations and other religious activities related to Theravada Buddhism in the country. Over the centuries, it survived colonial eras and witnessed pivotal moments in the island's history, including the resistance against foreign invasions and the preservation of Buddhist traditions and Sri Lankan sovereignty.

Why is Asgiriya Temple Important?

Asgiriya Temple earns its importance from various aspects, both spiritual and societal. Being a key monastery in the Siyam Nikaya, it has been instrumental in the preservation and dissemination of Buddhist teachings, especially in the upcountry regions of Sri Lanka. Its monks are highly respected and are influential in not only religious matters but also in social and cultural spheres. The temple's continued existence reflects Sri Lanka’s dedication to maintaining its Buddhist heritage while also representing the resilience of the Sinhalese culture against various challenges through time. Additionally, as a vital component of the Temple of the Tooth complex, Asgiriya contributes to the ritualistic and ceremonial functions relating to the sacred relic—central to Sri Lankan Buddhism.

Things to Do & See at Asgiriya Temple

Visiting Asgiriya Temple is a tranquil experience, steeped in spirituality and cultural richness. When you step into the temple precincts, you can admire the traditional Kandyan architectural style in its structures, showcasing the mastery of ancient craftsmen.

Here are some things you can explore:

  • Observe the daily rituals and partake in the serene atmosphere of the temple.
  • Admire the intricate murals and frescoes that adorn the temple walls, many of which depict scenes from the Buddha's life and significant events in Buddhist history.
  • Attend a meditation session or a religious discourse to understand the depth of Buddhist philosophy and practice.
  • Explore the temple library, which often houses an extensive collection of Buddhist manuscripts and ola leaf writings, some centuries old and rich with historical significance.

As a keen visitor, you might also find small corners of tranquility in the temple gardens, where the gentle Kandyan breeze adds to the meditative quality of the environment. The temple frequently holds educational programs and cultural events that celebrate and teach about the breadth of Theravada Buddhism and its intertwining with Sri Lankan heritage—a meaningful experience that goes beyond the surface of merely sightseeing.


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Frequently asked questions

What is the significance of Asgiriya Temple in Kandy?

Asgiriya Temple is one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Kandy, known for being a spiritual center for Theravada Buddhism and for its historical significance to the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

How old is the Asgiriya Temple?

The Asgiriya Temple has a rich history dating back centuries, with its origins linked to the establishment of the Asgiri Maha Viharaya during the period of the Kandyan Kingdom.

What are the visiting hours for Asgiriya Temple?

Visiting hours for Asgiriya Temple are typically during daylight hours; however, it is recommended to check with the temple authorities or local tourist information for the most current schedule and any special events.

Are there any festivals or events at Asgiriya Temple that tourists can participate in?

Yes, Asgiriya Temple occasionally hosts religious festivals and events that reflect the Buddhist tradition and culture of Sri Lanka, which tourists are often welcome to observe or participate in, respecting local customs and practices.

What should tourists know about etiquette when visiting Asgiriya Temple?

Tourists visiting Asgiriya Temple should dress modestly, covering shoulders and legs; remove shoes before entering the temple premises; and act respectfully by not disturbing the monks, worshippers, or the sanctity of the temple.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Asgiri Mahavihara pirivana, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

6:00 AM - 9:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps