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Embekka Dewalaya

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

210/e, embekka, handessa, Kandy 20480, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Krishan
Local tour guide
"Visit Embekke Devalaya mid-week to avoid the crowds and truly appreciate the intricate wood carvings without being rushed. Also, don't miss the annual Perahera held in July or August, where the ambiance is particularly magical, but make sure to ask a local for the exact dates as they change each year."

What is Embekke Devalaya?

Embekke Devalaya is an ancient temple revered for its exquisite wooden carvings, nestled in the Kandy region of Sri Lanka, a place where history speaks through art. Dedicated to the worship of Mahasen, a local deity identified with the god Kataragama, this temple is a marvel of Sinhalese craftsmanship. Emerging from the lush greenery of this highland area, Embekke Devalaya offers a unique glimpse into the island's rich cultural tapestry, displaying an architectural heritage that is both intricate and awe-inspiring.

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The temple is not just a monument; it's an anthology of the island's woodworking traditions, encapsulated within the walls of a sacred space. It's not uncommon to see visitors tracing the delicate patterns with their fingers, a silent homage to the unknown artists of yore. As a deeply spiritual site, Embekke Devalaya continues to function as an active place of worship, where the continuity of devotion and tradition is as palpable as the carvings are exquisite.

History of Embekke Devalaya

The foundation of Embekke Devalaya dates back to the 14th century, attributed to King Vikramabahu III of Gampola Era (1357-1374 AD). Legend has it that the temple was built to fulfill a vow made by the king to the god Kataragama. The history woven into this temple is as intricate as its carvings; it's said that a rainmaker named "Rangama" and a drummer named "Gammelame" were involved in its construction, their stories etched into local lore just as the carvings are etched into wood.

Over the centuries, Embekke Devalaya has borne witness to the ebb and flow of kingdoms and colonies, with its architectural integrity and divine status largely preserved. The legacy is carefully guarded by both state and devotees, ensuring that the patina of time adds to its splendor rather than diminishing it. Would you believe that every year, the history of this place is not just studied but celebrated through vibrant festivals?

Why is Embekke Devalaya Important?

Embekke Devalaya's importance lies in its extraordinary wooden architecture and the cultural legacy it has preserved for over six centuries. The temple exemplifies the zenith of Sinhalese woodcarving talent, with some saying that the carvings here surpass any other examples of wood craftsmanship in Sri Lanka.

The intricate designs are not only artistic achievements but also testimonies to the engineering skills of the ancient Sinhalese, as the wooden pillars and structures have withstood the tropical climate of Sri Lanka without the aid of a single metal nail. Furthermore, the Devalaya is a living site of cultural continuity, where ancient rituals and yearly festivals keep the traditions of the past alive in the present. It's a place where every corner tells a story, be it through myth, worship, or craftsmanship. Have you ever touched history with your own hands? Here, it's not just a metaphor.

Things to Do & See at Embekke Devalaya

When you visit Embekke Devalaya, you immerse yourself in a microcosm of Sri Lankan heritage. Start with the Hall of Drummers, where the rhythms of the past echo, and where famed carvings depicting dancers, wrestlers, musicians, and mythical creatures bring ancient tales to life. Don't miss the detailed carvings of elephants and peacocks, symbols of abundance and grace, each telling a hidden story.

Admire the peaked roof of the Digge or Dancing Hall. It's an architectural splendor with rafters that align perfectly without the use of a single nail—a testimony to the exceptional skill of the ancient craftsmen. And if you wander around during festival times, you might just catch the vibrant processions and traditional Kandyan dances, offering an(other) unparalleled cultural experience.

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For a deeper understanding, do take the time to explore the temple's surroundings—the serene ambiance of the adjoining ancient Gadaladeniya and Lankathilaka temples will surely heighten your spiritual journey. As you roam, you might hear the whispers of the past carried by the wind through the trees, each leaf a bearer of untold stories. Would you care to listen to what they have to say?

Frequently asked questions

What is Embekke Devalaya?

Embekke Devalaya is a historic temple complex famed for its elaborate wooden carvings, located in the Kandy region of Sri Lanka. It was built in the 14th century and is dedicated to the worship of the god Kataragama.

What is unique about the architectural style of Embekke Devalaya?

Embekke Devalaya's uniqueness lies in its intricate wood carvings and pillars, which display Sinhalese craftsmanship. The temple is an outstanding example of medieval Sri Lankan architecture, featuring carvings of dancers, mythical creatures, and floral patterns.

What are the main attractions at Embekke Devalaya?

The main attractions at Embekke Devalaya include the Drummers' Hall with its finely carved wooden pillars, the sanctuary with ancient deity statues, and the detailed carvings on the temple's roof and doors.

Are there any festivals or events associated with Embekke Devalaya?

Yes, Embekke Devalaya hosts an annual festival known as the Embekke Perahera, a colorful procession in honor of the deity Kataragama. This event features traditional dancers, drummers, and decorated elephants.

How can visitors reach Embekke Devalaya from Kandy?

Visitors can reach Embekke Devalaya by taking a bus or hiring a taxi from Kandy. The temple is located approximately 12 kilometers from Kandy city, and the journey through the scenic countryside takes around 30 minutes.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

210/e, embekka, handessa, Kandy 20480, Sri Lanka

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps