The history of Gadaladeniya Temple dates back to about the 14th century. According to ancient sources, this temple was built by King Buwanekabhahu IV (1341-1351 AD) under the guidance of Ven. Dharmakeerthi I. It is said that the king entrusted the construction of this temple to his chief minister Senadhilankara and he built the temple according to the plan of Ganeshwarachari in the South Indian architecture. This is a very important temple built during the Gampola period.
The basic architectural and architectural features of the Gadaladeniya Vihara are similar to the Vijayanagara tradition of South India. The temple buildings are built on a natural rock. The temple consists of an idol house, an entrance pandal, a dagoba, a bodhi tree, a monastery, and two devalayas. In addition to this, some ancient stone inscriptions can be seen on the temple premises.
The temple is made of black stone and consists of two rooms and an outer pavilion, one behind the other. Inside, you can see a 12-foot-tall owl statue and four standing statues. The two stone pillars in front of the pavilion are considered to be a unique creation of the temple. The left stone tower is said to have been carved by Ganeshwarachari and the right tower by a Sri Lankan carpenter. Accordingly, the left tower has been arranged in the Hindu style and the right tower in the Buddhist style.
There are 6 inscriptions in this temple. Three of them are carved in the rock on the slope outside the temple boundary to the west of the temple. One of the inscriptions has been destroyed beyond recognition. Another inscription is located on the rock next to the Bo tree. Two other inscriptions are located at Tame near the temple.
Also, the Bodhi tree in the Gadaladeniya temple surrounded by a stone Bodhi tree is believed to be a Bodhi sapling brought from Devram Vehera Ananda Bodhi in Dambadiva. It was planted by Ven. Dharmakeerthi I. The dagaba built at a height of about 40 feet in the shrine is known as the Vijayothpaha Dagaba. It is protected by a roof over four towers.
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