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Embekke DevalayaEmbekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Temple dedicated to God of Kataragama with magnificent Sri Lankan Architecture in Wood

 

 

Embekke Temple History

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Ambalama near Devalaya

According to the legend a Drummer who was residing in Rangama close to Embekke, was suffering from a skin disease. Visiting Kataragama Temple in Ruhuna ( Southern part of Sri Lanka) he prayed for the wellness from the God Kataragama ( God Skandha) and he was duly recovered from his illness. To pay homage to the god for the grace rendered to him, the Drummer every year went to Kataragama and played his drum at Kataragama Devale at Ruhuna as an offering to Kataragama God. This he did until he became quite old and in his last occasion he reached the temple with much effort and told god that he will not be able to come again to pay homage as he is so weak and old. That night in his dreams the God had appeared and told him not to be worried and to return to his home and the god would show a miracle so that the drummer could pay his homage by beating his drum to the God from where he lives. Thus the drummer returned back home with a pacified mind and used to live in his village.

One day at a place near Embekke, a gardener while clearing the undergrowth area cut a Kaduru Tree with his tool. Instead of the usual white milky liquid coming out of the tree, a blood like red liquid had come out from the tree. No sooner the news had spread around the villages nearby, people had gathered to the place. The Drummer hearing the news had come to this place and realised that this is the miracle power shown by the God Kataragama as in his dream , related his story to the people gathered there.

After that a small Devalaya with a thatched roof had been put up at that place. The drummer had gone to meet the King ( Vickramabahu III ) and related the story and the King had been impressed by the successive incidents. Later the King visited this place, and the Devalaya was built where the Kaduru tree was, by the order of the King which was called as Embekke Devalaya. King also had got the God's statues built at the Devalaya and had donated surrounding land to the temple for its upkeep.

A poet by the name Delgahagoda Mudiyanse living at that era had written a poetical work on this occasion and presented to the King which was titled as "Embekke Varnanawa"

 

 

How to get there

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

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On Kandy - Colombo main road turning to right from Pilimatalawa Junction one has to proceed along Dawulagala road to reach Embekke Devalaya. Dawulagala is about 5 km from Peradeniya town. Along this road one passes the the other two famous temples, namely Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya and the Lankatilaka Viharaya before reaching Embekke Devalaya. One can see the "Ambalama" (an ancient resting place for the traveller) ruins on a flat rock. The stone pillars have similar carvings as Embekke Temple and this dates back before the Temple, and also had been built by King Vickramabahu III.

 

 

The Temple with the footprint of Year 1371 AD

Originally the Temple was believed to have three stories and it was built during the era of Gampola period. Today it is single storied and it is believed that during the Kandyan period, it had been renovated . There are several buildings inside the Temple premises. There is a Garbha or the sanctum, Digge or the Hevisi mandapaya, Vahalkada, Buddha Image House, Palle devalaya and a Vee Bissa or Paddy storage.

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple on Wooden Pillars

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

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Kataragama Temple at Embekke

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Temple dedicated to God Kataragama

It is also believed that the Statue of God Kataragama made out of plaster on the Peacock vehicle had been erected on the cut out stem of the Kaduru Tree. The belief also is that the Henakanda Biso Bandara , Queen of King Vickramabahu III , after her death, had been confided to be the guardian God of the Temple by God Kataragama.

 

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

 

 

Sri Lankan Wooden Architecture at its Best

Woodcarvings of Embekke Devalaya had been
recognized by UNESCO as the most outstanding
carvings on wooden pillars to be found in
anywhere in the world.

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

LiyaPath- Creeper design Wooden carving at the base of a Pillar

The Hall of the Devalaya is called Dik Ge or the Hevisi Mandapaya (Drummer's Pavilion) and has 32 Wooden Pillars. Each Pillar has 8 LiyaPath designs few feet above ground level. The section above that is 8 sided and the famous carvings appear on the 4 sides on top of this section.

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

 

 

.................. .............. .................. ............. The Pillar Carvings ................ ............... ................ ................ .............

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Famous Wood Carving designs on wooden pillars at Hevisi Mandapaya

 

There are total of 514 wood carvings at the Drummers Pavilion of the Temple.

128 design carvings on the 4 sides of the 32 wooden pillars

256 Floral design (LiyaPath) Carvings at bottom section of 32 pillars

64 Lotus design carvings on Pekada ( Brackets)

30 design carvings on beams

36 design carvings on cross bars

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

 

 

Buddha Image House at the Temple

 

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Buddha Statue and the Dragon Arch

 

Buddha Image House is constructed to the right side of the Devalaya. This has three entrances with a passage. Stone steps had been constructed to enter into the passage. The middle door frame has finely carved designs.

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

"Vedasitina Maligaya' The Sanctum

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

 

"Vee Gabadawa" - Paddy Storage

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Ancient Paddy storage for Temple needs

 

 

.............. ............ ............ .............. ............... ..............Embekke Devalaya Vee Gabadawa or Paddy storage .............. ............... ............. ............ ..............

 

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka
Embekke Temple ( Devalaya), Kandy, Sri Lanka

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Chithra E. Gunawardana " Embekkaye Lee Katayam" - Sinhala Edition 1953

 


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