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Wewurukannala Viharaya

The Wewurukannala Viharaya may be a relatively small temple, when compared to other more notable temples in the country, however, what lacks in size makes up for it in features. Boasting of Sri Lanka’s biggest Buddha statue, along with intriguing sculptures and paintings of the sinner’s fate, the Wewurukannala Viharaya certainly gives a different perspective to any traveller from Dikwella’s famed beaches and rustic grandeur, as it showcases the deep cultural roots that still exists in the village.

Best Known For

  • The Wewurukannala Viaharaya is famed for being one of the more unique temples down the southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, as it possesses the country’s largest statue of Lord Buddha in the seated position.
  • Couple that with the life-like sculptures and paintings of sinners being brutally punished by demon-like figures in the tunnel of hell, the Wewurukannala Viharaya certainly does make you think twice about the consequences of your deeds.

Interesting Facts

  • The temple is built in 3 parts, the oldest part dating back to 18th Century AC, during the reign of King Rajadhi.
  • However, it is the other 2 parts of the temple that garner the most attention, due to the intriguing stories it depicts.
  • The tunnel of hell, being one part of the temple, gives many a traveller a timely reminder of the fate that could lie after death, if we give in to earthly temptations.
  • The tunnel of hell showcases life-like sculptures and paintings of sinners being gruesomely punished by demons with fangs.
  • Such punishments that are depicted are the disembowelment of sinners and immersion in boiling cauldrons.
  • However, what lies at the end of the tunnel proves to be the main highlight of the temple, as the traveller can witness the phenomenal statue of the seated Buddha in all its grandeur.
  • Towering at a height of 160-feet, this statue of the Lord Buddha was built in the 1960s and is the largest one in the whole island, making it all the more intriguing.
  • Moreover, the pathway to the statue eventually loses its grotesque detail of hell and depicts the path to enlightenment, along with detailed murals of the ‘Jataka Tales’ (stories of the Buddha in his previous lives). Thus showing the traveller the way out of hell and the path to enlightenment.
  • The temple museum that is located in the same premises, also prove to be an intriguing site to many, as it boasts of unique artifacts that have been donated by locals and foreigners that are of religious value.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The temple down south of Sri Lanka is open daily from dawn to dusk, however, if you are looking to witness the rituals performed by the devotees, then the late afternoon is the ideal time.
  • On the other hand, if you are looking to explore the temple in all its entirety, the ideal time to visit the historical site is during the evenings when the crowds are minimal.
  • Do keep in mind that this is a sacred place of worship, thus it is imperative that you dress accordingly too, so as to respect the Buddhist traditions.
  • Photography is allowed, however, only in certain parts of the temple; just ask one of the temple staff or monks to clarify what parts can be snapped.

Should you happen to stay in the mellow coastal village of Dikwella, with its ideal beaches, surf breaks and rustic grandeur, the village’s strong connection to Buddhist religious tradition as displayed in the form of the Wewurukannala Viharaya is yet another unique feature of the village that will not disappoint.

The information displayed is provided by Wewurukannala Viharaya

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Entrance Fee
LKR 200

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Culture and Heritage

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