Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya, built by King Buwanekabahu IV in the 14th century, is located on the border of Udunuwara and Yatinuwara in the Kandy District. The Gadaladeniya Temple, also known as the Sadarmakarthi Temple and the Dharma Keerthi Temple, is located close to the town of Pilimatalawa. The founder monk’s name is Sadamakirthi.
According to historical evidence, the chief architect of the temple was Ganeshwarachari of South India. The South Indian influence is evident in this temple. It is reported that King Viraparakrama Narendrasinghe (1707 – 1739) had neglected this temple for some time until it was handed over to Sarananka Thero of Velivita. It was later maintained by his students and lineage students.
The main chapel with a distinctive South Indian design is located on a stone slab at the top of the monastery. Inside, there is a Buddha statue sitting on a frame framed by dragon torana or dragon arches. It is surrounded by statues of Brahma, Suyama, Santostika, Maithri and Natha. Buddha statues can be seen fixed on either side of the statues.
The statue of Buddha seated in the Buddhist sculpture of the Gampola era is unique. Brick and mortar is plastered with lime and sand, which is known as the Dhyama seal or the highest level of meditation. The body is painted in gold and the robes are in red. Other distinctive features that reflect the influence of South Indian Buddhist sculpture are the wide-open eyes and forehead and neck wrinkles clearly marked.
Next to the temple is a Vishnu Devalaya. The historical chronicle of the island, Mahavamsa, states that when the Buddha passed away, the goddess was chosen as the protector of the land and Buddhism. Accordingly, the people of this country are treated with special respect.
On the side of the Vishnu Devalaya is a stupa made of rock. It is believed to have been built by King Parakramabahu VI. Above this stupa are four pillars. Four small satellite stupas have been built on the shrines surrounding the main stupa. This structure is known as Vijayotapaya or Vijayantha Prasada after the pagan temple of Lord Indra.
The beautifully painted gigantic wooden chest with paintings and sculptures of historical and artistic significance is present in the Gadaladeniya Temple. Large stone pillars are found in the entrance to Gadaladeni.Inside the temple, an ancient stone and plaster Buddha statue looks at milk bowls that have been collecting food offerings for centuries. The 638-year-old jack-wood doors still display their original paintings.Another feature is the dwarf image of the various sites carved into the rock surface. Also, be sure to look for twin towers on either side of the hall. These towers are so unique that the only place to find them is in Yapua.
Gadaladani is the best place to view the original stone carvings; There are many carvings on the pillars. You will be amazed at the beauty of the temple.