Lankatilaka Raja Maha Viharaya is located in Hairapitiya in Udunuwara, the hill capital of Sri Lanka. Built as a four-storey building, it is eighty feet high and was designed on an uneven stone slab overlooking the Hantane mountain range. The history of Lankatilaka Temple dates back to the Gampola era and was built around AD. Built in 1344 under the auspices of King Buwanekabahu IV. Lankatilaka Raja Maha Viharaya can be reached on two sides. One entry is through the monasteries located at the bottom of the rock where the steps to the temple begin. Large rice containers can be seen in the premises called ‘There are numbers’. As you climb the staircase you can see stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Based on the inscriptions to be found in the copper plaster of the temple, one can know that the granite foundation has been laid on the rock surface and the rest of the structure is made of brick. The beautiful arches and sculptures enhance the exterior walls, making it an architectural wonder of the era. There are many inscriptions in Sinhala and Tamil describing the facilities provided to the temple and the land donated by the rulers of the time.
According to historical records, King Buwanekabahu IV handed over the construction of the temple to his chief minister Senalankadhikari. South Indian architectural firm Rayar was responsible for blending the Polonnaruwa era with Tamil and Indo-Chinese styles. The temple building is in the shape of a cross.Although it was originally four floors, only the ground floor and part of the first floor remains today.
Lankatilaka was devoted to the worship of the Lord Buddha and there were several gods including Vishnu, Saman, Vibhishana, Ganapathi, Skandakumara and Kumara Bandara (who handed over the temple). The people of that period who lived in the Gampola and Kandian kingdoms not only had a strong faith in the worship of deities but also seemed to be devoted followers of the Buddha and his teachings.
The temple complex consists of the temple building, dagoba (chaitya) and the Bo tree. . The hall is located in front of the main entrance of the temple and the special feature is that the roof is covered with flat tiles and the rounded tiles cover the middle of the roof to create beautiful patterns.
The main shrine or shrine is made of three-story plaster. Examples of Architectural Designs and Wall Paintings The walls and ceilings of this building are decorated with colorful and ingenious techniques. A moonstone lamp is located near the entrance of two gorisinha style korawakagala (balustrade). Enter through the arched door. Two lion statues stand over them, making them one of the most recognizable features of the Lankatilaka Temple. In the interior of the gallery there is a Buddha statue with dragon arches or Makar Torana. The statue is surrounded by trees and floral motifs that promote the concept of Bodh Gaya and the walls are decorated with paintings of the “Suvivi Vivirana” (Life of the 24 Buddhas).
The Lankatilaka Raja Maha Vihara is a true example of medieval architectural excellence and can attraction to every person who travels within its limits.