On this page, you will find the most important religious temples in Sri Lanka. The most dominant religion on the island is Buddhism, followed by Hinduism while Islam is the third religion in the country. The most important temples for tourists are: Sigiriya, the Temple of the Tooth, the Golden Temple in Dambulla, Pidurangala Cave Temple etc.
Sigiriya is 180m tall rock, located in the middle of the jungle, in central part of Sri Lanka. On the top of the Lion Rock one may find former royal capital constructed when King Kassapa ruled the island (473-495). In order to reach the stairs that will take you straight to the top, you will have passed through the mouth of a giant lion, made of bricks and plaster. This lion was one of the most impressive monuments in Sri Lanka and it was built with an aim to intimidate and fend off the enemies who wanted to take the capital city under siege. Regrettably, this monument lost its former glory since today you can see only the paws of the lion as the rest of the body is destroyed.
According to the Sri Lankan legend, when Buddha died, his body was cremated, in Kushinagar (today this is a famous pilgrimage town) in India. It is believed that Buddha’s left molar was taken and given to one of the Indian kings, as a sign of respect. The tooth became cultural heritage and it was well preserved in the city called Puri, located on the eastern Indian coast.
The Golden Cave Temple in Dambulla was built in the first century BC. This has been the center of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus for more then 20 centuries. The temple consists of 5 caves and 157 statues of Buddha in various sizes, forms and postures. The most conspicuous statue is a 15-meter-high reclining Buddha that our visitors should not miss. The ceiling inside of the temple is covered with amazing 2000 year old murals that portray the life of Buddha. Murals cover the total surface of incredible 2100m2. Visitors should also pay attention to the wall frescoes painted with indigenous traditional paints. Despite being painted over twenty centuries ago, colors of the frescoes are still very strong and expressive.
Pidurangala Cave and Rock Temple is a rock formation located just a few kilometers from Sigiriya, and famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Pidurangala is often overlooked as this temple is a bit smaller than the Lion’s Rock and it is more difficult to climb.
Hindu Temple Arulmihu Srimuthumariamman Thevasthanam is located near Matale in Sri Lanka. We understand that it might be quite difficult to pronounce the name of this Hindu temple but let’s just start with a brief explanation. The temple is dedicated to Mariamman, the goddess of rain and fertility (word "mari" means rain and "amman" means mother).