The Kelaniya Dagoba (stupa) is among the most venerated religious sites in Sri Lanka. A day trip to the temple complex, just a few kilometers from Colombo, provided us with a wonderful introduction to Buddhist history in the country. It is believed the Buddha visited the site at the time of his third trip to Sri Lanka. The dagoba is hollow, and was built to hold the throne from which he delivered his sermon.
Today, the temple remains an active place of worship, which just adds to the atmosphere.
When Tom and I visited the temple precincts, devotees circled an outdoor shrine. Inside, pilgrims prayed before a reclining Buddha said to have been built during the reign of the Kandyan King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe. Families with children received instruction from a saffron-robed monk. A mother invited me to watch as a monk intoned a blessing over her infant son. Everywhere, there was the aroma of incense.
If you go
Before catching a three-wheeler back to Colombo, we stopped at a tiny restaurant in the small market across from the entrance to the temple compound. The proprietor was delighted to have us stop in, and brought a platter of ‘short eats’ (snacks) to our table for us to choose from.
A tuk-tuk ride out from central Colombo takes about forty minutes and is an experience in itself!
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Our day trip to Kelaniya was made from The Kingsbury, our very comfortable base in Colombo. Thanks for hosting our stay!
To see all our travel stories from Sri Lanka, click here.