Galapatha Raja Maha Viharaya

The Bentota Galapatha Raja Maha Viharaya lies about 3km inland, on the banks of the Bentota river. It is a Buddhist temple with origins that date back to the 12th century AD. Much of it was destroyed by the Dutch during the 16th century, but rebuilt by loyal devotees.

The temple is entered through a stone doorway which consists of two upright and two horizontal wooden pillars. The upright pillars contain elaborate carvings of the Narilatha motif, which possibly date back to the Kandyan period. The main temple building contains an array of statues and murals of Lord Buddha, the largest being a 25-foot reclining Buddha statue.

An ancient dagoba at the temple is believed to house the tooth relic of Anubuddha Maha Kassyapa Arahat – one of the key disciples of Lord Buddha. This has made the temple a revered place of worship for the Buddhist community. The temple hosts a grand annual parade in August, which attracts many tourists.

Remember to keep your legs and shoulders covered when visiting the temple.