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Gangaramaya & Seema Malaka Temple, Sri Lanka


Gangaramaya Temple

Gangaramaya is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, started by the famous scholar monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera in the late 19th Century.
Don Bastian (de Silva Jayasuriya Goonewardane, Mudaliyar), a famous 19th-century shipping merchant who was looking for suitable land to build a temple for the Matara Sri Dharmarama thero, bought a beautiful piece of land belonging to three Moors, and filled and prepared the land at great expense.

The land bordered on two sides by the Moragoda Ela and the Pettigala Ela was used to build the temple, which was subsequently named the Padawthota Gangaramaya Viharaya. The Mudaliyar, with the assistance of the people built a great ‘Chaitya’ (Dagaba) of 30 Riyans, and built a great decorative arch (thorana) and a ‘Sandakada pahana’ modeled on the ones found at Anuradhapura, at the entrance to the temple.

A ‘Bo’ sapling brought from the great Sri Maha Bhodiya in Anuradhapura, was also planted by his own hands and brought up. He also built a three-storied preaching hall and the walls, railings and the moat around the temple.
The Viharaya or image house is brilliantly painted and intricately sculpted. It shelters the imposing Buddha statues colored in vibrant vitality. The surrounding walls are adorned with intricate artistic embellishments depicting vents significant to Buddhist teachings.

Seema Malaka Temple

Seema Malaka is a Buddhist temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The temple is mainly used for meditation and rest, rather than for worship. Situated in the Beira Lake, the temple was originally constructed in the late 19th century.

Seema Malaka was redesigned by Geoffrey Bawa in 1976 after the original structure slowly sank; the temple is in the middle of the Beira Lake and the design was inspired by the ancient monasteries in forests of Anuradhapura and Ritigala.

The temple is constructed on three platforms over water, which are connected to the mainland and with each other by pontoon bridges. The temple’s main roof is covered with blue color tiles and the temple is made from collected spindles and handrails in wooden finishes. The architecture of the edifice resembles the Kandyan era. All three platforms have numerous seated Buddha statues displaying different mudras.

The main (central) platform houses wooden paneled shelter for meditation. On one of the side, platforms are the Bodhi Tree which was grown from a branch of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura. The four corners of the side platform have small shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Kataragama deviyo and Ganesha. A statue of Guanyin is also found within the temple complex.


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