The ‘three temple loop’ – Gampola
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Possibly Gampola’s most legendary attraction, the Embekke, Lankatilaka and Galadeniya are a short distance from each other and sometimes referred to as the ‘three-temple loop’. The temples serve living testimony to Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage, history and exceptional craftsmanship. Each temple holds a considerable amount of historical information of the ancient kingdom’s era, carved mostly in stone.
EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION: Starting with the fourteenth century Embekke Devale – an audience hall for guardian deity of Sri Lankan Buddhism Kataragama Deviyo – the elaborate wooden sculptures, which incorporate images of dragons, soldiers, and battles between elephants and lions, are all in surprisingly good condition. Less than a kilometer away from the temple lays the imposing structure of the Lankatilaka on a large stone outcrop. Completed in 1344, the temple blends wood, plaster and stone in an architecture that resonates the Polonnaruwa period. It also has bears Hindu influence in worship. The temple is a sight for art historians, with many paintings of the ancient Kandyan era stored in the upper section of the temple. The last temple in this loop is Galadeniya Viharaya built in the same year by Gampola’s King Wickramabahu, almost exclusively in stone. This temple too is built on a hilltop and features a stunning view of the countryside. Should you have the energy for one more, we highly recommend Galengoda temple, hidden away up a steep hill in the same vicinity and displays an almost colonial style of architecture.
Includes: A backup vehicle, a guide and bottled water
Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate, because of the sun and uphill climbs.
Suitable for children: The temples being historical sites are awe inspiring and may interest older children. Not suitable for very young children as walking barefoot on temple premises in the midday sun can be trying.
Times: This can be organized in the morning, speak with your guide.
What to wear or bring along: Shawl for the ladies, shades, a cap, sunscreen and light cool clothing.
Important to Know Early starts are best to avoid barefoot walks on hot stone stairways
Footwear like sandals or flip flops, not to be worn inside the temple premises. Ladies are required to dress conservatively or to take along a shawl. Many of the temples sell flowers at the entrance, feel free to buy a few for when you go inside or leave a donation at the entrance.
Private or not? This experience is private, however there are likely to be other visitors at the temples. Poya days especially draw big crowds.