Embekke Dewalaya is a remarkable cultural and architectural gem nestled in the lush hills of Sri Lanka. Located near the town of Udunuwara, just a short drive from Kandy, Embekke Dewalaya stands as a testament to the rich heritage and craftsmanship of ancient Sri Lankan culture. This awe-inspiring temple, known for its intricate wood carvings, offers visitors a glimpse into the artistic brilliance and religious significance of the bygone era.
Province: Central Province
Deity:Kataragama deviyo or Devatha Bandara
Location: Udunuwara, Sri Lanka
Geographic coordinates: 07°13′04.5″N 80°34′03.8″E
Founder: King Vikramabahu III [during A.D. 1341 – 1357]
Sri Lankans have a long history of architecture and engraving. After the Mahindagamanaya, architectural skills in Sri Lanka were honed. However, the archeological ruins of the Sri Lankan people attest to the fact that this country’s people practiced their own artistic techniques since prehistoric times. Embekka Dewalaya is a unique location among the many temples, palaces, and other structures that have been constructed since ancient times. The Embekka Dewalaya is so unique that it is not only for religious shrines but also for the people’s artistic timber creations.
Embekka Devalaya is located in Kandy’s Udunuwara Embekka village. According to Sri Lankan legend, this was built by King Wickramabahu III, who reigned over Gampola from 1357 to 1374. Many people have strong feelings about the construction of the Embekka temple, which is based on woodworking architecture. “Embekke Warnanawa” is a Sinhala poetry book that contains a variety of information. According to the book, the artist who created the beautiful carvings is “Delmada Mulachari.”
Embekka dewalaya is a unique location among the many temples, palaces, and other structures that have been constructed since ancient times. The Embekka Dewalaya is so unique that it is not only for religious shrines but also for the people’s artistic timber creations.
The Embekke Dewalaya is made up of eight main structures. The courtyard also houses the king’s throne. The temple contains seven other structures. The “Maha Dewalaya” is the most important of these. This structure is also known as “Dik Geya/ Wedha Sitina Geya.” The gardens and the long, Rectangular four-story building that connects to it are known as “Maligawa.” It’s divided into four parts. “Dikgeya and Pirith Geya, Medha Dik Geya, Sadun Kudama, and Hevizi Mandapaya,” they are. At the entrance to the Dewalaya, there is a building called the “Wahalkada,” which has ten beautiful pillars. There are 32 visible wooden beams in the main building. The Hevizi pavilion is made up of 32 pillars. It measures 52 feet long by 25 feet wide. Beautiful carvings in the shafts and the height of the slopes are both appealing features. “Madol Kurupawa” is the attraction that draws visitors in.
Embekke Dewalaya is made up of eight main structures. “Madol Kurupawa” is the attraction that draws visitors in. There are 32 visible wooden beams in the main building. The Hevizi pavilion measures 52 feet long by 25 feet wide.
The Embekke Dewala’s most notable feature is its distinctive wooden carvings. These carvings are of high quality, and such wooden carvings can be found nowhere else in Sri Lanka. According to historical sources, the Embekka Dewala contains over 514 wooden carvings.
The most impressive aspect of these carvings is the type of wood used, such as “Gammalu, Pihibiya, Nail, Jak.” Some of the wood carvings include the following: Atkada Lihiniya, Berong bird, horse rider (Ashwarohaka), Gajasinghe, mother and child, nun, dragon, and lotus ( the specialty of the engraving of these carvings is that these carvings are made from different lotus flowers which differ from each other).
The Embekke Devala emblems are built on stone, with each plywood made for a specific design. The poles’ first section is rectangular. Following that, it is octangular. The remainder is square. There are many beautiful engravings in each of these sections, which are decorated with carvings of animals and nuns. Embekka Dewalaya is a great example not only of a sacred place but also of Sri Lankan architectural knowledge.
Embekka Dewala contains over 514 wooden carvings. The most impressive aspect of the wood used is the type of wood used, such as “Gammalu, Pihibiya, Nail, Jak” Embekke Devala emblems are built on stone, with each plywood made for a specific design.
Apart from its architectural grandeur, Embekke Dewalaya remains an active place of worship for devout locals. The temple is a sanctuary for religious rituals and ceremonies, attracting devotees who come to pay homage and seek blessings.
Visitors have the opportunity to witness and experience the vibrant spiritual atmosphere, immersing themselves in the cultural and religious practices of Sri Lanka.
Preservation and Conservation
Preserving and protecting the delicate woodwork of Embekke Dewalaya is of utmost importance. The Sri Lankan government, along with local authorities, has taken significant steps to ensure the preservation of this architectural marvel. Conservation efforts include regular maintenance, restoration work, and the implementation of strict guidelines to safeguard the temple’s heritage for future generations.
Visiting Embekke Dewalaya
When planning a visit to Embekke Dewalaya, it’s best to allocate a few hours to fully appreciate its beauty and immerse yourself in its rich history. Visitors can engage local guides who provide insightful information about the temple’s significance, architectural details, and cultural context.
Exploring the temple grounds, witnessing religious ceremonies, and marveling at the intricate wood carvings are experiences not to be missed.
Where to Stay
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Embekke Dewalaya stands as a captivating testament to the artistic brilliance and religious devotion of ancient Sri Lanka.
Its intricate woodwork, breathtaking carvings, and historical significance make it a must-visit destination for those seeking to delve into the rich cultural heritage of the island.
Embekke Dewalaya offers an immersive experience, where visitors can marvel at the craftsmanship of the past, gain insight into Sri Lankan traditions, and find tranquility amidst the serene surroundings.
Whether you are an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply a curious traveler, Embekke Dewalaya will leave an indelible impression. It serves as a reminder of the rich cultural tapestry and the enduring legacy of Sri Lanka’s artistic heritage.
A visit to Embekke Dewalaya is not only a journey through time but also an opportunity to appreciate the skill and artistry of the craftsmen who created this architectural masterpiece. So, plan your visit to Embekke Dewalaya and let the intricate woodwork and spiritual ambiance transport you to a bygone era of artistic brilliance.