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Gampaha | Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya

Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya

The history of Kelaniya dates back to pre-Christian times. The city was related to the history of Ramayana as his king Yakkha, Vibhisana, was friendly to Rama in his fight against Ravana. Consequently, the cult of Vibhisana as the tutelary divine of Kelaniya continues to present itself.

The annals, Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa, record in detail the tale of the Buddha's visit to Kelaniya on the eighth year after his Enlightenment. The jeweled throne, on which the Buddha sat while preaching, is said to have been enshrined in the stupa at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya.

The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Gautama Buddha and paintings by the native artist Solias Mendis which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales. It is the venue for the Duruthu Maha Perehera procession each January. An 18-foot stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been erected at the temple.

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