Three Temples Loop Kandy

The countryside around Kandy is dotted with dozens of historic Kandyan-age temples. The most interesting of these temples are the Embekke Devale, Lankatilake and Gadaladeniya, which lie some 10km west of Kandy and make a rewarding day-trip.They are often combined into a round-trip by vehicle or foot, known as the threetemples loop. All three temples were constructed during the  fourteenth century, in the early days of the nascent Kandyan kingdom, when the region was ruled from Gampola and Tamil influence was strong. They can all be visited by bus or, far more conveniently, by taxi The best way to visit, however, is to walk at least part of the way between the three, starting at the Embekke Devale and finishing at the Gadaladeniya (May be vice versa).


Embekke Devale

Catch the regular bus 643 (to Vatadeniya via Embekka) from near the Kandy clock tower. The village of Embekka is about 7km past the botanic gardens (about an hour from Kandy). From the village it’s a pleasing country stroll of about 1km to the 14thcentury  temple. The finely carved wooden pillars are reputed to come from a royal audience hall in Kandy. Each of the several pillars bears a different design, a marvellously carved assortment of peacocks, entwined swans, wrestlers, dragons, dancers, horsemen and soldiers . One of the most famous panels depicts an elephant and lion fighting; another shows what looks curiously like a Habsburg double-headed eagle.


From Embekke Devale, retrace your steps back up the road towards Embekke Village ,you’ll see the temple on the left. From Kandy you can go directly to the Lankatilake Temple on bus 644 or take a Kiribathkumbara or Pilimatalawa bus from the same stop as the Embekka buses.

Lankatilake is perhaps the finest temple in the district .An impressively solid-looking structure built on a huge rock outcrop and painted a pale blue rather than the usual white.This temple is divided into two splits – one half Buddhist and one half Hindu. It features a Buddha image, Kandy-period paintings, rockface inscriptions and stone elephant figures. A caretaker will unlock the shrine if it’s not already open. A perahera takes place in August. The setting is as impressive as the temple.


Gadaladeniya Temple

It’s a further 3km walk to Gadaladeniya Temple, or you can catch a bus from Kandy bus 644, among others, will take you there. Built on a rocky outcrop and covered with small pools, the temple is reached by a series of steps cut into the rock. This Buddhist temple with a Hindu extension is a similar age to the Lankatilake Temple and the Embekka Devale.

To return to Kandy, carry on down the road for a further ten minutes to reach the main Colombo–Kandy highway. Buses back to Kandy pass every minute or so – just flag one down. To reach Gadaladeniya directly from Kandy, take any of the numerous non-express buses heading west along the road to Kegalle, Colombo or Kaduganawa and ask to be set down at the Gadaladeniya turn-off.

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