Located close to the Bentota River in Sri Lanka, is the ancient temple Galapata Raja Maha Viharaya. Closely associated with the river it is named in Pali as ‘Bhimathitha Vihara’.
True to its name (meaning built in stone), most of the temple is built from rock; from the pathway that leads to the temple to the welcoming stone archway, everything has been carved from stone. Carved on the pillars on either side of the entrance is the traditional ‘Nari latha’ (a creeper that when blooms takes the shape of a damsel). These date back to the Kandyan period of the country.
Originally installed at the ‘kali devale’ these stone pillars were then transferred to the Udakotuwa Raja Maha Vihare in Bentota and eventually brought to the Galapata temple premises. A rare archaeological finding that was made at the temple in the recent years is a stone water filter, made out of a substance that has the possibility to absorb water poured into it. Another significant aspect of the temple is the Dagabo where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Maha Kassyapa Arahat is said to be have been enshrined.
Dating back to the reign of King Parakramabahu the 13th, an inscription is seen carved on the stone entrance. The story of how this miraculous stone temple first came to being has been engraved here. Although some of the temple was ruined during the colonial rule of the Portuguese, you will be fascinated by the mural paintings, Jathaka stories painted on the walls and the Avasaya that has a hint of colonial architecture attached to it.
With fascinating sites to visit in the area such as the Galapata Vihara and not to mention the beautiful beaches, your stay in Bentota is sure to be an enriching experience. Resorts in Bentota such as Avani Bentota Resort is well equipped to guarantee you a heavenly experience. Designed by the world renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa, this Bentota hotel is famously known for its fascinating architecture. If windsurfing, diving and swimming in the beautiful Indian Ocean and star class luxuries at your own private haven entices you, then Avani Bentota Resort is the right place for you.