The Kande Viharaya Temple is referred to as such because it sits on a hill or ‘kanda’. The temple is an iconic place of worship that is located in Aluthgama, which belongs to the Kalutara District. Less than ten minutes away, across the Bentota Ganga River, you will find a touristy beach town with many a beachfront resort. Bentota is an ideal base for exploring the many attractions of the coast. Direct beach access, airport pick up and several other conveniences are offered by hotels in the area like AVANI Bentota Resort & Spa.
The Kande Viharaya Temple was founded many years ago, in 1734 by the Venerable Karapagala Dewamitta Thero. Today, the chief priest is the Venerable Batuwanhene Sri Buddharakkitha Thero. The temple also goes by the names of ‘Aluthgama Kande Viharaya’ and ‘Bentota Kande Viharaya’ and belongs to the Theravada Nikaya. Kande Viharaya houses nine devales, five of which are maha devales or main devales. Two of the nine are frequented more than the others. The Paththini Devale is sought out by women who are childless and hoping for a stroke of luck, while the Vishnu Devale is believed to change the fortune of those burdened with grave problems.
The temple remains a functioning place of worship even after nearly three hundred years. Crowds of devotees can be seen making a daily visit to the hilltop site, dressed in pristine white clothing. The Kande Viharaya Temple is also popular among tourists and can be visited between the hours of 5am and 9pm. Within the compound, you will find a stupa which is shaped like a bell, with a base of flower petals; a bo tree that was planted when the temple was first established; and a relic chamber, which is the oldest of the temple buildings. The temple’s location can be pinpointed from a distance by the oversized seated Buddha statue that towers high above the rooftops.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life.