Kalutara is a busy, up and coming resort town located forty kilometres south of Colombo, along Galle Road. The long stretch of beach is the town’s main attraction; as the Kalutara hotels located up and down the seafront will prove. There is also trade, history, culture and religion to see if you head inland. To enjoy a moonlit dinner on the beach or dip in a pool by the Indian Ocean, find your way to AVANI Kalutara Resort.
Venture inland to learn something of the Sri Lankan people and the religion followed by a large portion of the population. Many of the milestones in Sri Lankan history are marked by events that contributed to the spread of Buddhism. Many historic sites also have religious significance and remain places of worship even centuries later. The Rankoth Viharaya is one such place that holds great importance to the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka. The temple was founded in 1810 inside a small hut situated in a quarry in Panadura. It was nurtured over the years with the townspeople contributing donations and physical labour. When it began to take shape it became known as Galkanda Viharaya or ‘stone mountain temple’. It was renamed Rankoth Viharaya meaning ‘golden pinnacle temple’ in 1890 after the stupa was built with a gilded tip.
Several events of great significance have taken place here and they have played an essential role in paving the way for Buddhism in Sri Lanka to become what it is today. The Panadura Rankoth Viharaya was the venue for a number of debates in the Panadura Debates held between Buddhists and Christians in the eighteenth century. The distinguished Sir Henry Steele Olcott also attended and led the Buddhists in a lively revivalist movement. It also went on to initiate the registering of Buddhist marriages in temples instead of churches. The temple was also visited by Sir Edwin Arnold, author of ‘Light of Asia’.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.