Built on the top of a rock boulder, and beckoning the devotees and tourist alike from afar, Rankoth Viharaya or Galkanda Viharaya is an important Buddhist monument located in the district of Kalutara, a little over half an hour’s distance from Anantara Kalutara Resort.
Rankoth Viharaya is complete with a unique and astounding architecture and plays an important role in the history of the island. Reputed to be built around 1830 A.D. as a dwelling place for Buddhist monks, the image house has illustrations of Lord Buddha’s life stories, and many jathaka stories – the previous incarnations of Lord Buddha. Due to its long history, the architecture of the temple resonates with that of Dutch architecture. However, it is believed that the sacred Bo tree at the premises is much older than the temple itself. In addition to these, the key feature of the temple that has Buddhists flocking to it is the presence of an imprint of Lord Buddha’s footprint. Made of marble, the plaque is considered a gift from Burma, making the temple sacred to the Buddhists. The temple holds treasures for scholars of religion in its library; dubbed both gula, meaning “the hole where books are stored”, the temple library has many ancient texts – some in the form of parchment-leafed books – that speak of history and religion of the island. One finds monks studying these treasures to date.
Rankoth Viharaya has contributed towards many aspects of the local society: Sujatha Vidyala Pirivena, a training college for monks (since 1896) is under the patronage of the temple, while Prajapathi Gothami women’s society and Bodu Pubudu Foundation each contribute towards the upheaval of Buddhism in the area. A visit to the temple is among the many things to do in Kalutara, as it will soothe you mind and soul while providing an important insight to the makings of the island of Sri Lanka.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+