Ideally located on a rocky premonitory overlooking Bentota River lies an ancient Buddhist temple that has truly stood the test of time. Revered by Buddhist devotees as a sacred space of worship this centuries old edifice is a must-see cultural highlight for all tourists exploring the coastal paradise of Bentota. Dubbed the Benthara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara in the local tongue this iconic structure is reached via a series of steps that leads to a stone archway. Visitors then come across a doorway constructed in stone held up by larger than life columns. Elaborately carved with Nari Latha symbols that are typical of the Kandyan period the columns decorated with the mythical floral pattern are believed to have been formerly housed within the Kali Devale of the Bentota Udakotuwa Temple and later moved to their current station.
Containing historic stone inscriptions dating back to 12th century A.D by both King Parakramabahu the Great and King Parakramabahu I who reigned over the island during the 13th Century A.D the temple’s most curious asset is perhaps its magical “Galperanaya”. As a stone water strainer the unique archeological find is about 18 inches deep and shaped like an oval basin. Two handles adorn the stone filter on either side while a smaller basin in kept underneath. When filled to the brim the filter’s water trickles to the reaches of the bottom most basin, although neither incisions nor punctures are found on the surface or the sole of the vessel. Experts believe the porous nature of the stone vessel absorbs the water and in less than 20 minutes the water is filtered and funneled to the basin under it.
The sacred tooth relic of Sri Anubuddha Maha Kassyapa Arahat is also contained within the dagoba located in the temple compound while other points of interest include its two image houses. The first contains murals depicting Jathaka tales with lotus flower paintings decorating the ceiling. A reclining Buddha sculpture is found in the shrine room while the other PIlimage houses Buddha statues in seated positions. The Avasa (Monk Residence) at the temple is equally stunning with touches of colonial building elements such as large vaulted windows, and colonnades decorating its outer appearance.
Travellers in search of elegant resorts in Bentota should look no none other than the Avani Bentota Resort for all their accommodation needs. Ideally situated in a picturesque location this Bentota hotel is well-suited for holidaymakers and families on vacation.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.