Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Sri Lanka  /  Central Province  /  Matale  /  Nature  /  Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple
Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple, Matale
(4.2/5 based on 160+ reviews on the web)
Explore the 13 caves of Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple to find important relics of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist history. Tucked between hills, the temple was founded by third century BCE King Devanampiya Tissa after he introduced the religion to his people. The main building displays the original Pali Canon (sutras), which monks still copy using traditional methods on "ola" (palm) leaves and offer for purchase. Other caves exhibit relics, such as a reclining Buddha, paintings of the Himalayan mountains and the four great rivers, or depictions of sinners being punished in hell. You need a priest's permission to take photographs, but can store your shoes for free at the entrance. To visit Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple and other attractions in Matale, use our Matale trip itinerary planner.
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TripAdvisor
  • Magical place to do absolutely. Several Buddha history in several natural cave. Wonderful and authentic!
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  • Sri Lanka has a special place in Theravada Buddhism because of the written scriptures stored in this temple. The original writings were destroyed by the British and new writings on ola leaves were don...  more »
  • It is a must place to visit as a buddhist, & worship. 2 km away from Matale town and easy access to the temple. 
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  • Aluvihare Rock Temple was the historic location where the Pāli Canon was first written down completely in text on ola (palm) leaves. Many monastery caves, some of which exhibit frescoes are situated near this temple. In the 1st Century BC, during the reign of King Walagamba, Sri Lanka underwent a famine known as 'Baminithiyasaya' for 12 years. There was also a South Indian invasion at the same time and the Buddhist monks of that era realized that these problems would be a danger to the existence of Buddha Sasana in the country. Under these conditions, memorizing and repeating the Dhamma(doctrine) was difficult. Due to the famine Buddhist monks did not receive sufficient alms and faced many difficulties, and they had to eat yams, roots and leaves of trees for their survival. A group of about 60 of them went to Malaya Rata, which is said to be the hilly area of the country. They managed to live on the banks of Mahaweli river under harsh conditions and survived for 12 years till the famine came to an end. King Walagamba who was overthrown by a rebellion during the invasion from South India, regained the throne by defeating the invaders after fourteen years. The monks who left to India and to the hilly areas of Sri Lanka, during the difficult period, returned to Anuradhapura, and decided to transcribe the Tripiṭaka (philosophical doctrines of Buddhism) for the preservation and for the use of future generations. The monks selected Aluvihare Rock temple in Matale as the most suitable and secured place to carry out this important event. This transcription was carried out due to the fear that the doctrine would be lost during the upheaval caused by repeated South Indian invasions.[5] It is said that 500 scholarly monks congregated at Aluvihare Rock temple to perform the difficult task of first reciting the doctrines and agreeing on an acceptable version before transcription. The entire transcription was done in books made of ola laves, locally known as puskola poth. These books were made up from thick strips created from the leaves of either the palmyra or talipot-palm and the doctrines were written down in Pali language. A metal stylus was used to inscribe the characters on the ola leaves. The old library atof Aluvihare Rock Temple, which had safely housed the volumes of this transcribed manuscripts for so many centuries, was totally destroyed during theMatale Rebellion in 1848.[6] Many parts of the temple complex was destroyed too by this incident. The consequences of this disaster are still evident today at the temple premises. It took a long a time for the recompilation, as few generations of monks had to transcribe the Tripiṭaka again. The recompilation and transcription took a long time as only few monks were engaged in this painstaking task, and the first of the three “baskets of the law” was only completed in 1982. Aluvihare Rock temple has many caves with ancient inscriptions. These caves enclose comparatively modern wall and ceiling paintings of interest, and impressive statues and images of Lord Buddha. The main cave of these, has a large reclining statue of the Buddha, together with standing and seated images. In the entrance-way of another cave with a reclining statue of the Buddha there are terrifying depictions of the hellish afterlife that awaits people who commits sins. One cave is dedicated to the revered Indian monk-scholarBuddhagosa,[7] who is regarded as the greatest exponent and interpreter of the Pali canonical scriptures. He resided at Anuradhapura during the 4th and 5th centuries and is supposed to have spent several years at the Matale Alu Viharaya to engage in his scholarly work. K
  • Aweome buddhist temple u get the best scenario on evening and dawan Calm place to be Has a historical valuve that no buddhist can forget Love this place climate nature It is surrounded by mountains around so beautiful
  • This is a the sacred Buddist temple situated in Aluvihare 30km north of Kandy. The temple dates back to 3rd century BC and is the place where the Holy book of the Buddhists, the Tripitaka was written to text on Ola leaves by Arahats
  • The Aluvihara rock temple is a sacred Buddhist Temple located in aluvihare,matale district in Sri Lanka. Nice view and cave with beautiful paintings...
  • Its a nice place to be.....so relaxing....one an only place in the world where 3 pitaka's of the Buddhism (Suthra,Pitaka,Abidarma) were written on an Olar leaves. Famouse for Sri Lankan & International Buddhists.....Beautiful rock temple with an old Image house.....