Temple Courtyard

Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

Kelaniya is the location of Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, an important Buddhist shrine just east of Colombo. According to local legend, the Buddha himself once visited here. The present buildings date only from the 19th - 20th century, although they still embody many of the timeless elements of Sri Lankan Buddhist monastic architecture. Behind the obligatory bo tree, photo left, is the temple's image house, photo center; the barely-visible white tip of its stupa rises above and behind the image house, to the right of which the stupa's white entrance shrine is visible in profile; across from these structures, photo right, are additional temple buildings, and behind those, the upper portion of a large modern statue of Avalokiteshvara.