Kelaniya Buddhist Temple

  • Port

    Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • Activity Level


  • Excursion Type


  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Starting At


  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 2½ Hours

  • Meals Included


Kelaniya is an active Buddhist temple, built on a site believed to have been visited by Buddha himself more than 2,000 years ago. It is said that Buddha preached his doctrine here to a gathering of serpent kings. Today, human worshippers come to lay sprigs of lotus flowers around the great white dagoba, light oil lamps, and sprinkle the base of the Tree of Enlightenment with purifying water.

Artistic highlights of the temple include fine carvings and lovely frescoes, fascinating geometrically patterned ceiling paintings, and three important images of Buddha -- two in a sitting position and one in a reclining pose. Adorning the outer walls is more light-hearted work -- rows of whimsical dwarfs and elephants in bas-relief.

Notes: Modest attire is required; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered (women). Shorts are not allowed. Shoes must be removed before you enter the temple(s). Bring along a pair of thick socks to protect your feet from the hot pavement. Only small bags are permitted within the temple. Photography is allowed inside the temple for a small fee (at your own expense).