Ambekke Devalaya: The Finest of Woodcarvings!

The Ambekke Devalaya is a series of eight temples which were built by the King Vikramabahu III in the 14th century, dedicated to the worship of Gods. 

The entire temple is constructed from wood and contains some of the finest examples of wood carvings in all of Sri Lanka on roofs and pillars.

The Ambekke Devalaya is comprised of three main temples; the “Sanctum of Garagha”, the “Digge” (Dancing Hall) and the “Hevisi Mandapaya” (Drummers’ Hall).

The most ornate carvings can be found in the Drummers’ Hall. These include depictions of flowers, dancers, swans and mythical creatures like two-headed eagles, human figured birds, and even combined creatures like elephant-lions and elephant-bulls

Image of Woodcarvings At Embekka Temple sri lanka
Woodcarvings At Embekka Temple sri lanka | Source: Saman527/Dreamstime.com

There are wooden nails and even a special kind of pin holding the 26 beams of the roof of the Drummers’ Hall together called the Madol Kurapawa – this type of pin is not found in constructions anywhere else.

Image of The drum hall and Bodji tree at Embekka Temple
The drum hall and Bodji tree at Embekka Temple | Source:  Bihrmann/Shutterstock.com
Image of wooden pillars of the Drummers Hall of Embekka Dewalaya
wooden pillars of the Drummers Hall of Embekka Dewalaya | Source: Evgeniy Fesenko /Dreamstime.com

Getting in

Ambekke Devalaya can be reached through the Colombo to Kandy main road. Turn right from the Pilimathalawa junction then take the Daulagala road where you will find the Gadaladeniya junction with two roads that will both take you to Ambekke.

It can be easily visited on a day trip from Kandy, just 13 kilometres away.

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