Nelligala International Buddhist Center or ‘Nelligala Temple’ is a Buddhist temple that situated in the Kandy District of Sri Lanka. Distance from Kandy city to Nelligala temple is about 12.5 km and further it about 115 km away from the city Colombo. This is a modern temple which has originally constructed after 2015. Nelligala highly popularized among local travelers too due to its unique structure and the amazing view of its surround. This place was also recently become a prominent topic to address due to its newly built ‘Sumana Saman Statue’.
Nelligala International Buddhist Center is situated on top of a hill near small town called ‘Muruthalawa’. This temple together with its landscape designing was constructed according to a concept of Rev Wathurakumbure Dhammarathna Thero. Kuragala is another ongoing project that is guiding by Dhammarathna Thero. Before 2014 this area has identified as an area with high forest cover. Then the area was suggested to develop as an International Buddhist center and as a tourism destination.
How to reach Nelligala?
1) Via Gannoruwa – This route is ideal for those who start their journey from Kandy City. They can come to Muruthalawa town via crossing Getambe Bridge and Gannaoruwa Village
2) Via Pilimathalawa or Kiribathkumbura – This route is ideal for those who are coming from Colombo side. They need to turn left their vehicles in the Pilimathalawa town or at the Kiribathkumbura junction.
Those two routes meet together in the Muruthalawa town. Then travelers should choose the road towards Kurugama Tea Factory. Continuing this road will take you to another junction. Then the huge notice boards available will guide you to the destination.
3) Via Aladeniya – This route is ideal for those who start from Kurunegala side. You need to turn right your vehicles in the Aladeniya town. No need to go to the Muruthalawa town. The narrow road will easily carry you to the final destination.
Location, Value and Structure
Nelligala has become very popular due to its unique structures and the beauty of the surround. This is an ideal place for Buddhist pilgrim worships with devotion. Lord Buddha statues which appears huge and gold give uniqueness to the Nelligala temple. The Stupa was completed its construction processes very recently. The height of the Stupa is 75 feet. It has revealed that the temple has consisted with the relics of Lord Buddha and Arahaths. Therefore, this is a valuable place for Budhdhist. Subharathi Darma Shala is a large hall which will appear near the entrance.
The elevation of the place is about 700 meters from the sea level. It has also developed and constructed according to the International Standard. Most of the structures contain with unique shapes. Due to modern temple, you can’t see traditional structures here like in the other temples. The land area under Nelligala temple possession will be covered up too few acres, which will provide enough spaces for large gathering purposes too.
Sumana Saman Statue
Nelligala was most discussed recently due to its newly opened Sumana Saman Statue. The statue was opened to the public in the December 2020. This statue represents Lord Sumana Saman with his sacred white elephant. Buddhist believes the elephant as the vehicle or mode of transportation of the Lord Suamana Saman. Apart from that, the statue was established towards the visible direction of the Sri Pada Mountain. Buddhist also believes Lord Sumana Saman is living in the Sri Pada Mountain.
You can experience a 360 degree view on the top of the Nelligala temple. The view of the surrounding will surely make you a wonderful feeling which will be an absolutely amazing eye-catching view. You can see most parts of the Kandy districts and the central highlands of the island. Apart from them, you can clearly identify few prominent peaks. This can include Hanthana, Alagalla, Hunnasgiriya, Andhagala, Atigala, Batalegala, Sri Padaya, Monarakanda, Piduruthlagala, Kukulagala, Ambuluwawa and some major peaks in Knuckles massif. The scenic view of the surrounds give an amazing feel to any viewer. The morning sunrise and evening sunset is awesome to watch from here. But you will experience misty weather during the rainy days.
My experiences in the Nelligala International Buddhist Center
I first visited the Nelligala in 2019 with one of my friends. It was a sudden visit during travel to the Kuragama Tea Factory. That day was a rainy day, and we were reached there by a car. We couldn’t walk around the Nelligala temple and departed very soon. The surrounding area also couldn’t see clearly due to the little mist. This was only a sudden visit.
The next visit to here in November month in 2020. We were there for a wedding photo shoot. It was a bright morning and felt awesome for photography. We have enjoyed the beauty of the surrounding with a pleased mind. The place is available for wedding photo shoots. Some structures and Suman Saman statues were also under constructing during those days.
Things to consider before visiting Nelligala International Budhdhist Center
- The place is a religious place rather than a traveling destination. So, many pilgrims visit here for worship with devotion. However, it’s not only a worshiping place for Buddhist people, many other religious people also visit here.
- It’s better if you can visit Nelligala in a morning or an evening. The picture of sunset and sunrise is really beautiful which will really attracted you. Those times are also ideal for photography.
- Poya days are crowded with pilgrims. Weekends are the best days to visit here.
- Large car park consists with enough space to park your vehicles. Optimum infrastructural faculties will be available.
- Proper mechanisms in waste management has been applied over the area.
- Well organized and clean Washrooms and other facilities available for visitors
- This is a worshiping place. Therefore, it will be very important to make more attention on your dress and as this is a place with religious important silence will be foremost important
(Nelligala Cover Image Credit: @CharithMania)