Nelligala Temple (Nelligala International Buddhist Center)

Nelligala Temple, or “Nelligala International Buddhist Center,” is a Buddhist temple situated in the Kandy District of Sri Lanka. The distance from Kandy city to Nelligala temple is about 12.5 km, and further, it is about 115 km away from the city of Colombo. This is a modern temple that was originally constructed after 2015. Nelligala is highly popular among local travelers too, due to its unique structure and the amazing view of its surroundings. This place has 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 a small town called ‘Muruthalawa.” Rev Wathurakumbure Dhammarathna Thero’s concept was used to build this temple and its surrounding landscape. Kuragala is another ongoing project that is guided by Dhammarathna Thero. Before 2014, this area was 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 do I reach Nelligala Temple?

1) Via Gannoruwa: This route is ideal for those who start their journey from Kandy City. They can come to Muruthalawa town by crossing Getambe Bridge and Gannaoruwa Village.

2) Via Pilimathalawa or Kiribathkumbura: This route is ideal for those who are coming from the Colombo side. They need to turn left with their vehicles in Pilimathalawa town or at the Kiribathkumbura junction.

Those two routes meet together in Muruthalawa town. Then travelers should choose the road toward the Kurugama Tea Factory. Continuing down 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 the Kurunegala side. You need to turn right with your vehicles in Aladeniya town. There is no need to go to Muruthalawa town. The narrow road will easily carry you to your final destination.


Location, Value, Structures, and Other Information of the Nelligala Temple

Nelligala Temple has become very popular due to its unique structures and the beauty of the surrounding area. This is an ideal place for Buddhist pilgrims to worship with devotion. The massive Buddha statues, which appear huge and gold, distinguish the Nelligala temple. The stupa was recently finished. The height of the stupa is 75 feet. The relics of Lord Buddha and the Arahats were discovered in the temple. Therefore, this is a valuable place for Buddhists. Subharathi Darma Shala is a large hall that will appear near the entrance.

The elevation of the place is about 700 meters above sea level. It was also designed and built-in accordance with International Standards. Most of the structures contain unique shapes. Due to the modern temple, you can’t see traditional structures here like in the other temples. The land area under Nelligala temple possession will be covered by too few acres, which will provide enough spaces for large gathering purposes too.


Sumana Saman Statue

Nelligala Temple was most discussed recently due to its newly opened Sumana Saman Statue. The statue was opened to the public in December 2020. This statue represents Lord Sumana Saman and his sacred white elephant. Buddhists believe the elephant was the vehicle or mode of transportation of Lord Sumana Saman. Aside from that, the statue was positioned in the general direction of Sri Pada Mountain. Buddhists also believe Lord Sumana Saman is living in the Sri Pada Mountains.


Surrounded Beauty

You can experience a 360-degree view from the top of the Nelligala Temple. The view of the surroundings will surely give you a wonderful feeling, which will be an absolutely amazing and 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 a few prominent peaks. This can include Hanthana, Alagalla, Hunnasgiriya, Andhagala, Atigala, Batalegala, Sri Padaya, Monarakanda, Piduruthlagala, Kukulagala, Ambuluwawa, and some major peaks in the Knuckles massif. The scenic view of the surrounding area gives an amazing feeling to any viewer. The morning sunrise and evening sunset are awesome to watch from here. But you will experience misty weather during the rainy days.


My experiences at 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 be clearly seen due to the little mist. This was only a sudden visit.

The next visit is scheduled for November 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 surroundings with a pleased mind. The place is available for wedding photo shoots. Some structures and Suman Saman statues were also under construction during those days.


Things to consider before visiting Nelligala Temple

  • The place is a religious site rather than a traveling destination. As a result, many pilgrims come here to 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 the morning or evening. The picture of the sunset and sunrise is really beautiful, which will really attract you. Those times are also ideal for photography.
  • Poya days are crowded with pilgrims. Weekends are the best days to visit here.
  • A large car park has enough space to park your vehicles. Optimum infrastructural facilities will be available.
  • Proper mechanisms for waste management have been applied in the area.
  • Well-organized and clean restrooms and other facilities are available for visitors.
  • Nelligala Temple is a worship place. Therefore, it will be very important to pay more attention to your dress, and as this is a place with important religious significance, silence will be foremost.


(Nelligala Cover Image Source:Traveler )

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