Nalanda Gedige – The “Abu Simbel” of Sri Lanka 1880-1890
Temple at Nalanda, Ceylon
Artist / photographer: Anon
Date: 1880 – 1890
Location: Sri Lanka
Nalanda Gedige- The “Abu Simbel” of Sri Lanka
Twenty kilometers south of the Dambulla Temple, about one kilometer east of the A9, is the attractive Nalanda Gedige. The unusual image house was transferred to this spot near the town of Nalanda when the Bowatenne Tank, which is part of the Mahaweli Ganga Program, was built.
The small building is designed like a Hindu temple with a mandapa, an entrance hall (originally roofed), a short passage to a bare cello, and an ambulatory round the holy center. There is no sign of Hindu gods, however, and the temple is said to have been used by Buddhists. This is one of the earliest buildings of stone constructed in Ceylon.
The richly decorated facade sections, laboriously reassembled in 1975, are predominantly in the South Indian style, and may have originated in the eighth to 11th centuries, but cannot be precisely dated. However, the god Kubera appears on the south side of the tympanum over the sanctuary, and this is a feature only to be found in Sri Lanka. The temple, nestled in a marvelous setting, is hard to tear yourself away from.