Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Alu Vihara Temple

It is at this temple near Matale that the Buddhist Scriptures were committed to the writing by the monks of Alu Vihara. During the reign of Valagamba (104-77 BC) the Tripitika was written on ola leaves in Pali. Carved into the tall rock face are these triangular niches for oil lamps.


Across the road from the rock of Pidurangala is the ancient viharaya with a chaitya and bodhighara. The chapter house is a structure of tall columns very similar to what is called ‘Elephant Stables’ in Tissamaharama. Far from being a place where elephants were tethered, these stone pillars seem to have supported an upper storied structure. At the top end of some of the pillars are rectangular grooves on which cross-beams would have rested. The viharaya is located in a forested arcade full of tall na trees. It was quiet and undisturbed and the only movement other than from the wind was from a rock squirrel which was busily plying back and forth carrying branches to make a nest high up on a tree.

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