Nalanda Gedige (sinhala: නාලන්දා ගෙඩිගේ) (tamil: நாலந்த கெடிகே; Nālanda Gedige)
is an ancient stone temple located in the Matale district.
The initial location of the temple was considered to be the center of Sri Lanka.
Nalanda Gedige is also known for being a temple worshiped by Buddhists.
Along with its prolonged history, some scholars suggest that the ancient temple is of Mahayana faith which was known for its tantric lessons and learning.
The architecture of the temple of Nalanda Gedige aligns Hindu temples, such as the entrance to the temple, a mandapa (columned hall) and an outpatient clinic around the center of the holy temple.
The combination of art and religion highlights the beauty of Nalanda Gedige’s temples and allows us to understand the rich and profound meaning behind the masterpiece.
According to what historians and archaeologists have discovered about Nalanda Gedige; the structure was created between the 8th and 10th century AD
This was a turbulent period for ancient Ceylon, with the kings of South India settling in the wake of the declining Sinhalese monarchy.
Some historians speculate that Nalanda Gedige was a courageous attempt to merge the Tamil and Sinhalese cultures; while others say the structure began as a Hindu temple built in the Pallava style, which was later used by Buddhists.
However, in an unknown moment in time, Nalanda Gedige was abandoned and forgotten; its unsolved mystery.
The forest took control of the region, engulfing the sanctuary in its deep and dark embrace.
Many centuries later, in 1893, while the British tried to discover the mysteries of tropical Ceylon; H. C. P. Bell, who was the archaeological commissioner at the time, found the building in a deep jungle area near a village. Understanding its historical importance; he then made a concentrated effort to search for it and acquired the surrounding land for that sole purpose. One of his magazines stated the following:
“The land was acquired around this little-known and solitary granite construction sanctuary, popular style gedige. It is located on a raised ground in rice fields, picturesquely surrounded by low hills and wooded villages. In 1911 a small gang was detached from the workforce in Sigiriya to completely eradicate all the growth of the jungle above and around the ruin as well as cutting the earth’s slime even further, hiding the bold styles on which the fan rests. A very special importance attaches to this unique temple, as it is the only example discovered, in Ceylon, of composite styles of architecture, skillfully blended to form a delightfully homogeneous building “.
Bell also had plans to dismantle and move the entire facility to a more viable location. He felt that the temple was in a precarious position; an elevated area that could become unstable at any time, causing irreparable damage to Nalanda Gedige.
However, his plans did not reach results until many years later, when he had long since moved from the position of archaeological commissioner.
In the 1980s, the waters of the newly created Bowatenne reservoir threatened to flood the sanctuary.
Therefore, the researchers took the opportunity to dismantle the ruin and rebuild it on the reservoir containment wall, high above the waters.
It was rebuilt next to the reservoir and can now be visited by accessing a small road with a magnificent backdrop of hills covered with trees.
Sri Lanka is indeed the perfect place for children and for people who like animals and nature.
This country is incredibly green.
It is impossible not to find elephant herds on safari or even on the same road traveling.
It is also very easy to see leopards, macaques and other types of monkeys, giant squirrels, jackals, etc. etc
Furthermore, walking with children and adults through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a delight. Along with the giant trees and millions of plants, we will also find monkeys and other animals in this immense place.