lankathilaka temple-polonnaruwa
Discovering the Mystical Beauty of Lankathilaka Temple


Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka, is a treasure trove of ancient architectural marvels. Among its many gems, the Lankathilaka Temple stands out as a testament to the ingenuity and artistic prowess of the ancient Sinhalese civilization. In this blog article, we will delve into the rich history and architectural splendor of the Lankathilaka Temple, offering a virtual journey through its mystical beauty.

Historical Significance

The Lankathilaka Temple, also known as the “Lankatilaka” or “Lankatilake,” is a magnificent Buddhist temple dating back to the 12th century. It was built during the reign of King Parakramabahu I, a ruler known for his grand construction projects that aimed to restore and enhance the glory of Polonnaruwa as the capital of Sri Lanka. This temple is a testament to the religious fervor and artistic excellence of the era.

Architectural Marvel

The Lankathilaka Temple is a prime example of Sinhalese architecture from the Polonnaruwa period. It features a unique blend of South Indian Dravidian and Sri Lankan styles, resulting in a structure that is both imposing and aesthetically pleasing. The temple’s primary highlight is its towering brick walls adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures that depict various religious and mythological themes.

The temple’s main shrine is a colossal brick and stone structure with a towering façade that reaches an impressive height of 55 feet. The entrance is adorned with a massive moonstone, a common feature in ancient Sri Lankan architecture, showcasing the high level of craftsmanship of the time. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a spacious mandapa (hall) that leads to the inner sanctum, where the main image house is located.

The Interior Splendor

The interior of the Lankathilaka Temple is equally captivating. The main image house houses a colossal statue of Lord Buddha, sculpted from a single block of granite. The statue stands at an imposing height of 41 feet, making it one of the tallest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. The serene and majestic presence of the Buddha radiates a sense of peace and tranquility, inviting visitors to reflect upon their own spiritual journey.

The walls of the inner sanctum are adorned with exquisite murals and frescoes that depict various scenes from the life of Lord Buddha and other religious motifs. These vibrant paintings provide valuable insights into the artistic and religious sensibilities of the time, offering a glimpse into the cultural richness of ancient Sri Lanka.

Preservation Efforts

While the Lankathilaka Temple has stood the test of time, it has not been without challenges. The ravages of nature and time, including earthquakes, have taken their toll on this architectural marvel. Fortunately, concerted efforts have been made to preserve and restore the temple to its former glory. Restoration projects supported by both local and international organizations have helped to stabilize the structure and protect it from further deterioration.

Visiting Lankathilaka Temple

Visiting the Lankathilaka Temple is a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich history and spiritual heritage of Sri Lanka. The temple is located within the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Park, which is easily accessible by road. Visitors are required to purchase tickets at the park’s entrance, and it is advisable to hire a local guide to provide insights into the temple’s history and significance.


The Lankathilaka Temple in Polonnaruwa is a true testament to the architectural genius and spiritual devotion of the ancient Sinhalese civilization. Its towering brick walls, colossal Buddha statue, and exquisite frescoes all combine to create an awe-inspiring experience for visitors. As we explore its mystical beauty, we are reminded of the enduring legacy of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural and religious heritage, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike.

green hut hotel & restaurant

Useful Tips

  • Location: The Lankathilaka Temple is located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which is situated in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

  • Dress code: It is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders, knees, and midriff. Additionally, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering the shrine.
  • Photography: Photography is usually allowed at the Lankathilaka Temple, but it’s important to be respectful and avoid using flash photography, which can damage delicate carvings and artifacts.
  • Nearby attractions: The Gal Vihara, Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu, and the Shiva Devale No. 2
  • Respectful Attire: Since Lankathilaka temple is a religious site, dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering the premises to show respect.
green hut hotel & restaurant