Surrounded by the vast glimmering Indian Ocean and replete with unparalleled natural beauty the island nation of Sri Lanka has no dearth of appalling options for every type of travellers. The sandy golden beaches, historical UNESCO monuments and delicious local cuisines is what makes this place present on everyone’s travel list. One of the most defining features of Sri Lanka are the Hindu temples that clearly and wonderfully depict the rich culture and traditions that have been well preserved through ages. In case you are planning on a trip to Sri Lanka and are looking to have a spiritual experience then here are some temples which you can visit depending on your travel plans for Sri Lanka:
Temples in Central Province:
1. Seetha Amman Temple
Located in the village of Seetha Eliya which is at a distance of 1 km from Hakgala Botanical Garden this temple is settled amidst the lush greenery of the tall trees. It is a humble temple with some beautiful engravings done on the gopuram and is believed to have been built on the site where Sita Mata was held captive by Raavan. Here is where Sita used to pray to Ram to come and rescue her. One can see the footprints of lord hanuman on a rock face near the temple stream.
How to Reach – Located at a distance of 5 hours from the Sri Lanka international airport.
Timings – 6 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – Victoria, Pedro Tea Estate, Gregory Lake, Strawberry Fields, Hakgala Botanical Garden etc.
2. Sri Muthumariamman Temple
Situated in the district of Matale which is made by adding three words ‘Muthu’ meaning pearl; ‘Mari’ meaning rain and ‘Amman’ translating into mother. The temple which is majestic, opulent and intricate makes it one of the most ravishing and architecturally magnificent temples in Sri Lanka. The land was initially a part of an incredible paddy field and the current standing temple was built in the year 1874 and was funded by the Nattukkottai Chettiar.
How to Reach – 3.5 Hours of Road journey from Sri Lanka airport
Timings – 6 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – Riverstone Gap, Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple, Sembuwaththa Lake etc.
Temples in Northern Province:
3. Ariyalai Siddhivinayakar Temple
Also known as Sithivinayakar Kovil this ancient temple is located at a mere distance of 5 kms from the holy town of Jaffna. The temple complex consists of various interesting elements like a market, agrarian centre, handloom centre, Pre School and even a Sri Parvadhi Vidyasalai or a school. The temple is so famous that it has also been visited by Mahatma Gandhi, Yogar Swami and Kunrakudi Adakal.
How to Reach – 8 hours of road journey distance from Sri Lanka airport to Jaffna.
Timings – 7 am to 9 pm
Sightseeing Places – Charty Beach, Dambakola Patuna, Nallur Temple, Jaffna Fort.
4. Kovitkadavai Temple
This is one of the most popular Pillaiyar Temple which is located in Thunnalai in the district of Jaffna and is dedicated to lord Ganesha. This place is not only one of the most significant temples for the local residents of Sri Lanka but is also worshipped by the devotees from all over the world. This ancient temple is also adorned with several options as well one of them being a grand cultural wedding hall.
How to Reach – Around 7.5 hours of road travel journey from Sri Lanka airport.
Timings – 5 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – Jaffna archaeological museum, Nagadipa Purana Vihara, Casuarina Beach etc.
5. Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple
This Hindu temple is located in the district of Maviddapuram and according to Hindu legends this place of worship can be dated back to 5,000 years ago. The peaceful and humble temple of importance was erected after the 8th-century princess Mathurapuraveeravalli was cured of her facial disfigurement and illness after bathing in the freshwater spring of Keerimalai.
How to Reach – 8 hours of road journey distance from the international airport.
Timings – 6 am to 7 pm
Sightseeing Places – Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil, Nallur Kandaswamy etc.
Temples in Southern Province:
6. Tenavaram Temple
This is a historic Hindu temple complex is located near the Galle district in the southern province. The main and primary deity was a god Tenavarai Nayanar and at its peak level it was one of the most celebrated Hindu temples on the entire island and definitely deserves a visit. It contains 8 major Kovil Shrines dedicated to 1000 deity statues made out of stone and bronze while 2 major shrines here are dedicated to lord Vishnu and Shiva.
How to Reach – 2.5 hours of road journey distance from the international airport.
Timings – 7 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – Galle Dutch Fort, historical mansion museum, Japanese peace pagoda, Unawatuna etc.
7. Sri Kathiresan Temple
Situated in the scenic district of Colombo this prominent Hindu temple is known for its fine and remarkable architectural brilliance that marvels all the visitors. This gem of a place is also situated amidst the teeming market place and in close proximity to Beira Lake. Consisting of an impressive gate tower or a gopuram it is dedicated to the sun god.
How to Reach – just 1 hour of road journey distance from airport
Timing – 6 am to 7 pm
Sightseeing Places – Beddagana Wetland Park, Diyatha Uyana, Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya etc.
8. Sri Meenadchi Sundareswarar Temple
This holy temple is located in the heart of the southern end of Sri Lanka in Galle district and is famous for being the oldest Shiva temple. This is a very beautiful and pleasant temple which is made in a scenic and mesmerising manner. The temple has a historical relevance as well and is now restored which makes it even more beautiful and adds on to its glorious beauty.
How to Reach – 4.5 to 5 hours of road journey distance from Sri Lanka airport
Timing – 7 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – Dutch reformed Church, Clock Tower, Lankagama Duwili Ella falls etc.
Temples in Eastern Province:
9.Thambiluvil Kannaki Amman Temple
Situated in the district of Ampara in the eastern side of the island at a distance of around 11 km from Akkaraipattu. The ancient temple is dedicated to Kannaki Amman the great heroine of the Tamil epic Silappatikaram. The temple is dedicated to the cult of Kannaki for the continuity of tribal worship of mother goddess of Nagas. The construction date of the temple can be dated back to 113 to 135 CE and is a very significant place of worship in Sri Lanka.
How to Reach – 7 hours of travel distance from the international Sri Lanka Airport.
Timing – 6 am to 7 pm
Sightseeing Places – Kumana National Park, Rajagala, Gal Oya National Park etc.
10. Thambiluvil Sri Sivalinga Pillayar Temple
This significant temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is dedicated to lord Ganesha and is one of the most important places of Hindu worship in Sri Lanka. The entire complex is very peaceful and offers a relaxing aura which makes it one of the most remarkable temples on the island. The architecture of the temple is simple and complete with a majestic yet humble looking ceiling.
How to reach – 6.5 to 7.5 hours of road journey from the international Sri Lanka airport.
Timing – 6am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – Magul Maha Viharaya, Whisky Point, Buddhangala Raja Maha Viharaya etc.
11. Thirukkovil Temple
Dedicated to Sithira Velayutha this Hindu place of worship is an extremely charming place to be where you will have one of the most spiritual experience in Sri Lanka. The name can be literally translated into ‘one with elegant spear’ and consists of inscriptions and sandstone pillars that are very well preserved. The origin of the temple is still a mystery and is assumed that the worship of the lord here used to take place by the Vedda and Naga tribes.
How to Reach – Around 6 hours of road journey from the international airport in Sri Lanka.
Timings – 7 am to 7 pm
Sightseeing Places – Deegavapi Stupa, Buddhangala Monastery, Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya etc.
Temples in Western Province:
12. Aishwarya Lakshmi Amman Temple
Situated in the vibrant district of Colombo in the western part of the island, this temple is a very calm, peaceful and a beautiful place. The presiding deity here is that of a massive and majestic shiv lingam and surrounded by colourful flowers. The place is very off beat and lesser known which makes it a peaceful stoppage filled with devotion and spiritualism that penetrates deep into the hearts of the people.
How to Reach – Around 1 hour of road travel journey from Sri Lanka international airport.
Timing – 6 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – St. Lucia’s cathedral, Colombo Dutch museum, Seema Malaka etc.
13. Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil
Famed for being the oldest Hindu temple in Sri Lanka this holy shrine is located in the district of Colombo and gathers a large number of devotees from all across the globe. It is a real architectural marvel and the majestic gopuram is adorned with intricately and finely carved statues which are derived from various holy mythological texts.
How to Reach – Almost 1 hour of road journey distance from Sri Lanka international airport.
Timing – 7 am to 8 pm
Sightseeing Places – National Museum of Colombo, Viharamahadevi Park, Independence Memorial Hall etc.
14. Sri Muthumariamman Temple
Built using the classical Dravidian style of architecture, this temple is probably one of the most popular Mariamman temples in entire Negombo. The old-fashioned style of this place of worship is still well preserved and is worshipped for its incredibly powerful puja rituals that benefit the devotees in some way or the other. Located in Gampaha district it is dedicated to various gods and goddesses like Lord Ganesha, Kali Amman, Lord Murugan etc.
How to Reach – 1 hour to 45 minutes of road journey distance from international Sri Lanka airport.
Timing – 7 am to 7 pm
Sightseeing Places – Maligatenna Rajamaha Viharaya, Henerathgoda Botanical Garden, Guruge Nature Park etc.