Places like Embekke devalaya in Kandy attract tourists to Sri lanka upon the whole. Though much attention has not paid by the averaged tourist about the history of this place this would have been the finest wood carving work in Sri lanka. The Devalaya located in the Udu nuwara divisional secretariat was constructed by King Vikramabahu 3 (1357-1374 A.D) during the Gampola reign.
According to the historical records it was built around 1370’s. The Embekke devala is an edifice to worship Mahasen so called as Kataragama deviyo. Simultaneously there are 3 sections of the holy place. In detail they are Hevisi mandapaya (drummer’s hall), Digge (dancing hall) and sanctum or Garagha.
The temple site was designed by a drummer called Rangama and the queen of Vickramabahu 1 named Henakanda Biso bandara. Earlier the Devalaya was a three storied one but today you can see the spectacular carvings of the remaining. It is highlighted in the ‘Embekke Devala varbnanava’ about this construction and the great Sri lankan architecture used. The great Embekke devalaya became more famous because of the exquisite and intricate wood carvings on the pillars of the drummer’s hall. Since Embekke devalaya was declared as a national heritage site it has become a high ranked tourism destination of Sri lanka. As soon as you enter the Devalaya these wood carvings in the pillars and roof are amazing.
Carvings of wooden flowers, swans, and mythical animals underneath the Devala roof are proved to be hypnotized. Even the nails used to build the columns also wooden nails. The annual Perahera is a special function which takes place. Many tourists are cotton on to see the drummers, traditional dancers, beautifully decorated elephants and whip crackers. The remaining carved timber pillars and beams were built during the supremacy of King Rajadhi rajasingha.
Being an monument of kandiyan wood carving the Devala site is open to the public. But remember not to enter the location with your shoes and slippers. Each carving has a historical value, name and a story. 126 different decorations, 256 patterns of ‘liyawel’ and 64 lotus flower designs are the features used by the craftsman. Even few of the floral designs are added in to the Ordinary level syllabus. You can also visit the ‘Sinhasana mandapa’ few meters away from the Devalaya which the king used to sit at his throne and watch the Perahera.