Dowa Rock temple is one of the essential tourism sites in Badulla, Sri Lanka. Many travelers are attracted to the temple because of its calm and beautiful environment. It is considered as a Buddhist endowment which dates back to the King Walagamba era.
Previously it was known as kumbaltispaha Ariyagala viharaya. It was the name given by the instructor who got initiated to build this temple on behalf of a huge Cave. King Walagamba had so many hiding places to get protection from enemies. Some believe that the Dowa Rock temple is also such a place that used by King Walagamba. A 38 feet uncompleted Buddha statue carved on a rock cliff can be seen in the temple, it can be identified as Mahayana iconography.
However King walagamba was unable to complete the construction of the temple. Therefore it was completed during the Kandyan kingdom. Reference sources reveal that the statue was carved by King walagamba himself while hiding in the temple. Unfortunately he had to leave the place remaining a half completed sculpture.
Passing through the ornamental gateway you will find a newly built stupa. Further a sacred Bo tree and a natural water pond are located in front of the Gal Vihara Geya. The Gal Vihara Geya or the image house is also adorned inside a rock cave.
It is about 12 feet in height, 10 feet in width and 30 feet in length. The paintings in the image house are developed with Kandiyan style. Vihara geya seems to be full of colorful paintings and frescoes. The cave constitutes of 28 buddha statues, Samadhi Buddha statue, God statues and paintings. The paintings on the solid rock cave were elaborated several Jathaka Stories (Jathaka stories means instructional stories of the Lord Buddhas’s past births ). They belong to the 1st century. Finally you will find a small stupa and a tunnel used in king’s time.
Eventually this secret tunnel, a kingdom of bats, was supposed to be used by king walgamba to escape. No one has got the permission to enter the tunnel . On the way you will get feelings of peace and tranquility when visiting the Dowa temple. Even today the ending point of the tunnel is unknown. Due to the folktale’s hided among the people, believe that the tunnel is being guarded by a huge snake. The 38 feet Buddha statue and the beautiful gateway to the temple are the most valuable attractions of the temple. Hence a beautiful river was flown near the temple. But today the river has turned into a stream due to the lack of water resources.