Dhowa Rock Temple
Dhowa Rock Temple is one of the few rock temple complexes found in the hill country. It has a rich history which dates back over 2000 years. The temple was originally known as Kumbaltissa Ariyagala Vehara and was named after the chief priest who provided refuge to King Walagamba after fleeing foreign invasion. The temple is located approximately 7km from Ella town.
When you enter the temple, you are greeted by a large ornate gateway, which is contrasted with the plain white stupa, both of which are relatively new structures. The walls of the cave are covered with several colourful Jathaka Stories (folk tales depicting the Buddha’s past lives), and the roof of the cave is covered with paintings of lotuses and other various flowers. These paintings are heavily influenced by the Kandyan style and this is because the temple was only completed during the reign of the Kandyan Kingdom.
Another feature of the temple is the Gal Vihara Geya (Image House) which is within a 12-foot cave and once contained numerous artefacts. However, the best-known structure of the temple is the 38 foot tall incomplete Buddha statue which is carved on a rock cliff, which was believed to have been sculpted by King Walagamba. This is a great way to experience the cultural side of Ella.