Located at the top of a hill near the town of Aluthgama in the Kalutara District, the Kande Viharaya (which means “Mountain Temple” in the Sinhalese language) is one of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Founded in the early 18th century, the temple is formally recognized as an archaeological site by the Sri Lankan government. The temple also runs the Kshethrarama Pirivena, a monastic college attached to the temple that was established in 1904 for the education of monks in Sri Lanka, and a major centre for Buddhist education in the country.
A huge statue of the Lord Buddha greets visitors at the entrance; the statue is one of the tallest sitting Buddha statues in the world, and was unveiled in 2007. Contained within the temple are a Stupa, Bodhi Tree and Relic Chamber, with the last believed to be the oldest structure within the temple. The entrance to the Relic Chamber features a moonstone, and its ceilings and walls feature frescoes that are believed to have been painted during the latter half of the Kandyan period in Sri Lanka. Paintings that showcase the life of Lord Buddha as well as several statues can be found across the rest of the temple. When entering the temple, visitors must ensure that they are dressed respectfully; shoulders should not be exposed, and legs need to be covered down to the ankles.