Mulkirigala Rock Temple
Highlighting Features of the Temple
Mulkirigala Rock Temple, also known as Mulkirigala Raja Maha Viharaya in the local dialect, is located in Tangalle and makes for a great day excursion. The temple is embedded into a 673-foot-tall rock and requires you to climb to the summit to admire its beautiful stupa and surrounding views. The rock is affectionately referred to as ‘Little Sigiriya’ due to its stunning architectural style; just not as popular as the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Recognized as an important archaeological site, visit the temple and admire the various paintings, sculptures and architectural structures, which comprises of five key areas; namely, the Siyambalamaluwa, Bomaluwa, the Royal Temple Compound, the Upper Temple Compound and the Lower Temple Compound.
The temple and its caves also hold a large collection of sculptures and murals that originated during the Kandyan Era, most depicting episodes from the life of the Buddha; known as ‘Jataka stories’.
History of the Temple
Built in the 3rd century AD, the temple received royal patronage by the king who built it and those that came after him; with many carrying out various renovations during their reign. In the 18th century, when the Dutch colonists ruled Ceylon; the Mulkirigala Rock Temple was dubbed ‘Adam’s Berg’, and the Dutch were rumoured to have believed that Adam and Eve’s tombs were located here.
It is recommended to visit the temple in the early hours of the morning or evening to avoid the harsh sun rays as you make your way to the summit.