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Kelaniya Historical Temple

In his third visit to the country, Buddha paid a visit to Kelaniya. The first was assigned to Mahiyangana, the second to Nagadeepa, and the third to Kelaniya. The Buddha came to Kelaniya with 500 Arahats (Supremely Enlightened Beings) 2550 years ago. The specifics of these visits are preserved in Sri Lanka’s two earliest historical chronicles, the Mahawansa and the Chulawansa. Kelaniya Temple is said to have been constructed before Sir Lanka’s historically recorded history (since 543 B.C).

Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara houses paintings and statues from the 17th and first part of the 20th century. Murals adorned the walls and ceilings of the old and new wings’ rooms.

It was always given full royal support in the past, and it is still held in great regard by the people of the island today.

The temple is well-known for its annual Perahera pageant (a Buddhist procession), which takes place in January. The Perahera first opened its doors in 1927.

Additional information

Nearby Attractions

The most popular nearby attraction

  • Colombo City (10km)


Accommodation (within 10km)

  • Star Classified hotels- Yes
  • International Chain Hotels- Yes
  • Boutique Hotels- Yes
  • Resorts- No
  • Ayurvedic Hotels- No
  • Inns/Guest Houses- Yes
  • Hostels- No
  • Homestays- Yes
  • Eco Hotels- No

* You might still find preferred accommodation in nearby cities.


Distance from (estimate)

  • CMB Airport- 32km (travel time: 35min)
  • Colombo City- 10km (travel time: 30min)
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress- 161km (travel time: 4hrs)
  • Anuradhapura Ancient City- 198km (travel time: 4hrs 15min)
  • Polonnaruwa Ancient City- 209km (travel time: 5hrs)
  • Kandy City- 107km (travel time: 3hrs 30min)
  • Galle Dutch Fort- 123km (travel time: 2hrs)

* The time and distance are only given to give you an idea. There are stopovers between the two locations. The cities listed above are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.

Best Time


  • Year round

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