Dickwella and around

Dickwella and around
Wewurukannala Temple

Located between Matara and Tangalla, Dickwella is a good base for exploring sights in its surrounding area. Although the town does not offers much to see, the long sandy beach here is worth a visit. The grilled cashew nuts sold at the roadside stall are a must-try.

About 3km north of Dickwella is the colorful temple of Wewurukannala Vihara, which is home to a 50m high seated Buddha statue. Constructed in the late 1960s, it is the largest seated Buddha image of the island. A seven-storey building behind the statue allows visitors to climb up to the head from where there are good views of the temple complex. A large number of cartoon-strip depictions of scenes from the life of Buddha can be seen along the steps leading to the top of the statue.

Dating from the late 19th century, the main image house in the temple complex contains numerous statues. However, the most unforgettable sight is a rather gruesome “chamber of horrors”, which lies next to the main image house. The life-size models here portray various punishments inflicted on sinners; the narrow corridor past the models is lined with paintings of sins and the relevant punishments for such misdeeds.

The Hoo-maniya Blowholecan be found 7 km east of Dickwella. It is named after the sound it makes just before spouting water skywards. The blowhole is most impressive during the monsoon season, especially in June, when the waves are at their strongest and the water jets can be over 15m high. At other times, it can be disappointing.

Located 22km northeast of Dickwella, Mulgirigala is a monastic site comprising temples carved out of a huge rock outcrop. Rising dramatically from the surrounding forest, the 200m high rock is reminiscent of Sigiriya.

A grueling climb leads to the summit, from where there are sweeping views of the countryside. There are four terraces en route where the small rock temples can be found. Housing reclining Buddhas and a variety of other figures as well as murals, the temples date back to the 2nd century BC, but were extensively renovated during the reign of Kandyan kings in the 18th century.

As a result, the paintings here are similar in style to those found at the Dambulla Cave Temples of the four terraces, the third terrace is the largest and is home to the Raja Vihara temple where George Turnour found the key to the translate the Mahavamsa. The summit has a small dagoba. more