Aluvihare Rock Temple

The Aluvihare Rock Temple, nestled in Aluvihare, Matale, stands as a sacred Buddhist site with deep historical significance. Founded around the 3rd century BC by King Devanampiya Tissa of Sri Lanka, it served as a pivotal center for the introduction of Buddhism to the island. Notably, the temple is revered for housing an original segment of the Buddhist scripture known as the “Pali Canon.”

During the 1st century BC, Sri Lanka faced significant challenges, including a twelve-year famine known as ‘Baminithiyasaya’ and a South Indian invasion during the reign of King Walagamba. Recognizing the peril to the preservation of Buddha Dhamma (teachings), around sixty Bhikkus (Buddhist monks) sought refuge in Malaya Rata, the hill country, enduring harsh conditions and scarcity of food.

Following the survival of these challenging times and the return of King Walagamba from fourteen years of hiding, the Bhikkus, along with pupils who had sought refuge in India and the hill country, convened at Kallagama Janapadaya. Together, they deliberated and decided to transcribe the ‘Tripitaka’ (the Pali Canon) to safeguard the Buddha Dhamma for future generations.

Recognizing Anuradhapura’s unsuitability for this monumental task, they selected ‘Aloka lena’ in Mathula Janapadaya, known today as Aluvihare in Matale, as the site for this crucial endeavor. Thus, the Aluvihare Rock Temple became the sacred ground where the timeless wisdom of the Buddha was meticulously transcribed, ensuring its preservation and dissemination for posterity.