Kande Vihara – Beruwala, Sri Lanka - Atlas Obscura

Kande Vihara

Beruwala, Sri Lanka

This amazing mountain temple is topped by one of the tallest sitting Buddha statues in the world. 


A giant Buddha perches atop a colorful pedestal at Kande Viharaya, an 18th-century hilltop temple. Sitting cross-legged, he stares straight ahead over the walkway, his expression empty. At 160 feet tall, he’s one of the tallest sitting Buddha statues in the world.

The massive statue has been successful at drawing more locals to the historic temple since it was unveiled in 2007. It’s an eye-catching sight, one you’re sure to notice from a distance. However, the amazing Kande Viharaya has far more to offer than just its signature statue.

Since it was founded in 1734, the temple has been an important site for Sri Lankan buddhism. Though it has changed throughout the centuries, thanks to new additions and necessary maintenance, it hasn’t strayed too far from its original basis. As such, the government officially recognizes it as an archaeological site.

Step inside the temple and you’ll discover it houses a library, museum, and figures of Sri Lanka’s past kings. You’ll of course find more statues of Buddha, though they’re obviously much smaller than the one that greets visitors. There’s also Bodhi Tree, thought to be more than 300 years old, and a beautiful stone moonstone, a classic feature of architecture first seen in Sri Lanka’s Anuradhapura Kingdom.

Know Before You Go

Go south and take the Colombo to Galle route. When you pass Beruwala, you will spot a Kaluwamodara Bridge, which is about 36 miles away from Colombo. Get on the bridge and turn left at its end. After about half a mile, you will reach the Kande Viharaya. The total travel time to get to the temple will be approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes excluding any traffic on the roads.

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