Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple
Photograph by Palitha Weerawansa

Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple

Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple is a sacred Buddhist temple that lies in Aluvihare in the Matale District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is also known as Matale Alu Viharaya.

BY Palitha Weerawansa

The Aluvihara cave temple is located 30 kilometers north of Kandy on the Matale-Dambulla road, surrounded by hills. The Aluvihare Rock Temple dates back to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa in the third century B.C. After introducing Buddhism to the country during his reign, it is believed that the King built the dagoba, planted the Bo sapling, and established the temple.

The Aluvihare Rock Temple was the historic site where the Pali Canon was first completely written down in text on ola (palm) leaves. Near this temple are numerous monastery caves, some of which have frescoes.