Matale Alu Viharaya – Fascinating Rock Temple in Malate and Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Matale Alu Viharaya, Aluvihare is a beautiful Rock Temple situated near Matale – Dambulla road. Once you stepped inside this magnificent place, you are going to feel serene and calm with its tranquil atmosphere.
The temple was originally founded in King Devanampiyatissa’s reign in the 3rd Century. According to the history, this is the historic place where the Pāli Canon (we call this Tripitaka in Sinhalese which is a collection of scriptures in Theravada Buddhism) was first written in completely as a text. Palm leaves were used to write this.
There was a very difficult time for Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka which was known as a famine (Baminithiyasaya) for over twelve years. During this unfortunate era, they had to rely on roots and leaves of trees for their hunger as they didn’t receive enough alms. Some of the monks went to India and about 60 monks went to the hill country for their survival. After the famine came to an end, the monks have returned to Anuradhapura and decided to transcribe the Tripiṭaka for the preservations and for the future generations. They selected Aluvihare Rock temple in Matale as it was the most secure place to perform this sacred task after the difficult time. About 500 scholarly monks were involved in this task.
Unfortunately, in 1848, during Matale Rebellion, the old library of the temple was totally destroyed including many transcribed manuscripts. Today, you can still witness the consequences of the damages that has happened and it took a long time to recover the mentioned damages.
Music – Chasing Home by Wezi Mkandawire