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Pilgrimage

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Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka People of Sri Lanka, most of whom are Buddhists, are deeply religious. They regard visiting the places of pilgrimage their religious duty. Prominent among Sri Lankan religious sites are Temple of Tooth and Adam's Peak. Here is brief account of the places of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka.

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Temple of Tooth
Temple of Tooth, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites, is located in Kandy. The temple is an imposing pink-painted structure, encircled by a deep moat. It is also known as Dalda Maligawa. The temple houses the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha. Buddhists believe that it was taken from the flames of Buddha's funeral pyre in 543 BC. It was brought in Lanka in 4th century AD.

Adam's Peak
Adherents of all religions in Sri Lanka consider Adam's Peak sacred. It is a conical shaped mountain 2,243 meters high. Buddhists believe that Lord Buddha visited it during his third visit to Sri Lanka and placed his footprint on the summi..Hence, the name Sripada-the sacred footprint. According to Muslim traditions, the footprint is of Adam. Hindus consider it to be of Lord Shiva while Christians that of St. Thomas, a disciple of Jesus.

April is the month of pilgrimage. Specatacle of sunrise from the peak is impressive. One can approach the peak from different ways.

Bogoda Bridge and Temple
Bogoda, 30km off Bandarawela, is known for its ancient temple and wooden bridge. The Bridge, harking back to the 17th century, is regarded to be the oldest surviving wooden bridge in the world. The temple has even longer history, to the 1st century BC. The Bridge marks an ancient route, which connected Kandy and Badulla. It is built across the stream Gallanda Oya, supported by several pairs of elegantly carved pillars.

Buduruwagala
Buduruwagala or 'the images of Buddha, sits 5km off Wellawaya. The complex consists of seven idols dating back to 10th century AD and belonging to the Mahayana school of Buddhism. The statues date back to 10 century AD. The colossal Buddha statue still bears traces of its original stuccoed robe and a long streak of orange tells it was once brightly painted. The central of the three figures to the Buddha's right is considered to be the Buddhist mythological figure-the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Religious Tour of Sri LankaDowa Cave Temple
Dowa Cave Temple, on Badulla-Bandarawella highway, is a historic cave temple complex. Sitting amidst the hills, it once served as the sanctuary for King Walagamba. The temple has a beautiful ornamental gateway that draws visitors. It has a huge Buddha image sculptured from a rock. Some paintings, telling various Jataka stories, belong to the Kandyan era.

Maligawila
Maligawila is known for the two colossal statues of Buddha harking back to 7th century AD. One of the statues, 11m tall, is considered to be the world's largest free standing Buddha figure. The place is located about 15 km to the south of Monaragala. The idols are carved from crystalline limestone.

Dambegoda
You can find another statue of Buddha at Dambegoda, 1km from Maligawila. The statue is 10m tall and known as Avalokitheswara Bodhisattva.

Muthiyangana
Muthiyangana is one of the sixteen most venerated religious places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. It has a shrine that was built in 4 century AD and houses the jaw-bone of Lord Buddha. It is believed that the Lord Buddha personally blessed this site during one of his three visits to Sri Lanka.

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