Embekka Devalaya

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Embekka Devalaya
ඇම්බැක්කේ දේවාලය
Embekka Devalaya 48.JPG
ProvinceCentral Province
DeityKataragama deviyo, Devatha Bandara
LocationUdunuwara, Sri Lanka
Geographic coordinates07°13′04.5″N 80°34′03.8″E / 7.217917°N 80.567722°E / 7.217917; 80.567722Coordinates: 07°13′04.5″N 80°34′03.8″E / 7.217917°N 80.567722°E / 7.217917; 80.567722
FounderKing Vikramabahu III

Embekka Devalaya (Embekka Temple) was built by the King Vikramabahu III [2] of Gampola Era (AD 1357 - 1374) in Sri Lanka. The devalaya is dedicated to the worship of Mahasen, popularly known as Kataragama deviyo. A local deity called Devatha Bandara is also worshiped at this site. The shrine consists of three sections, the "Sanctum of Garagha", the "Digge" or "Dancing Hall" and the "Hevisi Mandapaya" or the "Drummers' Hall". The Drummers' Hall that has drawn the attention of visitors to the site, due to the splendid wood carvings[3] of its ornate pillars and its high pitched roof.


Embekka Devalaya is situated in Medapalata Korale of Udunuwara in Kandy district. The easiest way to get to Embekka is coming from Colombo - Kandy main road at Pilimathalawa. There is a clear sign post erected by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka at the start of the road to Embekka. It is about 7 – 8 km (5.0 mi) from Pilimathalawa to Embekka from the Colombo - Kandy main road. On the Daulagala road proceed about a mile and you will come to the Gadaladeniya junction, which you can see the famous Gadaladeniya Vihara right at the junction. Both roads from the junction would take you to Embekka. The shortest would be the one to the right, but if you wish to see the Lankatilaka Vihara you should take the road to the left. If you take the road to the left you can see the Embekka Ambalama [4] just before you arrive at the Embekka Devalaya.

Carvings and Wood Work[edit]

It is said that some of the wood work utilized for the "Drummers' Hall" came from an abandoned "Royal Audience Hall" at Gampola. There is every possibility the hall has seen repairs during the reigns of the Sinhalese Kings of Kandy. The carvings, which adorn the wooden pillars of the drummers' hall, as well as the "Vahalkada" (the entrance porch of the devala, which is said to be older) are some of the best examples of Sinhalese art.

The roof itself has significant features. The rafters all slant from above towards the incoming visitor are fixed together and kept in position by a "Madol Kurupawa", a kind of a giant catch pin the like of which we do not find elsewhere.



  1. ^ Gazette 1586 & 23 January 2009, p. 109.
  2. ^ See List of rulers of Sri Lanka
  3. ^ Booklet Kandy Embekke Wood Carvings by M. W. E. Karunaratna
  4. ^ This is a sheltered place used to rest during long pilgrimage or long journeys in ancient days of Sri Lanka. This Ambalama is said to be built during A.D. 1341 - 1357 by the King Bhuwanekabhahu IV see List of rulers of Sri Lanka


  • "PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Government Notifications" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. 1586. 23 January 2009.

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