Aluvihare Rock Temple
The Aluvihare Rock Temple (also called Matale Alu Viharaya) is a sacred Buddhist temple located in Aluvihare, Matale District of Sri Lanka. Surrounded by hills, the Aluvihara cave temple is situated 30 km north of Kandy on the Matale-Dambulla road. The history of Aluvihare Rock Temple is traced back to the 3rd Century B.C to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. It is believed that the King built the dagoba, planted the Bo sapling and founded the temple after the introduction of Buddhism to the country during his reign. Aluvihare Rock Temple was the historic location where the Pāli Canon was first written down completely in the text on ola (palm) leaves.
Many monastery caves, some of which exhibit frescoes are situated near this temple. Aluvihare Rock temple has many caves with ancient inscriptions. These caves enclose comparatively modern wall and ceiling paintings of interest, and impressive statues and images of Lord Buddha. The main cave of these, has a large reclining statue of the Buddha, together with standing and seated images. In the entrance-way of another cave with a reclining statue of the Buddha, there are terrifying depictions of the hellish afterlife that awaits people who commit sins. One cave is dedicated to the revered Indian monk-scholar Buddhagosa, who is regarded as the greatest exponent and interpreter of the Pali canonical scriptures. He resided at Anuradhapura during the 4th and 5th centuries and is supposed to have spent several years at the Matale Alu Viharaya to engage in his scholarly work.