Hi guys, hope you are doing well. Today I’m going to take you to a really calm and peaceful place close to Colombo city. That is Manelwatta Temple, which is situated in Kelaniya. This is not an ancient temple or a monastery built by a king, thousands of years ago. This is a temple built in the recent past and its constructions are still not totally completed. But still this is a really peaceful place visit.
History of Manelwatta Temple
Manelwatta Temple is spread over a large area of 16 hectares which is gifted to Buddha Sasana by a former president of Sri Lanka late Mr. J R Jayawardena and his wife Elena Jayawardena, for the express purpose of ‘providing facilities to learn Dhamma and live a disciplined life in keeping with the teachings of the Buddha’. As the legends say, this land (earlier known as ‘Rajawatta’) is in the area which was gifted to Lord Buddha by the Naga King Maniakkitha in the third visit of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka.
In the third visit to Sri Lanka, Lord Buddha visited to Kelaniya due to the request of Naga King Maniakkitha, to preach the dharma (teachings).
The first thing you will notice about Manelwatta Temple is the large Buddha statue at the entrance of the temple. It is even visible far away from the temple due to its size and the position. It is built on a very high stage on the top of a building.
Unlike a regular temple in Sri Lanka, Manelwatta Temple is more like a Chinese or Japanese temple. It is due to its main sponsors are from China, Japan, Korea and India. Due to that, Manelwatta Temple mainly shows the architectural features related to Mahayana Buddhism instead of Theravadha Buddhism.
The stupa there, said to be very important. Sacred relics are deposited at three places of the Stupa. They are said to be relics of Lord Buddha and Seevali Maha Thero.
Construction of Manelwatta Temple is still not fully completed. There are some outstanding works to be completed.
The place is still not very know to both local and foreign people. Therefore, the place is not crowded at all.
Nāgānanda International Buddhist University
Nāgānanda International Buddhist University is a university built as a part of Manelwatta Temple. It is the 10th international Buddhist university of the world (note the word ‘international’). And the interesting part is, it is the first one of its kind, after 800 years. Maha Viharaya, Abhayagiriya are two of such Buddhist universities in ancient Sri Lanka. And most of the first nine international Buddhist universities were in India, (which is the motherland on Lord Buddha) such as ‘Nalanda‘.
Nāgānanda International Buddhist University is situated adjacent to Manelwatta Temple. It was established in 2013 by Ven. Dr. Bodagama Chandima Thero, who is the Chief Incumbent of the Manelwatta Temple. It is mostly built from foreign donations from China.
Manelwatta Temple is situated close to Sacred Kelaniya Viharaya. If you ever visit Kelaniya, make sure to visit both the temples. If you are interesting visiting this place, here is the exact location.
So, that’s about Manelwatta Temple. It is really a peaceful place and recommended visiting. If you have any doubts, just leave a comment below. See you in the next article.