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The Gangarama Temple
The Gangarama Temple located beside a bo tree on the waters of Beira lake is a Buddhist temple containing many statues and antiques. It is accessible via a wooden platform. The most significant Buddhist temple is the Kelaniya Raja Mahavihara, 11 km from Colombo Fort. Dating back to over 2000 years the temple was constructed and destroyed a number of times since the time the Buddha is believed to have preached here. Images of the reclining and the preaching Buddha, frescoes depicting incidents from his life and a hollow paddy heap shaped dagaba are the main features of this temple. During the Duruthu Perahera festival in January, the temple becomes the focus of celebrations involving scores of elephants and dancers. Other important Buddhist centers in Colombo are the Vajiramaya temple at Bambalapitiya, the Raja Maha Viharaya at Bellanwila, the Gotami Viharaya at Borella with George Keyt’s murals, Colombo’s oldest Buddhist temple built in 1806, the Dipaduttaramaya, in olombo 13 and the Paramananda Purana Viharaya also in Colombo 13. The lssipatanaramaya at Thimbirigasyaya has some beautiful frescoes, the Buddhist Cultural Center at Dehiwala is famous for the rare collection of books on Buddhism and the Karagampitiya Temple also at Dehiwala has Buddha statues with sapphires for eyes.
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