Lost Temples is a monastic medieval pilgrimage to three of Sri Lanka’s little visited but most iconic and beautiful ancient temples: Lankatilaka Vihara, Gadaladenyia Vihara and Embekka Devalaya – all dating back to the fourteenth century, combining extraordinary architecture with an abiding atmosphere of Buddhist calm.
Built by King Bhuvanekabahu IV (1341 - 1351 A. D.), Lankatilaka Vihara is considered one of the greatest medieval buildings on the island, its architect a Tamil named Sathapati Rayar, who, as is the way with all great architects, blew his budget, not least on the wages for the Tamil Pandya sculptors brought from Tamil Nadu to create its stunning sculptures.
Another of King Bhuvanekabahu IV’s creations (1341 - 1351 A. D.), Gadaladenyia Vihara, this largest of all island rock temples is the work of the Tamil architect, Ganesvarachari. It is a wonderous mixing of Dravidian and Sinhalese architecture - with a dash of Chinese architectural patterns, perhaps inspired by the intrepid voyages undertaken by the Ming Dynasty’s Admiral Zheng.
Created by King Vikramabahu III of Gampola (AD 1357 - 1374), the many woodcarvings of Embekke Devalaya had been recognized by UNESCO as the most outstanding carvings on wooden pillars to be found in anywhere in the world; and it is rightly famous for its ornate wooden columns and panels, alive with the carvings of flowers, animals, and glimpses of ordinary life.