Amazing wood carvings and great architecture
The Embekke Devalaya lies about 8 miles from Kandy in Udu Nuwara. The Embekke Devalaya is renowned for its elaborate woodcarvings, pillars and other structures. The enticing wood carvings of the Embekke Devalaya was identified by UNESCO as one of the finest woodcarvings in the world.
The history of the Embekke Devalaya is over six centuries and was built during the reign of King Wickremabahu III. The temple is dedicated to the Katharagama deity. According to legend King Vickramabahu III’s consort, Henakanda Biso Bandara and a drummer by the name Rangama has dreamt God requesting them to build a temple and they have built the temple together. Originally the temple had been a three storied building.
The first main area of the devalaya is the Sanctum of Garagha. Secondly the Dance Hall or Digge which is representative of Henakanda Bandara. The third section is the Drummers’ Hall, representing the drummer Rangama.
The temple is made mostly of wood except the Sanctum. The bases of the carved wooden pillars are octagonal shape and the tops end in the shapes of four leaves stacked in a square. The roof depicts the uniqueness of the ancient wooden architecture where 26 rafters are supported by one wooden pin. Some of the signature carvings of the Embekke Devalaya are the entwined swans, double headed eagles, entwined rope designs, breast-feeding image, a soldier fighting on horseback, female dancers, wrestlers, women emanating from a vein, bird-human hybrid, elephant-bull hybrid and elephant-lion hybrid. The carvings at the Embekke Devalaya include 125 series of decorations, 256 liyawela type designs, and 64 lotus designs, 30 decorative patterns and roof designs. This excellent example of ancient wooden architecture is a must visit place for history and art lovers.