Embekka Devalaya (Temple) is one of the greatest places you could ever have been to. Perhaps, it might be the only place in the world that is having such an amount of amazing wood carvings gathered in one location. The Embekka Devalaya has been built during the Gampola regime around 1370 by the time of great King Vikramabahu.The King has dedicated this devalaya to God Kataragama.
A nice story is involved in the creation of the Embekka Devalaya (Temple).In past there had been a drummer who was having a skin disease with no cure. To get a cure, one day he went to the famous Kataragama Devalaya of God Kataragama in southern area of country and prayed the God. As a result he got the disease cured and promised the God that he would be visiting the Kataragama Devalaya each year to worship the Devalaya . But by his old age he could not go to Kataragama and requested the God and explained. What the God told was he should do rituals in the place where something miracle would be happening. That time the Queen Henakanda Bisobandara had a flower garden and the gardener of the flower garden tried to remove a tree from the garden but was failed as blood was coming out of the tree. This incident was known to the drummer and he started doing rituals there. By time he built a small temple here and it was the Embekka Devalaya . Later the King Vickramabahu made the temple as a three storied building and sponsored the temple with Land, Jewelry and Elephants. From that time, people got used to worship the temple in thousands as in the ancient time; the rituals are done today also.
There are eight buildings belonging to Embekka Devalaya , six buildings for the inner temple and the rest two buildings are for the outside building. The UNESCO has even identified the importance of the wood carvings of the temple. The main hall is filled with several of wood carvings, every part of the main hall – pillars, doors; columns are heavily decorated with wonderful rock carvings. There are a range of wood carvings of the Devalaya thus the wood carvings include nice carvings of flowers, dancers, soldiers and animals from mythical stories.
The roof of the devalaya has been decorated with unbelievable wood carvings. It shows the excellence of the wooden art of the ancestors in Sri Lanka. Something which should be highlighted in this Embekka Devalaya in terms of the wooden art culture in Sri Lanka is the “Madol Kuruppuwa”.Madol Kuruppuwa is a kind of pin made out of 100% wood which holds 26 of rafters together. It is a wonderful creation that is worth of witnessing. As Embekka Devalaya was dedicated to the name of the God Kataragama, there a perahera was used to be held each year from the ancient times. The site has a small building called “Sin asana Mandiraya” where the King used to watch the perahera.