Temples of Sri Lanka: Maha Saman Devalaya

Maha Saman Devalaya located in the city of Ratnapura in Sri Lanka, is a much revered temple devoted to the indigenous God named Saman.

Maha Saman Devale
Maha Saman Devalaya

God Saman is believed to look after the Island, especially the province of Sabaragamuwa and most specifically the area surrounding Sri Pada (Adams’s Peak) for it is believed that the God, then a human, met with the Buddha during his visits to the island. While the God Saman oten depicted with a lotus in hand, is worshipped for his following of Buddha’s teaching and his saintly life, the traditions surrounding the temple are also influenced by a touch of Hinduism.

Maha Saman Devale Steps
Maha Saman Devale steps

note: that is my grandma in the Pink saree. Note 2: we have to take the slippers off on sacred grounds, out of respect.

Interestingly, it is believed to have been occupied by Portuguese faith (church) for a period of time during the Portuguese colonization of Sri Lanka, following the destruction of the original temple which was built in the13th century. The current temple was re-built, this time grand, by the then King, in 17th century.

Maha Saman Devale  stupa
Maha Saman Devale stupa

Now occupied by a Turkey:

Temple turkey
Temple turkey

It is quite normal for a Buddhist temple to have freely roaming animals (loving kindness for all!). I’ve seen deer, lots of stray dogs and cats before at temples. First time a turkey and it gets all the attention.


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