Lightning damages Lankatilaka temple | Sunday Observer

Lightning damages Lankatilaka temple

26 September, 2021

One of the ancient temples, Lankatilaka temple has been damaged by lightning on September 18. The Archaeology Department said that the brick wall on the Western side of the ancient temple has been damaged in the incident.

Archaeology Department Director General Prof. Anura Manatunga told the Sunday Observer that reconstruction work on the damaged temple will commence soon. "It is not a serious damage. The Buddha statues were not damaged at all,” he said. He added that investigations are being conducted to determine the extent of the damage on the Lankatilaka temple. However, lightning conductors have not been installed in the ancient temple.

Central Cultural Fund officials said that the lighting had travelled through the iron support kept for the pillars. This incident occurred due to the absence of a lightning conductor. The question arises as to why those responsible for archaeological sites wriggle out of performing their duties. Steps should be taken by those responsible to avoid future disasters without taking such critical issues for granted.


The ancient temple Lankatilaka which is regarded as the most magnificent architectural edifice during the Gampola era is in Udunuwara, Kandy. The history of the temple dates back to the 14th century.

According to evidence, the temple was built by king Bhuvanekabahu-4 who entrusted the construction of the temple to his Chief Minister Senalankadhikara. The architecture of the temple was designed by a South Indian architect named Sathapati Rayar.

However, it is evident that the temple depicts the architecture of the Polonnaruwa era. As noted by Prof. Senarath Paranavithana, Sathapati Rayar designed the temple by using the architecture of the Polonnaruwa era.

As revealed by archaeologists, the buildings of the temple have been built on a rock called Panhalgala rock. The image house adorned with traditional Sinhalese sculptures enriches the aesthetic values of the temple.

According to the Lankatilaka copper plaque, the image house had been constructed as a four storied mansion. The walls and the ceiling of the image house embellished with the paintings and sculptures which belong to the Kandyan era reveal the sensitivity of ancient masons.

There can be found five Devales dedicated to Upulvan, Ganapathi, Saman, Vibhishana and Kumara Bandara. It is the Deity Kumara Bandara who protects the Lankatilaka temple. The influence of God worship has been in existence even during the Gampola era. The country should protect archaeological sites and ancient temples for the next generation.