Dhowa Rock Temple


Hidden secrets of Dhowa Rock Temple

Explore the history and hidden secrets of Dhowa Rock Temple, a 2160-year-old marvel in the heart of Ella Sri Lanka. Discover the cave and 38-feet Buddha Statue. Built in the 1st century BC by King Walagamba, this heritage-listed rock temple unfolds a tapestry of history, art, and hidden wonders. Join us on a captivating journey through time as we unravel the secrets of Dhowa Rock Temple.

"Beautiful and serene temple a couple of kilometers outside of Ella town. Very nice scenery alongside a river and much green surrounding the temple area."

Exploring the Origins of Dhowa Rock Temple

Delving into the roots of Dhowa Rock Temple, we discover its inception in the 1st century BC. Legend has it that King Walagamba sought refuge in the Uva Province during his exile from Anuradhapura, following an Indian invasion. The temple's iconography, resembling Mahayana, suggests that the king himself carved the magnificent 38-feet Buddha Statue.

Dhowa Rock Temple
Dhowa Rock Temple
The Enigmatic Buddha Statue and Its Hidden Secrets

At the heart of Dhowa Rock Temple lies the awe-inspiring 38-feet Buddha Statue, carved meticulously from a granite boulder. This monumental masterpiece, unfortunately hidden from the main road's view, holds within its unfinished form a tale of secrecy and abandonment. As time takes its toll, the statue, seemingly neglected, quietly reveals the mysteries it guards.


The Sealed Ravana Guhawa and the Disappearance of King Walagamba

Behind the image house, a small stupa guards the entrance to the Ravana Guhawa, an 11-kilometer tunnel connecting Dhowa Rock Temple to Ravana Maha Viharaya and Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya. Sadly, due to acts of vandalism, the temple sealed the entrance. Legend has it that King Walagamba vanished through these tunnels, abruptly halting the construction of the Buddha Statue.

The Intricate Image House and its Marvelous Murals

Inside the cave, the image house mesmerizes with its vivid murals and Buddha images. The three chambers house guardians, Watuka and Kuvera, while the outermost chamber boasts murals from the Kandyan Era. The second chamber reveals a row of Buddha images and a rare painting of "Eth – Gon Satana," an elephant-bull fight. The third chamber, accessible through a simple wooden door, features two reclining Buddha statues

Journey to Dhowa Rock Temple - A Hidden Gem in Ella,Sri Lanka

Venture just 8 kilometers from Ella, and within 20 minutes by Tuk-Tuk, you'll find the entrance to Dhowa Rock Temple. Uncover the richness of Sri Lanka's history with a nominal entrance fee, and prepare to be transported back in time.


Dhowa Rock Temple stands as a testament to Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage, offering a glimpse into the mysteries of its past. From the hidden Buddha Statue to the sealed Ravana Guhawa, every corner whispers a story waiting to be heard. As we conclude our journey through this ancient marvel, we leave with a sense of awe and reverence for the secrets it guards.



How old is Dhowa Rock Temple?

Dhowa Rock Temple is 2160 years old, dating back to the 1st century BC.

Who built the 38-feet Buddha Statue at Dhowa Rock Temple?

The statue is believed to have been carved by King Walagamba during his exile in the Uva Province.

What is the significance of the Ravana Guhawa tunnel?

The Ravana Guhawa is an 11-kilometer tunnel believed to connect Dhowa Rock Temple to Ravana Maha Viharaya and Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya.

Why was the entrance to the Ravana Guhawa sealed off?

The temple sealed the entrance due to vandalism acts by treasure hunters.

How can one reach Dhowa Rock Temple from Ella?

Dhowa Rock Temple is approximately 8 kilometers from Ella, accessible in around 20 minutes by Tuk-Tuk, with a nominal entrance fee.

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