Kelaniya is one of the small towns situated close to the commercial capital Colombo. The urban village lies on the bank of the Kelani River and is most popular for its great temple.
As mentioned in the Buddhist chronicle, the Mahawamsa, Lord Buddha in the 5th century BCE arrived to Sri Lanka at the site of the temple. His arrival was on invitation by the King of Kelaniya at the time, King Maniakkitha. The Buddha was invited to preach the Dhamma and the throne on which he sat is the relic that is now housed in the temple. The town is of significant historical importance, once being the provincial capital of King Kelani Tissa in the 1st century BCE whose daughter Queen Vihara Maha Devi gave birth to the great King Dutugemunu.
In connection with the epic of Ramayana, the story narrates the instance when Prince Vibhishana of Kelaniya builds an alliance with Lord Rama of India during Vibhishana’s battle with his elder brother, King Ravana of Lanka. Some legends state that the town of Kelaniya was also the capital of the Yaksha tribe. The tribe migrated from its former capital and created many settlement throughout the city during the reign of Vibhishana.
The temple holds many arts, paintings and sculptures by a renowned artisan, Solias Mendis. These masterpieces are carefully preserved and depict events that occurred during the many decades of Sri Lankan history. The Duruthu/Navam Maha Perahera of Kelaniya is the second most prestigious pageant and festival held during the months of November, December and January each year.
The town was of significant importance during the historical periods of the fifteenth century and after the rigorous invasions of the Dravidians from South India, it was restored by the Sinhalese kings who ruled the city in the following years. Although it was severely damaged subsequent to the invasion by the Portuguese, successive developments were carried out by King Keerthi Sri Rajasingha during the years 1746 to 1778 under the supervision of the Chief Vihara, Venerable Mapitigama Buddharakkhita.
Travellers visiting the country during the vibrant and festive seasons or even on a holiday may find exceptional Sri Lanka hotels in the vicinity. For warm hospitality and great service, Jetwing Beach would be the ideal solution for the discerning traveller. One of the most popular Negombo hotels, it provides a comfortable stay in a serene setting.