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© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Jungle Temples

Some  pilgrims prefer to visit the simpler so called “Jungle Temples”. These are usually far from the main roads and give pilgrims a peaceful and tranquil setting in which to pray. This Jungle Temple is in the Tissamaharama area. Pilgrims often visit it on their way to Kataragama via Tissamaharama.

The surrounding countryside is a haven of peace and beauty with many birds and wild animals.

Another really peaceful Jungle Temple is situated  amongst hills and Jungle North of Yala.  This Temple is mainly sited on two steep hills with a Tank that has been constructed in the valley in between.

On arrival the elephant first “investigates” the Pilgrims’ Rest Area in the car park, before setting off uphill towards the Temple sites

On the way up, the elephant stops at the Temple Tank and takes a bath.

After bathing himself thoroughly, he climbs out of the Tank and he continues on up the hill track to the Temple site.

When he reaches the monks’ residence on the way up, he makes his way to their water tank and has a drink.

….. he makes his way to visit the Head Monk……

…......who greets him with Poya Day treats.

After his final “treat”, he the elephant  next retraces his route back down the hill…..

……..En route, back to his Jungle home with the rest of his herd, he calls briefly at the Pilgrims’ Guest House to investigate the possibility of more Poya Day treats but sadly on this occasion, there were none!

Other wildlife abound around this Jungle Temple site, particularly monkeys, hence the necessity for the heavily shuttered windows.

The route to one of the Temples

The beautiful Tank -a temple stupa on the top of the hill.

On the way up the steep path, Pilgrims will typically place a stick under the rocky overhang, to “stop it falling”.

The path up to one of the Temple Stupas

Views of the surrounding Jungle from one of the Stupas

Looking across the valley with the Tank to the other Stupa on opposite hill.

 On Poya Moon Days not only do human pilgrims visit, but also a wild elephant regularly visits from the surrounding Jungle.

After further “inspection” of this part of the site ……