Standing Buddha at Dambulla cave temple,Visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples, Sri Lanka temple dress code, temple of the tooth dress code

13 RULES TO OBSERVE WHILE VISITING SRI LANKA BUDDHIST TEMPLE, SRI LANKA TEMPLE DRES CODE AND TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH DRES CODE.

When you plan a Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday, there are several activities that you essentially need to consider, such as visiting the cultural triangle, Visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples, having authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, and relaxing on the palm-fringed pristine Sri Lankan beaches.

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Perhaps you have booked one of the Sri Lanka temple tours in view of visiting a few important Buddhist temples, however, visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples is an essential part of every Sri Lanka trip. Especially, if you are venturing on a Sri Lanka trip that includes a cultural triangle such as 5 day Sri Lanka cultural trip, and a 7-day classical tour, you will visit a dozen of Buddhist temples.

10 days Sri Lanka Buddhist tour includes the major Buddhist religious sites on the island, that you do not encounter on most trips. The tour covers some of the major temples such as Somawathiya, Mahiyangana, Girihandu seya, Seruwila raja maha vihara, Kiri vehera, Tissamaharama raja maha vihara, etc. Most temples that you encounter on this trip are not included in popular Sri Lanka trips. This trip is specially designed for Buddhist devotees. This is a private trip that can be customized to meet your specific requirement. The trip includes all entrance fees, Accommodation in luxury hotels, a luxury vehicle, a live guide, daily breakfast and dinner as well as all taxes.

Why visit a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka?

Travellers in Sri Lanka are drawn to Buddhist temples due to a few reasons: Some of the religious sites such as the tooth relic temple and Dambulla golden temple are world-renowned and globally branded, with the emblem of UNESCO world heritage site; most ancient Buddhist temples features exemplary architecture (like Sagrada Família); Sometimes the temples are associated with historical events or popular people (like St Paul’s Cathedral and the royal wedding). There’s also the spirituality component: many people find inner peace visiting Sri Lankan Buddhist temples.

Useful reading

What is the dress code for the Sri Lanka Buddhist temple?

  • Trousers/pants/skirts or any other dress long enough to cover the knee
  • A shirt/t-shirt/blouse or any other dress should cover the shoulders
  • No hats and head cover
  • No shoes/sandals or slippers

What are the 13 rules to observe while visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples?

  • Dress properly– Cover your shoulders. Sri Lanka can be very hot in the summer, many tourists forget to cover their shoulders and legs before entering places of worship. One way to plan ahead is to dress in layers and bring a scarf or shawl along, no matter where you go. When visiting temples, capri pants and long skirts are preferable to shorts, although men can sometimes get away with wearing long shorts.
  • Remove shoes and head covers (hats, Burqa, Niqab, Chador, Hijab…) at the gate– Take off your shoes and head covers before entering. The visitors can see a sign at the entrance of the religious site pointing to the visitors that the designated area cannot be visited with shoes and hats. The many pairs of visitors’ shoes clumped together will tip you off.
  • Take permission before making photos- Ask permission before taking pictures. It may not be allowed to use your camera in some places, because the flashlight of the camera can cause damage to the paintings. It is better to find out if it is allowed to take photos inside before doing it. If you do take pictures, it’s always nice to leave a donation.
  • Don’t turn your back to the statues while taking photos- Don’t turn your back to Buddha statues. You may notice people walking backwards away from the Buddha. Follow their lead, turning around only when you are a few feet away from the statue.
  • Don’t touch statues and paintings– Don’t touch Buddha statues and paintings. The visitors are not allowed to touch paintings and Buddha statues as it could discolour them.
  • Don’t shake hands with monks– Don’t shake hands with Buddhist monks, especially if you are female. Use the traditional local greeting.
  • Stand when monks or nuns enter – Stand when monks or nuns enter. It is customary to respect the monks and nuns in the temple, all the visitors are expected to respect the rule, and try to remember to stand up when a monk or nun enters the room.
  • Keep the silence
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t smell flowers (Offerings)
  • Don’t drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes inside the temple
  • Buddha tattoo not accepted
  • Don’t feed monkeys
This 10-day private Colombo package includes 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Golden Temple of Dambulla, Galle Fort, and Temple of the tooth relic with Sri Lanka mountain resorts, southern national parks, and western and southern beach resorts.

What are the 7 best temples in Sri Lanka?

If you are venturing into Sri Lanka round tour, you definitely visit a few temples. E.g the below places are included in most Sri Lanka tours and they are tourist hotspots in Sri Lanka. However, how many of these temples are included in your trips is decided by the tour itinerary you have.

1. Colombo: Gangarama temple

By far Gangarama is the most popular Buddhist temple in Colombo. If you are about to take a Colombo city tour, you will not miss this popular temple because it is included in almost every Colombo sightseeing tour. This beautiful temple sits in the busiest part of Colombo, next to Beira lake. If you need more information on Gangarama temple, please read my article on “Beautiful temple in Colombo-Gangarama“.

2. Dambulla: Golden cave temple

Dambulla temple is open to visitors for over 22 centuries. This 3rd-century BC Buddhist temple is one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The golden cave temple is a UNESCO world heritage and part of every Sri Lanka trip. However, there are short trips such as a one-day Dambulla trip available for travellers to visit the temple, in case they cannot allocate time for a multi-day trip. If you need more information on the Dambulla cave temple, Kindly check my article under the title, “DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE“.

What is the best time to visit Dambulla temple?

Every day the temple is open from dawn to dusk, like most other Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The temple attracts a large number of foreign travellers and they visit during teh day. The temple can be very crowded at a time due to the arrival of a large number of travellers to the temple, however, it is difficult to predict what time it gets crowded. The temple is consisting of 5 caves, where ancient statues and paintings are to be found. Try to avoid the offering times of “Puja time” in the temple. There are 3 daily pujas in teh morning, just before noon and evening. Each Puja lasts about 15 minutes, during Puja time the visitors are not allowed to enter the caves.

3. Anuradhapura: Sri maha bodhi

Another UNESCO world heritage site with many dozens of historical monuments and temples. Anuradhapura is one of the most historical cities on the island, dating back to the 3rd century BC. If you are wondering what are the important places to visit in Anuradhapura, Kindly check my article under “7 PLACES TO VISIT ANURADHAPURA SRI LANKA“.

4. Polonnaruwa: Gal Viharaya

The second most ancient city in Sri Lanka with dozens of temples and most of them are built by Sri Lankans in the past. If you are wondering what are the important places to visit in Polonnaruwa, Kindly check my article “20 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN POLONNARUWA“.

5. Sigiriya: Pidurangala temple

This historical Buddhist temple is located near Sigiriya rock and it served as the official Buddhist temple of the Sigiriya kingdom. Even though the Sigiriya rock fortress is very popular among travellers this cave temple is not popular among travellers, therefore most travellers overlook it and failed to drive a few hundred kilometres from the rock to visit this ancient temple. To read more about Piduirangala temple, please click here, “PIDURANGALA TEMPLE WITH SIGIRIYA ROCK“.

6. Kandy: Tooth relic temple

Most visited Buddhist temples on the island and visited by many thousands of travellers every day. Usually, it is included in every Sri Lanka trip. For more information about tooth relic temple Kandy, please check “TOOTH RELIC TEMPLE“.

When is the best time to visit the tooth relic temple?

When you visit the tooth relic temple in Kandy try to visit the temple during the ceremony. The ceremony takes place three times a day in the morning, at noon and in the evening, each ceremony lasts only 1 hour. During the ceremony, one can see the drummers and flautists in the action while devotees gather at the temple to make flower offerings and food offerings to the tooth relic of Buddha. Devotees gather on the upper floor of the temple, where the tooth relic is safely deposited. The inner chamber, where the tooth relic is to be found is opened only during the ceremony, and devotees are allowed to have a look into the chamber from outside, however, you will not see the tooth relic but the outer surface of the container in which the tooth relic resides.

7. Bentota: Kande Vihara

One of the most popular Buddhist temples on the west coast of Sri Lanka. It is one of the very convenient Buddhist temples to visit from south and west coast beach resorts. The temple is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site and is visited by thousands of local devotees every day. The temple is also an important historical site and harbours hundreds of Buddha statues and paintings. A newly built gigantic Samadhi Buddha statue is a highlight for most visitors to the temple.

8. Kelaniya temple

One of the most popular temples in Colombo presumably is the oldest temple in Colombo. The history of the ancient temple goes back many thousands of years according to historical notes. It is believed that the temple was visited by Buddha in the 6th century BC and there it is one of the must-visit Buddhist temples in Sri Lanak for Buddhist devotees. Kelaniya temple is to be found 30km south of Katunayake international airport, just outside of Colombo. Apart from its historical value, the temple is popular for its Buddhist paintings, which were painted by world-renowned painter George Keyt. Large gatherings of Buddhist devotees can be seen on weekends and every full moon day of the month.

When should I visit the Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka?

The full-moon day of the month is the best day month to visit a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Every full moon day is a holiday in Sri Lanka in order to allow Buddhist devotees to visit the temple and engage in various Buddhist religious activities. Visitng the temple on a full moon day the visitors can witness how the people of Sri Lanka practice their religious activities. The visitors see thousands of devotees wearing white colour attire marching to the temple with flowers, incense sticks, oil lamps and many other things to do merit-making activities. Some of the devotees spend the whole day in the temple on a full moon day while practising meditation, and listening to Buddhist sermons.

Simply Sri Lanka 8 Days Private Tour with Luxury Accommodation- This eight-day private tour takes you to the most important tourist places on the island such as Sigiriya rock, Dambulla golden temple, and the tooth relic temple of Kandy, the national park of Udawalawe. Towards the end of the trip, you will be anchoring on the empty beaches of Mirissa.

Visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples-what you need to know

Visiting temples is a very common activity included almost in every road trip in Sri Lanka. Because Buddhism is the predominant religion on the island and visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples is important to get to know the religion. In fact, Religion is one of the important aspects of Sri Lankan life and almost every person is engaged in some sort of religion. 

The base of Sinhalese (the majority of Sri Lankans) Culture is attributed to Buddhism; hence visiting a Sri Lankan temple is an easy way to learn more about the culture and the way of Sri Lankan life.

Sri Lankan Buddhist temple Vs Thai temple

If you have been to a Buddhist temple in one of the other Buddhist country such as Thailand, or Singapore you will feel a huge difference as soon as you enter a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple. Sri Lankan Buddhist temples differ from temples in Thailand or Cambodia in many ways.

Buddha statues and dagobas in fancy styled such as gold-plated statues are very rare in the country, only a few temples have gold-plated Buddha statues such as Dambulla golden cave temple. Most temples belong to the Theravada school of Buddhism while most Southeast Asian countries have Mahayana Buddhism. There are many differences between these two forms of Buddhism.

Sri Lanka temple etiquette

Sri Lanka temple etiquette is a complex subject for most travellers, who are visiting the country for the first time. Therefore we thought of making a note on this subject in detail for travellers, who are planning to visit the island in the future.

There are several temple rules to consider and observe before entering Sri Lanka Buddhist temples, in order to explore the temple without offending the devotees. The rules mentioned here should be thoroughly considered especially when visiting religious places in archaeological sites. 

It is essential to have attention to these etiquettes and rules because Buddhist temples are places with great cultural and historical importance. You may find policemen or moderators at the entrance of a few temples instructing you to have suitable attire. But in most temples there are no moderators, so be your own moderator and follow the guidelines below.

Visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples is part of every trip

Visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples is an integral part of every Sri Lanka trip. If you have also planned a trip to Sri Lanka, I’m pretty sure you are visiting a few Sri Lanka Buddhist temples.

Every visitor to a Buddhist temple should follow some guidelines, if you are a foreigner you may not know about the temple rules, but here are the rules that you should consider when you visit a Buddhist temple. Same time I make a note of the Sri Lanka dress code and the temple of the tooth dress code and believe it is going to help you.

  • Shoulders should be properly covered with the dress
  • The dress should be long enough to cover the knee
  • Enter the temple without shoes, slippers and sandals
  • Hats, caps or any form of head cover is not allowed

Sri Lanka is an island in the tropics, the island is small in size but has a population of 21 million people. The island is the centre of tourist attractions in southern Asia for many decades. Attributed to its rich historical past, culture, awe-inspiring historical man-made structures, wide-open beaches, and delicious seafood, the island is on the radar of every traveller.

When you plan a Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday, there are several activities that you essentially need to consider, such as visiting the cultural triangle, Visiting Sri Lanka Buddhist temples, having authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, and relaxing on the palm-fringed pristine Sri Lankan beaches.

Buddhist temple dress code

What is the dress code for the temple of the tooth?

  • Shoulders should be properly covered with the dress
  • The dress should be long enough to cover the knee
  • Enter the temple without shoes, slippers and sandals
  • Hats, caps or any form of head cover is not allowed

What is the temple of the tooth dress code” is the first question that comes into one’s mind even at the stage of planning a Sri Lanka tour. Because there is no Sri Lanka tour package complete without a visit to this highly important religious site.

I specially mention the temple of the tooth dress code, because the temple of the tooth is the most sacred Buddhist temple and it is on the bucket list of every traveller. Whether you are on a round trip or visitors on Sri Lanka temple tours, visiting the temple of the tooth relic is included in your trip, because it is one of the most popular iconic tourist hotspots.

Since the tooth relic temple is a tourist hotspot and is visited by many thousands of foreign as well as local travellers, you should adhere to the proper dress code. Unlike most other temples on the island, the temple watchers of the tooth relic temple do not entertain any flexibility with regard to the rules of the temple dress.

Can I wear socks in a Buddhist temple?

YES! you can wear socks in the Sri Lankan Buddhist temples, it is only the shoes, sandals and slippers you have to leave at the entrance. In fact, it is recommended to wear socks when you visit a temple. The surrounding area of some temples is paved with granite stones and those stones get warm making it difficult to walk barefoot, therefore it is recommended to take socks. Ruwanweli dagoba (pagoda) in Anuradhapura is one such temple, that is included in most cultural triangle tours.

On this 7-day Sri Lanka private trip you will be visiting ancient monuments in the cultural triangle, tea country, Spice and herbal garden, wildlife reserve, botanic gardens, Idyllic west coast beaches, plus enjoy a breath-taking view on the hill country rail journey from Peradeniya to Nanuoya, learn to cook a Sri Lanka meal and many more. Towards the end of the trip, you will have time to relax on the pristine beaches of Sri Lanka’s west coast.

Buddhism: an art of living

Sri Lanka’s story is told with an explanation of the teaching of Buddha. Buddhism is one essential part of Sri Lankan life and it is the foundation of Sri Lankan culture and tradition. The island has a Buddhist-dominated Sinhalese culture in most parts of the island, but Hinduism dominates in the northern part of the island.

Religion is very present in everyday life, perhaps even more than in other Asian countries. Sri Lankans are a bit strict with rules when visiting Buddhist temples and Hindu temples, even if it is ruined in historical places such as Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa.

Awe-inspiring historical monuments

The awe-inspiring gigantic temple with dagobas, palaces, parks and reservoirs of world heritage sites on the island show pieces of evidence of a rich advanced culture that prevailed in the past. The extensive use of agriculture and the dedication of rulers to the development of the country paved the way to the origin of an advanced agriculture-based society on the island.

The island is a country with a rich historical past and a modern present. You will feel it along the crowded streets of Colombo. Or maybe you feel it as you present at the Dalada ceremony better known as the Esala ceremony in Kandy.

The island had a grim past on various occasions due to foreign invasions and colonial influence. But, the country has shown resilience to all these hurdles and recorded commendable development after every devastating effect. Today, this tiny island has become one of the most popular places for holidays in the world. The island attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and tourism has become one of the leading foreign exchange earners for the country.

Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour-2 days

Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lanka

There is a large number of religious places, scattered throughout the island and most of them are Buddhist temples (click here to visit the most sacred Buddhist temple known as the tooth relic temple, Pinnawala elephant orphanage and tea plantations in our Kandy-Nuwara Eliya 2 days tour). Therefore, finding a tour package without a Buddhist temple is unbelievable. Most of these Sri Lanka Buddhist temples are considered important places because they hold great cultural and historical value, especially the Buddhist temples in the cultural triangle.

Buddhist temples such as the temple of the tooth relic, Sri Maha Bodhi are top religious sites visited by thousands of devotees every day. Therefore visiting such places without offending the local people is the duty of every foreign traveller.

Religious harmony in Sri Lanka

On this 7-day Sri Lanka private trip you will be visiting ancient monuments in the cultural triangle, tea country, Spice and herbal garden, wildlife reserve, botanic gardens, Idyllic west coast beaches, plus enjoy a breath-taking view on the hill country rail journey from Peradeniya to Nanuoya, learn to cook a Sri Lanka meal and many more. Towards the end of the trip, you will have time to relax on the pristine beaches of Sri Lanka’s west coast.

The island is a multi-religious country, you will encounter some kind of religious place at every corner of the island. Mainly you will encounter Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, Mosques and churches since they are the most widely practised religions on the island. By far Buddhism is the most popular religion in Si Lanka claiming 69% of the population of the country.

What are the major elements of Sri Lanka Buddhist temples?

  1. Stupa/ Thupa or Dagoba
  2. Bo tree / Bodhiogara (Ficus  religiosa)
  3. Image house
  4. Living quarters of the resident monks at Sri Lanka Buddhist temple

Every Buddhist temple includes above mentioned 4 major parts and the temple is demarcated with a wall or a fence from the outside world. A Buddhist temple is a public place and any visitor (regardless of beliefs, race or any other criteria) is allowed to enter the temple.

Usually, visitors and devotees can visit all places except the living quarters of the monks. Normally visitors and devotees are not supposed to enter the house, where the monks live without an invitation from the monks. Make sure you remove the shoes and take off the hats before entering the Image house, Stupa area and Bodhigara.

Apart from the aforementioned 4 major parts of Buddhist temples, some temples are equipped with meditation cottages and libraries. The visitors are strictly prohibited from entering the meditation area because it can disturb the monks, making it difficult to concentrate. Some temples maintain museums, childcare centres, schools, communication centres etc within the temple as a community service.

Sri Lanka temple dress code and other rules

Being a tropical country it is very warm and humid and it is very comfortable to wear a hat. The requirement for shoes is also great due to the paved gardens in Buddhist temples.

But, as a rule, you are not allowed to have both hats and shoes while entering a Buddhist temple. Every visitor must remove their shoes and hats before entering Buddhist religious places. Usually, a person, appointed by the temple secures the shoes of the visitors and he is provided with a permanent hut at the entrance of the temple. The visitors need to pay for protecting their shoes, it is usually 25Rs per person.

It might be difficult to walk barefoot in some places of the temple, especially in the Buddhist temples in the cultural triangle due to the heat. In some places, the garden is paved with stone slabs or sand and the temperature can be really high during the day. For instance, Ruwanweliseya Dagoba of Anuradhapura is one of the most important historical Buddhist temples with a garden of stone slabs.

Visiting the temples during the day, barefoot, will be very difficult, believe me, your feet burn. One can visit such places early in the morning or evening to avoid the heat. Otherwise, take a pair of socks all the time with you and wear it as you enter the temple, the visitors are allowed to retain socks, and thereby they can reduce the effect of the excessive heat of the stone slabs.

This 5 day Sri Lanka tour includes many iconic tourist places such as the Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla golden temple, and tooth relic temple. This 5 days private tour also takes you to the breathtaking scenery in Sri Lanka’s hill country. The travellers will be able to explore Sri Lanka’s fascinating wildlife on a safari too.

Visiting historical temples on Sri Lanka temple tours

There is a large number of historic places in the country and most of them are popular tourist attractions. Most of these places include historical Buddhist temples. Maybe these Buddhist temples are not functioning as normally but they are also treated as sacred places and Sri Lankans are careful to behave in such places with great respect.

There are cops in historical sites monitoring badly behaving people and visitors, who are in unsuitable Sri Lanka temple dress code are not allowed to enter those temples. A suitable Sri Lanka temple dress code helps you to hang around important places without any issues and helps you to enjoy your holiday.

Modest clothing is the best temple of the tooth dress code and the same concept can be applied to all other Buddhist temples as well. While visiting the tooth relic temple or any other Sri Lanka Buddhist temple, tight attire for both men and women is not a suitable temple dress code.

The Buddhists are very conscious of the dress code, especially the temple dress code and they wear white-coloured clothing when visiting a Buddhist temple. White colour is considered to be the colour of purity. The most suitable temple of the tooth dress code should need to cover the body at least up to the knee while the upper portion of the dress should cover the shoulders.

I do not have a proper dress code, what should I do?

In some places, visitors may be allowed to enter the site with a more open dress, but in some places and popular Buddhist temples, the moderator adheres to the proper temple dress code. In places like the tooth relic temple, and Dambulla golden cave temple, a proper dress code is essential.

There are a large number of people who find it difficult to enter the temple due to the inappropriate temple dress code, most of them are foreign travellers. This happens mainly due to the lack of knowledge of the temple dress code.

Most travellers from foreign countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Japan and India know the dress code for Buddhist temples, therefore they dress suitable manner while visiting a Buddhist temple.

However, if you do not have a suitable dress you can hire a suitable dress, which costs only a couple of US$. There are people who lend suitable dresses to visitors at the entrance of the temples. This facility is available at Buddhist temples that are frequently visited by foreign tourists such as the temple of the tooth relic. If you wearing a short or you have a dress with open shoulders do not forget to have a scarf with you. You can cover the legs and shoulder as you enter the temple and later take it off.

None of the headcovers worn by Muslim women such as the Burqa, Niqab, Chador, and Hijab is allowed in Buddhist temple

Making photos on your Sri Lanka temple tours

The visitors are allowed to take photos in Buddhist religious places on the island. Photography and videography are free of charge in most Buddhist temples. But, visitors should never make photos while standing back to Buddha statues. If you like to take a photo of the Buddha statue, stand sideways in front of the statue. In some historical places, the flashlight should be turned off while it harms the colours of the paintings.

Commercial filming and photography need special permission from the state authorities such as the Film Corporation, the defence ministry, and the ministry of religious affairs.

Do not touch statues and paintings

It is not allowed to touch the statues and paintings in Buddhist temples. Some people even tap on the statues to check what material is used to build the statues. The main reason for discouraging people to touch the statues and paintings is to stop the discolouring. Especially in historical places such as Dambulla golden cave temple (1st century BC), the paintings are very fragile and crumble with the touch.

The seated Buddha statue is located in the Dambulla golden temple.

Keep the silence in the temple

It is essential to maintain silence at every Buddhist temple. Devotees are engaged in meditation and chanting religious verses, therefore they like to have the peace of mind to continue with their activities. If you happened to go to a Buddhist temple with children try to keep the noise as low as possible. Usually, the rule is applied to all Buddhist temples, whether it is a historical places or a modern temples.

Can I smoke in Sri Lanka Buddhist temples?

No, Smoking is not allowed in Sri Lanka Buddhist temples. Whether you see a nonsmoking sign or not people are not allowed to smoke in Buddhist temples. Smoking in public places such as Buddhist temples is a severe offence and can lead to an expensive fine and a jail term. Sri Lanka has some strict rules so don’t throw garbage outside the designated areas and refrain from smoking not only in temples but also in all public places.

Do not shake hands with monks

Devotees pay respect to Buddhist monks and always keep some distance from them. Normally the greeting to Buddhist monks is different from usual methods such as shaking hands. You have to keep the hands together in front of the chest and say “Sadu” while keeping the body on your knees.

Do not smell flowers that reside on the Tempel altar

The devotees bring flowers when they visit a Buddhist temple. The flowers in the temple were meant for offerings. The devotees bring fragrant flowers and it may be tempting to smell them. But as a rule, you are not allowed to smell the offerings.

Do not drink alcohol and enter Sri Lanka Buddhist temples

Consumption of alcohol is against the teaching of Buddha and Buddhists are supposed to keep hard liquor away from their drinks, therefore, visitors are not allowed to enter the temple if they are under the influence of alcohol, at the time they visit the temple. You can’t get away with bringing bottles of wine or liquor to a Buddhist temple. Especially in places such as the temple of the tooth in Kandy. Not only the temple of the tooth dress code but also other Buddhist temple rules are strictly observed here. And don’t try to enter a Buddhist temple after consuming alcohol. Moderators at the entrance may check you and if they found that you have consumed alcohol, you don’t get access to the temple.

Buddha tattoo not accepted

Mistreatment of Buddha’s image is an offence and is treated with a penalty. Showcasing a Buddha tattoo is not accepted in Sri Lanka and is treated as a mistreatment of the Buddha image. It is considered disrespect for the Buddha and also considered an act of offending Buddhist sensibilities. There had been many instances in the past in which several foreigners were deported from the island due to displaying a Buddha tattoo. If you have a Buddha tattoo cover it, so as to be left out of unnecessary trouble.

Don’t feed monkeys roaming in the temples

Spotting the animals in Sri Lanka Buddhist temples is not a surprise, cats, dogs and monkeys are the most common animals in Sri Lanka Buddhist temples. Usually, dogs and cats are fed by Buddhist monks and visitors. But visitors are not expected to feed monkeys. Because they start to make it a habit to hang around the temple when they get food from visitors. There had been many occasions in which, people were facing difficulties due to wild monkeys.

There is a large concentration of monkey in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, therefore most historical places such as Sigiriya, and Dambulla has the presence of monkeys. Please do keep in mind that all rules we discussed here are valid for all  Sri Lankan temples, regardless of their status (ruined or new). Whether the Buddhist temple is in a modern city or a less crowded historical place travellers are expected to respect the above-discussed rules.

What are the 7 best temples in Sri Lanka?

  1. Gangaram Buddhist temple Colombo (Western Province)
  2. Kande Vihara temple Bentota (Western province)
  3. Temple of the Tooth relic Kandy (central province)
  4. Srimaha bodhi Anuradhapura (Central province)
  5. Pidurangala temple Sigiriya (central province)
  6. Veherahena temple Matara (southern province)
  7. Somawathiya Polonnaruwa (East coast)

Wish to make a tour of Sri Lanka with its historic temples

Seerendipity tour is an entirely locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity tours and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

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When you book a tour with us, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

Plan your best Sri Lanka vacation packages with experts

Our staff makes a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write to us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

27 thoughts on “13 RULES TO OBSERVE WHILE VISITING SRI LANKA BUDDHIST TEMPLE, SRI LANKA TEMPLE DRES CODE AND TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH DRES CODE.”

  1. Visiting Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka is a tricky business I think. On an out recent trip to Sri Lanka, we visited many Buddhist temples. some of them are heavily guarded and security guards are closely monitoring the dress.

  2. I will be visiting Sri Lanka in 2 months and it will be my first trip to Asia. Very helpful article because I’m going to many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka.

  3. Well-written article. I never thought that visitors had to follow so much of rules while visiting a Buddhist temple.

  4. We had a very nice and friendly guide with us during our Sri Lanka tour 2 months back. Our guide briefed us in detail about all these rules before visiting temples and therefore we did not face any inconveniences.

  5. I knew that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country and they have a lot of temples but I never thought that there were so much of things to keep in mind while visiting a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka.

  6. Thank you for writing high-quality articles like this. I believe this is very useful to every, who visits The island. Visiting a Buddhist temple is on the card of every traveler in Sri Lanka, but how many of us (Europeans) know about the rules and regulations to follow on a temple visit?

  7. Sri Lankan culture is amazing. We had an opportunity to visit the Sri Lanka cultural triangle, where there are hundreds of temples, most of which are thousands of years old. We had to remove our shoes every time we visit a temple, but it was difficult sometimes because the temple garden is covered with sand and it was extremely hot midday.

  8. I knew Sri Lanka was a Buddhist country but never thought that there are so many rules in Buddhist temples, Highly useful article, especially for Europeans, because we are not familiar with Buddhist temples.

  9. We visited a village temple on our visit to Sri Lanka. It was a very nice temple but comparatively new. We were wondering in the nearby village of our hotel and we had no idea that there was a particular dress when visiting Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. We (Me and my husband) both were wearing shorts and t-shirts. No one was there to check our dress and we were able to visit the temple and take a good look at that nice place. We also spoke to the monk and he was very friendly. However, there we no locals in the temple as we went there.

    1. Hi Stanley
      Thanks for the comment. The rules in the village temple are a bit relaxed compared to Buddhist temples to be found in cultural triangles such as the tooth relic temple. In the village temple, there is no security personnel to check your dress. However, in the popular Buddhist temples in the cultural triangle such as the tooth relic temple, and Dambulla golden temple and the security offices particularly check your address code.

  10. This article is spot on, visiting the temples was one of the main things on our trip through the island. We visited at least one temple almost every day. Interesting

  11. I was looking for information about the Sri Lanka temple dress code. Fortunately, I found this comprehensive text and it has whole more lot more information than temple dress code in Sri Lanka.

  12. We are coming from Russia. We have booked a Sri Lanka trip already next week for 14 days. We will be staying in Galle, it is nice if you can recommend a few temples to visit in Sri Lankan from our hotel.

    1. Hi David
      Thanks for the comment. There are many temples around Galle because Galle is a predominantly Buddhist region. Please have your attention especially on the Sri Lanka temple dress code, because many travelers find difficulties when they reach the temple, as they don’t have a suitable temple dress code. Wewurukannala temple, Kande vihara temple, Kandy tooth relic temple, and Dambulla golden temple are a few major Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka.

  13. I can recall our trip to Sri Lanka in 2000 by reading your article on Sri Lanka temple rules. Sri Lanka has a large collection of temples and most of the temples we visited were very old and some of them are UNESCO heritage sites. You have a very interesting history and culture.

  14. We have visited a few Buddhist temples in Thailand recently, they have also similar kinds of rules but I feel the rules and regulations in Sri Lanka are more strict than in Thailand.

  15. The dress code tooth temple is very strict, we experienced it on our own when we visited the tooth temple on our last trip to Sri Lanka. When we visited the tooth temple, they denied us to enter the temple as our dress was not long enough (long up to the knee), and thereby we had to buy a piece of cloth and wrap it around the hip.

  16. Great article. We were in Myanmar recently, which is also a Buddhist country. They also have a similar dress code when visiting Buddhist temples.

  17. So many rules and regulations in Sri Lanka other than a temple dress code, it is suprising. I have many tattoos and therefore, I believe I will never be able to visit a temple in Sri Lanka.

  18. I thought That Buddhism is a very liberal religion. But it seems very complicated with all these temples’ dress codes and other rules.

  19. Sri Lanka offers lot os intersting things to do and visiting the temple is a must because most of their temples are thousands of years old.

  20. Brigitte Dipilla

    I had been to Sri Lanka last year. It is beautiful and their temples are very old. Nice places to visit.

  21. We visited many dozens of temples in Sri Lanka during our Sri Lanka trip last month. Fortunately, we read this article before visiting those places and we were better prepared ahead of our visit.

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