visit Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

10 Buddhist pilgrimage sites for Sri Lanka Temple tour

This article is about Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka, which should be given a prominent place on the Sri Lanka Buddhist tour. The tour operators of Sri Lanka includes most of these places in the regular Sri Lanka temple tours, however few of them do not show up in Sri Lanka temple tours due to few reasons such as remoteness and lack of availability of facilities and infrastructure (roads, hotels, restaurants). However, the first six places shown below can be easily reached from Colombo, in fact, those temples included in most Sri Lanka temple tours.

What are the 10 most popular Buddhist pilgrimage sites for a Sri Lanka Buddhist tour?

  1. Temple of the tooth relic
  2. Sri Maha Bodhi
  3. Ruwanweliseya Dagoba
  4. Kataragama temple
  5. Adam’s peak
  6. Kelaniya temple
  7. Mihintale
  8. Mahiyanana temple
  9. Muthiyangana temple
  10. Nagadeepa temple

What are the most popular Sri Lanka temple tours?

  • Sri Lanka temple tours to Anuradhapura
  • Visiting Polonnaruwa on Sri Lanak temple tours
  • Sri Lanka temple tours to tooth relic temple Kandy
  • Temple tours of Sri Lanka to Dambulla golden cave temple
  • Sri Lanka temple tours to Gangarama temple
  • Buddhist temple tours to Adamspeak
  • Sri Lanka temple trips to Kataragama temple

Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

Buddhist temple tour re the most popular form of temple tour on the island. Same times some other temple tours of Sri Lanka are dedicated to Hindu religion. Sri Lanka attracts a large number of Buddhist pilgrim from countries such as Thailand and Myanmar. Most travellers from Thailand book Sri Lanka Buddhist tours in order to visit important Buddhist temples on the island such Srimaha bodhi, tooth relic temple and Gangarama.

In this article, we have considered the ideas given to us by the travellers, who visited these Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka. These 10 paces were chosen based on reviews received from travellers. Sri Lanka is a leading Buddhist country in the world and attracts a large number of Buddhists pilgrim from all around the world.

7 days Sri Lanka Temple tour in a nutshell

  • Day 01 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: Meet and greet by Seerendipity tours representative and drive to Anuradhapura. In the afternoon visit temples in Anuradhapura.
  • Day 02 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: Day 02: Anuradhapura /Mihintale / Anuradhapura. After the breakfast visits Mihintale Buddhist temple and later proceed to hotel in Sigiriya.
  • Day 03 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa / Sigiriya. After the breakfast visit Sigiriya rock fortress and temples of polonnaruwa.
  • Day 04 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: Polonnaruwa /Dambulla / Kandy. After the breakfast leave for Kandy, En-route visit Dambulla golden cave temple.
  • Day 05 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: After the breakfast sightseeing tour of Kandy and visit tooth relic temple.
  • Day 06 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: Kandy / Colombo, leisurely breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Colombo, in the afternoon Colombo sightseeing tour and visit Gangarama temple and Kelaniya temple.
  • Day 07 Sri Lanka Buddhist tour: Departure
sri dalada maligawa

Whether it’s a natural, religious attraction or a man-made site, the spiritual journey has long been a form of religious practice. Travelling helps you to refresh your mind and renew the sense of wonder; it is intrinsically closely connected to the idea of self-satisfaction and a deeper connection to the world around us.

Attachment of Sri Lankan to Buddhism

Sri Lankan people are always at the forefront with regards to the religious attachment. A majority of Sri Lankan is actively engaged in some form of religious affairs and dedicates some of their precious time for religious activities. Being a multi-religious country Sri Lanka is the home for 4 major religions, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.

That said, many sites are still sacred to certain communities, with thousands of years of history and significance attached to them. Yet, as with so many communities who have a deeper spiritual connection, most spiritually-significant sites welcome people of all beliefs who are respectful and committed to a deeper understanding.

The arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Buddhism is the oldest religion in the country; which had set its foot in the country in 6th century BC, Since then Buddhism is absorbed into the life of Sri Lankan people, even today majority of Sri Lankans believes in Buddhism. Today Sri Lanka is a leading Buddhist nation in the world and therefore it has naturally become a leading destination for Buddhist pilgrimage tour. A large number of travellers from countries such as Thailand, India, Japan, China arrives here to visit Buddhist temples on the island.

Hinduism as a religion

There are several Hindu religious hot spots in the island such as Shakthipeetha, Munneswaram, Sita temple etc. Majority of important Hindu religious sites are to be found in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka and most of Hindu devotees are concentrated into these areas. Most of the important Hindu religious sites in Sri Lanka are closely connected to Ramayana.

In this article, I like to discuss on some highly regarded Buddhist spiritual destinations that one should consider on a trip to Sri Lanka. Majority of leading Sri Lankan religious attractions such as Tooth relic temple, Sri Maha Bodi, Ruwanweli Dagoba are based on Buddhism. Same times there are important religious attractions belong to the other beliefs such as Islam, Christianity as well as Hinduism.

Perhaps your trip to Sri Lanka is not a trip to experience Buddhism, however, it is highly recommended to include these places into your itinerary because they are not only Buddhist religious sites but also important places that reflect the rich cultural and historical heritage of Sri Lanka.

These top ten Buddhist religious sites on the island will help you find a deeper connection of Sri Lankan people to their religion, other people, and to themselves!

Day Trip From Bentota To Kandy, 5 Beautiful places in Kandy

Tooth relic temple-among the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka

In terms of importance, the temple of the tooth relic is the first in the raw, this Buddhist temple resides in the spiritual heart of Sri Lanka known as Kandy. Kandy has a fascinating blend of old and new and here the travellers are able to see historical attractions, medieval buildings and modern tourist attractions. Tooth relic temple is the most sacred Buddhist temple in the island and houses left eye tooth of Buddha. The temple is conveniently located at the heart of Kandy city near the Kandy Lake and the city is dripping in chaos and colour.

Sri Maha Bodi-second most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka

Sri Maha Bodhi (ficus religiosa) is the second in the raw in terms of religious importance, which is a tree belong to the ficus family. Sri Maha Bodhi had set its foot on the island in the 2nd century BC, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. Today it resides in the sacred city of Anuradhapura, in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka temple tour, Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka

Ruwanweliseya Stupa

The foundation stone for the Dagoba or Stupa was laid by King Dutugemunu in 2nd century BC. This semi-circular dome-shaped building is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists in the island. Ruwanweliseya is one of the major tourist hotspots in Anuradhapura and included in most Sri Lanka tour packages. Ruwanweliseya and Sri Maha Bodhi are residing next to each other in Anuradhapura sacred city. The Dagoba is 150 feet in height and has 379 feet diameter.


Kataragama is visited by Buddhist, Hindu as well as Islam devotees. Kataragama Devala is the most important quarter of the temple complex, which is dedicated to God Kataragama or Murugan and is found right behind the main entrance. The temple complex accommodates separate quarters for other religions. One of the most important Buddhist temple known as Kirivehera is to be found in the backyard of Kataragama Devala while a mosque is located towards the northern end of the temple premises.

Sri Lanka temple tour, Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka

Adams Peak / Sri Pada

A world-renowned hiking trail, this has been a Buddhist religious site for many centuries and historical pieces of evidence suggest that Adams peak was visited by Chinese monk Fahian in 2nd century BC, who was in a mission to study the Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Adam’s peak not only a Buddhist pilgrimage site but also a major religious site for Hindus, Islam as well as Catholics.

Adams peak is one of the most visited religious sites on the island. The footprint of Buddha was set on the pinnacle of the mountain in 6th century BC, upon Buddha’s visit to the island. The Buddhist claim that the footprint to be found on top of the mountain is belonging to Buddha. However, other religions have their own explanation with regards to the origin of the footprint.

The footprint of Buddha

According to Hindus, the footprint belongs to God Shiva and According to Islam, it is the point where Adam landed while Catholics believe the footprint belongs to St.Tomas. During the middle ages and after it gained popularity not only as a pilgrimage trip but also as an adventure to experience the rich natural wealth of the island, due to the extensive virgin rainforest around it.

Adams peak trek

Today, local spiritual seekers and hiking enthusiasts from all around the world gathering here during the pilgrims season from November to April to experience a hike on one of the longest trails in the world. Adam’s peak trek lasts about 5 hours and the trekkers have to dedicate around 3 hours for the downward walk. Usually, this moonlight hike starts around midnight and culminates reaching the pinnacle of the mountain. The rewards for the tiring hike are the 360° breathtaking view on the surrounding jungle and the gorgeous sunrise.

While there are two major routes to reach the summit, the most popular one begins in Hatton while the other route starts in Ratnapura. The route starts in Ratnapura demands more physical and mental energy and it consumes more time to reach the summit compared to other routes.

Sri Lanka temple tour, Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka

Visiting Kelaniya temple Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

Kelaniya is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples on the island and included in most Sri Lanka Buddhist tour, furthermore, it is one of the few places where Buddha presented himself and therefore it is given a very prominent place in the Buddhist world.

Paddy heap shaped Stupa of Kelaniya temple is regarded as an important stupa, it is believed a gem stoned studded throne is enshrined in the Stupa. The gemstone studded throne had been the reason for disagreement between two factions, leading to a battle. Having foreseen magnitude of the damage occurs if the battle takes place, Buddha had visited the east coast of Sri Lanka and met the leaders of two tribes about to battle and settle the dispute. The temple is located near the commercial capital “Colombo” of Sri Lanka.

Mihintale-cradle of Buddhism

Mihintale considered being the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and part of the most Sri Lanka Buddhist tour. Usually, Mihintale included with Anuradhapura, which had been a Buddhist city in the ancient time. Sri Lankan king Dutugemunu, who embraced Buddhism in 2nd century BC, met monk Mahinda at this place, before he was, converted Buddhism. Today Mihintale is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the country, and it is flooded with devotees on full moon day of June as they celebrate the advent of Buddhism in the island.

Visiting Mahiyangana Viharaya Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

The temple lies 250km away from the city of Colombo and the drive might take up to 5 hours. Mahiyangana temple is also dedicated to Buddhism and it is one of the most sacred Buddhist religious institutions in the island due to the fact that it was visited by Buddha.

Visiting Muthiyanganaya on Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

Muthiyangana temple better known as Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara is another popular Buddhist temple visited by many thousands of devotees every year. Muthiyangana temple is not a popular tourist attraction; therefore you might not encounter many foreign tourists here except Indian travellers. The history of the temple goes back to many thousand years and it is a temple that has a close relationship with Ramayana.

Visiting Nagadeepa on a Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

Nagadeepa is another Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, were Buddha presented himself in 6th century BC, due to this reason Nagadeepa is one of very popular pilgrimage site among Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

Poya day or full moon day is reserved for religious observances

Every full moon day or the Poya day is a public holiday on the island. The day is reserved for Buddhist religious activities. On the full moon day, Buddhists are gathering in the nearby Buddhist temple and engage in religious activities throughout the day.

Sri Lanka temple tours for learning Buddhism

Sri Lanka offers plenty of opportunities for people, who are interested in studying Buddhism. Sri Lanka had been a leading centre of the teaching of Buddhism since the very early days. There is a large number of Buddhist teaching centres, even today, providing the possibility of studying this religion and related subjects. Universities such as Buddhist and Pali University provides an opportunity for higher studies as well as short courses on Buddhism and related subjects. A large number of Pirivenas and Buddhist temples provides the opportunity to study the teaching of Buddha.

Visiting meditation centres on your Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

Meditation centres on the island provide the possibility of learning and practising the meditation. There are large numbers of meditation centres dedicated to people, who wish to practice the different types of meditations. Most of these meditation centres are managed by Buddhist monks. Duration of meditation courses may expand from several days to several months depending on the requirement and progress.

Find accommodation for Sri Lanka temple tours

Some of the leading Buddhist temples provide the accommodation facilities for the pilgrim that coming from the remote areas. These accommodations can be obtained for a very reasonable price. Normally the temples provide only lodging and food has to be arranged elsewhere.

Publications and Language for Sri Lanka Buddhist tour

Most of the educated monks in Sri Lanka can converse in English. There are several monks, who are also very proficient in other popular languages such as French, German, Russian and Italy. If you need to learn Buddhism in a language other than English, you have to find a proper place before arriving in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist publications can be obtained in national languages as well as English. Most of the books shops in cities such as Colombo and Kandy distribute the English version of most Buddhist publications.

Sri Lanka Hindu temple tours

Apart from Sri Lanka temple tours with Buddhist religious sites, the other most popular Sri Lanka temple tours are dedicated to Hindu religion. Even though Sri Lanka has an only minor community with Hundusim as their religion, Sri Lanka is being a country for Hindu pilgrims for many centuries. It is mainly due to the Ramayana. According to the Ramayana, Ravana had been the King of Sri Lanka, and he had abducted Seetha and Seetha was held captive in the region called Nuwara Eliya. Today Nuwara Eliya is part of most Sri Lanka temple tours organized for Hindu pilgrims.

Ramayana tour

The Sri Lanka temple tour dedicated to Hindu pilgrims is called Ramayan tours because these Hindu temple tours of Sri Lanka mainly include places mentioned in Ramayana. Ramayana temple tour is very popular among the travellers from India and some of the most popular places on Ramayan tours are Shakthipeetha, Seetha Amman temple, Ashoikk Vatika, hanuman temple.


Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

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