Places of Worship

Seema Malaka

Sri Lanka / Asia

Seema Malakaya is a Buddhist temple, originally constructed in the 19th century in the middle of the Beira Lake, Sri Lanka at Sir James Pieris Mawatha, but that temple began to sink in the 1970s, and in 1976 the Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003), who subtly transformed the look of South-East Asia with his tropically modern buildings, re-designed it and it was constructed as seen today.  The temple is mainly used for meditation and rest.  

Seema Malakaya is part of the nearby Gangarama temple.  Its first use was as a ritual house for Buddhist priests where junior priests were ordained as senior priests and where rules of Sangha (Buddhist priests) were implemented and disciplinary decisions taken and enforced.  

The temple is on three platforms interconnected by pontoon bridges. The connection to James Peiris Mawatha is via a pontoon bridge. The wood-panelled central house of meditation is for quiet sitting and meditation and enjoying the scenic view surrounding the lake.  Surrounding this central building are gold coloured seated Buddha statues.  On the four outer corners are statues of Hindu deities including Shiva and Ganesh.  On the left platform is the bodhi tree and a seated Buddha statue flanked by two standing statues.  The third platform on the right is the real Seema Malakaya with entry restricted to priests.  Compared to the gaudy coloured Gangarama Temple, Seema Malakaya is simple, charming, and aesthetically pleasing.   As with all temples in Sri Lanka, it is open to people of all faiths.  Visitors are required to dress modestly and to remove footwear at the entrance.

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