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Maha Vihara. Buddhist Rock-temple at Dambool

Maha Vihara. Buddhist Rock-temple at Dambool

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 430/5(8)

Item number: 43058

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the interior of the Raja Maha Vihara, the Buddhist rock-temple at Dambulla in Sri Lanka, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s. Buddhism was originally established in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC, when, under the patronage of the great Indian emperor Ashoka (ruled 269–232 BC), missions were dispatched here to spread Buddha's teachings. Sri Lanka adheres to the Theravada form of Buddhism or Doctrine of the Elders, believed to be the closest to the original doctrine. For the last 2000 years the country's art and architecture has been shaped by Buddhism. Dambulla in central Sri Lanka is noted for its cave temples, occupied from the 2nd century BC. It has a large granite outcrop 150 ms high in which a series of five caves form a temple complex. At the base of the rock are additional caves, a stupa and remains of an ancient monastery. The main five caves were restored in the 12th and 18th centuries AD, and are flled with statuary and wall-paintings.

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