Veherahena Wewurukannala Vihara
15 miles east of Matara is the town of Dikwella, where there is one of the most amazing Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The Wewurukannala Vihara temple is dominated by an image of a seated Buddha. It is 160ft high, the largest statue in all of Sri Lanka and dates back to the time of King Rajadhi (1782 - 1798).
The temple has three parts, the oldest being about 250 years old; however this is of no particular interest. The next part has life size models of demons and sinners shown in graphic detail. If you don't follow the path to enlightenment this is what happens to you. Punishments include being drowned in boiling cauldrons, sawn in half, disemboweled and so on. Finally there is the enormous seated Buddha that is as high as an eight-storied building.
The temple walls show you the path towards enlightenment by depicting hundreds of comic strip representations of events in the Buddha's life. Among one of the episodes is the Chulla Dhammapala Jataka. It tells the story of how King Maha Prathapa of Varanasi on entering the palace found the queen cuddling her seven month old child. After ignoring him the King was left insulted so ordered that the prince be executed and the body be thrown into the air. Several Jataka Stories are also amid the paintings, which where selected for Vesak stamps in 1991. One depicts The Kattahari Jataka showing Prince Kastavahana, son of King Brahmadatta resting with his entourage.
Source : www.srilankatourism.org
added April 12, 2007