Natha Devale - Kandy
Natha Devalaya is one of the Hatara Devale in the Kandy, the other three being the Vishnu, Kataragama and Patini. These four Devalayas have a long association with the Royal Palace ( Maha Vasala) and the Temple of Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) and has been venerated by Buddhists and Hindus alike from the inception. During the Kandy period, Natha was was the highest ranking deity, and then is was Vishnu, Kataragama and Patini in that order. It is also believed that the “Natha” appeared in many forms in Sri Lanka in different regions and during different Eras. One of these forms is “Avaloktheeshvara” Bodhisattva who is a highly worshipped Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism.
The "Natha Devale" is situated directly facing the Dalada Maligaya and this building is the oldest surviving structure from the Kandyan Kingdom. The devale was built by King Vickramabahu III in the 14th Century. The building has a Dravidian architecture with a "gedige" style. The structure has 3 stories but the 1st and the 2nd floor levels serves no practical purpose. The roof is a dome with a shape of a stupa. The Devale has two stupas and a recent excavations have revealed a circular shape basement probably a Mandapa which has been destroyed by invaders. The stupa near the Devale is thought to contain the bowl relic of Buddha and was broken in to by Relic Hunters in 1889.
The Image house facing east contains an ancient "siripathul gala" or a foot print of Buddha engraved on a stone. The Bodhi tree in this devale is a sampling of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. The Vahalkada or the entrance to the area is a roofed building with two guard stones on the sides and a makara thorana on the top.
This Devale also plays a key role in the appointment of a new King. All newly appointed kings would come infornt of the image of the Natha and select a name by which he is to be known.
Primary Source : "Kandy"
Updated July 21, 2007