Wewurukanna - The Amazing "Pre-Modernist Buddhist Baroque" Temple of Sri Lanka

We visited a little known but amazing Buddhist complex called Wewurukanna…the main complex was full of huge 120 year old sculptures and murals, brightly and gaudily coloured depicting the life of Buddha. The scale was nothing short of spectacular. Some may call it kitsch but they were certainly grand and given the pseudo-western style some of the paintings and sculptures were created, we suspected these were designed and painted by a local artist with western training. ET even commented that a huge wall mural resembled a Buddhist version of Michelangelo’s vision of heaven in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.  We also visited the Tunnel of Hell next to the main hall…the local version of SG’s Haw Par Villa…a macabre vision of what would happen if one commits sins…all the painful and terrible punishment in the netherland. Then there’s a eight story Buddha statue…one could climb up the building that popped up the Buddha, while admiring the life and teachings of Buddha through comics/cartoon like murals that covered the walls of each floor. At the top, one could enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, eye level with that of the giant Buddha statue.

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