Ridi Vihara

Useful Information

Location: Between Kurunegala and Ridigama village.
Open: All year daily.
Fee: free, donations welcome.
Classification: MineSilver Mine SubterraneaCave Church
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Ridi Vihara, Tel: +94-, Fax: +94-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Ridi Vihara translates Silver Temple, but it was not named so because it contains a lot of silver as one would suppose. It was named after the silver mines below, where silver ore was discovered in the second century BC. Concerning legend King Dutugamunu established the complex as a sign of gratitude for the discovery of the silver. The precious metal which was mined here allowed him to complete various construction projects, especially the Ruwan Weli Saya dagoba (Golden Sand Stupa) at Anuradhapura. So he founded the temple and erected a gold-plated statue of the Buddha in the cave. Named gilded Buddha it is the most famous Buddha of the temple and is placed inside a glass case to protect it.

The main temple of Patha Viharaya (lower temple) is located inside a sizable cave below an overhanging rock. There is also a huge seated Buddha, a 9 m long recumbent Buddha, images of Hindu gods and a statue thought to be King Dutugemunu. The walls and roof are covered with vivid frescoes and flower motifs. One of the doors leading into temple is decorated in ivory, showing a sort of optical illusion in the centre. From far it looks like a vase but on a close view the figures of five maidens become visible. This artwork is called Pancha Nari Getaya (figure of five women entwined in the shape of a knot). After a case of vandalizm the ivory carvings were covered by glass to protect them.