Elephant Temple – Gangaramaya

This is actually the first buddhist temple I’ve ever visited and I must say that I was captured by the holiness of the place.

Situated in the centre of Colombo, it is one of the main touristic sites. Up to a few years ago, there still was a living elephant exposed to the public and that’s where the name ‘Elephant Temple’ comes from. Fortunately,I didn’t get to see such a sad scene of domestication and exploitation.

The temple is quite small and intimate, features I’ve appreciated in exploring its different spaces. The one I enjoyed most was actually the outside court where adepts gather and bring offers like incense, candles or lotuses which are carefully placed on the altars.

I found particularly suggestive the stone Buddha seated under a huge and magnificent tree : the Bodhi tree.

The Bodhi tree has an important role in the spiritual life of all Buddhists and is usually considered a sacred element with magical powers. It’s right under a Bodhi tree that the last Buddha: Siddharta received his enlightenment.

The tree itself, as a natural element, is considered a gift of Nature as it provides sustenance and shade to man. Furthermore, it’s believed it has a soul, so as an animated being, it can suffer if hurt or damaged.

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