Padeniya Rajamaha Vihare
A brilliantly colored frieze of seated lions is the distinctive feature of this simple but beautiful temple, which is something of an archaeological treasure quite unlike many of the more elaborate sites at nearby Anuradhapura.
The lions, their open mouths baring fierce teeth, nevertheless appear deceptively friendly, and are attributed to the influence of a Chinese presence in Sri Lanka from the 15th century.
Outside the temple, a bo tree stands high on a pyramid-shaped mound of stones, while an ancient stone altar inspires peace and tranquility, enhanced by incense sticks placed on its ancient stone tray.
This pretty, medieval temple with its 28 carved pillars and a superb elaborate door to the main shrine, also features a clay-image house and a library, as well as a preaching hall with an unusual carved wooden pulpit.