Nalanda Gedige’s unique contribution to the history of Dambulla is its fusion of Buddhism and Hindu cultures and religious traditions.
While some features are distinctly Hindu, particularly the mandapam, or hall of waiting, of Hindu gods there is no sign. But there are erotic Tantric Buddhist carvings similar to those found Khajuraho, India.
While the façade reflects 7th Century South India, a statue of Kuvera, the god of wealth sitting on a lotus plinth—an image seen only in Sri Lanka—can be found in its own niche in the rock.
This beautiful and charming Buddhist shrine built in the style of a Hindu temple is ideally situated next to an artificial lake that is home to many species of local birds.