The roadside town of Matale is often overlooked. Traffic zips through on it’s way to and from Kandy. On the surface, there is little to see but the bustle of daily Sri Lankan life (enough to interest me but not everyone). However amidst the cinder block and traffic is a colorful gleaming haven for Hindu spirituality and devotion. The Sri Muthumariamman Temple complex sits right off the main highway and is a perfect stop for those hoping to explore Sri Lanka’s second most popular religion.
This kind of temple, built in the Dravidian architectural style, is common throughout southern India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. It’s also the style of architecture upon which Angkor Wat in Cambodia was based. Here, the stone pyramid as well as the rest of the temple complex, is painted in swirling vivid paints that elevate the temple from the rest of the town. I especially loved the colorful lotus flower murals on the panels of the temple building. Even the women and children attending an event in the banquet hall next door were dressed in their most colorful sarees and dresses. The cascading flowers in their hair left a scent of jasmine in their path and reminded me of the raw natural beauty of Sri Lanka.