1008 statues of Hindu deities on a Gopuram 108 ft high

photographs by Massimo Pacifico

Muthumariamman Temple (Tamil: முத்து மாரியம்மன் கோவில்) or Arulmigu Sri Muthumari Amman Kovil is a Hindu temple in Matale, Sri Lanka. The temple is dedicated to Mariamman, the goddess of rain and fertility. The prefix “muthu”, literally means “pearl”, “mari” means rain and “amman” means mother in Tamil language.

The current temple, built in 1874, is used by both Hindus and Buddhists. The temple was originally a small statue under a tree prayed to by the Hindu people but has been developed by the people in Matale.

The temple was severely damaged during the anti-Tamil riots in July 1983 but has been subsequently restored. One of the most visually dominant features of this temple is its 32.9 m (108 ft) high Gopuram (‘Raja Koburum’), a large decorated tower located above the main northern gateway (‘Vadakku Vaayil’) that is one of the largest Gopurams in Sri Lanka.

The 1008 statues of Hindu deities are the work of the South Indian sculptors, Nagalingam and his son Ramanathan, with the help of about 100 designers, painters and architects from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The Raja Koburum was completed in 2007 at the cost of approximately Rs 150M.

SRI_7998SRI_8004SRI_8045  SRI_8008 SRI_8007 SRI_8005 SRI_8012 SRI_8011 SRI_8015 SRI_8018 SRI_8023 SRI_8020 SRI_8024 SRI_8028 SRI_8032 SRI_8030 SRI_8031 SRI_8034 SRI_8039 SRI_8043 SRI_8041

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