Aluvihara - place where the Pali canon Tipitaka was written down
The Aluvihara near Matale in central Sri Lanka is a typical cave temple with painted shrine rooms in the Kandyan style. However, the location has been used as a monaster for a much longer period. It claims to be from the earliest period of Buddhism on the island. According to Theravada beliefs, Aluvihara is of utmost significance for the history of Buddhism, as it was here where the canon of Buddhist Holy Scriptures, the Tipitaka, was written down completely by a group of 500 scholarly monks. As a matter of fact, the entire canon, though known from Tibetan and Chinese translations, too, is only partly handed down in India, where it is called Tripitaka in Sanskrit. The only complete Buddhist canon in an Indian language, Pali, is known from Sri Lanka. The process of textualisation took place in the 1st century B.C. The Aluvihara is believed to be the monastery where this important event in the history of Asia took place, which is counted as the 4th general council in the Theravada tradition of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Buddhaghosa, the master scholar of Theravada Buddhism, who lived in the 5th century A.D., is said to have resided in the Aluvihara, too. Today’s travellers can visit a museum of palm-leaf writings, painted caves and climb a rock offering lovely vistas.