Dova ancient rock temple which is located in Dova, Ella area in Badulla district can be identified as one of the foremost rock temples in Uva province with higher historical value. It is facing to Badulla- Bandarawela main road; hence one who travels from Bandarawela can straightforwardly reach the place after passing about 6 km from the main road. Temple is located on top of a slope of a mountain and bounded by "Badulu Oya" in right hand side.
It is believed that in King Walagamba's era , Dhowa temple was built. Ancient legends reveal this cave as a secret hiding places for the king during enemy attacks. Later he instructed a person called "Kumbaltissa" to construct a temple here as a Buddhist monastery. Today many travelers are attracted to this place because of its utmost archaeological value plus charm and beautiful environment surrounded by.
Once entered the temple at the outset, you will observe a new Stupa and other temple buildings which were constructed newly. When move down further about 100 m along a stairway, it can be eye witnessed to the ancient boo tree and Stupa , the stone statue and famous "Gal Vihara Geya" which resembles a gallery of elegant ancient art works .
The Vihara geya is assembled inside the rock cave which is about 10 ft in width, 12 ft in height and 30 ft in length. This cave is under a leveled inclined rock and its opening is lower than the rear part, which is an uncommon natural formation. The Vihara geya is full of Buddha and Gods statues and frescos. It consists of three main parts where first part holds a recently build "Makara thorana" and lots of colorful paintings.
The cave is clearly visible in the second part and this includes 28 Buddha statues ("Ata Visi Buddha Prathima ") and ancient canopy paintings ("Viyan Sithuwam"). Third part is a verandah room which is built in recent times, holds a Samadhi Buddha statue and wall paintings. The Cave ends from a tunnel and a small ancient Stupa. This tunnel was used as a secret safe road in early stages and believed to be connected with other temples in the area. The tunnel and the Stupa are not opened for public today due to recent attacks from fortune burglars.
Dova Temple Stone Buddha Statue :
This statue is about 36 feet in height and considered as a partially finished one. People deem this as a Buddha statue but it is full of Mahayana effects also. According to the legend, unexpected run away of the king from an enemy attack might have caused to hold the construction of the statue. Today the statue is faded away as a result of facing irregular weather conditions for a long time phase.
The Dova temple owns two ancient Stupas, where one is situated inside the rock temple as mentioned earlier. It is believed that tooth of Rahath Buddhist monks are implanted inside this Stupa with lot of valuable stuffs. Other Stupa is located on top of the rock where stone statue is hewed.
The ancient Boo-tree
This boo tree is encircled by an ancient wall and Buddha statues are set aside. A special water pond is nearby for usage of devotees, where the water brings in from tiny natural water flows. It is our responsibility to safe guards these sorts of archeologically and religiously precious places for our next generations.