Ancient Mandapa Pillars

Devundara Vishnu Shrine, Dondra

Some pillars from the ancient mandapa, a columned hall in front of the main shrine, are conserved on site. The original hall might have been used for temple dances, to entertain the South Indian merchants who lived nearby or who visited here in the course of their journeys. The main entrance (also itself a mandapa) to the modern temple is seen head-on in this photo; the modern temple preserves both the ancient temple's orientation and its basic mandapa-shrine plan. Overall, this photo is a stunning example of the continuity and difference between the ancient and modern religious architecture of Sri Lanka.