Not far from Negombo town, just past a predominantly Muslim area and a little way down Temple Road, lies the Angurukaramulla Temple. The garish exterior décor of multicoloured tiles, pillars and arches above and around the massive seated Buddha and the gaping maw of some fantastic creature that forms the entrance to the temple, are visible from the road, leading the visitor to expect more of the same. This first impression of art gone mad continues – the entrance is tiled with more eye-searing colours and the garden is ringed by a motley collection of Buddha statues in different styles, gifted by visitors from overseas.
Notwithstanding (or maybe because of) its unusual design, it is an intriguing temple. Walk a little further in and discover the Shrine Room housing a series of ornate statues of gods attending the Buddha, as well as graphic wall and ceiling murals of scenes from Hell.
Outside and to the right of the Shrine Room is another smaller building housing wall paintings of the kings and queens of Sri Lanka…stories drawn from the Mahavamsa. Unfortunately, this building is broken down and neglected, the paintings cracked and faded with large sections of the drawings missing altogether.
To the back of the temple is the most fascinating section of the complex…the Siddha Sooniyam Devale, which seems to be more popular here than the areas dedicated to the worship of more traditional Hindu gods.
And finally, in another part of the garden altogether is a (once) white painted building with intricately worked eaves and balconies with beautiful fretwork like lace, carrying a little plaque identifying it as a library, declared open by the Governer of Ceylon at the time – Sir Andrew Caldecott, in 1941. This building too has long since fallen into disrepair although the original plaque remains.