Caves 4 and 5

The fourth and fifth caves are smaller; they date from a later period and are not of such high quality.

Cave 4 — known as Pacchima vihara, or Western temple — was so named because it originally oc­cupied the westernmost position. However, with the subsequent excavation of Cave 5, which replaced it as the westernmost cave, the name has lost its original significance.

The meditating primary Buddha sits opposite the entrance. It conforms to the Kandy style similar to style of Cave 3’s primary Buddha. A small stupa occupies the right side of the cave. It has a symbolic crack in its base to remind visitors of the looting of the stupa’s reliquary which, in popular belief, once held priceless jewelry from the personal collection of Somawathie, ruler Valagamba’s queen. Unlike those of Caves 1, 2 and 3, which date largely from the late 18th century, the paintings in Cave 4 are more recent due to a repainting in the early 20th century. The repaint­ing introduced a new greenish blue into the cave’s color palate.

Cave 5 — known as Devana Alut vihara, or Second New temple — was the last built cave and dates from the second half of the 19th century. Its decoration is the least impressive of the five caves.

 

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