Aluvihare Rock Temple, Matale, Sri Lanka
It was at this temple that Theravadha Buddhism’s oldest and holiest scripture, the Tripitaka, was first written down as the Pali Canon in the 1st Century BC; and it was here that it was destroyed almost two thousand years later. Recorded on pages of talipot palm leaves, the Pali Canon was stored in the temple’s famous library and, though the Aluvihare Temple was destroyed by the Dutch in the 17th Century, and again by the British in 1803, the Pali Canon survived. The library itself was then burned in 1848 by British and Ceylonese Burgher troops during the Matale Rebellion. The Pali Canon had to be recompiled painstakingly by hand, and only one volume had been completed by 1982. The temple was renovated in the first half of the 20th Century, and its caves are filled with colourful and graphically gruesome images of medieval torture. Matale, Sri Lanka, May 2017.