Located to the northwest of the Kandy palace complex, Maha Vishnu Devalaya is one of four interconnected shrines, called devales, important to both Buddhists and Hindus in the region. This particular devale honors the Hindu God Vishnu, who, according to Sri Lankan belief, will be a future Buddha after the God Natha (who is honored in one of the other three devales). Sri Lankan Buddhists also believe that Vishnu was charged with guarding Sri Lanka after his death.
Vishnu famously took the form of King Rama in the Indian epic Ramayana, and a cloth painting displayed within the devale depicts a battle scene from the epic between Rama and Ravana. Visitors enter the shrine through colorful arched doorway into a timber-columned hall where both Hindu and Buddhist devotees come to pray.
Before or after visiting the Temple of the Tooth, set aside some time to explore the four devales located nearby.