Hanguranketha Maha Vishnu Devalaya – හඟුරන්කෙත මහා විෂ්ණු දේවාලය

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The Vishnu Devalaya at Hanguranketha is one of the main devalaya’s of the Kandyan Era. Although the origin of this devalaya is unknown, this devalaya has had the  patronage bof y King Rajasinghe II (1635 – 1687), Wimaladharmasuriya II (1687 – 1707) and Kirti Sri Rajasinhe (1747 – 1781) of the Kandyan kingdom.

During the great Uva Wellassa Rebellion in 1818 against the British occupation of the country, this devalaya had been used as a fort by the British and had suffered some damage. It is said that King Rajasinghe II had been cremated at Hanguranketha close to the Vishnu Devalaya  and thereafter his ashes deposited at a site near Adahana Maluwa Gedige in Kandy.

The Department of Archaeology commenced an excavation in search of this tomb of Rajasinghe II in 2014 on a site in the Mahamaluwa of Vishnu Devalaya in Hanguranketha. The objectives of the excavation were to ascertain the historical importance to the site and to determine the actions to be taken to conserve it.

According to Department of Archaeology there had been a lithic monument on the site which had later been destroyed during the 1980s to develop the Hanguranketha town. The monument comprised four stone pillars and a quadrangle stone tablet placed on them. There was a symbol of lion inscribed on one corner of the tablet. There are some remnants of this monument at that place today. The lion is the symbol used to denote royalty.

Department of Archaeology believes that it was there that the king Rajasinhe II was cremated. The Dig-ge, Devatha Bandara Devalaya, the kitchen and the ancient Jack tree in the premises has been named as protected monuments by the Department of Archaeology.

There is a interesting folklore behind the historic Jack Fruit tree in the Hanguranketha Maha Vishnu Devalaya premises.  This tree produced the most tasty Waraka ( ripe Jack Fruit) and during th time of king Sri Vijaya Rajasinhe (1739 -1747), a huge jack fruit grew on this tree, fit to be to served to a king.

The kings men covered this fruit with a white cloth to indicate that this fruit was reserved for the king. The smell of this Jack Fruit was so strong that a villager  (same say it was Andare, the court jester ) defied the kings reservation and ate this fruit. The king Sri Vijaya Rajasinhe infuriated by this act, ordered the villager to be beheaded.

While the villager was being marched on the streets to the executioner, he started to cry and then to laugh out loud alternatively. The executioner was confuesed by this act and informed the king. The king brought back the villager and asked why he was acting strangely.

The villager said that he cried remembering his wife and the kids whom he would be leaving behind. Okay said the king, ‘but why did you laugh out loud?’

The villager said ‘Your Majesty, I was thinking how you would go down history as the king who killed a man for a Jack Fruit’ and the king was forced to let the villager free.

Also See

Map of Hanguranketha Maha Vishnu Devalaya

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Travel Directions to Hanguranketha Maha Vishnu Devalaya

Route from Kandy to Hanguranketha Maha Vishnu Devalaya

Through : Ampitiya – Mailapitiya
Distance :29 km
Travel time :
45 mins Driving directions : see on google map

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