Iratperiyakulama Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya – ඊරට්ටපෙරියකුලම (ඉරට්පෙරියකුලම) ශෛලබිම්බාරාම පුරාණ විහාරය

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Iratperiyakulama Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya

Iratperiyakulama Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya
photo by Ind Sara

Iratperiyakulama is a village lying on the A9 route (Kandy – Jaffna) 19 km passing Medawachchiya and 6 km before Vavuniya. The temple lie on the right next to the road built on an ancient Buddhist Monastic Complex. It is said that the temple was spread over an area of over 1 sq. kilometer but today has been restricted to a mere 2-3 acres.

This Buddhist site which has been covered in jungle for thousands of years has been cleared in 1930 by Sheelananda Thero of Periyaulakkulama in 1930’s. And most buildings you see today have been been built after 1930.

Among these new buildings you will also see an ancient Siri Pathul Gala, a Samadhi Statue carved in stone, a large rectangular slab of rock which had been a flower alter and and washed out ancient stupa now resembling an mound of earth.

The Siri Pathul Gala (footprint of Buddha carved on the slab of rock) was used as a object of representing the Buddha during the earliest times before Buddha statues were built. The Sri Pathul Gala at this temple is 2 foot 9 inches long and 2 feet 8 inches wide and probably belonged to the stupa according the Henry Parker in an archaeological report in 1905.

The mound consisting on the ancient stupa is about 35 feet in diameter. Today it resembles a mound of clay bricks. An octagonal Youpa Kanuwa has been erected at the center of the stupa.

One book source states that the limestone Buddha statues in the temple was discovered buried in the ground when a foundation was dug for a new building but 1893-94 Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society quotes Henry Parker to observing ruins of a Pohoya-Ge and and a large sedant image of Buddha  and the usual two rows of pillars with a flight of steps.

The statue is about 4½ feet in height. Henry parker comments that this statue was in good state of preservation and is made from the same type of limestone found at the Iratperiyakulama Kanda close to the Iratperiyakulama Reservoir. He also states that the face of the statue is the best face he has seen on a statue of this kind. Unfortunately this statue has been painted in gold paint today hiding its antiquity.

The ancient granite flower alter too can be seen close to this stupa mound. It is 6 feet 5 inches long and 2 feet 7 inches wide.

Parker also believed this temple is part of the  Tihadiya Viharaya Complex which was mentioned on a slab inscription found on the embankment of the Iratperiyakulama reservoir.

Primary sources :
Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society – Volume XIII – 1893-1894.
Archaeological Survey of Ceylon – North Central, Central and Northern Provinces – Annual Report – 1905

Also See

Travel Directions to Iratperiyakulama Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya

Route from Medawachchiya up to Iratperiyakulama Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya

Through : Vavuniya Road
Distance : 20 km
Time to spend : 30 – 45 mins
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

Map of Iratperiyakulama Shailabimbarama Purana Viharaya

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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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