Kande Viharaya of Atulgambadde in Kalutara District is a perfect place of worship complete with all the essential components of a Buddhist temple and receives veneration of people both home and abroad. This sacred place was founded by Venerable Karapagala Dewamitta Thero in about 1734 on the advice of Venerable Udugama Chandrasara Thero, Chief incumbent of Raja Maha Vihara Galapatha and a pupil of Venerable Welivita Saranankara Sangha Raja. Subsequently Kande Vihara has taken the path of prograss under the leadership of seven Maha Theros among whom Venerable Pothuwila Sri Saranatissa Thero rendered significant services. At present the Vihara renders invaluable services to the public under the chief incumbency of Venerable Batuwanhene Buddharakkhita Thero, the chief Sangha Nayake of Kalutara District and Bentara Walallawita korale.
This historical Khettarama Kande Vihare has enriched its importance with the presence of the Stupa, Bo Tree, Relic Chamber, Image House, Sri Vishnu Maha Devala and the four Maha Devalas including Kataragama Devale. Outside the vihara premises, the ancient Bo Tree, Sri Saranatissa Memorial Dhamma Hall and the Poya See-ma meant for Vinaya Kamma are situated.
The bell shaped stupa found in the Vihara premises has been erected within an octagonal Shelter. At the base of the stupa there is a moulding of flower petals and above it are the three basal terraces, then the dome and upon the dome the square enclosures with a Bo leaf engraving in each comer. In the year 2327 of the Buddhist era Venerable Udugama Chandrasara Thero erected a stupa of very small size and enclosing it a large stupa was erected in the year 2479 of the Buddhist era by Ven Pothuwila Sri Saranatissa Nayaka Thero.
Relic chamber here is supposed to be oldest building is the temple premises. At the entrance to the chamber there is a moonstone on the ground and a door frame made of stone. The relic casket has been placed inside the inner chamber. Ceiling and the walls have been decorated with paintings belonging to the latter part of the Kandyan period.
The Bo tree has a history going back to more than 300 years. In 1980s wall has been erected in the shape of a square enclosing the Bo tree. Recently, the present chief incumbent Thero erected an octagonal wall in place of the earlier square size wall. Sculptures for depicting the events relating to the bringing of the Branch of Sri Maha Bodhi to Sri Lanka are found inside the cells of the wall.
The image house looks attractive with floral designs and creeper designs together with three arch shaped entrances and a magnetic looking Thorana. The image house had been erected in 1731 with an inner chamber and an outer chamber. Inside the inner chamber there are Buddha images in the standing, seated and sleeping postures. Figures of Sravaka Theros have also been painted. On the doors of the inner chamber artistic items known as Nava Nari Kungara, Sapta Nari Kesara, Nava Nari Vrishabha, and Saptha Nari Thuranga have been drawn while the ceiling and the walls of the outer chamber have been decorated with various types of mural paintings.
On the left the outer chamber of the image house the stands aware for some Deva Mandira Builts in the name of God Vishnu respected and venerated by Sri Lankan as well as foreign devotees. It is an age old custom of devotees to pay homage to Buddha first and transfer merit to God Vishnu thereafter with the hope of receiving blessings. On the left of the outer chamber events pertaining to Vijayas arrival have been painted. Kataragama Devala and the four Mahha Devalas have been located close to the image house.
Outside the vihara premises there is the Seema Malaka Where Vinaya Kamma are performed. Outside the Vihara is the Bo Tree surrounded by the lotus petalled wall the Bo Tree has many legends behind it and it is an object of long history. The Buddha images place on lotus petal around the Bo Tree created a very fascinating and spectacular scene.
Adjoining the Bo Tree, there is a five storied building on the top of which we can see another relic chamber inside the floor below it a museum with antiquities ancient books and various other items are on display for public view inside the next lower floor the Sri Saranatissa Memorial Library has been housed. Numerous valuable books are available in this library. It has been planned to built academic research by Venerable Batuwanhene Buddharakkitha Nayaka Thero and Yatadolawatte Ariyawansa Thero.
On the other side of the Bo Tree decorated with lotus petals there is the Saranatyissa Dhamma Hall wherein classes of Kshetharama Maha Pirivena are held. There Pirivena being an educational institution of high reputation for the last several hundred years renders even at present invaluable service to the nation. Founded in 1904 the Pirivena is headed by Venerable Yatadolawatte Ariyawansa Thero.
The newly started massive project of the Vihara is the project for construction of the highest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. Laying of the foundation stone for the Buddha statue of 107 riyans (160 feet) in height depicting the Bhoomisparsha Mudra took place on 10th November, 2002. The pioneers of this Giant Project are Venerable Batuwanhene Sri Buddharakkitha Nayaka Thero, the present Chief incumbent and Venerable Yatadolawatte Ariyawansa Thero, Principal of the Pirivena. The Buddha statue which would be the largest in Sri Lanka has been erected so as to depict the Weerasena posture on a lotus flower. The shelter of the statue will have various religious paintings and events sculptured form.
The Staircase leading to the statue will be adorned w Korawak Gal , the Guard stones and moonstones . Its majesty and the sacredness will be augmented by Sanchi Thorana. The project commenced its work in November 2002. Venerable Batuwanhene Buddhaarakkitha Thero, the chief incumbent and Venerable Yatadolawatte Ariayawansa Thero, the principal is straining hard to complete this project and to open it for veneration of the public in January, 2007. This wonderful Buddha image which would be the centre of veneration of the public will add to the sacredness of Kande Vihare.
Map of Kande Viharaya – Aluthgama
The map below 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 Kande Viharaya – Aluthgama
When traveling southwards from Colombo towards Galle, passing Beruwala you come across the “Kaluwamodara” bridge which is situated approximately 59 km (36 miles) from Colombo. Turn left upon passing the bridge and travel approximately 1 km towards “Kaalawila” to arrive at the Kande Viharaya. Travel time from Colombo is appox 1.15 hrs.
Situated majestically on top of a hill or “Kanda” (hence the name Kande Viharaya), the path that leads to the temple is bordered by rows & rows of trees. Trees which add beauty to the environment & serenity to the hearts & minds of the pilgrims who visit the the Kande Viharaya.
The Kande Viharaya is also known as the “Aluthgama Kande Viharaya” or “Bentota Kande Viharaya” because of its close proximity to the towns of Aluthgama & Bentota.
Route from Colombo to Kande Viharaya
|Though : Panadura – Kalutara
distance :60 km
Travel time : 1.15 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
first published : April 19, 2008