We were planning to go to Matale one day, but on impulse, we decided to skip Kandy and tuned towards Rambukkana from Kegalle and decided to take the inner unexplored route through Mawathagama and Ridigama to reach Matale. It was was about 7 am when we reached Mawathagama area and passed Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya and saw the majestic stupa rising over the landscape on a rocky outcrop. Out of many stopovers for the day, this would become out first.
According Buddhist annals, Tapassu Balluka, the two merchants who met Buddha just after attaining enlightenment and who offered his first meal was given some hair by Buddha. The two merchants arrived in Sri Lanka and part of their holy relics were given to a merchant friend called ‘Kanaka’ who took it to his Keppetipola village. There he offered this relic to a regional king called Bimba who had built this stupa enshrining this holy relic. Based on this information, this stupa would haven first built around 589 BC even though its unlikely what you see today is the same stupa.
The current temple is believed to built during reign of king Parakramabahu IV of Kurugengala kingdom in 14th century. On one side of the stupa is a large ancient rock inscription now mostly faded even though the images of animals can be still seen.
“Makuta” in pali lanuage is hair. Tranlated to Sinhala its “Makula”. Thus its said that Makulana is derived from Makula + Ana (or jungle area) giving the meaning the jungle area where the hair relic was enshrined.
To reach the old temple, you need to climb the rock where steps have been cut in to the rock. There are few floral designs carved on to the steps with the most elaborate one at the very top.
The top of the rock has been flattened by filling earth to a square platform built with large granite blocks. Entrance to the maluwa is through a elaborately built bell tower.
A renovated stupa lies at the center of the platform surrounded by a cloud wall (walakulu bamma). Ancient granite artifacts such as oil lamps and flower alters have been placed around the stupa. On the opposite side of the stupa lies the old image house and next it a newer image house has been built. The seema gal on the new image house is carved with the year 2500 BE (Buddhist Era) which is 1957.
A large but faded inscription can be seen on the same rocky platform in front of the image house. Next to this lies another inscription in Sinhalese probably made in 1957.
Travel Directions to Mawathagama Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya
Route from Kegalle to Mawathagama Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya
|Distance : 5 km|
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on google map
Map of Mawathagama Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya
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