Across the lake from the temple of the Tooth Relic, is situated one of the great centres of the Sangha, belonging to the Siam Nikaya, known as “Malwatu Maha Viharaya”. This great monastery consists of two sections. The first is the “Uposatha Viharaya” on the right, popularly known as “Poyamalu Viharaya” and the other “Pushparama Viharaya” popularly known as “Malwatu Viharaya” which is seen today with a newly built octagon. Of these two complexes, the older is the Poyamalu Viharaya, supposed to have been built by Senasammata Vikramabahu (1473-1511) with a two storeyed Uposathagaraya or Ordination Hall and a Caitya or a Dagaba close by. The Chronicle goes on to say that he further built 86 monasteries for the use of the monks in the two fraternities namely, Malwatu and Asgiri Viharas. This account is further supported by Sulu Rajawaliya, Asgiri Talpata, and Pohoya Malu Upatha.
It is believed that this temple initially had only 3 dwelling places. One was “Sangaraja Pansala” dedicated for the great Velivita Sri Sarankara Thero. The “Thibbotuwawe Pansala” and the “Poyamalu Viharaya” was for the chief monk Thibbotuwawe thero and the “Meda Pansala” for Moratota who was the the “Raja Guru” or the Kings Teacher. All these temples can be seen today and the Sangaraja Pansala, today known as “Welivita Pansala” houses all the personal belongings that the great Velivita Sri Sarankara Thero used. A room in the Thibbotuwawe Pansala displays belongings of the Thibbotuwawe Thero.
Since the time of the Sangharaja, residing monks have grown in numbers and a great number of high priests specially those who are in the “Karaka Maha Sangha Sabha” or the executive council of monks now reside there. The Maha Nayake is the Viharadhipati or the chief incumbent of the monastery and one of the three joint custodians of the Tooth Relic, the other two being the Maha Nayaka of Asgiriyia Maha Viharaya and the Diyavadana Nilame, the lay custodian.
The “Poya-ge” of the Malwatu Viharaya is part of the Malwatta complex and here in takes place all the important meetings of the Sangha Sabha as well as the annual higher ordination ceremony. The poye-ge is supposed to have been built during the reign of Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747 – 1781) with a beautiful image of the Buddha installed therein.
By Central Cultural Fund
- An impressive museum in the Malwatte temple tells the story of the last ‘Sangaraja’ or the king of the monks
- Some Historical Places Associated with Dalada Maligawa
- Kandy – The Last Kingdom of Sinhale
- List of Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
Map of the Malwatu Maha Viharaya
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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Driving Directions to Malwatu Maha Viharaya
Route from Colombo to Kandy
Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
|Though : kadawata - Warakapola - Ambepussa - Mawanella Distance :120 km Travel time : 3.5 hours Driving directions : see on google map||Though : Hawaeliya - Ramboda - Pussellawa - Gampola Distance :73 km Travel time : 2.0 hours Driving directions : see on google map|
Route From Galle to Kandy
|Though : Southern Highway - Panadura - Avissawella - Kegalle - Kandy Distance :230 km Travel time : 5 hours Driving directions : see on google map|