Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya lies in the middle of the busy city of Baddulla in the Uva province. The History of this temple goes back to the time of Buddha but this area around Badulla (specially Uva Province) goes way back in to the time of 19th – 18th century BC. It is believed a During this time the a mighty king called Ravana was ruling this the country with Badulla as the capital. It is also believed that the War of Rama and Ravana in the Indian Epic also happened in this area. There are many places and names which identifies this area (such as Seetha Eliya, Seetha Kotuwa, Ravana Ella) as the location described in this Indian epic. It is said that the Ravana finally lost the war and winner Vibishana took the capital to Kelaniya and the Uva gradually got lost in history until the 5th century BC.
On the eighth year after attaining Nirvana (in the 5th century BC), the Buddha and 500 Arhaths visited this Island for the third time on the invitation of Naga King Maniakkika to to Kelaniya. On the same visit, Buddha came to Badulla on the invitation of the Deva King Indaka (now elevated to the Deity status), ruler of the Namunukula Mountain Range. At the same location where Buddha made his sermons, the King Indaka built a stupa enshrining some hair and mukthaka Dathu ( drops of sweat turned in to pearls) of Buddha. This is the birth of the Muthiyangana Stupa. This stupa and the temple has been expanded , reconstructed and renovated by many kings during the next 2500 years.
The entrance to the temple is the ‘Thorana’ of a unknown period. This a unique design with six levels. First level include the main entrance and above it on the second level is a typical Makara (dragon) Head. On the sides of the head are two guard figures and and at the corners are two lion figures.
On the third level there are two ‘Vamana’ figures and at the edge two animals probably lions. These figures are not as clear as the lion figures on the second level. On the center of the 3rd level is a high stand which goes right upto the 4th level and on top of it there is a seating Buddha statue on the fifth level.
On the 4th level there are two bulls on the side. The special feature of these bulls are that they are decorated and they have a large humps. Such bulls are a feature of hinduism and this feature indicates some influence of of Hinduism in the making of this structure.
5th level is dedicated to the Buddha statue. On the sixth level is 2 peacocks which completes the outline of the structure.
As you enter the temple is the main image house. At The entrance is a colourful ‘Makara Thorana’. Right above the entrance and below the dragon head is a figure of Maithee Bodhisattva.
On the right hand side of the image house is a statue of Deity Indaka, the protector of the Muthiyangana Holy Ground and the Namunukula Mountain Range. On the right is the statue of Maithee Bodhisattva.
Passing the image house you come to the holiest structure of the temple, the stupa which enshrines the hair and the mukthaka dathu of Buddha. The initial stupa built by the Deity Indaka in the 5th century BC has been enlarged by the King Devanmpiyathissa (250-210 BC) of Anuradhapura Era.
Thereafter many kings have been involved in developing this temple. The moonstones at the entrances to the stupa show workmanship of Anuradhapura Era .
Tthe stupa we see today was built in 1956 over the older decayed stupa. This is 65 feet high and has a diameter of about 270 feet today.
Behind the main image house is another image house identified as the centre image house (Mada Vihara Ge). Due to renovations in 1960′s and 1970′s this building has totally lost its original form and splendour.
This building is called so because of another image house after this called “Sath Sathi Vihara Ge” which is oldest of the image houses. The last renovation of this building has been done in 1935 today it is in a fairly Dilapidated state.
The temple is said to have had 7 Bodhi’s (Bo trees) but 4 has been destroyed in the recent past. The first Bo tree you would come across is the is the “Maliyadeva Bodhi”. This has a special value as this location is said to be the place that the Maliyadeva Thero (who is said to be the last Maha Rahath of this country) made his sermons when he was in Muthiyangana.
The next Bodhi is called the Anada Bodhi, This has been brought form the Jetavanarama in India.
The last is the most important and the oldest Bo Tree. Located near the Sath Sathi Vihara Ge, is one of the Dethis Maha Bo Trees ( 32 Bo Trees which which originated form Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura) which was planted by King Devanampiyathissa ( 250-210 BC). In addition to the original protective fence (Bodhigara) there is a gold plated fence now surrounding the tree.
Map of Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya
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 Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya
Route from Colombo to Muthiyangana Viharaya
Route from Kandy to Muthiyangana Viharaya
|Through : Ratanapura – Balangoda – Haputale – Bandarawela – Hali Ela – Badulla
Distance : 220 km
Travel time : 5-6 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
|Through : Mahaweli Raja Mawatha (B492) – loggal Oya Juction – Meegahakivula
Distance : 120km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
first published : February 13, 2007