Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya – පොකුණුවිට රජමහා විහාරය

Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharayaya

Rock pool

It was raining. But fortunately our destination the Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya was easily accessible.

The Temple buildings were beautifully placed at different levels on a rock cliff. We walked up the slight incline to reach the old shrine room. We passed an ancient rock inscription and the Bo tree.

The paintings on its outside walls and the makara thorana in this little building is notable. Inside was a huge seated Buddha statue possibly of later origin. The origin of this Viharaya is believed to date back to the Polonnaruwa period. The Viharaya is said to have gained prominence during the days of Raigam Bandara.

Another impressive shrine room is situated on the side of the rock cliff at a slightly lesser elevation. As we descended towards it a natural pool rock almost spilled over with the rain water.

The rock sculpture here is beautiful and believed to be similar to the Gal Viharaya statues at Polonnaruwa. According to the local belief this sculpture was done by the same artists that executed the celebrated Polonnaruwa statues. An unusually long and highly ornate carved wooden structure served as the table for offerings in front of the main Buddha image.

It was raining harder and we sat on the steps of the shrine room looking down into the entrance yard of the temple. At the bottom of the hill was the Darmasalawa with its elegant granite pillars amongst other buildings.

Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya can be reached by travelling on the Welikala road branching at the Pokunuwita junction along the Colombo- Horana Highway.

by Kishanie S. Fernando
Daily Mirror

The ancient shrine room built of kabok and mud is the main attraction to the lover of old temple buildings. This has to be reached by climbing up a slight incline, passing an ancient rock inscription and a huge Bo tree.


Inside the shrine room is a huge seated Buddha statue, possibly of a later origin. The paintings on its outside walls and the makara thorana in this little building are attributed to the Kandyan Period.

A newer shrine room is situated on the side of the rock cliff at a slightly lesser elevation.  As we descended, we passed a natural pool rock, almost spilling over with the night’s rain water. An unusually long, highly ornate wooden table serves as the table for the flower offerings in front of the main Buddha image. At the bottom of the hill was the dharmasalawa, amongst other buildings.

The origin of this vihara is believed to date back to the Fourth Century AD period of King Kithsiri Mevan (301-328). The vihara is said to have gained prominence during the days of Raigam Bandara. The Brahmy inscription found here records a donation made during the time of King Sithsiri Mevan to the clergy.

Also See

Map of Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Panadura to Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Kesbewa – Horana – Ratnapura – Pelmadulla
Distance : 36 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Kaduwela – Avissawella – Ratnapura – Pelmadulla
Distance : 16 km
Travel time : 30 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map
© www.amazinglanka.com
first published : October 15, 2007
Posted in Heritage Tagged with: , , ,
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