Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya – රෑනගල රජමහා විහාරය

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RanaRanagala Rajamaha Viharaya gala Rajamaha Viharaya

Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya (also written as Renagala Rajamaha Viharaya) is a temple situated on a popular  ancient cross road connecting Siriwardhanapura, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Kandy. Lying on rocky outcrop known as Viharagala, surround by paddy fields offering a fantastic view, the temple you see today is an modern one except for few remnants of the ancient past.

At the bottom of the rock and about 500 meters before the entrance to the temple is an ancient Bo tree and an Ancient Ambalama protected by the Archaeological Department.  Near the tree on the rock there is a mark of a Rena (line) and thus it is thought that the name Rangala was derived out of this. The popular belief is that the Bo Tree has been  planted during the reign of king Devanmpiyatissa (250-210 BC) of Anuradhapura kingdom being on of the Bo trees he planted at every mile (Gawwa) on popular roads after the arrival of Mihindu Thero.  The ancient Ambalama is an another proof that this was one of the popular routes in ancient times.

At the top of the rock is a mysterious deep well carved in to the rock. The top has diameter of about 5 feet and the bottom about 9 feet. The inner surface of the rock well has been well smoothened. The well is about 19 feet deep. It is not known why or by whom this well was dug but it is said that Brahmi inscriptions have been seen on the inner wall of the well. According to the popular legends this is a treasure well and treasures of Kuveni or Ravana is said to buried inside this well.

Today there are 206 steps carved in to the rock to reach the temple. These steps have been carved recently and there are 2 ancient access paths to the top of the rock which are not being used today. One has been carved out of the rock and the other made with granite blocks.

The current Stupa has been built on the top of the remains of the ancient stupa and its is said that several attempts to dig in to this stupa has been made by the treasure thieves but have been foiled.

According to a small booklet on the temple, a Tampita Viharaya has been in existence at the top of the rock until about 200 years ago. There is no sign of this viharaya today but rock surface carries some proof that an ancient granite building has existed on this rock at some time.

The ancient Bo Tree near the Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

The ancient Bo Tree near the Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

Also See

Map of Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

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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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Travel Directions to Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Kurunegala to Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya

Though : Katunayake – Giriulla – Dambadeniya
distance :93 km
Travel time : 2,5  hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Pothuhera – Wadakada
distance :20  km
Travel time : 40 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

 

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