Kadawalagedara Sulugulu Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya – කඩවලගෙදර සුළුගුළු ටැම්පිට රජමහා විහාරය

 

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Tampita Viharaya at the Kadawalagedara Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya

Tampita Viharaya at the Kadawalagedara Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya
photo by Indika Ekanayaka

Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya at Kadawalagedara is an ancient temple with a  history going as far as the early Anuradhapura era. Based on a research carried out by the Rajarata University, this temple has been built during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) after the arrival of Mahinda Thero to Sri Lanka.

Once the king was converted to a Buddhist after after meeting Mahinda Maha Thero, he instructed temples to be built every mile on the main routes to Anuradhapura. According to legend an  offshoot a Bodhi Tree was being carried to Dedigama and on their way spend the night at the site of this temple at Kadawalagedara. On the next day,  they had found that the Bo tree has taken root at the site and it had been decided to leave the tree at the same place and a wall surrounding the tree has been built for its protection and later a temple.

It is said that this temple has been regularly visited by Maliyadeva Maha Thero who is generally believed to be the last Arhat to live in this country. His regular attendant was a person called Sulugulu Upasaka known for visiting Silumina Seya of Thawtissa Heaven with Maliyadeva Thero.

Based on the research, artifacts belonging to different eras have been found, the oldest belonging to early Anuradhapura Kingdom and the latest being the Tampita Viharaya belonging to the Kandyan kingdom, a span of over 2000 years. Ancient artifacts of this temple include 3 Sripathul Gal (sacred foot print of Buddha used represent Buddha before the popularity of Buddha statues), a granite basin which was used to colour wash the robes of the priests, a granite toilet stone, four granite slabs used in flower alters, ancient Bodhi tree, stupa and a Tampita Viharaya from the Kandyan era.

According to a rock inscription in the rock known as Diggala in an area known as Swarangala which lies on the  Danikitawa-Ambanpola Road, a Pasebudhu has been living in this area. In a pillar inscription at the Hidogama Wewa in Maha Giriulla, the statement “දසමක පංචක බුධහේ ථු ථෙ” can be seen. This has been interpreted as a stupa being built on the tomb in which the ashes of the 10th Pasebudhu (named Thitha)  in the area. Based on the time and the location, its presumed that this is the stupa found at the Sulugulu Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya at Kadawalagedara.

This stupa has been renovated by king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) and king Sandhatissa (137-119 BC), brother king Dutugemunu who has expanded this small tomb to a larger stupa. Later king Walagamba (89-77 BC), king Gajabahu I (112-134), king Bhathika Tissa (140-164), king Buddhadasa (340-368) and king Aggabodhi I (575-608), all from the Anuradhapura era has contributed towards this temple.

Later, king Maha Parakramabahu (1153-1186) of Polonnaruwa kingdom, king Buwanekabahu I (1272-1284) of Gampola kingdom and finally king Kirti Sri Rajasinhe (1747 – 1781) of Kandyan kingdom has contributed towards  the development demonstrating the importance this temple has heldduring the span of last 2000 years.

The Tampita Viharaya at the temple has been built during the Kandyan revival of this temple.  A Tampita Viharaya is a structure built on a wooden platform which rests on number of stone stumps usually 3-4 feet high. The roof is held by a structure built of timber and the walls are generally made of wattle and daub. Walls inside the image chamber is more or less always covered in murals drawn mainly in Kandyan style.

The Tampita Viharaya at the Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya is built on fairly high granite pillars of about 5 feet high. A circumambulating path is built around the image house protected by a half height wall. The path is narrow except at the front. Wooden pillars around the path holds the roof  tiled with flat clay tiles typical of roofs built during the Kandyan kingdom. The roof has been extended at front at the same angle to create a mandapa in the front. A wooden stairway takes you to the platform where the image house is built. Both inner and the outer walls of the image house are covered with murals. This Tampita Viharaya has been restored by the Department of Archaeology in 2014.

Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya can be reached from Nikaweratiya on two routes, one through Maho Road and other through Puttalam road. Distance is similar on both routes but if you take the Maho road, you will also be able visit Hulugalla Tampita Viharaya and the Dalukgolla Tampita Viharaya with small diversions. Traveling 3.8 km towards Dalukgolla, you will come across the Ambanpola Road to the left. Continnuing a further 2.3 km on the same Maho road will bring you to  Dalukgolla Tampita Viharaya. From the 4 way junction after 1.5 km on the Ambanpola road, take the center road. Traveling another 5 km on this road will bring you the Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya. Taking the by road towards Hulugalla Wewa Reservoir after 1.5 km will take you to the Hulugalla Tampita Viharaya.

Primary Source : ශ්‍රී සුළුගුළු රජමහා විහාරය පිලිබඳව මානවවංශ පුරාවිද්‍යාමක අධ්‍යනයක්
කේ. ඒ. එන්. දමයන්ති
පුරාවිද්‍යා හා උරුම කලමනාකරණ අධ්‍යාංශය, ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජරට විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය

Also See

Map of the Kadawalagedara Sulugulu 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 Kadawalagedara Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya

Directions from Nikaweratiya to Kadawalagedara Sulugulu Rajamaha Viharaya
Though : Nikaweratiya – Maho Road
distance : 9 km
Travel time :20 mins
Time to spend : 30  mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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Posted in Heritage, Tampita Viharaya