Udayagiri Raja Maha Viharaya Archaeological Ruins at Ampara – අම්පාර උදයගිරි රජමහා විහාරය පුරාවිද්‍යා භූමිය

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Monoliths dating back to 3rd century BC at Udayagiri Rajamaha Viharaya

Monoliths dating back to 3rd century BC at Udayagiri Rajamaha Viharaya
Photo by Dr. Ashan Geeganage

Passing Uhana on the Ampara – Mahaoya Road you come across Udayagiri Raja Maha Viharaya with a history over 1000 years. At the entrance of the temple is a stone pillar with a inscription which states that that the Udayagiri temple has been exempted from taxes by two generals of King Udaya I of 8th century. But the archeologists believe that this temple may have been established during the pre – christinan times from the archeological remains in the temple premises. This temple prmises is also believed to be the battle ground between Parakramabahu I and Queen Sugaladevi who ruled this area.

Among the ruins of Udayagiri Raja Maha Viharaya are two asanaghara, large slabs of stone which is now used as flower pedestals at the ancient Bo tree.

Before the construction of Buddha statues, various objects were used to represent Buddha. Asanaghara and Sri Pathul Gal were some of the items which were used symbolize Buddha.

According to Dr. Paranavitana, the Asanaghara is an edifice built around a large finely chiseled stone slab, which symbolized the vajrasana under the bodhi tree at Gaya which the Buddha attained nibbana.

Sri Pathul Gal ( Foot print of Buddha) chiseled on square or rectangle stone slabs were another symbols of Buddha which was popular during this era.

The presence of these Asanaghara and Sri Pathul Gal in  indicates that the existence of this this temple before the Buddha statues were built.

The monoliths found at the temple are too simple without much adornments which indicates that they belong to an 3rd – 1st century BC.

Photos courtesy of : Dr Ashan Geeganage

This temple premises  was  declared as protected archaeological sites by the Government with the Gazette issued on 26th December 2014, and describes the locations as follows ;

“Site with the evidences of buildings with stone pillars, all archeological relics such as stupachatra “Balustardes” Moonstone and flower altar at the premises of Udayagiri Rajamaha Vihara belonging to Udagirigama village situated in Grama Niladhari Division No. W/88B, Udagirigama East in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Uhana in Ampara District in Eastern Province.”

Also See

Map of Udayagiri Raja Maha Viharaya at Ampara

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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.

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Udayagiri Raja Maha Viharaya at Ampara

Route from Ampara to Samanbedda Ancient Cave Temple at Ampara

Though : Mahaoya Road
Distance : 13  km
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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