Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya is an ancient temple with number of heritage buildings in Wadakada off Pothuhera lying between Polgahawela and Kurunegala. To reach the temple, take the Wadakada road from Pothuhera town and travel for 2 km until you reach Ahugoda Pansala road to the right. If traveling from Wadakada, this road lies 5.8 km way from the junction. Travel 1.2 km on this road to reach the temple.
This temple believed to be built in the 17th century, consists of 3 buildings with a historical significance. The first is the Tampita Viharaya. The other two are the ancient bikku residence building and the Kuludageya, a another type of building with unique architectural features born during the kandyan era.
A Tampita Viharaya is a structure built on a wooden platform which rests on number of stone stumps usually 3-4 feet tall. The roof is held by a structure built of timber and the walls are generally made of wattle and daub. Walls inside the chamber is more or less always covered in paintings drawn mainly in Kandyan style.
The Tampita Viharaya at Ahugoda is built inside a two story high building. A narrow circumambulating path is built around the image house with a a wooden balustrade around it. Carved wooden pillars along with the walls of the inner chamber hold the roof. The entrance to the image house is made in the Suryawanka design. Only a single statue of a guardian deity can be seen at the entrance today. The other statue may have been completely destroyed.
A seated Buddha statue in Samadhi posture flanked by two standing Buddha statues in Abhaya mudra is found inside the image house. All statues are completed with a Siraspatha but only the center seated statues has a aura drawn on the wall behind. The paintings and the statues inside the viharage belongs to the Kandyan era.
The second building of significance is the Living Quarters (Sangawasa) which is over 350 years old. This building was restored by the department of archaeology in 2011. This structure consists of 4 rooms with a verandah. Based on the carvings of the door frames, the building is said to be about 400 years old.
The third building is the Kuludageya, a structure made popular during the kandyan era to cover the stupa from the elements. According to Dr Roland Silva, a specialist in Asian architecture and archeology, stupaghara or the stupa with roofs can distinctively classified in to 3 groups. The best known type is the Vatadage or the round relic house. A second group consist of stupas with roofs which are not circular which Dr Roland calls Kuludage. The third includes stupas constructed within vatural rock shelters, which are called chaitya cave or chetiya lenas. The vatadage can be regarded as the fore-runner of the Kuludage, but the latter growth represents a declining phase after the former ceased to be in vogue after the 12th century. It is also possible that the Kuludage evolved as an inexpensive alternate shelter to the small painted stupa, which was normally built under cover.
Vatadage’s are much larger and complex structures. By time of Kandyan kingdom, the the country did not have the resources and the expertise of the ancient forefathers thus a more simple form the vatadage called Kuludage was used to cover the stupas. These were easier to build and required much less resources.
Since these structures lack a center column to carry the weight of the roof, all the wooden beams of the roof are fixed on to a wooden fixture called Kanimadala at the center which keeps the beams interlocked in place. The stupa and the structure is said to be about 100 years old.
A detail description of the overall “Stupaghara” or “Chethiyaghara” architecture including Kuludage of Sri Lanka can be found here.
- SILVA, ROLAND, 2020, MEMOIRS OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF CEYLON – VOLUME X – PART II : THUPA, THUPAGHARA AND THUPA PRASADA. 1. Colombo : The Department of Archaeology.
- Tampita Vihara of Sri Lanka Index
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of the Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya
Route from Mawanella to Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya
|Though : Polgahawela – Pothuhera|
distance : 29 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Time to spend : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map