Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya (අහුගොඩ පුරාණ ටැම්පිට විහාරය)

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Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya is an ancient temple with a 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 travelling from Wadakada, this road lies 5.8 km away 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 historical significance. The first is the Tampita Viharaya. The other two are the ancient Bikku residence building and the Kuludageya, 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 a 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. The 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 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 have an aura drawn on the wall behind. The paintings and the statues inside the vihara-ge belong 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 archaeology, stupaghara or the stupa with roofs can be distinctively classified into 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 natural rock shelters, which are called chaitya caves or chetiya lenas. The vatadage can be regarded as the forerunner 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.

Vatadages are much larger and more complex structures. By the time of the Kandyan Kingdom, 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 centre column to carry the weight of the roof, all the wooden beams of the roof are fixed onto a wooden fixture called Kanimadala at the centre which keeps the beams interlocked in place. The stupa and the structure are said to be about 100 years old.

A detailed description of the overall “Stupaghara” or “Chethiyaghara” architecture including Kuludage of Sri Lanka can be found here.



Also See

Map of the Ahugoda Purana Tampita Viharaya

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

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.

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

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