Erection of a temple and a stupa (dagaba) above the tank and location of the village and the paddy fields below the tank was the traditional architectural design of villages which was mainly based on the tank. Villagers walked to the temple through the bund of the tank and they were able to enjoy the splendor of the scenery around. When they looked down from the compound of the stupa which is paved with stone slabs they could see the waves of the tank and the green paddy that dance with the rhythm of the breeze. During the ancient times the villagers were able to lead calm and quiet life style due to this constructional design of the village.
Dambagalla Bingoda Raja Maya Viharaya (temple) in Madulla Divisional Secretariat Division in Monaragala district is an evidence which shows this ancient constructional design of villages. The road that runs towards this temple which has been erected on a top of a small mountain which is around 500 feet high goes through the bund of the Kehellanda Tank. One has to travel through Monaragala – Mari Arava road and then turn to Sri Vijayawardanarama Road near Dambagalla Piyarathana Vidyalaya and travel around one kilometer through that road if to reach the Kehellanda Tank. Entrance of the Bingoda ancient temple is located at the end of the bund of the said tank.
The land from the entrance to the ancient mountain crypt temple is an ascending area. At the top of the mountain which is around 500 feet high, there are three mountain crypts having drips. In one of those mountain crypts a shrine room destroyed by the treasure hunters can be seen. In one of the other two mountain crypts a residence of bhikkhus can be found and in the other mountain crypt a hermitage which is prepared for Buddhist monks to enable them to involve in meditation is located.
The history of Bingoda Raja Maha Viharaya (Temple) starts from the Anuradhapura era. A stone script that can be found inside the cave which is considered as the meditation cell located behind the mountain crypt having the shrine room proves the said. It has been written using Brahmi letters in a special protrusive stone slab in the cave. It is mentioned in the stone crypt that the mountain crypt was erected by a devotee named Upathissa and consecrated to the Buddhist monks. The stone script reveals that Devotee Upathissa has named this mountain crypt as Divathena Temple. The archeologists are in the point of view that the name Divathena is a rare name amidst the stone scripts.
Subsequent to the passing away of Rev. Bingoda Sri Piyarathana thero this Bingoda Ancient Raja Maha Viharaya was ruined and presently nobody is living there. Today, this ancient temple is surrounded by a thick jungle and the images of the Lord Buddha in different postures i.e. sleeping posture, standing and sitting postures and Maithree Bosath image and the images of Seriyuth and Mugalan thero which were safely available earlier in this shrine room have been destroyed.
There is a stupa (dagaba) erected on a crag which is of around 50 feet in height. That also has been destroyed by the treasure hunters and they have taken away the valuable treasure embedded in the tope along with the crest gem of the tope by destroying the finial of it. It is said that the bell located near the tope in weight is around ton. The residents of the area say that when you ring that bell it can be heard by the people living more than four miles away from the place.
Attention of the authorities of the Department of Archeology or the Department of Cultural Heritage has not been referred on this ancient Bingoda Raja Maha Biharaya which has both historical and archeological value and it is a sad situation.
Map of Dambagalla Bingoda Raja Maya Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Dambagalla Bingoda Raja Maya Viharaya
Route from Monaragala to Dambagalla Bingoda Raja Maya Viharaya
distance : 12 km
Travel time : 15 mins
Driving directions : see on google map