Buddha Walawwa Rajamaha Viharaya in Nagadeepa

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Hidden under the palmyra trees of the Nagadeepa island lies the strangely named Buddha Walawwa Rajamaha Viharaya shadowed by the Nagadeepa Viharaya which was visited by the Buddha during his second visit to the country, five years after his enlightenment.

This temple was built on a land where an ancient stone carved Buddha had been un-earthened. The land belonging to a Tamil resident was purchased by a Buddhist monk named Dhammakittitissa Thera and the temple was established. The statue is special as this is one of only a few ancient statues discovered in Sri Lanka where Buddha is represented in the ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. This is a popular mudra in Mahayana Buddhism and not popular in Theravada Buddhism.

Bhumisparsha, also called “earth witness” is depicted with Buddha in a sitting position with his right hand as a pendant over the right knee with fingers towards the earth with the palm turned inwards. The left hand is seen palm up on his lap.

Just before he realized enlightenment, it is said that Mara tried to distract him with his daughters and demons who tried to tempt him to get out of meditation under the Bodhi tree. Mara challenged Siddhartha about the witness. Then the former prince reached out his right hand to touch the earth and the earth itself roared “I bear you the witness!”. Hearing the roar from the earth herself, Mara disappeared. This gesture represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment.

Nagadeepa being at the centre of Tamil Terrorist activity and the priests of the two temples being the only Sinhala Buddhists in the whole island, both temples survived the 30-year period mainly due to mutual respect the residents and the temple priests had developed over the years. The only archaeologically important artefact in this temple is this statue. A stupa and some other statues have been installed at various places possibly after the end of the terrorist war in the temple.

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Map of Buddha Walawwa Rajamaha Viharaya in Nagadeepa

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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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Driving Directions to Buddha Walawwa Rajamaha Viharaya in Nagadeepa

Jaffna can be reached through 2 directions. The first one is over the Elephant Pass which is the normal route to Jaffna. The other entrance is from Pooneryn over the newly built Sangupiddi Bridge. This road connects to Mannar.

Route 01 from Colombo to Jaffna (Through Kurunegala)Route 02 from Colombo to Jaffna (Through Puttalam)
Through : Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 400 km
Travel Time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Puttalam – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 400 km
Travel Time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Jaffna town to Buddha Walawwa Rajamaha Viharaya in Nagadeepa
Through : Kayts
Distance : 36 km (including the ferry ride)
Time to travel  : 2 .30 mins (including the ferry ride)
Driving Directions : click here for Google Map

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