Budumuththawa Rajamaha Viharaya (Budumuttawa Rajamaha Viharaya) is an ancient temple lying in Nikaweratiya town between Padeniya and Anamaduwa. This temple has been existence since the Anuradhapura kingdom and today you will find artifacts from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandyan eras.
There are two theories of this temple getting this name. One is the belief that this stupa was built enshrining the Pearl Necklace (Muthuharaya) given to Kisagothami by prince Sidhartha hearing the Nibbutha Pada spoken by her. This necklace was carried to Sri Lanka by two princes named Danda Shakya and Thruna Shakya this stupa has been built enshrining it. Name Budu Muthuhara Vehera and been evolved in to Budumuththawa Vehera over time. A proof mentioned for this theory is that the historical ‘Sirilaka Kadayim Potha’ mentions of worshiping the stupa enshrined with the Muktha Dathu of Buddha. Prof. Paranawithana believes that Budumuththawa derives from the term ‘Badu Muktha’ meaning Tax Exempted.
Three ancient inscriptions have been discovered from Budumuththawa Rajamaha Viharaya. All 3 inscriptions are written in mixture of Pallava and Tamil script. Two inscriptions can be found on two pillars of the Tampita Viharaya built during the Kandyan era. These have been deciphered by prof. Senarath Paranawithana. Both these inscriptions have been written on the 8th year of the king Jayadeva’s reign (1110 – 1152 AD).
Three sides of a granite pillar has been used for the first inscription. The inscription has been made by the officers of a person called Weerabahu.
The second pillar inscription written on a single side of a pillar describes a donation to the Eashwara Devalaya in Mahagallaka, Wickramashila Mega Pura by the wife of Weera Perumal who is also the daughter of Chola king Kulathunga. This proves that this area was known as Mahagallaka during 12th century.
The third is a slab inscription with most of the letters eroded due to exposure to elements for hundreds of years. Currently this is mounted to the wall of the hall named as “Sangamitta Shalawa”. A Tamil professor from Peradeniya university has read these and placed the inscription to the Polonnaruwa era. The inscription describes donations made by a powerful trade association of “Nanadesheen” traders to a devala dedicated to “Paramashweri”, a goddess worshiped by Nanadesheen’s and another devalaya dedicated to “Annyawaruwan Willi” in the region.
The chief prelate of the temple is in possession of a copper plate dated 1763-64 given by the king Kirthi Sri Rajasinhe (1747 – 1781). Plate state that this temple has been in a dilapidated state and the king had renovated the temple and handed over to the Bikkus. The Tampita Viharaya found at this is most probably an addition carried out during this renovation. There are large number of Ola Leaf manuscripts donated by the king still kept safe at the temple.
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.
This Tampita Viharaya is said the built to plan similar to the Temple of Tooth at Kandy and is built as an two storied building. The image house stands on 27 granite pillars and the ground floor is built surrounding these pillars. The pillars have been decorated with carved wooden pillar heads. Flat clay tiles typical of Kandyan buildings have been used for roofing of the building. A wooden stairway takes you to the image house which consists of a inner and and an outer chamber. A seated Buddha statue carved out of wood can be seen inside the inner chamber. A Hevisi Mandapaya on 8 tapered cylindrical brick pillars lie in front of the Tampita Viharaya connecting at the roof.
All the murals of the Tampita Viharaya has been destroyed with time except for few designs on the roof of the image house.
The priests resident building (Sangawasa) at the viharaya is also quite old and probably goes back to Kandyan era. There are 2 entrances to the building at front and rear. Both doors cannot be locked from outside. According to the prelate, this is to indicate that the temple should not be left unattended at any time and some one should be always at the temple.
“Tisara Sandeshaya” authored by “Midellawa Korala” in 1758 includes poems mentioning this temple as follows ;
සතර වටිය වළු කරටිය නිම් මාන
නෙරළු කැටිය සෙත කරටිය දම් මාන
සොඳුරු සිටිය කත දැවටිය උම් මාන
මිතුර දුටිය නිකවැරටිය ගම්මාන
දැනගත්තා පෙර ලෙස ගණිතය මෙවරේ
ගැන ගත්තා සත් විසි නැකතම නොහැරේ
අර ගත්තා පරසිඳු නැකතම අනුරේ
බුදුමුත්තා වෙහෙරට වැඳගන් මිතුරේ
To travel to the temple go up to Nikaweratiya town from Kurunegala or Puttalam. Turn towards Nikaweratiya Base hospital road and go past the hospital for a full distance of 400 meters on this road and turn left on to the lane next to shop named Smart Bakers. Travel a further 500 meters on this road to reach the temple.
This temple has been declared as an protected archaeological site on 12th August 1966 by the gazette number 14708.
- Tampita Vihara of Sri Lanka Index
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of the Budumuththawa Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Budumuththawa Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya
Route from Kurunegala to Budumuththawa Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya
|Though : Wariyapola – Padeniya – Nikaweratiya
distance : 42 km
Travel time :1 hour
Time to spend : 30-45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map