Buttala Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya – බුත්තල උනාවටුන රජමහා විහාරය

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Remains of an ancient building at the Buttala Pelawatta Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya
Remains of an ancient building at the Buttala Pelawatta Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya

Unawatuna is small town on the Wellawaya – Buttala road belonging the Buttala Divisional Secretary’s Division. There are several folklores regarding how this area got its name. One folklore goes back to the time of king Mahanaga who ruled the Rohana kingdom in the 3rd century BC. Its said that king Mahanaga built the close by Yudaganawa Reservoir and while he was going to see this work, his royal shawl had fallen here thus the location where the the kings shawl fell (සළුව උනා වැටුන) became to known as Unawatuna. Some say it was the royal ring (පේරැස් මුද්ද)  which fell down.  King Mahanaga is said to have built thousand temples in Ruhuna and the Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya is believed to be one of them.

The second folklore goes back to the time of prince Dutugemunu in the 2nd century. It is generally accepted that the battle of the brothers, Dutugemunu and Tissa took place at Yudaganawa, a close by village. On his way to Yudaganawa to face the battle with his brother Tissa, a Relic Casket on a elephant had fallen off its back and the prince without taking it back, had built a small stupa enshrining the casket. The area where the casket fell off the elephant (කරඬුව උනා වැටුන) became to known as Unavatuna.

Irrespective of which folklore is true, today you will find an a  array of artifacts of an ancient temple behind the new buildings seen from the main road. You can identify remains of two buildings with only the granite pillars remaining. One building could possibly be a remains of a Tampita Vihara. In addition, there are granite seats, flower alters, parts of door frames and stones used to prepare medicine.

One item of importance are the granite blocks which has been used to sharpen swards known as Kadu Ge Gal (කඩු  ගෑ ගල්) lying among the ruins. Sward sharpening stones waste at the center after thousands of swards are sharpened on this rock.  These stone reveal that this area has actively taken part of a war in the ancient past.

The recent history of the Unawatuna area starts from 1964/65 when the prime minister D.S. Senanayake cleared a jungles and recolonized the area. The stupa has been rebuilt and the Sangawasa building has been built during 1960’s.

Also See

Map of Buttala Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Buttala Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Buttala to Unawatuna Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Thanamalwila Road
Distance : 2.5 km
Travel time : 5 mins
Time to spend : 30 – 45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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