Dampahala Vilayaya Purana Tampita Viharaya – දම්පහල විලයාය පුරාණ ටැම්පිට විහාරය

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Tampita Viharaya sketch og
A sketch of a Tampita Viharaya

Dampahala Vilayaya (Wilayaya) Purana Viharaya is an ancient temple in Matara district with a Tampita Viharaya built during the Kandyan era.  This temple lie between Pasdgoda and Urubokka and  9  km off Pasdgoda, 6.5 km off Urubokka and 22 km from Deniyaya.

It is said that the paddy fields close to the temple had been a lake (Vila) during ancient times and the lake has been drained at some period and was converted to paddy field (Yaya) thus this area became to known as Vilayaya ( field in the lake).

When this temple was built is unknown but the current is at least 300 years old. The temple has been occupied the semi-priests belonging to Silvath Samagama due the lack of Upsampada priests before it was revived in the 18th century with the resurgence of Buddhist philosophy by Weliwita Sri Saranankara Sangaraja Thero (1698 – 1778).  Once the Upasampada was brought to the country, Sri Saranankara Thero established number of Seema Malaka in various temples  across the country to carry out rituals of the priests. The granite stumps found today at this temple is believed to be of the original Seema Malakaya built at this 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.

The Tampita Viharaya at this temple is built on a frame built with 15 inch thick ‘Na’ timber beams laid across 3 feet high granite pillars. The image house is about 13 feet in width and length and 8 feet tall. There is a narrow circumambulating path around the image house. The outer wooden pillars are caved with designs similar to what is found at Temple of Tooth at Kandy. It is said the outer wall has been covered in murals but none exists today.

A 2 feet high Samadhi Buddha statue which has been carved out of a Sandun (Sandalwood) timber core can be seen inside the image house. The image has been carved in the from of Dambulla tradition.  An outer structure has been built surrounding the whole Tampita Viharaya to protect it from elements today.

During time of British invasion of Kandy, the holy tooth relic was smuggled out of Kandy and brough to Kolawenigama Rajamaha Viharaya and on its way, the tooth relic is believed to have been temporary hidden at this temple too.

To reach Dampahala Vilayaya Ancient Temple from Deniyaya take the Madampe road  and travel 3.5 kms to reach the Urubokka road. From  Kamburupitiya take the Makandura road for 5.3 km to reach the temple.

The Tampita (built on stone Piles) Image house in the Dampahala, Vilayaya Purana Raja Maha Viharaya premises situated in the Dampahala West Grama Niladhari Division in the Pasgoda Divisional Secretary’s Division, Matara District was declared as a protected archaeological monument in 2009.


  • Abeywardana, M.Y. (2009) “The Antiquities Ordinance (Chapter 188) ,” The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, 1612, p. 1022.

Also See

Map of the Dampahala Vilayaya Purana Tampita Viharaya

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Driving Directions to Dampahala Vilayaya Purana Tampita Viharaya

Route from Matara to Dampahala Vilayaya Purana Tampita Viharaya

Though : Thihagoda – Kamburupitiya – Pasgoda
distance : 56km
Travel time :2 hours
Time to spend :  30  mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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