Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya – Kuruwita (දෙල්ගමුව රජ මහා විහාරය)

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Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya is a important place of worship for all Buddhists of Sri Lanka as the sacred tooth relic of Buddha was protected inside this temple from the Portuguese for over 40 years. The ancient Kurahan grinding stone in which the holy tooth relic was hidden safely can be seen in this Delgamuwa temple even today.

The King Dharmapala of Kotte who is well known for his incompetency embraced Catholicism in 1557 to safeguard his throne. Dharmapala became a pupet king and the portuguse got complete control of the Kingdom through Dharmapala. Realising the danger to the Tooth Relic by the Diyawadana Nilame, Hiripitiye Divana Rala, the custodian of the Tooth Relic swam the Diyawanna Oya (river) and took the relic from Kotte to king Mayadunne of Sitawaka (now Avissawella) for safe keeping.

The king fearing a Portuguese invasion at any moment, had it hidden at the  Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya. The incumbent of the vihara, sensing danger, caused to artificial replicas to be made in ivory. Keeping one of them in the place where the original was ,gave the other to Vidiya Bandara, and the thera, and concealed the genuine one inside a grinding stone (Kurahan Gala).

By this time the Portuguese had already destroyed the original Dalada Maligawa (The Shrine of the Tooth Relic) at Kotte Kingdom and built a Catholic Church on top of it. Then they invaded Sitawaka and carried away the artificial relic, thinking it to be the original, and sent it to Goa to be destroyed. However, the Portuguese got the news that what they had got was a duplicate of the Relic and the original was in the hands of Vidiya Bandara, the son-in-law of king Mayadunne. Vidiya Bandara was captured on the orders of the Archbishop of Goa in 1561. The Archbishop, having secured the artificial relic from Vidiya Bandara placed it in a mortar pulverised it, burnt the powder in a brazier and threw the ashes into a river.

When Konappu Bandara ascended the throne of Kandy in 1592, in the name of Wimaladharmasuriya I, the incumbent of the Delgamuwa vihara, handed over the real Relic to the king who enshrined it in Kandy.

Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya  is accessible by 2 routes, when you travel along the Colombo- Ratnapura main road, one way to the the temple is found near the Kuruwita central college just opposite to the Kuruwita Post office and the other leads via Sri Saddhathissa Mawatha to the temple 2 miles far from Higgashena.

Also See

Map of  Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

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  Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to  Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya Route from Panadura to  Delgamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Though : Awissawella
distance : 80 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Horana – Gorakella
distance : 67 km
Travel time : 1.30 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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