Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Tampita Viharaya – දොරගමුව ශෛලපබ්බතාරාම ටැම්පිට විහාරය

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Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Rajamaha Viharaya (Doragamuwa Gale Pansala)

Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Rajamaha Viharaya (Doragamuwa Gale Pansala)
photo by : Shalaka Gamage

Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Rajamaha Viharaya lies about 12 km away from the city of Kandy on picturesque rocky hill in the village of Doragamuwa. This Temple is also known as Doragamuwa Tampita Viharaya or simply Gale Pansala.

It is said that during ancient times a farmer had a dream where he was told that there were a stock of good sickles in a certain cave. Next day, farmers in the village visited this cave to find the tools stocked inside the cave. They took the sickles, and used them in their paddy fields. At the end of the day the farmers went back  to return the sickles  to the cave and one farmer noticed a heap of gold and jewellery in the cave and went in to take some. The moment he picked up the gold, the door of the cave shut down, trapping the farmer inside, thus this area was known as Doragamuwa.

History of this temple goes as far as king Walagamba (89-77 BC). Based on the documents in the temple, the current temple has been built by king Rajadhi Rajasinghe (1781 – 1798) and a village with 65 amunu of land has been donated to the temple for its upkeep.

As you enter the premises the first thing you would come across is the ancient bo tree. Similar the Sri Maha Bodhi, this is about 10 feet tall and is surrounded by numerous accompanying Bodhi trees rooted from the original. According to folklore, during ancient times a passing by Brahmi has brought this Bodhi tree and left it this location and had gone for some other work. When he returned, he noticed that the tree has got rooted at this location. Considering this a miracle, he has decided to leave the tree at the same location and he, along with this entourage has settled down at the village to look after the Bodhi.

Passing this tree is a recently built Buddha statue and to its right the ancient stupa. Two rock caves can be found on the rock plain behind the stupa and there are signs of an attempt to build a reclining Buddha statue in one of the caves.

At top of the rock you will find an large Tampita Viharaya. A preaching hall has been built surrounding this tampita viharaya and until you go in, a person will not realize that this building is part of a Tampita Viharaya. This viharaya is built on 9 tall rock pillars. A wooden flight of steps on one side of the preaching hall takes you to upper floor. An Samadhi Buddha statue lies in the inner sanctum of the temple. It is unique in positioning where the statue is facing west, which is a rare occurrence. The walls are decorated with frescoes drawn in Kandyan style. According to the head priest, the depiction of  defeat of “Mara” where the Buddha is depicted with hands spread indicating that he, the Buddha had prepared for millions of years ( සාරාසංඛ්‍ය කල්ප ලක්‍ෂයක්‌) to defeat the Mara is a unique art not found anywhere else.

The Tampita Viharaya of this temple has been restored by the department of archaeology around 1900. Again restoration of this temple has started recently and abruptly stopped half way. The frescoes are now fading with age and the ancient ruins are crumbling.

Doragamuwa Gale Viharaya can be reached from Kandy through Katugastota – Ambathanna road or Katugastota – Madawala road. Traveling through Ambathanna, take the Matale Road for 700 meters and turn to Kudugala Wattegama road.  Travel 6.5 km on this road upto Doragamuwa Junction. Turn right towards Polgolla. After 400 meters turn left and 50 meters down this road you will come across a narrow road paved with concrete blocks. Climb this road for 250 meters (motorable) to reach the entrance to the temple.

Also See

Map of Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Tampita Viharaya

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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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Traveling to Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Tampita Viharaya

Route from Kandy to Doragamuwa Shylapabbatharama Tampita Viharaya

Distance : 16 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Time to spend : 20- 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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Posted in Heritage, Tampita Viharaya