Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya) – දුංකුඹුර රජමහා විහාරය (දුංකුඹුර ටැම්පිට විහාරය)

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Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya)

Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya)
image source : ‘The Upcountry Repository of Buddhist Art – The Tampita Vihara of Sri Lanka’ By Ganga Rajinee Dissanayaka

Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (also known as Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya) is a temple with about a 200 year old history going back to the Kandyan Era.

According to old documents at the temple, the story starts when owner of land which the temple stands today became a Dasa Sil Upasaka. He had made a pilgrimage to Anuradhapura in 1830 in order become a priest and brought back a sapling from the Sri Maha Bodhi and planted it on his garden to worship.

According to the ‘Thumpane Vihara Vanshaya’ composed by H. S. S. Thundeniya, there are inscriptions at Polwatta Pahala Kimbura and Uda Kumbura, where it is written that the Venerable Ratnapala Thero had donated his lands to the Bodhiya in 1830. Its also written between 1830 -1840, Ratnapala was ordained by Ulpathgama Buddha Rakkitha Thero and on the seventh year after becoming a monk, he had built a temple and the Tampita Viharaya. These inscriptions now lost, stolen or buried under the sand.  The original Bodhi tree no longer exists and the tree you see today has been  brought from the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in Dambadiva (India) in 1960.

The Tampita Viharaya is the oldest part of the Dunkumbura Raja Maha Viharaya. 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 and the inner walls are generally covered with frescoes drawn mainly in Kandyan style.

Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya is built on 25 granite sumps. The temple structure is divided into 2 sections. The Budu-Ge is square and built towards the far edge of the rectangular wooden platform creating a spacious porch between the entrance to the Tampita viharaya and inner sanctum. A circumambulating path is built surrounding the inner chamber with a wooden handrail. At the entrance to the inner chamber, statues of 2 guardian deities are found. At the top is a Makara Thorana (dragons arch).

The front of the Tampita viharaya is connected to a large mandapa. A wooden flight of stairs from this mandapa leads to the entrance of the Tampita Viharaya.

A seated Buddha statue takes prominence inside the inner sanctum. On the right wall statues of two more standing Buddha statues can be seen. Statues Vishnu and Aluth Nuwara Deviyo also can be seen inside the sanctum. The walls are decorated with typical art of Kandyan Sittara tradition.

The mandapa of the Tampita Viharaya is built in the same architectural style. The  ornate palanquin mounted beneath the roof of the mandapa is believed to have been used to carry the casket of relics and the Pirith books. Another artifact found here is the large wooden coffer with paintings of Wessantara Jathaka and King Sirisangabo sacrificing his own head. Paintings inside the coffer depict Suvisi Vivarana (24 Buddhas).

To reach the temple from Kadugannawa, take the Poththapitiya road just before Kadugannawa Railway station and travel on this road (B173) passing Poththapitiya for a total distance of 14.5 km fall on to B122 road at Hataraliyadda. Travel pass Hataraliyadda on B122 for 3 km to reach the temple.

Also See

Map of Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (Dunkumbura 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 Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya)

Route from Kadugannawa to Dunkumbura Rajamaha Viharaya (Dunkumbura Tampita Viharaya)

Distance : 17.5 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