Handapangala Keheliya Rajamaha Viharaya – හඳපාන්ගල කෙහෙලිය රජමහා විහාරය

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What remains of the ancient stupa - @ Wellawaya Kehaliya Rajamaha Viharaya
What remains of the ancient stupa – @ Wellawaya Kehaliya Rajamaha Viharaya

Handapangala is today synonymous with wild elephants due the elephant corridor but thousands of years ago this area was a thriving Buddhist community with temples dotting the landscape. Handapangala lies 10 km off Wellawaya and 25 km off Thanamalwila on the Wellawaya – Weerawila road.

Keheliya Rajamaha Viharaya is an ancient temple lying 2.5 kilometers off Handapangala town. To reach the temple take the road towards the Handapangala Reservoir and again turn left after 1.3 km. The temple lies on the left, 1 km down the road.

The temple covers a large area scattered with various artifacts  belonging to an ancient era. The archeological remains of a stupa and image house in the rocky plain and two buildings with stone columns near it is believed to be belonging to the era of King Devanpiyatissa (250-210 BC) . The two inscriptions seen in the area has early brahmin letters.

The dilapidated stupa lies at top of a rocky plateau and now resembles a mound of earth. A washed out flight of steps cut in to the rock takes you to the stupa. A square hole cut in to the rock is said have been dug by treasure hunters to unearthen an ancient treasure hidden in the hole. More artifacts of ancient buildings are scattered throughout this area which has been  declared as an protected archaeological site in 2002.

Sources :
Final Report of Uma-Oya Multipurpose Development Project. November 2010

Also See

Travel Directions to Keheliya Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Wellawaya to Keheliya Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Thanamalwila Road
Distance : 11 km
Travel time : 15 mins
Time to spend : 30 – 45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

Map of Keheliya Rajamaha Viharaya

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