Matara Hiththatiya Rajamaha Viharaya is an ancient Temple lying very close to the Matara town. The beginning of the temple is unknown, but the Bo Tree at the temple is believed to be over 1000 years old. This temple has been revived in the 18th century with the resurgence of Buddhist philosophy by Weliwita Sri Saranankara Sangaraja Thero (1698 – 1778). King Kirthi Sri Rajasinhe (1747 – 1781) has also promted development of this temple and even today, a pair of large elephant tusks donated by the king can be found at the temple. One tusk is 7 feet in length and the other 5 feet.
According to a ancient document at the temple, there has been a Tampita Viharaya close the ancient Bodhi tree at the temple but this has been destroyed during a flood in 1760 and the current image house has been built on the same location.
The seated Buddha satatue at the current image house has been salvaged from the Tampita Viharaya. This statue also known as the Sandun Pilimaya or the Sandalwood Statue, is thought to be carved out of sandalwood and plastered with lime and then painted. This 3 1/2 feet tall statue with its Siraspatha is thought to be commissioned by either Weliwita Sri Saranankara Sangaraja Thero or by his student Welivitiye Sangarakkitha Thero.
In addition, a 18 riyan reclining Buddha statue flanked by Sariputta and Moggalana Theros can be seen in this image house. The current murals on the inner and outer wall of the image house has been done in 1862. The temple also owns a wooden Pirith Mandapaya built in 1842. The carvings on this structure is considered as an excellent example of the southern art form during the Kandyan era.
A replica of a palace made of ivory is another important artifact at the temple. This is 2.3 feet in length and width. The roof is made of metal and 12 pillars with carvings similar to what is found at the Temple of Tooth at Kandy can be seen on this replica. This is built on a 2.5 foot small table showing dutch influence.
Other artifacts of interest at this temple are a Lotus Flower made from ivory, a statue donated from Java (currently Indonesia), two marble Buddha statues and a copper Buddha statue.
published by Department of Archaeology
- Tampita Vihara Heritage of Sri Lanka
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of the Matara Hiththatiya Rajamaha Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Matara Hiththatiya Rajamaha Viharaya
Route from Matara to Hiththatiya Rajamaha Viharaya
|Though : Akuressa Road|
distance : 3.5 km
Travel time :10 mins
Time to spend : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map