Traveling 1.4 kilometres (0.9 miles) passing the small town of Medawachchiya on the A9 (Kandy-Jaffna) highway, you will come across this beautiful stupa situated on top of a large rock and a name board claiming the name of “Isinbassagala”. The name loosely translate to “the rock that the sage came from”. This temple complex is belived to be built by the King Devanampiyathissa (250-210 BC) right after the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Today what you see at the top of this rock is recent constructions done in the 1st half of the 20th centaury. This new stupa has been built on the same location where the original stupa has been. Excavations on this stupa area has recovered an ancient Naga Gala (Cobra carved stone) and some Sri Pathul Gala (Foot Print of Buddha).
According the chief monk residing on the temple, this represents a two stages of worshipping culture. According to him the Cobra Stone is a object of worship of the Naga (Cobra) tribes which was used to live in the country before the arrival of Buddhism. Later the temple has been built on the same grounds. The Sri Pathul Gala shows this era as this was the first representation of Buddha before the Buddha statues were built. The Cobra Stone is now located in the “Bo Maluwa” or the area where the Bodhi tree lies and the Sri Pathul Gala is hidden away cleverly under a Buddha Statue for protection from treasure hunters.
At the bottom of the rock facing the road is a dragon entrance made of concrete. From here itself is a gentle upward slope on the rock to the main stupa and the young bo tree. Halfway up the climb is a serene buddha statue and a statue of King Devanampiyathissa (250-210 BC). On one side is a bust of a man who revived the temple and constructed what you see at the top of the rock in the 1900’s. According the chief priest of the temple, this person was a devoted Catholic who found peace at the top of this rock. A rock inscription below this bust describes the names and the dates of the building but is now faded away.
In addition to the temple, the view from this rock is breathtaking. You can get a 360 degree view of the whole area from this point. From the rear of this stupa, you can climb down to the main temple premises behind of the rock. Alternatively you can take the gravel road just before the rock and drive straight to the main temple and climb up from that side.
On this side of the rock is a ancient cave room with ancient statue called Arhath Guhawa. According the chief priest, this cave room has been abandoned until recently. An retired eye surgeon who is living a life of meditation has taken up this cave now as his adobe. Passing this rock cave is a massive Na tree with creepers covering over an area of about 1000 sq meters. The tree is so ancient, the original trunk is long lost.
Other names : Isinbassagala, issinbassagala, isinbessagala, issinbessagala, isinbassa gala, isin bassa gala
Video of the tree at Isinbassagala Ruwangiri Rajamaha Viharaya
Map of Isinbassagala Ruwangiri Rajamaha Viharaya
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Traveling Directions to Isinbassagala Ruwangiri Rajamaha Viharaya
From Anuradhapura Take the A9 ( Kandy – Jaffna Road). Medawachchiya lies 27 km from the Anuradhapura. Madawachchiya is also the main turn off point to vehicles going to Mannar . Travel along the the A9 route further 1.4 km to reach the temple. The stupa on the rock is visible from far way, but the temple is completely hidden from the main road.
Route from Colombo to Isinbassagala Ruwangiri Rajamaha Viharaya
Route from Anuradhapura Town to Isinbassagala Ruwangiri Rajamaha Viharaya
|Though : Puttlam – Anuradhapura – Madawachchiya|
distance :245 km
Travel time : 3.15 – 4 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
|distance : 36 km|
Travel time : 45 mins – 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map