Sri Nagawanarama Rajamaha Viharaya is an ancient temple with hidden away in the Kadigamuwa area off Mawanella in Kegalle District.
One of the unique features at this temple is the two Tampita Vihara Ge’s of the temple. Its rare to see a Tampita Vihara in a temple but much rarer to see two within one temple. Tampita Vihara were a popular architectural feature of temples during the Kandyan era. The temple is built on top of granite stumps with wooden platform laid across the stumps.
According to legend this temple has been constructed in during the 14th century but according to ola books in the temple, this has been constructed by කින් Buwanekabahu VI or VIII during the 15th or 16th centuries. This temple as been renovated during the reign of Wimaladharmasuriya II (1687 – 1707) by Moragammana Dissave and again in 1744.
The oldest Tampita Viharaya in the temple has been constructed in 1758. This viharaya has been built on 12 granite pillars built on a 4 feet high platform. The pillars are 3 feet 3 inches in height. The building is 20 feet long and 12 feet wide. A 2 feet 9 inch wide circumambulating path is built around the image house with a wooden guard rail at the edge. The pyramid hip roof of the building is tiled with flat tiles, popular in ancient Buddhist buildings. The roof the on the side where the entrance lies has been extended outwards and rests on 3 cylindrical pillars of dutch style. Rock and cement steps have been built to reach the first platform and wooden steps have been built to reach the wooden platform on the pillars. The walls of the building is made of wattle and daub and the 1979 Archaeology Commisonners report states that this Tampita Viharaya is in a decayed state. One of the main long beams have been badly decayed and the statue of Buddha which is modeled in clay is deteriorating with cracks and paint pealing off the surface.
The main Buddha statue inside the Vihara Ge lies in a sitting position and two other standing statues can be seen on the sides. The head of the main Buddha statue has been destroyed and and has been restored at a later date. The statues have been painted in gold colour. The walls are decorated with images of Arhaths, Dolosmahasthana and various floral patterns. The frescoes have been painted primary in red, black and white.These frescoes have been restored in 1996 maintaining its originality.
The second Tampita Viharaya seems relatively new. It is built on 16 granite pillars on a 3 feet high platform. The pillars are 3 feet 6 inches tall. The image house is 14 feet 4 inches long and 9 feet 6 inches wide. A narrow circumambulating path is built around the image house with a wooden guard rail at the edge. Similar the the 1st Tampita Viharaya, the roof has been extended at the front and rests on 2 cylindrical pillars of dutch style. The whole building it self is 27 feet in length and 12 feet 8 inches in width. The roof is covered in typical Kandyan era flat tiles.
This image house seems to have been renovated during recent times. There are no partings on the outer walls. Two statues of guardian deities can be seen on the sides of the main entrance. The original paintings on the inner walls have been preserved. Ananda Kumaraswami mentions the exquisite wood carvings on this building in his publication. The pillars on building is carved with lotus flowers, Binara flowers, bo trees etc. The door and the frame too are finely carved with flowers and creepers.
Joined to this Tampita Viharaya lies a Chaithyagara (a stupa house) known as “kuludage” is built during the Kandyan Era. According to Mr Karunaratne, the dagoba is built of rubble and the spire is made of a single stone. The roof is set upon large beams which bear the date B.E. 2410-1813.
The kuludage structure is built on 4 square pillars. Another roofing layer extends this structure at half height. A detail description of the overall “Stupaghara” or “Chethiyaghara” architecture including Kuludage of Sri Lanka can be found here.
To reach the temple take to road towards Rambukkama from Mawanella. Travel 10.5 km on this road to reach Kadigamuwa junction. From here take the Kadigamuwa Temple Road and travel 800 meters to reach the temple.
- විජයවර්ධන, කුසුම්සිරි, 2009. ශ්රි ලංකාවේ ටැම්පිට විහාර. 1st ed. කොළඹ: දයාවංශ ජයකොඩි සහ සමාගම.
- De Silva, R. and Karunaratne, W., n.d. Administration report of the archaeological commissioner for the year 1979. 1st ed. Colombo: Department of the Government Printing, p.40-41.
- Tampita Vihara of Sri Lanka Index
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of Kadigamuwa Sri Nagawanarama Purana Tampita Viharaya
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Traveling to Kadigamuwa Sri Nagawanarama Purana Tampita Viharaya
|Route from Mawanella to Kadigamuwa Sri Nagawanarama Purana Tampita Viharaya
|Distance : 11.2 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map