Kahandawa Raja Maha Viharaya – කහඳව රජ මහා විහාරය

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Kahandawa Raja Maha Viharaya

The history of Kahandawa Raja Maha Viharaya is inextricably linked with King Walagamba, who during his battles with various Indian invaders had taken refuge on the Kahandawa hill. Legend has it that he and his men lived in the huge caves on the hill and later converted them to shrines.

In some places traces of the thick walls built in ancient times, though mostly broken over the years, can still be seen. Monks around 100 B.C restored and began using the temple.

The village of Kahandawa in the Mirigama area can be reached by travelling about two miles on the Hakkurukbura road, which turns off from the Negombo Road.

Kahandawa Raja Maha Viharaya

The temple is unfortunately in a neglected state but the beauty of its surroundings, set on a hilly slope is enchanting. Large numbers throng the temple on Poya days, climbing the steps to the shrine room and no doubt admiring the spectacular view of the countryside that can be had from the top.

A pond at the top of the hill becomes a mini- waterfall during the monsoon season.

Of interest in the temple is the ‘avasa ge’ which was reconstructed in 1913. This is supposedly built in the style of Dutch architecture and has many noteworthy features like its carved stairways.

The ceiling in the Seema Malaka is also of interest. The viharage (shrine room) on top of the hill has been constructed during the Kandyan period, though later renovated.

It is time the Department of Archaeology stepped in to preserve the paintings and artefacts found at this little-recognised temple, for it has its place in our history books.

By Major Chandana Weerakoon
The Sunday Times

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Map of  Kahandawa Raja Maha Viharaya –


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Travel Directions to   Kahandawa Raja Maha Viharaya

Route 01 from Colombo to Kahandawa Temple

Route 02 from Colombo to Kahandawa Temple

Though : Kadawatha – Nillambuwa – Pasyala – Mirigama
Distance :60 km
Travel time : 1.5-2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Colombo Katunayake Highway – Ja-Ela – Minuwangoda – Divulapitiya
Distance : 63 km
Travel time : 1.5-2 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

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