Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya – කිනිහිරිකන්ද රජ මහා විහාරය

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Kinihirikanda Rajamaha Viharaya
Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya

The Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya is located inside a triangle of three World Heritage Sites ( 52 km from Anuradhapura , 42 km from the Polonnaruwa, and 20 km from the Dambulla). It is only 15 km from another World Heritage Site, Sigiriya. Anyone who visits the four World Heritage Sites, can also visit the Kinihirikanda Rajamaha Viharaya, and enjoy all of the beautiful scenery it has to offer.

Because Kinihiri mountain is in the vicinity of Anuradhapura, and is close to the Ritigala Mountain Range, some archeologists regard it as having been built during the reign of King Dhevanampiyatissa in the Anuradhapura era.

Kinihirikanda Rajamaha Viharaya
Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya

Dambulla is a town built around a vast isolated rock mass 500 ft and it was here that King Valagambahu took refuge in the 1st century B.C. The Kinihiri mountain was also believed to belong to the same period as the Cave Temples of Dambulla.

Kinihiri mountain standing 550 feet tall has a series of 24 caves called the “second Dambulla” by the people. Evidence indicates that there are 24 other mountain caves that had been walled in and set a part for mediation purposes of Bhikkus, aspiring to a higher form of Bhikkus (“yogavachari”). The carving of the drip ledges (Katarama) indicates a close affinity to those at Aluvihare in Matale and also to Dambulla a series of five caves, which indicates that these drip ledges had been carved in the reign of king Walagambahu in 88 B.C. and were later renovated.

Kinihirikanda Rajamaha Viharaya
Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya
Kinihirikanda Rajamaha Viharaya
Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya

The top of Kinihiri mountain has a rounded-shape. Inside the largest of the cave complex, lies a 26-foot long Buddha, which was later turned into a magnificent Kinihiri mountain temple (above noted modern name is “Kinihirikanda Rajamaha Viharaya”) by King Valagambahu. The frescoes on the walls and ceiling could be dated back to the 15th – 18th centuries.

Apart from the reclined Buddha statue in the Budhu Medura, the three standing statues are regarded as those of Kakusanda Konagama and Kashypa as they are depicted in the” Abhaya mudhra” and feature halos of three Buddha statues; one of the statues which stands at 7′ 5” , is regarded as an imitation of the Awukana Buddha statue. There is also evidence regarding this in the merit records founding the Viharaya. The remaining Buddha statue is one of the Amarawathi and Gandara traditions. They are also in the “Abhaya mudhra”. The stone near the foot of the reclining Buddha is 6′ 5” and the one in front is 7” tall. The statue on the sirasa side (head ward) is in the “Abhaya mudhra” and in this statue of Samadhi. This must have been done during the restoration in the Kandy era.

The Sri Vishnu statue is 2 meters high; it was done during the original work. There had also been two other statues of gods, however, they have been demolished and we are unable to ascertain as to which gods the statues depicted. The paintings of the “Marayuddha” in the canopy are almost completely destroyed and the “Suvisivivarana” to a certain extent is preserved. A large number of events in the “Sathsathuva” which depict many important events in the Buddha life are among the paintings. Unfortunately these two have almost disappeared during the the case of time. In 1989 the Archeological commissioner Mr. Roland Silva visited the Viharaya on the invitation of the present Viharadhipathi, with his advice, a chemical preservation process was under taken to preserve the paintings and statues.

Also See

Map of Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya

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Driving Directions to Kinihiri Kanda Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Kinihirikanda

Route from Dambulla to Kinihirikanda

Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala
distance : 185 km
Travel time : 4 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Kekirawa
distance : 26 km
Travel time : 45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map


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