Diyasunnatha Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya (දියසුන්නත කීර්ති ශ්‍රී රාජසිංහ රජමහා විහාරය)

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The Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe Rajamaha Vihara is a foremost Buddhist Vihara in Rambukkana. The Maha Pirivena at the Vihara provides education to monks and lay students. The Vihara is closely connected to the Buddhist renaissance of the Kandy period. The commencement of the current Vihara is attributed to the Rev. Kadiragoda Medhankare, a member of the community led by Welivita Sri Saranankara Upali Thera who brought the practice of higher ordination from Siam and established the sima (limits for monastic rites) at this temple and granted higher ordination to 10 monks. But according to folklore, the history of this temple goes as far as King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236) who is supposed to have built a 3-storied image house at this temple.

There are many religious buildings within the precincts of this Vihara. The small shrine room the older of the two shrine rooms found on the premises was open and we made our way inside through its basement along a narrow and steep flight of wooden steps resembling a ladder. Upstairs the entrance door frame to the tiny shrine room was heavily carved in wood. The paintings on either side of the doorway and inside the shrine room were elaborate.

Another much larger shrine room was built on a higher and elevated ground. It is believed that this building was originally built by King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236). The year 1877 can be seen at the entrance of this building. It has gone through renovations even after that. The large stone-carved door frame of this shrine is notable. An inscription written in Sanskrit can be seen on one side of the stone frame. According to a report in 1892 by HCP Bell, this building is 28 feet long and 14 feet wide. A 27-foot reclining Buddha statue filled this building. Two standing statues of Buddha and Saman deity were on the right to the main Buddha statue.  Another seated  Buddha statue was kept close to the door. The roof was painted with lotus flower designs and the 12 zodiac signs. Unfortunately, none of these exist today. What you see today is a single seated Buddha image and two statues of chief disciples that have been built in the recent past.

Behind this building is a dagoba of historical significance. The Vihara received the the patronage of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 -1782) and the paintings had been executed by the artists of the Degaldorawa in the Kandyan Sittara tradition. It is said that a donation by King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe of a padded cloth decorated with ancient motifs which was possibly intended to be used as a carpet measuring 5 ½’ x 4 ½’ is preserved in the temple.

The two-storied Tampita Viharaya at this temple is built on a 2 feet six-inch platform. Four timber pillars with a height of 6 feet 4 inches and the walls of the lower floor hold up the Tampita Viharaya at the top. These walls are 2 feet 6 inches thick. The ground floor is 25 x 25 feet in size with two entrances. A wooden staircase is built on the side the reach the Tampita Viharaya. The inner chamber of the image house is 10 feet long and 8 feet 6 inches wide. A circumambulating path is built around the image house. The path is 4 feet wide at the front and 2 feet wide on the other 3 sides.

A large wooden door frame, 6 feet 8 inches high and 4 feet wide with carvings can be seen at the entrance to the inner chamber. A Sansa Puttuwa is carved at the crossbar of the frame with creeper signs covering the rest of the area. Two lions can be seen on the side bars of the frame. Unfortunately, the original frescos have been repainted over losing their originality.  However some original paintings have been recovered on the outer wall during the restoration by the Archaeology Department.

Primary Sources : Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: major natural, cultural, and historic sites by Dr H.A.P. Abhayavardhana
Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara by Kusumsiri Wijayawardhana

Also See

Map of Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe Rajamaha Vihara

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Travel Directions to Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe Rajamaha Vihara

This Vihara is situated in the village of Diyasunnata about 1 kilometre from the Rambukkana town on the Rambukkana- Mawanella road. An Archeology Department board marks the turn-off to the Vihara.

Route from Colombo to Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe Rajamaha Vihara Route from Kegalle (Kandy Road) to Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe Rajamaha Vihara
Though : Colombo Kandy Road – Kegalle – Rambukkana
distance : 95 km
Travel time : 2.5-3.0 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Rambukkana
distance : 9.5 km
Travel time : 20-40 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map


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