Kobbekaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Kobbekaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya and the Kobbekaduwa Walawwa are located in the village of Kobbekaduwa in Kandy district about 7 km away from Peradeniya. Access to the place is along the Kandy – Colombo road up to Eriyagama taking the turn at Polgahamulla junction proceeding a short distance along Aladeniya road, and travelling along the Hataradeniya road passing a place known as Kambi Adiya.
According to local tradition, this viharaya had been established as a private shrine to serve the Queen of Buwanakabahu IV (1341-1351) of the Gampola Kingdom. A reference occurring in the Kobbekaduwa Tudapata, records that this viharaya has been offered to Wijayabahu Thero during the time of Sena Sammatha Wickramabahu (1473-1511) of Kandyan Kingdom and later to another monk Venerable Kobbekaduwa Srinivisa by King Wimaladharmasuriya (1592 – 1604)
The history of the viharaya therefore dates back to the Gampola period. The vihara had been constructed on a raised platform stretching from the east to the west. A small temple is found to the west. This is similar in appearance to the stone built viharas in Sellwali and Palkumbura.
The lower part of the building conforms to Hindu architectural designs. Apart from the projecting pillars, there are several large square pillars supporting the vihara. These features depict the architecture of the Gampola period. Paintings in the small temple have been repaired subsequently. There is a small statue kept underneath a Makara torana (Arch).
The most significant feature of this Rajamaha Viharaya is the Stupaghara of the temple. A Stupaghara (Chetiaghara) is an enclosure that surrounds a Stupa for its protection. Stupaghara provided protection not only to the stupa but also to the Buddha statues and other structures around it. In ancient times this is known as Dhatughara. According to Dr Roland Silva, who is an expert in archaeology and heritage conservation in Sri Lanka, Stupaghara can be divided into three distinct types.
The original and popular variety here is Vatadage. The enclosure of the stupa is built in a circle. The second type of Stupaghara is the Kuladaga. Most of the houses are square in shape. The third is Chetiyalen (stupa cave). These stupas are built in natural or man-made caves. Here the cave fulfills the need of the enclosure.
The Stupaghara of the Kobbekaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya is of type Kuludage made popular after 12th century. Kuladage is a type of Stupaghara that evolved from Vatadage. There are no records of Vatadage‘s built after the 8th century CE. While Vatadage‘s designs were in decline, Kuludage’s designs, which were simpler and less expensive, emerged from around the 12th century.
The Kuludage is built in 2 levels. The lower layer roof is supported by eight massive brick and mortar pillars and the edges of the roof are supported by eight wooden pillars. The top roof is supported purely by 12 wooden pillars. All these pillars are uniquely carved similar to those of Embekke Devalaya.
The viharaya owns a large extent of highland and paddy land. Venerable Kobbekaduwe Sirinivasa of this vihara was the first monk to receive the higher ordination at the ceremony conducted by Ven. Upali in 1753.
Kobbekaduwa walawwa situated in close proximity to the viharaya is one of the best examples of an ancient walawwa found in the locality. Many changes have been made to this building which has obliterated the original appearance while Some parts of this walawwa are falling apart due to lack of maintenance.
- Abeyawardhana, H. A. P. (2004) Heritage of Kandurata: Major Natural, Cultural, and Historic Sites. Kandy: Kandurata Development Bank, in association with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Map of the Kobbekaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Kobbekaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Route from Ulapane Bridge over Mahaweli Ganga to Kobbekaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya
|Via : Pussellawa Road
distance : 2 km
Travel time : 10 mins
Time to spend : 15 – 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map