Kolambagama Miyugunarama Rajamaha Viharaya (කොළඹගම මියුගුණාරාම රජමහා විහාරය)

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Colombagama is a village lying close to Chillaw – Wariyapola Road in Kurunegala District. Kolambagama Miyugunarama Rajamaha Viharaya is considered as one of the first temples built by King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) after he became a Buddhist with the visit of Great Mahinda Thero. It is said that the king built temples at every gauwa ( approximately 4 miles?) and this is considered one of the very first built by him.

The temple is today more popular for its Sri Vishnu Devalaya which is built in the form of a Tampita Viharaya. Although most Tampita Viharayas are built on pillars carved from rock, this shrine room is built using 23 boulders of different sizes placed to keep the four wooden beams in place. It is said that the building technology was weakened during the beginning of the Kandyan Kingdom when the country had been unstable for centuries due to internal and external invasions. It is believed that this shrine room had been built during this era.

The Tampita shrine room is completely built with timber and all these are carved with various designs such as Mallawa Pora (wrestling), “Angam Pora” (a local form of martial arts) and cock fights. P.E.P Deraniyagala, the well-known Sri Lankan palaeontologist, zoologist, and artist focused his attention on these temple carvings in 1942 where he had studied the various designs of Mallawa Pora in the carvings. He calls this a Bana Maduwa (preaching hall) indicating that this was not a Devalaya at that time of writing and it possibly has been converted to a Devalaya at a later date. He has published four photos of the carvings from the so-called Bana Maduwa of Colombagama temple each in a different posse. The first is wrestlers in a vase motif, and the second is showing one wrestler falling backwards after receiving a kick from the opponent The third is four wrestlers wrapped together in a lotus flower motif where the space contained between the arm and the thigh also represents a 3 petal flower. The last is four wrestlers in a chariot wheel motif.

Photos published on Deraniyagala’s article of the wooden carvings belonging to 19th century at Colombagama

The temple also owns ‘Garunda Pashana Pilimaya’ which is said to have been used as an object of veneration before the time of Buddha Statues. Another interesting feature is the ancient Buddha statue with Varada Mudra which is uncommon in Sri Lanka.


  • Deraniyagala, P., 1942. Sinhala Weapons and Armor. CEYLON BRANCH OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY, 35(95 Part IIII), pp.97-142.

Also See

Map of Kolambagama Miyugunarama Rajamaha Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Kolambagama Miyugunarama Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Kolambagama Miyugunarama Rajamaha Viharaya
Through : Negombo – Chillaw
Distance : 121 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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