Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya – කොටසර පියංගල රජමහා විහාරය

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Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya
Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya
Photo Credits : Ashan Geeganage

Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya at Bibile is a ancient temple with the history going as far as the king Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) of the Anuradhapura Kingdom based on ancient Chronicles.

Thupawansa, the Chronicle of the Great Stupa records a story related to this temple.

During the building of the the the Great Ruwanweliseya Stupa by king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC), a priest in the Kotasara Piyangala Viharaya wanted to donate a brick to the Ruwanweliseya but the king has explicitly instructed the builders to use material purchased by him. Thus this priest got friendly with the brick builder and took precise measurement of a brick. The priest then collected the necessary clay and built a brick by himself and added it to the rest of the bricks.

The king Dutugemunu got wind of this and called the brick builder and asked him if he used a brick not provided by him. The builder replied that one brick was given by a priest living in Kotasara Piyangulu Temple.

Thus this proves that Kotasara Piyangala Viharaya was a flourishing buddhist temple by the 2nd century BC. Today there are ruins spread over 12 acres and the most significant is the base of a Patanagara building which is 13×11 meters. According to ancient texts, this Patanagaraya has been built during the era of king Saddhatissa (137-119 BC) by a minister called Tissa who built a 2 storied and a 3 storied building on the instructions of the king. This two storied building is believed to be have been served as a Dalada Maligawa during Polonnaruwa Era.

Recovered gold plated Buddha statue with part of the arm missing at Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya
Recovered gold plated Buddha statue with part of the arm missing at Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya

During the rein of King Wikramabahu ( 1111-1132), Queen Sugala Devi displeased with the king is said to have escaped to Ruhunu Rata with the Dalada. Its is belived the Dalada was kept here during this period. Even today there there 2 villages called Uda Malleheva and Palle Malleheva which is believed to be the two villages which supplied flowers to the lower deck and the upper deck of the Dalada Maligawa.

There is also a Tampita Viharaya and the Resident buildings which has been built during the reign of Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 – 1781).  Entrance to the tampita viharaya is through a mandapa with its roof resting on 4 granite pillars. The moonstone at the entrance is decayed with all the carvings withered away except for a row of elephants. A wooden flight of steps leads to the Tampita Viharaya.The entrance is decorated with a large Dragons Arch. A group of deities lie at top of the dragon arch.

The entrance to the image house is flanked by 2 guardian deities. A 4 1/2 feet high Samadhi Buddha statue lie at the center of the image house. This is flanked by 2 standing Buddha statues in Abhaya mudra which are about 5 feet high. The murals in the walls ans the statues in this image house belong to the Kandyan artistic style.

A circumambulating path is built around the image house protected by a full height wall. Small windows provide light and ventilation.

The Tampita Viharaya and ancient Bhikku dwelling belonging to Kotasara Piyangala Raja Maha Vihare premises in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 102-B-Mallahewa, in Bibile Divisional Secretary’s Division in Moneragala District, Uva Province was declared as an archaeological protected monument in 2008.

The temple came in to the lime light when a 2 feet tall gold plated buddha statue was stolen from the temple in Oct 2013. A similar Buddha statue has been stolen exactly 2 years ago from the same temple and was never found. Thereafter a police guard was added to protect the rest of the ancient valuables lying inside the temple.

This robbery happened even with the police guard. But this time the thieves were caught and the 2’2″ tall and 106 kilo statue was discovered hidden in Hasalaka, san part of a arm which has been cut in order to melt the Gold.


  • Abeywardana, M.Y. (2008) “The Antiquities Ordinance (Chapter 188) ,” The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, 1553, p. 529.

Also See

Map of Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Driving Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Bibile to Kotasara Piyangala Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Mahiyangana Road
Distance : 7 km
Travel time : 15 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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