Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli – කුච්චවේලි සමුද්‍රගිරි පිච්චමල් විහාරය

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Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli

Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

Kuchchaveli is a small coastal fishing village located about North of Trincomalee. The Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli lies on a small rocky outcrop at the sea about 4 km to the North where the Yan Oya meets the sea.

Such temples are generally called Samudragiri temples or Muhudu Viharas. They were build on a high ground bordering the sea. Some other temples belonging to this category of temples are Ambalantota Gotha Pabbatha at the mouth of Walawe River,  Bundala, Kirinda, Okanda, Sastrawela, Gokanna at the entrance to the Trincomalee harbour (where the Koneswaram Kovil stands today), Lanka Patuna at Foul Point and Dambakola Patuna in Jaffna.

As with the most other sea coast temples, sea erosion has washed away most of the temple but few ruins still remain today. The most intriguing is the engraving of 16 stupas on face of a rock on pannel of 4’x4′ neatly divided in to 16 squares. No such carvings had been found anywhere in the island and is believed to be of Mahayana origin.

On top of a small rock by the sea lies a restored stupa and some of the archaeological artifacts found at various times. This rocky hill is locally known as ‘Karandi Malai’ in tamil which translates in to ‘Walas Kanda’ in Sinhala.

Another important artifact is a standing buddha statue. The torso and the face has been found separately and based on the artistic style of this statue Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thero has placed it to 2nd century.

An inscription written is Sanskrit lies on a another rock face which has been dated to 6th century. This inscription was defaced in around 1980 when the LTTE terrorists held control of this area. But fortunately it can be seen today.

Another inscription names this temple as ‘Kanikarawelli Viharaya’ and the Pichchamal Viharaya is a modern name given at a later date. Some believe that King Dutugemu got Pichcha Mal flowers from this area to be offered to Ruwanweli Seya thus the temple was called Pichchamal Viharaya.

Today this sea coast temple lies between the Kuchchaveli Police station and a Naval camp. To access the site you need to take permission and walk across the camp towards the sea.

Primary source : The Sinhala Buddhist Heritage in the East and North of Shri Lanka
by Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thera

Also See

Map of  Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli


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Travel Directions to Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli

Route from Trincomalee (railway station)  to Samudragiri Pichchamal Viharaya at Kuchchaveli

Through :Nilaveli
Distance : 33  km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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