Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya (ලාහුගල මගුල් මහා විහාරය)

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Lahugala is one of the unspoiled National Parks in Sri Lanka in the Ampara District bordering Monaragala District. The Siyambalanduwa – Pottuvil Road runs on the south-eastern sector of the park. The Magul Maha Viharaya lies about 22 km off Siyambalanduwa town and about 11 km off Pottvil.

Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya is made in the form of a pabbatha vihara architecture. Archaeologists believe that Pabbata Vihara was built by merging with a natural rock formation. These are built by arranging several rectangular building areas (courtyards) at different levels surrounded by water. In the upper courtyard itself are the four sacred buildings arranged in specific order. In the ancient architecture book ‘Manju Sri Bhashitha Vastuvidyawa” (මඤ්ජු ශ්‍රී භාෂිත වාස්තුවිද්‍යාව) written in Sanskrit, these buildings and standards are well explained. 

The basic feature of these monasteries is a large rectangular precinct or sacred quadrangle that contains the four major shrines, a stupa, a bodhighara, a patimaghara, and a prasada which has been identified as the uposathaghara. Vijayaramaya, Pankuliya Asokaramaya, Pacina Tissa Pabbatha Viharaya, Puliyankulama Pabbata Viharaya (Pubbaramaya), Toluvila, and Vessagiriya are the temples of this tradition in Anuradhapura. Kaludiya Pokuna (Dhakkinagiri Viharaya) in DambullaLahugala Magul Maha Viharaya, Menikdena, Pulukunava in the Gal Oya valley, a group of shrines at the foot of the rock at Sigiriya and Moragoda in Padaviya are the other provincial sites where Pabbata Vihara have been identified. (Bandaranayake, 1974).

This temple is believed to have been built by King Kavanthissa in the 2nd Century BCE on the location where the King married the princess Vihara Maha Devi. The foundation of a unique circular structure in the temple is identified as the “Magul Maduwa” where the wedding ceremony took place can still be seen in the vihara premises. However, some believe this to be a Bodhighara (Bodhi tree house) of the temple.

The entire Vihara complex covered an extent of around 10,000 acres where ruins of a palace, moonstone, monastery, bo-maluwa, stupas, ponds, etc. are found scattered all over. The moonstone here is said to be unique in the country as this is the only location where elephants are carved with their mahouts in the moonstone.

References

  1. Bandaranayake, S., 1974. Sinhalese Monastic Architecture – The Viharas of Anuradhapura. Leiden: Brill.

Also See

Map of Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya

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Directions to Magul Maha Viharaya

Lahugala Magul Maha Viharaya lies 1.5 km off the main Monoragala – Pottuvil road 20 km off Siyambalanduwa town.

Route from Colombo to Magul Maha Viharaya Route from Buttala town to Magul Maha Viharaya
Through : Ratnapura – Palmadulla – thanamalwila – Wellawaya
distance : 317 km
Travel time : 6-7 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Monaragala – Siyambalanduwa
distance : 77 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Route from Pottuvil town to Magul Maha Viharaya
distance : 11 km
Travel time : 17 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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