Lihiniyagala Rajamaha Viharaya – ලිහිණියාගල රජමහා විහාරය

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Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya
Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya
photo by : Kumara singhe

Lihiniyagala Rajamaha Viharaya (Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya) is an ancient cave temple which lies in Kirthi Bandarapura in Walapane PS. Even though it is not known who or when this temple was built, this temple is believed to have been in existence during time of King Dutugemunu (161-131 BC). It is said that one of his giants called Theraputhabhaya became a priest after the liberation of the country from the Tamil invaders.  Archaeologists have discovered Brahmi inscriptions on one of the caves which has been dated to the 2nd century BC. This inscription has been translated to something similar to ‘Beautiful View’.

Though unknown to many, this temple is the only place that you will find pre historic paintings in the Central Province. On a large cave of about  150 feet in length and 12 feet in depth lies Stick Figure paintings of humans, animals and other abstract figures.

All the paintings in the cave are clustered in an area close the center of the cave for some reason. All the pictures have been drawn above the normal height of a person which mean that the ancient artist had not wanted his work to be destroyed by the habitats and climbed on to a raised platform in order to draw the pictures. There are a total of 13 stick figures which can be identified out of which 9 are in a single cluster.

There is a small temple on one corner of the cave with paintings belonging to the Kandyan Era.  These paintings are in a dilapidated state due to lack of maintenance. A large impressive wooden door frame with exceptional carvings adds grandeur to this image house.

It is said that this area was given the name Lihiniyagala due a scrub called “Leeniya” which grew in abundance in the region. Therefore this area was called ‘Leeniyagala’ which later became ‘lihiniyagala’. The ancient name of this are is said to be ‘Niyada-wanaya’.

This ancient temple can be reached by traveling on the Mahaweli Raja Mawatha towards Kandy from the Walapane town. Travel about 5km passing the ancient Keerthibandara Devalaya. At the bridge over the Belihul Oya you will be able to see the the temple on the rocky mountain on the right hand side.

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Map of Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya

Route from Kandy to Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya

Route from Loggal Oya Junction to Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya

Through : Haragama – Kande Handiya (Juction) – Mahaweli Raja Mawatha
Distance : 47 km
Travel time : 1.15 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Mahaweli Raja Mawatha
Distance : 34 km
Travel time : 40 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map


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