Madukanda Sri Dalada Viharaya at Vavuniya – මඩුකන්ද ශ්‍රී දළදා විහාරය

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Madukanda Sri Dalada Viharaya

Madukanda Sri Dalada Viharaya
photo by Senanayaka Bandara

Vavuniya has a number of historic temples and sites belonging to the Pre Christian era up to the 7 Century AD. Vavuniya Madukanda Sri Dalada Viharaya takes a prime position among them.

Madukanda village is located in the Vavuniya District and is about 4 kilometers off Vavuniya town along the Horowpothana road. This village’s significance can be established at least from the 4th century. Madukanda is  considered the first Dalada Maligaya (House for the Tooth Relic) which was built in the country. The relic was brought to Sri Lanka by princess Hemamali and prince Danta during the reign of king Sirimeghavanna (Kithsiri Mevan- 303-311) .

Close by to Madukanda, on the rock called Thonigala lies one of the most important rock inscriptions in the country king Sirimeghavanna describing operations of a Grain Bank in the area.

The old Madukanda walawwa with its court where the last Rate Mahaththaya resided is the last walawwa towards the North of the country as well as the last Pirivena (Buddhist center for learning) towards North is also centered around Madukanda Viharaya.

Madukanda Viharaya is a common place of rest for the pilgrims and travelers to Jaffna and Vavuniya. The temple provides accommodation and other basic facilities to pilgrims and other traveler’s free of charge.

History of Madukanda Viharaya in Vavuniya

According a article by Lieutenant Colonel Chandana Weerakoon, Among the 83 rock inscriptions in Vavuniya, 58 belong to the era of Nandimitra while the others belong to the fifth Century and 12th Century. Among the 83 rock inscriptions the Sinhalese Language is also visible, which gives evidence of Sinhalese settlements from around 200 BC.

This area has faced tremendous cultural, social and religious changes due to the arrival of the ‘Tooth Relic” from India (Kalinga Deshaya). King Guhaseeva was the ruling king at the time. His daughter was Hemamali and son-in-low was Prince Dantha who brought the sacred tooth relic to Sri Lanka. During this time Minister Deva was ruling the Vanni region and the building of the Relic House is said to have been spear headed by Deva which was kept here temporarily until a proper Relic House was built in Anuradhapura

Remains of the ancient Relic House is the most single important building in the temple. This is a 35 feet x 30 feet building built on a raised platform. The entrance to the building is through 5 finely carved granite steps. Two exquisite guard stones and balustrades stand beside the steps. The large semi circular moonstone at the bottom lacks any carvings. Out the 20 stone pillars in the building 0nly 5 stands upright today.  A granite slab with a circular depression lies at the center of this building which believed to be the place where the Tooth Relic was placed.

Another important building of the temple lies close to the new stupa. Built on a raised platform, with granite steps complete with a moonstone, guard stones and balustrades, these parts lack any carving in contrast to the Relic House.

Close to the ponds of the temple lies a another interesting building which has been restored recently. Made of slabs of rock this is now believed to be a water tank which has been used to treat the sick. This would have been filled with hot water or medicinally treated water for the priests to bathe.

There are two ponds in the premises which are yet to be restored. The granite slabs which created the walls have fallen in the ponds itself and if restored will bring out the magnificence of these structures.

A 3½ feet high granite Buddha statue in Samadhi position can be seen placed on newly built structure. The eyes of the statue is strangely hallow with the gems which adorned the eyes having being stolen by treasure hunters.

The current image house of the building has been built around 1920. With the LTTE Terrorists now wiped out, the temple is now fast becoming a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims traveling to Jaffna from the South.

 

Primary sources : Article by Lieutenant Colonel Chandana Weerakoon to Daily Mirror on June 27, 2006
අපේ වැව්නියාව – වව්නියා දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ සිංහලයන්ගේ පුවත – කතෘ – එස්. පී. එස්. වීරසිංහ

Also See

Map of  Vavuniya Madukanda 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.

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.


Travel Directions to Vavuniya Madukanda Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Vavuniya Madukanda Viharaya

Route from Vavuniya to Madukanda Viharaya

Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 265 km
Travel time : 6 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Vavuniya – Horowpatana Road
Distance : 4 km
Travel time : 10 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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