Mahadivulwewa Ancient Tampita Viharayalies close to the desolated Mahadivulwewa reservoir, lying about 8 km inwards from the Ritigala – Galenbindunuwewa road. Deserted and neglected, this ancient complex also consist of a Tampita Viharaya built during the Kandyan era.
A Tampita Viharaya is a structure built on a wooden platform which rests on number of stone stumps usually 3-4 feet tall. The roof is held by a structure built of timber and the walls are generally made of wattle and daub and the inner walls are generally covered with frescoes drawn mainly in Kandyan style.
We visited this site after visiting the Namalpura Tampita Viharaya in the same vicinity. From Namalpura we took 4 km of gravel roads twisting turning through chenas, jungles and elephant fences to reach this temple where the simplest of the lives are lived by the villagers.
When we arrived at the temple, the resident monk was out and there was a small school next to the temple. First we went to the school and inquired about the chief monk and found he has gone out. Then we met the principal of the school and informed our intentions to explore the Tampita Viharaya.
It is very important to talk to the priest or a significant person at the temple and declare your intentions before visiting these remote sites. This is due the proliferation of treasure hunters who would steal and destroy any artifact of historical significant of these remote temples. Most of the statues of these ancient temples have been destroyed by treasure hunters at one time or another in search of artifacts buried in them.
The principal willingly accompanied us to the temple to show us around. The Tampita Viharaya lies behind a larger preaching hall built during a later time. The rear wall of this hall has been connected to the stairs of the Tampita Viharaya.
This Tampita Viharaya is built on 15 granite pillars. The pillar stumps are about 3 feet high and uneven as though they were scavenged from various ruined building. A cement flight of steps leads to the raised platform.
The image house is built leaving a narrow ledge around the structure. Two guardian deities carrying a sward lies beside the entrance to the image house. Unfortunately the image house has been completely redone about 40 – 50 years ago. The Wattle made from Bamboo has been attacked by termites so the walls have been refilled and painted over. The statues also have been replaced at that time. Today a seated a Buddha image lies at the center and statues of Vishnu and Saman deities lie beside the image house on the side walls. Two small images are drawn beside the seated image. On the left is a painting of a king, which resembles paintings of Kirthi Sri Rajasinhe of Kandyan kingdom. on the right is a painting of deity Saman. These two seems to be the only paintings which have survived the repainting of the image house.
The principal of the school who is also a resident of the area informed that he remembered this tampita viharaya was being redone when he was as small child.
Even today the outer structure of the temple is crumbling, the wood on the platform is aging with time and the walls are again crumbling within. But unfortunately the department of archaeology has not taken any notice of this viharaya despite letters written by the head priest.
To reach the temple take the Galenbindunuwewa road from Habarana, take the Maradankadawala road for 15 km and take the road towards Galenbindunuwewa. Travel 11 km on this road to reach the turn off to the Mahadivulwewa reservoir, This is a unmarked gravel road to the right. Travel 8 km on the deserted gravel road passing chena cultivation and jungle patches to reach the Mahadivul Wewa reservoir. The temple lies 200 meters away from the far end the reservoir bund.
- Tampita Vihara Heritage of Sri Lanka
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within 25 kilometers
Map of Mahadivulwewa Tampita Viharaya
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Traveling to Mahadivulwewa Tampita Viharaya
Route from Ritigala to Mahadivulwewa Tampita Viharaya
|Distance : 33 km|
Travel time : 45 mins
Time to spend : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map