Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha Viharaya in Medirigiriya (මැදිරිගිරිය මහතලාකොලවැව රජමහා විහාරය)

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Mahathalakolawewa village is a remote village surrounded by jungles in the Medirigirya area. According to legend, the Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha Viharaya in this remote village was a temporary home to the Right Tooth Relic of Buddha before it was enshrined in the Somawathi Chaithya.

Granite ruins of an ancient image house can be still found at this temple. A large headless statue of a standing Buddha carved out of granite lies fallen in the middle of these ruins. The head of this statue is believed to have been stolen by treasure looters.

Recent excavations carried out by the Central Cultural Fund at the temple has discovered that it has been a large complex with a number of buildings going as far back as the 1st Century BC.

Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha Viharaya Dig Reveals Evidence of Human Habitation in the 1st century BC


The ongoing excavations in the Mahathalakolawewa (Mahathalakola Wewa) Rajamaha Viharaya archaeological site has brought to light that even before the capital was shifted to Polonnaruwa, development activities had been implemented in the area. It also indicated that human habitats had existed in the area even during the First Century BC- the Anuradhapura Period. The researchers had also found clear evidence of historic bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China.

Director General of the Central Cultural Fund Prof. Prishantha Gunawardene said the finds included those similar to the archaeological remains found in Anuradhapura. He said debris of earthen vessels, pieces of oars, parts of furnaces and pieces of Chinese porcelain plates were among the finds. He said that Polonnaruwa had been well-developed and industrialised during the Anuradhapura Period.

Ruins of Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha Viharaya
Ruins of Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha Viharaya
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“We have found evidence of a large building complex including a monastery and a shrine room at the Medirigiriya archaeological site. This traditional belief is that the Sacred Right Tooth Relic of the Buddha had been enshrined in it before it was placed in the Somawathi Cheithiya. The Chinese ceramic ware belonged to the 8th or 9th century BC. We found similar archaeological remains during excavations in the Alahana Pirivena project.  This is a clear indication of centuries-long bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China,” the professor said.

The marker points to only the approximate area of the temple.

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Map of  Medirigiriya Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha 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

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Travel Directions to Medirigiriya Mahathalakolawewa Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Medirigiriya to Rajamaha Viharaya
Time to Spend : 30   minutes
Distance :34  km
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map


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