Mawathagama Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya (බුදුන්ගේ කේශ ධාතු වැඩසිටින මාවතගම මකුලාන රජමහා විහාරය)

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We were planning to go to Matale one day, but on impulse, we decided to skip Kandy and tune towards Rambukkana from Kegalle and decided to take the inner unexplored route through Mawathagama and Ridigama to reach Matale. It was about 7 am when we reached the Mawathagama area and passed Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya and saw the majestic stupa rising over the landscape on a rocky outcrop. Out of many stopovers for the day, this would become out first.

According to Buddhist annals, Tapassu Balluka, the two merchants who met Buddha just after attaining enlightenment and who offered his first meal were given some hair by Buddha. The two merchants arrived in Sri Lanka and part of their holy relics were given to a merchant friend called  ‘Kanaka’ who took it to his Keppetipola village. There he offered this relic to a regional king called Bimba who had built this stupa enshrining this holy relic. Based on this information, this stupa would have first been built around 589 BC even though it’s unlikely what you see today is the same stupa.

The current temple is believed to be built during the reign of King Parakramabahu IV of the Kurugengala kingdom in the 14th century. On one side of the stupa is a large ancient rock inscription now mostly faded even though the images of animals can be still seen.

“Makuta” in pali lanuage is hair. Tranlated to Sinhala its “Makula”. Thus it’s said that Makulana is derived from Makula + Ana  (or jungle area) giving the meaning to the jungle area where the hair relic was enshrined.

To reach the old temple, you need to climb the rock where steps have been cut into the rock. There are a few floral designs carved onto the steps with the most elaborate one at the very top.

The top of the rock has been flattened by filling the earth into a square platform built with large granite blocks. The entrance to the maluwa is through an elaborately built bell tower.

A renovated stupa lies at the centre of the platform surrounded by a cloud wall (walakulu bamma). Ancient granite artefacts such as oil lamps and flower alters have been placed around the stupa. On the opposite side of the stupa lies the old image house and next it a newer image house has been built. The Seema gal on the new image house is carved with the year 2500 BE (Buddhist Era) which is 1957.

A large but faded inscription can be seen on the same rocky platform in front of the image house. Next to this lies another inscription in Sinhalese probably made in 1957.

Also See

Map of Mawathagama Makulana 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 Mawathagama Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Kurunegala to  Mawathagama Makulana Rajamaha Viharaya
Distance : 15 km
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on Google map

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