Makula Purana Rajamaha Viharaya is an ancient temple with a Tampita Viharaya hidden deep inside ancient paddy fields of Hettimulla in Kegalle.
According to folklore, this temple has been built in the 15th century. The king had planned to build a temple in the village of Ganegodathanna, about 2 km away from the Makura Viharaya. Special delegates had been sent to India to obtain a sapling from the Sri Maha Bodhi and when the delegates arrived, the Makula Reservoir had been overflowing due to heavy rains. The Brahmins who carried the sapling had stayed back in Makula for few days until the water receded but when they tried to raise the bowl with the sapling, they had found that the sapling had rooted itself to the ground penetrating the bowl.
The Brahmins had left the sapling as it is and had informed the king. The king had changed his plans and had build the temple at Makura instead of at Ganegodathanna. According to folklore this temple has been destroyed by the Portuguese during their occupation of the island.
One of the unique features a visitor could observe today at this temple is the Tampita Vihara Ge. Tampita Vihara were a popular architectural feature of temples during the Kandyan era. The temple is built on top of granite stumps with wooden platform laid across the stumps.
A door frame of the Makura Tampita Viharaya is caved with the year 2428 BE (Buddhist Era) suggesting this structure was built in 1885. It is said that that the initial temple was destroyed by the invading Portuguese.
The Tampita Viharaya is built on 8 granite stumps rising 1 feet 10 inches off the ground level. The whole structure is 19 feet long and 18 feet wide and the image house is 11 feet long, 8 feet wide. A mandapa has been built in front of the viharaya.
A 2 feet wide circumambulating path is built around the image house with a 2 feet high wall at the edge. The landing space front of the inner chamber is 7 feet wide.
Two guardian deities as high as the door stand in protection at the entrance to the image house. The door frame of the main entrance is 6’1″ in hight and built in the form of Suryawanka while a side door is built in the form of Chandrawanka. These doors and the frames are plain and lacks any carvings.
Paintings of two guardian deities blowing conch shells are seen beside the side door.
One large sitting Buddha statue and 2 smaller ones beside it fill the inner sanctum. The center statue is 3 feet 8 inches tall and the side statues are 2 feet 11 inches tall. The aura around the main statue is drawn inform of flames.
Paintings of Sariyuth and Muglan maha theros can be seen behind the smaller statues. Vishnu and Saman deities are drawn is side walls of the building.
Hell is depicted in the murals of the outer wall. The murals and the statues are said to be some of the finest work of art of the 19th century.
A recent excavation at the temple had exposed a 2 feet 8 inches tall granite Buddha statue buried under the earth. This too can be seen at the tampita viharaya today. The Bodhi tree lies on a side of the Tampita Viharaya and is said to be the oldest in the Kegalle District.
To reach the temple, take to road towards Bulathkohupitiya from Kegalle for 5 km until you reach Hettimulla. Take the right turn at the Hettimulla Bandaranayake maha Vidyalaya and travel about 500 meter to reach the temple.
- විජයවර්ධන, ක., 2010. ශ්රී ලංකාවේ ටැම්පිට විහාර. 1st ed. Colombo: දයාවංශ ජයකොඩි සහෝදරයෝ.
- Athapatthu, M., 2020. මාකූර ටැම්පිට විහාරය. පුරාවිදු වැලිපිළ, 1(1), pp.6-9.
- යටවර, එම්. ඩී. එම්. ඇස්., 2009. කෑගලු කෝරළ පවත : පරණකුරු, කිණිගොඩ සහ ගල්බඩ කෝරළයන්හි ඓතිහාසික, සංස්කෘතික සහ පුරාවිද්යාත්මක ගවේෂණය. 1st ed. වරකාපොළ: ආරිය ප්රකාශකයෝ.
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- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
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Map of Makula Purana Tampita Viharaya
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Traveling to Makula Purana Tampita Viharaya
Route from Kegalle to Makula Purana Tampita Viharaya
|Distance : 6 km
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on google map