Archaeological Ruins of Puttalam Vanathavilluwa Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya

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Archaeological Ruins of Puttalam Vanathavilluwa Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya - පුත්තලම වනාතවිල්ලුව මල්විල රජමහා විහාරයේ  නටබුන්
Archaeological Ruins of Puttalam Vanathavilluwa Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya – පුත්තලම වනාතවිල්ලුව මල්විල රජමහා විහාරයේ නටබුන්

The Malvila Rajamaha Vihara is an ancient monastery possibly going back to the era of King Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) situated at Saliyapura in Karadipuwa (Karadipuval) Grama Niladhari Division of Wanatawilluwa Divisional Secretariat in the Puttalam District. The site is reached traversing about 13km on the Puttalam Eluwankulama road and turning right at Karadipuwa and continuing another 3 km eastwards.

This site has been inspected in 1970’s by the Department of Archaeology and the report appears in the “Administration Report of the Commissioner of Archaeology” for the year 1979.

According the report that Stupa Mound has been 35 feet high. The circumference is 300 feet. Treasure hunters had dug a 3½feet pit at the top of the mound. However they have not been successful in breaching the relic chamber. The Yupa Stone is 13 feet 2 inches tall and 4 feet round at the top. The pillar is octagonal in shape and the top is smooth with 8 lines starting from the edges connecting at the center. It was reported lying across at the top of the mound.

The image house lies west to the stupa. 35 stone pillars 9 feet high have been still standing at that time. The base for a Buddha statue proves its use as an image house. Another image house has been discovered close the stupa, on the left hand side has been discovered with the lower part of a stone carved seated Buddha.

Although this area has been gazetted as an archaeological site, no protection has been given for the last 40 odd years specially due to Tamil Terrorist activities in the past. In 2020, it was reported that this site is been regularly freely vandalized by treasure hunters with no protection given to the archaeological ruins. The Department of Archaeology website reports this sacred site having ruins of 2 more buildings with stone pillars, a structure that could be identified as a Bodhighara, a stone Buddha statue, moonstones signifying the entrances to buildings and a flight of steps with a balustrade in addition to the 2 artifacts mentioned in 1979.

According to folklore prevalent in the area, the monastery had been built by Prince Saliya, son of King Dutugemunu the Great (161-137 BC). Remains of the pond where prince Saliya and his fiancée, Asokamala is supposed to have bathed can still be seen today.

According the chief incumbent of Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya venerable Hanthane Pangnathissa thero, this complex spans over 100 acres of land, although most of the land has been forcefully occupied in the recent times and less than 50 acres now remains to the temple.

In 2021, with the initiative of the chief incumbent Hanthane Pangnathissa thero, the Archaeology department has again inspected the ruins at this site and is planning to conserve this site with the temple.


  • De Silva, R. and Karunaratne, W., n.d. Administration report of the archaeological commissioner for the year 1979. 1st ed. Colombo: Department of the Government Printing, p.48.
  • 2021. Malwila Archaeology Reserve. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 June 2021].
  • කළු­ප­හන, ක., 2020. මල්විල පුද­බිම නිධන් හොරු ගිල ගනී ද?. [online] දිනමිණ. Available at: <විශේෂාංග/105985/මල්විල-පුද%C2%ADබිම-නිධන්-හොරු-ගිල-ගනී-ද> [Accessed 5 June 2021].

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Map of  Vanathavilluwa Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Vanathavilluwa Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Puttalam to Vanathavilluwa Malvila Rajamaha Viharaya
Though : Mannar Road
Distance :18 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map