Mamaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya and Slab Inscription (මාමඩුව රජමහා විහාරය හා මාමඩුව සෙල් ලිපිය)

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Surrounded by Sinhalese villages such as Mahakachchakodiya, Etambagaskada and Agbopura and Tamil villages such as Vimangalla,  Mamaduwa is a small Sinhalese village located in north-east of Vavuniya in an area scattered with Buddhist Ruins. According to the folklore Prince Dutugemunu has gone across this area to Erupothana, the home town of one of his generals, Nandimithra after destroying the army of Elara. Hearing the arrival of the victorious prince, the villagers have built a massive shed (Maduwa) to celebrate the overthrowing of

Elara by the prince. Thus this area where the “Maha Maduwa” was built evolved in the “Mamaduwa” with time.

With the shifting of the capital to Polonnaruwa and then further to the south, all the villages and the massive reservoirs which fed the paddy fields were abandoned for thousands of years. These Sinhalese villages were re-established again in 1839 and Mamaduwa had a total population of 16 villagers by this time under British rule but the dilapidated ancient Mamaduwa Reservoir was their main challenge to sustain their paddy fields.

The villagers successfully appealed to the Jaffna Governor to re-build the reservoir but the Tamils in the area vehemently opposed this plan. Despite the resistance by Tamils, rebuilding of this tank was undertaken in 1881 under the guidance of Henry Parker.

The name Mamaduwa again came into the news in 1986 when the LTTE Tamil terrorist’s first-ever civilian bus bomb exploded near the Mamaduwa Cemetery on the 22nd of July. The bus filled with school children and villagers driven by a Tamil driver brought death to 32 civilians out of which 30 were from Mamaduwa and Mahakachchakodiya.

The temple of Mamaduwa was also started as a small hut in 1881 close to the reservoir in an area with ancient Buddhist ruins for the villages to carry out their religious activities. After many years of effort by the villagers, a Buddhist priest was invited to this “Pahan Ge” in 1900 turning into a Buddhist Temple. Today this temple has been developed to support the growing number of worshipers in the village.

The slab inscription of Mamaduwa was found buried on the reservoir bund during renovation. The inscription and pictures of a dog and a crow is carved on a 3½ feet high, 3 feet wide and 1½ feet thick slab which has broken into two pieces. The inscriptions state that those who use the water from the reservoir for farming and don’t carry our religious offering shall be reborn as dogs and cows.

This slab inscription has now been moved to the Vavuniya Museum for protection.

References

  • එස්. පී. එස්. වීරසිංහ, n.d. අපේ වැව්නියාව – වව්නියා දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ සිංහලයන්ගේ පුවත. කොළඹ, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව: විසිදුණු ප්‍රකාශකයෝ.

Also See

Map of Mamaduwa 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 Mamaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Vavuniya up to Mamaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Through : Agbopura
Distance : 11  km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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