Manankattiya Sri Sudarshanarama Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya (මානන්කට්ටිය ශ්‍රී සුදර්ශනාරාම ටැම්පිට රජමහා විහාරය)

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Manankattiya is an isolated remote village lying in the Galenbindunuwewa area in Anuradhapura District. The Manankattiya Reservoir is the lifeline of these villagers. The village temple Sri Sudarshanarama Rajamaha Viharaya lies close to this reservoir.

Though the history of this temple is not known, you will find a few ancient Siri Pathul Gal (blocks of rock carved with a footprint of Buddha)  which were objects of veneration before the 2-3rd century BC, before the Buddha statues were used. Therefore it can be safely assumed that the history of this temple goes back to at least 2-3rd century BC. 

Hidden in this remote temple lies a neglected and dilapidated Tampita Viharaya built during the Kandyan era which has not been exposed outside the village. This structure has never been identified in any compilation of Tampita Viharaya before.

A Tampita Viharaya is a structure built on a wooden platform which rests on a number of stone stumps usually 3-4 feet tall. The roof is held by a structure built of timber and the walls are generally made of wattle and daub and the inner walls are generally covered with frescoes drawn mainly in Kandyan style.

This viharaya stands on 12 granite stumps which have been planted as they were cut, without any refinement. The entrance to the tampita viharaya is small and the frame and the door are decorated with floral designs now mostly faded. Two statues of guard figures lie beside the entrance. Inside the chamber lies a seated Buddha statue underneath a Makara Thorana (Dragons Arch). Statues of Vishnu (on the left) and Kataragama (on the right) can be seen flanking the main Buddha statue on opposite walls. Next to these statues lies two standing Buddha statues.  The holos of these statues go around the complete body. Both these statues have been damaged.

The inner walls of the chamber is covered with Kandyan era paintings of Buddha images, Jataka stories, Suwisi Vivaranaya and heavens. In addition ancient sinhalese designs such as Gal Binduwa (ගල් බිංදුව), Arimbuwa (අරිබ්බුව), Thanipata Lanuwa (තනිපට ලණුව), Depata Lanuwa (දෙපට ලණුව), Thani Suliya (තනි සුලිය), Suli Deka (සුලි දෙක), Ira Rali Iruwa (ඉර රැළි ඉරුව), Havadiya (හවඩිය), Bo Pathuru (බෝ පතුරු), Palapethi (පලාපෙති), Mala saha Kolaya (මළ හා කොළය), Pananawa (පනාව), Diyarella (දියරැල්ල) and Liyawel  (ලියවැල්) can be seen used in the murals on the walls.

So far this Tampita Viharaya has not been noticed by the Department of Archaeology. Some of the wooden planks painted with ancient designs used on the roof of the Tampita Viharaya have been stolen by treasure hunters. The timber is now hundreds of years old and parts are now rotting away. There have been appeals to restore this heritage building but so far no action has been taken.

To reach the temple from Habarana, take the Maradankadawala road for 15 km and take the road towards Galenbindunuwewa. Travel 12.5 km on this road to reach the turn-off to the Manankattiya reservoir. This road lies to the left and there is a yellow colour board directing you to the Manankattiya reservoir and the temple. Travel 3.5 km on the deserted road passing chena cultivation and jungle patches to reach the Manankattiya village. Turn towards the village just before reaching the reservoir bund. The temple lies 300 meters after this turn.

Alternatively, you could reach the temple from Anuradhapura which lies 33 km away. Travel to Galkulama and turn off at the Galkulama Filling station towards Yakalla. 18.5 km down this road, you will come to the turn-off to  Manankattiya reservoir from the opposite side. Travel 3 km on this road to reach the reservoir bund and reach the temple after crossing the bund.

Also See

Map of Manankattiya Sri Sudarshanarama Tampita 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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Traveling to Manankattiya Sri Sudarshanarama Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Ritigala to Manankattiya Sri Sudarshanarama Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya
Distance : 32 km
Travel time : 45 mins
Time to spend : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map


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