Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya at Badulla (මුතියංගන රජමහා විහාරය)

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Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya lies in the middle of the busy city of Baddulla in the Uva province. The History of this temple goes back to the time of Buddha but this area around Badulla (especially Uva Province) goes way back to the time of 19th – 18th century BC. It is believed during this time, the mighty king called Ravana was ruling this country with Badulla as the capital. It is also believed that the War of Rama and Ravana in the Indian Epic also happened in this area. There are many places and names that identify this area (such as Seetha Eliya, Seetha Kotuwa, Ravana Ella) as the location described in this Indian epic. It is said that the Ravana finally lost the war and the winner Vibishana took the capital to Kelaniya. Uva gradually got lost in history until the 5th century BC.

In the eighth year after attaining Nirvana (in the 5th century BC), the Buddha and 500 Arhaths visited this Island for the third time on the invitation of Naga King Maniakkika to Kelaniya. On the same visit, Buddha came to Badulla on the invitation of the Deva King Indaka (now elevated to the Deity status), ruler of the Namunukula Mountain Range. At the same location where Buddha conducted his sermons, King Indaka built a stupa enshrining some Hair Relics and Mukthaka Dathu ( drops of sweat turned into pearls) of Buddha. This is the birth of the Muthiyangana Stupa. This stupa and the temple have been expanded, reconstructed, and renovated by many kings during the next 2500 years. Muthiyangana Stupa is placed on the 7th position of Solosmasthana of Sri Lanka.

The entrance to the temple is the ‘Thorana’ of an unknown period. This is a unique design with six levels. The first level includes the main entrance and above it on the second level is a typical Makara (dragon) Head. On the sides of the head are two guard figures and at the corners are two lion figures.

On the third level, there are two ‘Vamana’ figures, and at the edge two animals probably lions. These figures are not as clear as the lion figures on the second level. In the center of the 3rd level is a high stand which goes right up to the 4th level and on top of it there is a seating Buddha statue on the fifth level.

On the 4th level, there are two bulls on the side. The special feature of these bulls is that they are decorated and they have a large hump. Such bulls are a feature of Hinduism and this feature indicates some influence of Hinduism in the construction of this structure.

5th level is dedicated to the Buddha statue. On the sixth level are 2 peacocks which completes the outline of the structure.

As you enter the temple is the main image house. At The entrance is a colorful ‘Makara Thorana’. Right above the entrance and below the dragon’s head is a figure of Maithee Bodhisattva. On the right hand side of the image house is a statue of Deity Indaka, the protector of the Muthiyangana holy ground and the Namunukula Mountain Range. On the right is the statue of Maithee Bodhisattva.

Passing the image house you come to the holiest structure of the temple, the stupa which enshrines the hair and the mukthaka dathu of Buddha. The initial stupa built by the Deity Indaka in the 5th century BC was enlarged by King Devanmpiyathissa (250-210 BC) of the Anuradhapura Era.

Thereafter many kings were involved in developing this temple. The moonstones at the entrances to the stupa show the workmanship of the Anuradhapura Era.

The stupa we see today was built in 1956 over the older decayed stupa. This is 65 feet high and has a diameter of about 270 feet today.

Behind the main image house is another image house identified as the Center Image House (Mada Vihara Ge). Due to renovations in the 1960s and 1970s, this building has totally lost its original form and splendor.

This building is called so because of another image house after this called “Sath Sathi Vihara Ge” which is the oldest of the image houses. The last renovation of this building was done in 1935 and today it is in a fairly dilapidated state.

The temple is said to have had 7 Bodhi’s (Bo trees) but 4 have been destroyed in the recent past. The first Bo tree you would come across is the “Maliyadeva Bodhi“. This has a special value as this location is said to be the place where the Maliyadeva Thero (who is said to be the last Maha Rahath of this country) conducted his sermons when he was in Muthiyangana.

The next Bodhi is called the Anada Bodhi, This has been brought from the Jetavanarama in India.

The last is the most important and the oldest Bo Tree. Located near the Sath Sathi Vihara Ge, is one of the Dethis Maha Bo Trees ( 32 Bo Trees which originated from Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura) which was planted by King Devanampiyathissa ( 250-210 BC). In addition to the original protective fence (Bodhigara), there is a gold-plated fence now surrounding this tree.

Also See

  • Solosmasthana – The Sixteen Buddhist Sacred Sites hollowed by Buddha

Map of Muthiyangana Raja Maha 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 Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Muthiyangana Viharaya Route from Kandy to Muthiyangana Viharaya
Through : Ratanapura – Balangoda – Haputale – Bandarawela – Hali Ela – Badulla
Distance : 220 km
Travel time : 5-6 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Mahaweli Raja Mawatha (B492) – loggal Oya Juction – Meegahakivula
Distance : 120km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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