Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya – නයින්දනාව රජමහා විහාරය

The cave image house of Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya

The cave image house of Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya which lies in a remote village off Polpithigama is not a popular temple of regular pilgrims. Archeological value of this temple is extremely high but unfortunately it has not yet being taken under the relevant authorities to protect these items for the future generations.

The primary archeological value in this temple lies in the unique massive seven headed cobra (nai) carved in to a rock.  It is said name of the temple is also derived due to this carving.

The it believed that this caving has been done during the period of king Mahasen (276-303) but some believes this carving to be a place of worship of the  indigenous Cobra tribe (Naga Gothrika) going back beyond 6th century BC.

The temple itself goes to the period of King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) and it is believed that this was the adobe of one of the first 60 priests  ordained by the Great Mahinda Thero who brought Buddhism to the country.

Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya is mentioned in number of ancient historical documents such as Mahavamsa, Visuddhi Margaya and Manorathapuranaya . The ancient stupa of the temple has been built by the King Devanampiyatissa and the temple has been renovated by King Sirisangabo (251-253) according to the chronicles.

One of the rock inscription in the temple  states that a person called Gotaimbara donated a drip ledged cave to an Arhat thero called Kujjitissa. A statue has been carved near this inscription is believed to be the statue of the said thero.

In addition to the above items, the temple also has two ancient Bahirawa Images carved out of Rock, Buddha image belong to the Polonnaruwa Period, and another smaller image belonging to the Kandyan Period, two rock inscriptions and large number of  slabs of carved Sri Pathul ( footprint of Buddha) in various states.

Unfortunately all these historic items are yet to be properly preserved by authorities.

Also See

Map of Lihiniyagala Len Viharaya


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Travel Directions to Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Kurunegala to Naindanawa Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Madagalla Road
Distance : 44 km
Travel time : 1 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map

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