Welioya Nikawewa Sri Vijayarama Viharaya Archaeological Ruins

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Situated 16 km towards Welioya, Nikawewa is a substantial irrigation reservoir that plays a crucial role in supplying a significant volume of water for agricultural purposes in the region.

Situated to the east of the Nikawewa reservoir embankment, this temple is a modest yet rich repository of ancient artefacts. The present temple has seen recent additions, including a new bodhi tree and a small dwelling house. Additionally, construction is underway for a Buddha Image House at the site.

A collection of stone pillars is strategically positioned near the Bodhi wall encircling the Bodhi tree, suggesting a later installation. Adjacent to the right side is a stone pillar measuring 186 cm in height with dimensions of 26×26 cm, accompanied by two fragments of Korawakgala (balustrades) and a carved moonstone measuring 118×60 cm. Behind these features, another section of stone pillars, measuring 20×20 cm, is firmly planted in the ground.

To the southeast of the Bodhi, a part of a “Yupa Stambha”, an octagonal pillar with a diameter of 27 cm is planted here and is 125 cm high. In the same way, two parts of stone pillars have been planted near the Bodhi wall to the east and northeast of the Bodhi, and a lamp pillar has fallen to the ground between them.

Towards the south, adjacent to the Bodhi tree, stands a structure supported by stone pillars, likely identified as an Image House. Examining the remaining fragments and ruins, the building appears to comprise a central compound, an outer compound, and a vestibule. The layout suggests the existence of a middle compound measuring 275×190 cm, an outer compound approximately 130 cm in width, and a vestibule measuring 275×220 cm.

The entrance to this structure faces east and features a distinctive 165×60 cm moonstone accompanied by an associated staircase. The stone steps, varying in width, extend approximately 1.8 meters in length. Adjacent to the moonstone, remnants of the pillar base for the door of this building are visible. Scattered throughout the vicinity are fragments of dressed stone of various sizes, stone slabs, remnants of Korawakgal (balustrades), and old bricks. Additionally, between these elements, fourteen sections of stone pillars with differing lengths and widths are planted.

In front of the Bhikku residence building, a collection of artefacts from various locations is displayed. Among these, the most notable piece is a valuable headless crystal limestone standing Buddha statue. Additionally, there is a base stone from a statue, a Siri Pathul stone, and a stone traditionally used for washing feet. According to local accounts, this particular Buddha statue was reportedly unearthed from the Nikawewa reservoir.

Approximately 30 meters east of the Bodhi tree, there is a toilet stone measuring 51×52 cm. Positioned above the bell tower, there is a moonstone with dimensions of 79×51 cm.

Situated to the southeast of the Bodhi tree, the site preserves the remnants of a stupa standing at a height of 2 meters with a diameter of 15 meters. At the centre of the mound, there is a pit approximately five meters wide, reaching a depth of around two meters. A flight of steps, built with stone fragments, has been incorporated into the stupa mound, and two Balustrade stones without any carvings have been placed. Within the courtyard, notable features include a sizable stone flower altar and a stone section that may be part of a stone vessel for washing feet.

The Nikawewa reservoir forms one of the temple’s boundaries, and during periods of rising water levels in the reservoir, the temple faces erosion. In light of the planned Kiwul Oya Reservoir project, which aims to augment the water supply to this lake, a proposal has been put forth to construct a stone wall to safeguard the integrity of the ancient temple site.


  • අසංග, එම්. වී. පී. කේ. සහ නිශාන්ත, අයි. පී. ඇස්., 2018. පෞරාණික ස්ථාන හා ස්මාරක – මුලතිව් දිස්ත්‍රික්කය – පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව. 1වන සංස්කරණය. කොළඹ: රජයේ මුද්‍රණ දෙපාර්තුමේන්තුව, පි155-157
  • 2014. Proposed Kivul Oya Reservoir Project. EIA FINAL Report. Colombo: Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka.
  • Archaeologysl.maps.arcgis.com. 2020. Web GIS Portal – Web GIS Unit. [online] Available at: <https://archaeologysl.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html> [Accessed 30 September 2020].

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Map of Welioya Nikawewa Sri Vijayarama Viharaya Archaeological Ruins

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Driving Directions to Welioya Nikawewa Sri Vijayarama Viharaya Archaeological Ruins

From Padaviya to the archaeological ruins of Welioya Nikaweva Viharaya
Via : Walioya
Total Distance : 17 KM
Travel Time : 30 Minutes
Time to Spend: About 30 Minutes
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