Niyamgampaya Rajamaha Viharaya in Gampola (නියංගම්පාය රජමහා විහාරය)

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Gampola Niyamgampaya Rajamaha Viharaya is situated at Mariyawattha on the road from Gampola to Nawalapitiya. The origin of the temple is not very clear but according to historical documents it can be assumed that this temple has been in existence since the early Christian Era.

The chronicle Chulavamsa calls this temple “Niyamgamprasada” and the Nampota calls this the “Niyamgampaya Stanaya”. It is said in the great chronicle Mahavamsa that King Surathissa (187-177 BC) built a temple on the banks of the Mahaweli River. Chulavamsa records that Vijayabahu IV (1270-1272) carried out renovations on this temple on his way back from the Sri Pada. An inscription dated 1373 AD records that a person called Jayamahale Sitana renovated and granted land and constructed a monastery building for monks by his name. The same inscription records that this temple was used as a dwelling place for the monks for the last 485 years, taking the temple back to 888 AD.

The “Sinhala Dalada Vamsaya” and 18th century work says that the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha was housed in this temple during the reign of Parakramabahu V (1344-1359) of Dedigama and Vickramabahu II (1357-1374) of Gampola. The Shrine is a two storied building built with stone pillars.

Today none of these historical buildings remains in this temple. In the main shrine room, the plinth moulding of the old structure is noticeable with bas reliefs representing musicians, drummers, dancers, animals and lotus designs. The door frame is made out of stone. The valuable Buddha image which was here was stolen in 1907.

References

  1. Seneviratna, A., 1983. Kandy: an Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments With Historical, Archaeological and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Colombo: Central Cultural Fund, Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
  2. Abeyawardhana, H. A. P. (2004) Heritage of Kandurata: Major Natural, Cultural, and Historic Sites. Kandy: Kandurata Development Bank, in association with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Also See

Map of Niyamgampaya 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 Directions to Niyamgampaya Rajamaha Viharaya

Kandy can be reached from Colombo on the old Colombo – Kandy road (option 1) which is scenic but heavy in traffic, especially on Fridays and Sundays. However, the new Central Expressway (option 2) has opened up a new route which is longer but less cumbersome.

Route 1 from Colombo to KandyRoute 2 from Colombo to Kandy
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel Time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Through : Walapane – Raja Mawatha
Distance :100 km
Travel Time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route from Kandy to Niyamgampaya Rajamaha Viharaya
Through : Peradeniya – Gampola
Distance : 25 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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