Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya – පඬුවස්නුවර රජමහා විහාරය

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Dalada Maligawa at the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya

Dalada Maligawa at the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya
photo by : Randa Rasanga

Panduwasnuwara in Kurunegala district is an ancient city which functioned as the capital of the country for a brief period during the 12th century. But based the ruins found, the city has been a important location much before that, even during the 7th century.

Passing the ruins of the palace of king Prakramabahu (1153-1186) and the other ruins of various temples, you will reach the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya. Just before you reach the new temple, you will come across 16 stone pillars, remains of an ancient building. Some of these pillars have been used for inscriptions and archaeologists have dated these pillars to the era of Anuradhapura kingdom.

Among the new buildings and various artifacts lying scattered around the temple,  3 ancient buildings of interest can be found in the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya. The first is the building known as the Dalada Maligaya (the Temple of Tooth). The structure is 50 feet long and 30 feet wide and is built on a 5 feet high granite platform. The roof stands on 22 granite pillars.These pillars are square at the ends and octagonal at the center and carved wooden pillar tops adorns each pillar. Wooden cross bars too are carved with various designs.

According the history, the Tooth Relic of Buddha has been kept at Dambadeniya during volatile periods of Kurunegala and Dambadeniya kingdom. Since no other building which could have been the Temple of Tooth Relic, it is generally accepted that this building of the Dambadeniya Kingdom would have been the temple where the Tooth Relic was kept.

The Tampita Viharaya if the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya

The Tampita Viharaya if the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya
photo by : Milinda Huruggamuwa

The next building of interest is the Tampita Viharaya built during the Kandyan kingdom. A Tampita Viharaya is a structure built on a wooden platform which rests on 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. Walls inside the chamber is more or less always covered in murals drawn mainly in Kandyan style.

The tampita viharaya at Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya is built on 16 granite pillar stumps. A mandapaya has been built in front of this temple using another 6 large granite pillars. Roofs of both structures have been laid with flat clay tiles popular in Kandyan era.  There is no circumambulating path around the image house but a narrow ledge have  been left on the wooden platform. The murals in the tampita image house are probably not the original.

"Chkrawala Kotte" or the "Ek-Tam-Ge" at the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya

“Chkrawala Kotte” or the “Ek-Tam-Ge” at the Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya
photo by : Randa Rasanga

The third is the circular foundation of the building called “Chkrawala Kotte” lying about 100 meters off the temple.  The base of this building has a circumference of 297 feet. According to the legend, this is the foundation of the tower (Ek-tam-ge) built to isolate Unmada Chithra (meaning – The beauty who overwhelm one & all with maddening desire) who was the youngest and the  only daughter of king Panduwasdeva (504-474 BC) out of 11 children, where the Brahmins foretold that the son she would bear would slay 9 of his uncles to become the king. All her brothers except the eldest Abhaya wanted to kill their sister. But finally she was isolated in a tower with a single chamber at the very top. Hearing her madding beauty, A royal prince called Deegha Gamini managed to climb the tower to meet her and finally became pregnant by him.

Hearing that Unmada Chithra was pregnant, it was decided by the uncles to kill the child if the child was male. She gave birth to a baby boy but managed to smuggle him out of the Ek-tam-ge though a personal attendant and replaced him with a new born girl. As predicted by soothsayers, The boy grew up to be a powerful man and slayed all his uncles except Abhaya and was consecrated as king Pandukabhaya in 437BC.

But the archaeologists believe that this building has been built by king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) when he was a sub king ruling the southern region before he was consecrated as the ruler of the country.

In addition to these buildings, number of artifacts belonging the 12th century can be seen scattered around the temple.

Also See

Map of the Panduwasnuwara 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.

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.


Driving Directions to Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Panduwasnuwara Rajamaha Viharaya

Though : Airport Highway – Negombo – Chilaw
distance : 120 km
Travel time :2.30 hours
Time to spend : 60  mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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Posted in Heritage, Tampita Viharaya