Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya – පවුරුකන්ද රජමහා විහාරය

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Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya
Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya

Although the midday sun was falling on our heads, we started our pilgrimage to the Punchi Sripada at Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya at Halwala, a village in the Walallawita Divisional Secretary’s division in the Kalutara district.

A few villagers of Halwala joined us to climb, the beautiful hill Paurukanda which is about 510 feet above sea level, it is covered with vegetation. Our aim was to reach the summit and pay homage to the footprint of the Buddha and also visit other historical places at Paurukanda.

Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya
The flight of steps

The history of Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya goes back to Polonnaruwa era. According to the Mahavamsa, after defeating the enemy forces king Wickramabahu fled to Pasyodunrata with his brothers Kirthisrimegha and Sri Wallabha. It is believed that they took refuge at Paurukanda which was a natural fortress because its summit had been surrounded by a stone wall.

Therefore, it had been aptly called as ‘Paurukanda’. ‘Paurukanda Vihara is atop Paurukanda.

The footprint of the Buddha had been engraved on a stone at the summit of the hill. So, Paurukanda is knows as Punchi Sripada. There are two paths to climb the hill. One of the paths is better than the other because it goes through scenic surroundings.

A stone flight of steps leads to the summit. The upward journey is not tiresome because the path is shaded by trees. You naturally get a wonderful feeling of peace and serenity when you climb the hill. Even the environment is tranquil except for the sound of birds in flight.

Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya
A view of the cave

It takes about 40 minutes to climb Punchi Sripada. The summit was a plane area with a few structures such as the stupa, the shrine room, the carved footprint of the Buddha and the Bo tree.

The ancient shrine room adorned with murals enhances the beauty of the place, which is an archaeological site. Viharadhipathi Mavita Somaloka Thera said that a visitor could see murals belonging to three eras. Vandals and treasure hunters have destroyed some parts of the Buddha statue. Even the ancient statue of God Vishnu found in the shrine room has been vandalised. However, it has been renovated recently.

Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya
The carved footprint of the Buddha

The footprint of the Buddha, had been carved on an isolated rock in 1838. It is found in front of the shrine room. The stupa is unique because it has been built on a stone structure.

A large cave is found away from the vihara. The cave can accommodate about 400 pilgrims. It is believed that king Manabharana had lived there.

The villagers believe that the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha also had been hidden in the cave. It is believed that there had been a the stone canoe among the archaeological remains at the place. But today no one knows the exact place where it was found.

The hill and the surroundings are rich in rare medicinal plants, animals and birds. But the Viharadhipathi said some unscrupulous elements are felling valuable trees and destroying the natural beauty of the place.

Sunday Observer

Also See

Map of Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Matugama to Paurukanda Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Panadura – Aluthgama – Dharga Town
Distance : 80 km
Travel time : 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Horawala
Distance : 15 km
Travel time : 20 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map


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