Pelmadulla Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya (පැල්මඩුල්ල ටැම්පිට රජමහා විහාරය)

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We visited the Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya on a Poya morning. There are two Viharayas here. The Tampita Viharaya erected on 16 stone pillars is believed to be over 400 years. The main vihara was constructed during the British period in 1819. An elaborate image house was constructed by the Doloswala Adikari in 1828

The entrance to the image house is profusely decorated with a makara thoran and a Gajasinha Thorana containing unusual themes and designs. It is believed that a cross was painted in the middle of one of these Thoranas. This is not to be seen today.

Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara

While in the center of the Makara Thorana, a small sculpture of a lady is widely believed to be that of the blessed virgin Mary. Two angels can also be still seen in the center of the Gajasingha thorana. Various reasons are given for the incorporation of these Christian themes in a Buddhist temple. Some believe the reasons for these may have been to obtain favor with the colonial powers that ruled the island then. Or could it have been the sculptor’s way of indicating the blessings of all religions on those who entered the shrine room in search of enlightenment, peace, and harmony?

The Kandiyan period paintings within the shrine room are also worthy of note. Paintings including the figures of the 28 previous Buddhas and a large number of Buddhist events can be seen here. Amongst the unusual paintings are the 27 auspicious signs, 10 manifestations of Vishnu, the 12 signs of the astrological zodiac, and a Hansa Puttuwa. Some of these are painted on the ceiling forming huge panels of intricately detailed designs. These can be easily categorized as some of the best temple art to be seen today.

It is believed that the dagoba here originated from the Anuradhapura period but had fallen into disrepair. The vihare had later received the prominence of the kings of Kandy It is recorded that king Sri Wijeya Rajasinghe had donated Pelmadulla village for its sustenance.

Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya was also the venue of the recital of the Tripitaka the Buddhist canonical works in 1867.

This Viharaya has gained prominence as a seat of learning which produced distinguished scholars instrumental in reviving oriental education in the country. The ancient library preserves a vast collection of valuable Ola manuscripts relating to the scriptures, ayurvedic medicine, astrology, and other sciences. A collection of religious objects is also preserved here. The temple has held an annual procession in the month of Navam (February) since 1828.

Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya is situated on the Pelmadulla – Balangoda road in the Pelmadulla town.

Story and pictures by Kishanie S. Fernando
Daily Mirror

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Map of Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya Route 2 from Colombo to Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya
Through : Kesbewa – Horana – Ratnapura – Pelmadulla
Distance : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Kaduwela – Avissawella – Ratnapura – Pelmadulla
Distance : 107 km
Travel time : 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map


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