Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya – හඟුරන්කෙත පොත්ගුල් මාළිගා රාජමහා විහාරය

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Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya

Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya
Photo by Ven, Deeyakaduwe Saranasiri

The current Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya was built by a buddhist priest called Poholiyadde Thero in 1830 when the casket of his offering which he carried was firmly bound to this ground when he rested it on this land. According to legend, the priest was on a pilgrimage and he spent on night on this ground. Next day when he was preparing to leave, the casket carrying his offering could not be moved from the place he left it the previous day. The priest considering this an omen, wowed to build a temple on this ground which was called Sangaruwanketha ( now Hanguranketha).

It is also believed that this temple is built on the ruins of Devram Vehera which was in existing during Polonnaruwa Kingdom (1070 – 1236).

It is recorded that that the kings Sri Weera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707 – 1739) and Sri Vijaya Rajasinghe (1739 -1747) used Hanguranketha as the second capital to Kandy and had palace built in this town.

But in 1808 this palace which was then used by Sri Wickrama Rajasinhe (1798 – 1815), the last king of Sri Lanka was burned to the ground by the British forces under a major Johnson.

This palace would have been grandeur based on the writings of Robert Knox who was a free roaming  prisoner of  King Rajasinhe. Knox describes the palace as below ;

His Palace, Situation and Description of it.He keeps his Court at Digligy nour (Hanguranketha), whither he fled in a Rebellion against him. His Palace stands adjoyning to a great Hill, which was before mentioned; near unto that part of the Hill next abutting upon his Court none dares presume to set his foot: that being for his safeguard to fly unto in time of need.

The Palace is walled about with a Clay Wall, and Thatched, to prevent the Claye’s being melted by the Rains, which are great and violent: Within this Wall it is all full of houses; most of which are low and thatched; but some are two Stories high, and tyled very handsomely, with open Galleries for Air, rayled about with turned Banisters, one Ebony, and one painted, but not much Prospect, standing between two Hills. And indeed the King lives there not so much for pleasure as security.

The Palace it self hath many large and stately Gates two leaved; these Gates, with their Posts excellently carved; the Iron work thereunto belonging, as Bolts and Locks, all rarely engraven. The Windows inlayd with Silver Plates and Ebony. On the top of the houses of his Palace and Treasury, stand Earthen Pots at each corner; which are for ornament; or which is a newer fashion, something made of Earth resembling Flowers and Branches. And no Houses besides, except Temples, may have these placed upon them.

The contrivance of his Palace is, as I may say, like Woodstock Bower, with many turnings and windings, and doors, he himself having ordered and contrived all these Buildings, and the manner of them.

At all the Doors and Passages stand Watches: and they who thus give attendance are not to pass without special Order from one place to another, but are to remain in that place or at that Gate, where  the King hath appointed them. By means of these contrivances it is not easie to know in what part or place his Person is, neither doth he care they should.

From this fabulous palace only the parts made of granite survived and much of these parts were used in construction of the  Pothgul Viharaya, which was a massive library of historic buddhist writings.

Today you can see the massive granite entrance, door frames,  dragon carvings, moonstones, finely decorated pillars, steps and many other granite artifacts which has been used to build the Pothgul Viharaya which became the Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya since the temple was built with the material from the ‘Hanguranketha Maligawa’ (Hanguranketha palace) . It is also said that special copper tiles were imported from Spain to tile the roof.

key words : “Hanguranketha Maligawa”

Also See

Map of Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya


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Travel Directions to Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Kandy to Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Rajamaha Viharaya

Through : Ampitiya – Mailapitiya
Distance :29 km
Travel time : 45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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