Rathnapura Pothgul Rajamaha Viharaya is a picturesque cave temple built on top of a hill believed to be built by king Vatta Gamini Abhaya better known as king Walagamba ( (89-77 BC) in the 1st century. It had been renovated during the days of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 – 1781) of the Kandy period. There are two temples belonging to these two periods withing the Pothgul Viharaya.
The cave image house at the temple is the most historically significant section of the temple. The 27 cubit (40 feet) reclining Buddha statue across the image house is carved out of the natural rock. Statues of deities Saman and Vishnu are found close to the head of Buddha statue.
At the end of the compound with the Bo tree there is a natural well known as ‘Daru Pokuna’ (child pond). There is a belief that the water of the pond has medicinal properties. Below the rock there are two meditation cells and at the end of the Vihara compound is a cell used by guards. A secret tunnel is visible. The ceiling of the cave is covered with beautiful frescoes.
It is said that the after Thripitakaya was documented in Pali at Matale Alu Viharaya during the time of king Walagamba , more copies were sent to this temple for distribution thus became to known as Pothgul (library) viharaya.
On the ground of the temple you will find a ancient Tampita Viharaya. Tampita Vihara were a popular architectural feature of temples during the Kandyan era. Here the temple is built on top of granite stumps with wooden platform laid across the stumps. Thi structure probably belongs the period of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe oh
This temple can be reached by traveling 3.2 kms along the Ratnapura-Palawela road and a further distance of 3.2 kms from the Kotamulla Junction turning right at Karangoda Vidyalaya and travelling another 0.5 Km after having crossed the river. This is a new route provided to have access to the temple. Before reaching the junction close to Karangoda Vidyalaya there is a small bridge that should be crossed on foot. To reach the precincts of the Viharaya, a total of 454 steps will have to be climbed.
Map of Ratnapura Pothgul Rajamaha Viharaya
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Travel Directions to Ratnapura Pothgul Rajamaha Viharaya
Route from Ratnapura to Pothgul Rajamaha Viharaya
|Time to Spend : 1 hour|
Distance :5 km
Travel time : 1o min + climb.
Driving directions : see on google map