Historic Udawattakele Sri Rama Viharaya in Kandy (මහනුවර උඩවත්ත කැලේ ශ්‍රී රාම විහාරය)

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Historic Udawattakele Sri Rama Viharaya in Kandy  -  මහනුවර උඩවත්ත කැලේ ශ්‍රී රාම විහාරය
Historic Udawattakele Sri Rama Viharaya in Kandy – මහනුවර උඩවත්ත කැලේ ශ්‍රී රාම විහාරය

Sri Rama Viharaya is a rather unknown historic temple within the Kandy city limits on a hillock above the Trinity Collage tucked away in Udawattakele and is accessed by a footpath in Udawattakele. Another road leading to the temple is found from Sri Dalada Thapovanaya in Udawattakele Mawatha which passes through the road in front of the Kandy Municipal Council linked to a motorable gravel road.

The origin of this temple is rather shrouded in mystery. The early history of this temple is recorded in Asgiri Upatha, a collection of 43 ola leaves documenting the history of Asgiri Viharaya from former texts and oral traditions. This ola leaf book was written by Wariyapola Anomadassi Thero and was completed in the 3rd year of the reign of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (in 1801).

According to Asgiri Upatha, the first settlement of Senkadagala was founded in the reign of Gajabahu of Anuradhapura, for this king ruled from 112-134 CE. The city was built by king Panditha Parakramabahu of Kurunegala Kingdom (1302-1326 CE).

After hearing of the settlement of Senkadagala, King Pandita Parakramabahu assembled the carpenters, smiths, leather workers, brick and tile masons, stone masons, plaster workers, painters and labourers to the city of Kurunegla and provided them with all equipment, eight kinds of corn and wealth, elephants, buffaloes, and other workers and commanded his nephew, Minister Siriwardhana Seneviratne to build a city with the village Senkadagala as the centre.

Prince Siriwardhana built a complete city with fortifications at Senkadagala and desirous of establishing a Buddhist shrine, saw the Udawattakele hillock neither too far nor too close to the city. He established a forest monastery here suitable for deep meditation of the monks and informed King Panditha Parakramabahu of Kurunegala.

The king sent offerings to the meditating monks in Asgiri Forest Monastery of Walasgala near Yapahuwa and with the consensus of the priests, took down five priests to Kurunegala and commanded his ministers to take them to the Asgiri Forest Monastery of Senkadagala. This forest monastery became the residence of the meditating monks of the Asgiri Monastery of Walasgala in Yapahuwa.

Asgiri Upatha also states that during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinhe (1747 – 1781) Maharama Maha Thera residing in the forest hermitage of Udawasalawatte where maha thera Palabathgala Wanaratana of the lineage of Dimbulagala Mahakassapa taught Vidarsana meditation. Thereafter this forest hermitage came to be known as Rama Viharaya.

Today this temple has become a forgotten outpost of the Asgiri Chapter and most of the sacred land belonging to Rama Viharaya has been carved away and donated to others generously by the British rulers in the past. During the British rule, part of the Rama Viharaya land was granted to the Church Missionary Society while St. Pauls Church got land carved out from the Kandy Pattini Devalaya land. Another two grants of land were made to the Reverend Samuel Lambrick and Reverend Thomas Browing, which ultimately became the present Trinity College premises.

Another one acre of the land from Rama Viharaya was carved out and granted to the Government Agent’s trusted cook which now belongs to the Trinity Collage.

As at today only a vihara ge, a Bodhi tree and living quarters exist in this temple today tucked away in the forest of Udawattakele.

References

  1. Karunaratna, N. (1986) Udavattekale : The Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Department of National Archives.
  2. Abeyawardhana, H. A. P. (2004) Heritage of Kandurata: Major Natural, Cultural, and Historic Sites. Kandy: Kandurata Development Bank, in association with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Also See

Map of The Udawattakele Sri Rama Viharaya

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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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

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Driving Directions to Udawattakele Sri Rama Viharaya

Kandy can be reached from Colombo on the old Colombo – Kandy road (option 1) which is scenic but heavy in traffic, especially on Fridays and Sundays. However, the new Central Expressway (option 2) has opened up a new route which is longer but less cumbersome.

Route 1 from Colombo to KandyRoute 2 from Colombo to Kandy
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel Time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Through : Walapane – Raja Mawatha
Distance :100 km
Travel Time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route from Kandy to Udawattakele Sri Rama Viharaya
Though :
Distance : 2 km
Travel time : 10 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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