Suriyagoda Tampita Rajamaha Viharaya (සූරියගොඩ ටැම්පිට රජමහා විහාරය)

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Suriyagoda Rajamaha Viharaya is located in the Yatinuwara Area along the Kandy -Colombo road. This temple is said to founded in the 15th century by a Rajaguru (Mentor of the King) called Seneviratne Wijakoon Rajakaruna Attanayaka Bandara appointed by King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467) of Kotte. Bandara was not only a mentor to the King but also to the Great Weliwita Saranankara Thero.

Weliwita Saranankara Thero was ordained under Suriyagoda Maha Thero and studied under the Rajaguru Bandara in this very temple. Later this temple was called “Narendraramaya” (or Narendrasinghe Viharaya) after being renovated by King Vira Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707 – 1739).

The ancient temple has been demolished and a new temple has been constructed in the premises. The compound of the Bo-tree had been raised to the level of the temple and is protected by a gold plated fence. A parapet wall following the style of the walkulu bemma (cloud like wall) had been constructed to encircle the vihara.

This viharaya consists of a Stupa and an Image House. The image house is built in the form of a “ Tampita Viharaya”. These are structures built on elevated wooden platforms. The Suriyagoda Tampita Viharaya is built on eight wooden pillars measuring 0.77 meters (2 1/2 feet) each. A platform has been built on top of it using wooden beams. The walls rise from this platform and is built with wattle and daub.

The tampita viharaya measures 4 meters (13 feet) in length and 2.46 meters (8 feet) in width. The front portion of the viharaya has been used for ecclesiastical purposes. The wooden pillars are caved with various designs similar to Embekke carvings. There is a Buddha image beneath the Makara Arch.

The Buddha and the other images are well preserved in this building but the wooden beams are half burnt. Being close to Danthre where the Portuguese Army faced a humiliating defeat against the Sinhalese, this was probably caused by the retreating Portuguese army. The walls inside the shrine house are painted to depict the life story of Buddha and have been drawn by the artist Deldeniye Chitra Naide.

The precious objects found in the temple include Buddha statues (including one Bronze statue of Maithree Bodhisattva), old manuscripts written by Velivita Saranankara Thero and a relic casket.

References

  1. Seneviratna, A., 1983. Kandy: an Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments With Historical, Archaeological and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Colombo: Central Cultural Fund, Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
  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 Suriyagoda Rajamaha Viharaya

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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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Traveling Directions to Suriyagoda Rajamaha 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

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