Udanwita Rajamaha Viharaya is a historically important temple in the Buddhist history of Sri Lanka. By the beginning of 19th century, Buddhist priests were already almost extinct with other religions being favored by the colonial masters. During the long period of colonial rule and war, Buddhist temples were burned down and looted by the Portuguese, Dutch and then the British. Missionaries were using every means possible to convert Buddhists and Hindus to Christianity with the support of the administrators.
With the Buddhist revival initiated by the Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thero (19 June 1698 – 18 July 1778), many debates between Buddhism and Christianity were forming. Migettuwatte Gunananda Thero (February 9, 1823 – 21 September 1890) was instrumental for number of such debates in Baddegama, Udanwita, Waragoda, Liyanagemulla, Gampola, and in the most famous of the debates in Panadura. It is after reading a pamphlet on these debates published in United States that Henry Steel Olcott decided to come to Sri Lanka in 1880.
The 3rd debate known as Udanwita Wadaya has been held at this historical temple on 1 February 1866. The preaching hall in which the debate was held is totally destroyed with only some parts of walls remaining.
The Tampita Viharaya at the Udanwita Rajamaha Viharaya has been modernized and reconstructed thus losing all its ancient murals. The granite pillars on which the image house stood have been removed in the new building.
It is also believed that the last Rahath thero of the country Maliyadeva Thero has stayed at this temple at some time. Thus this temple is also known as Sri Maliyadewa Arahantha Purana Viharaya.
The temple itself has a much longer history going as far as the Anuradhapura kingdom era. An ancient dilapidated stupa and a stone pinnacle belonging to Anuradhapura era can be found at the premises. Some golden caskets and matalic Buddha statues have been discovered buried in this stupa. After numerous thefts of these artifacts, these are now kept at the Kegalle courts for safety.
To reach the temple travel 4 km on the Katupitiya road from Rambukkana and from the Hewadhiwela junction take the Hewadhiwela road. Travel for 4.5 kms on the road to reach the temple.
- Tampita Vihara of Sri Lanka Index
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of the Udanwita Sri Maliyadewa Arahantha Purana Tampita Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Udanwita Sri Maliyadewa Arahantha Purana Tampita Viharaya
Route from Rambukkana to Udanwita Sri Maliyadewa Arahantha Purana Tampita Viharaya
|Though : Katupitiya|
distance : 8.5 km
Travel time :20 minutes
Time to spend : 20-30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map