Hingurakgoda Unagalawehera Rajamaha Viharaya (හිඟුරක්ගොඩ උණගලාවෙහෙර රජමහා විහාරය)

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Unagalawehera is a village which lies 9 km north of the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa and 7.7 km east of Giritale. Until early 1900’s the Demala Maha Seya in the ancient Polonnruwa city was called Unagala Vehera. It was HCP Bell who identified this gigantic stupa as the Demala Maha Seya which was built by king Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 CE).

Unagalawehera (Unagala Vehera) Viharaya is also a large ancient stupa in the village of Unagalawehera .The Unagalawehera Stupa is the second largest stupa outside of Polonnaruwa. The stupa is 30 metres (98 ft) high.Legend has it that the stupa was built with lime mortar and that the layer of plaster was so thick that at that time it was called ‘Hunugal Vehera’ and later it was known as ‘Unagala Vehera’.Other sources state that the stupa was later renamed as ‘Uunagal Vehera’ and later as ‘Unagala Vehera’ due to lack of stones during the construction of the stupa.

The origin of this monastery is not clear. According to Attani Pillar Inscription discovered in 1863 at the site, king Dappula IV ( 923-924) had made certain grants for the maintenance of the arama complex here. Based on this pillar inscription, the name of this site as been Purvaramaya during that time.

The inscription is a decree issued by the king granting certain immunities in respect of some land situated in a village named Pahanavaka owned by the Purvaramaya near Hinginiwella which had been affiliated to a monastery named Ritigala aramaya.

The massive stupa and the ruins of the arama complex is spread over an area of about six acres. The stupa was in absolute ruins. However this historic stupa was completely reconstructed (not conserved) by then President Maithripala Sirisena ceremoniously opened in 24th June 2018.

This historic temple is a ideal place to while traveling to Polonnaruwa from Habarana. The diversion is only 5km which can be covered in 10 minutes. To reach the temple reach Jayanthipura passing Giritale Reservoir on the Polonnaruwa road. Turn left at the Canal which crosses the main road and travel towards the Jayanthipura Kanishta Vidyalaya. The temple lies 5km down this road.

References

  1. Bell, H., 1909. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon – North Central, Central, and Northern Provinces Annual Report 1905. Colombo: Archaeological Department of Ceylon.

Also See

Map of Unagalawehera Rajamaha Viharaya

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

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Unagalawehera Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Giritale-Polonnaruwa Road to Unagalawehera Rajamaha Viharaya
Via : Jayanthipura
Distance : 5 km
Travel time : 10 mins
Time to Spent : approx 15-30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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