Veragalla Samudragiri Viharaya lies on a coconut grove close the beaches of Mirissa. Origins of this temple is not well documented but there is proof that this temple has existed in the 18th century. According the forklore, there has been small temple beforehand for the priests who come to mirissa to carry out their daily rituals.
This site has been declared as a national heritage site due the murals on the image house belonging to the Kandyan Era. This is one of the few sites where murals representing the Matara traditional temple artistic style is well preserved. During the Kandyan Era, the low country which was under control of European countries developed its unique artistic styles by adding variations to the Kandyan artistic style influenced by Europeans .
All the temples which was under the Kandyan Kingdom during this era followed a defined style of art in all temple paintings with almost no variation but the low country artists freely introduced style changes to these murals.
According to the well known archaeologist professor Senaka Bandara, the murals of the Veheragalla Samudragiri Viharaya image house is unique. The murals of the temple clearly shows the low country Matara style of art. Most temples built on the coastal lines in the 18th and 19th century were influenced by the Rococo artistic style but this is one of the few temples where you would find a significant number of well preserved murals which uses the low country Matara artistic style.
The traditional Kandyan style murals utilizes a limited range of well defined colors and uses red for the background. The Matara style murals uses a wider range of colors and utilities other darker colors such as black for the background. These murals also uses leaves and branches in addition to flowers to fill the backgrounds instead of only flowers which is used by the Kandyan styles murals. The cloths and head dresses of the figures also is different showing some European influence.
Its being reported that most of these murals are now under threat from destruction due lack of interest by the authorities.
Map of Veheragalla Samudragiri Purana Viharaya
The marker points to the presumed location of the Mottagala based on the directions.
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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Travel Directions to Veheragalla Samudragiri Purana Viharaya
Route from Colombo to Veheragalla Samudragiri Purana Viharaya
|Distance : 150 km|
Travel time :3-3.5 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map