Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya at Sella Kataragama – සෙල්ල කතරගම වතුරුවා රජමහා විහාරය

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"Yasvanth Golden Stupa" of Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya

“Yasvanth Golden Stupa” of Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Source : IWS Holdings

Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya at Sella Kataragama is an ancient Buddhist temple belonging to the kingdom of Ruhuna which was yet an another ancient temple forgotten by the people until recently.

Nissankamalla Pillar Inscription of Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Nissankamalla Pillar Inscription of Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya
photo : Ven D.Dammarathana

It is believed that the Wathuruwa Temple was built by the regional king Mahanaga, brother of king Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC)  and who is also considered as the founder of Ruhuna Kingdom. When the Prince Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) marched towards Anuradhapura to free the country from the Tamil Invader Elara in the 2nd century BC,  records state that the prince obtained blessings from the Karawile Gama Wathuruwa Viharaya as it was known then.

The most important artifact which lie in the Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya is the pillar inscription of King Nissanka Malla (1187-1196) of Polonnaruwa Kingdom. Known as Nissanka Tam Lipi ( Nissanka Pillar Inscriptions), these inscriptions had been placed every mile along the ancient road from Polonnaruwa to Ambalanthora Ramba Rajamaha Viharaya. These inscriptions were placed in the southern country establish his rule over the Ruhunu Kingdom and demanded the authority of him and the Polonnaruwa Kingdom.

Unfortunately only two of these pillar inscriptions survive in the Kataragama area today. The other lies in the Kataragama Museum. A third pillar inscription which was at the Len Viharaya at Kataragama Gamudawa Mawatha  had been destroyed by an unknown group in 2013.

In addition to this, you can see pillars which had been the base of an ancient tampita viharaya and an ruins of an ancient stupa now resembling an mound of earth. In addition, the temple premises is scattered with ancient wall segments, pieces of ancient clay tiles and pottery.

The Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya came in to the lime light in around 2013 when a local businessman constructed an 72 feet high golden stupa in memory of his son who passed away from Dengu. The hollow stupa with a circumference of 136 feet  is covered in gold dust mixed glass mosaic tiles. The 7.2 feet high pinnacle has been plated with gold of 65 gold pounds imported from Thailand. The Crest Gem is made of lead crystal in produced Czech Republic and polished in Singapore. This is also considered the highest Crest Gem in any temple is Sri Lanka with a 32 inch height.  19 more lead crystals decorates the pinnacle and the ‘Hataras Kotuwa’.

One of the replicas of the famous Emerald Buddha of Thailand dressed in the summer clothing at Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya

One of the replicas of the famous Emerald Buddha of Thailand dressed in the summer clothing at Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya
Source : IWS Holdings

The stupa has been named “Yasvanth Golden Stupa”, the name of the son who tragically passed away.

The stupa enshrines a golden replica of the Dalada at Dalada Maligawa at Kandy and many other relics discovered on the temple grounds. On the perimeter of the stupa lies 3 translucent Buddha statues, replicas of the famous  Emerald Buddha which is is considered the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand donated by Sri Lanka in ancient past.

The the three jade Buddha statues are adorned with three different sets of gold seasonal costume similar to the Emarald Buddha in Thailand. They consist of replicas of the the 3 costumes for summer, the rainy season, and for the winter or the cold season.

The temple lies just 1.5 km from the Sella Kataragama Junction and is easly reached by the pilgrims of the Sella Kataragama.

Also See

Map of  Sella Kataragama Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya


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Travel Directions to Sella Kataragama Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Sella Kataragama to  Wathuruwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Though : Thanamalwila Road
distance :1.4 km
Travel time : 5 mins
Driving directions : see on google map
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