Weligama Agrabodhi Rajamaha Viharaya (වැලිගම අග්‍රබෝධි රජමහා විහාරය)

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The Agrabodhi Rajamaha Viharaya at Weligama is an ancient temple that dates back to the times of King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC). According to the Sinhala Bodhivamsa,  the chronicle of the Holy Bodhi Tree,  the very first of the Bodhi saplings out of the first thirty-two saplings from the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi was planted at this temple grounds during the time of King Devanampiyatissa.

Chronicle further mentions that Patarajakulavardhana Devadhikari, the Commander-in-Chief of Queen Kalyanavati in the Polonnaruva period has built a Pirivena in this vihara. There is evidence to say that an image house was built by King Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326 A.D.) and King Bhuvanekabahu IV (1341-1351 A.D.) and his Commander-in-Chief, named Senalankadhikari have made offerings to this vihara.

According to folklore, when a few of the very first Bodhi Saplings were being carried to the southern region, the group rested one night on this ground, and in the morning when the group tried to resume their journey, they found out that the very first Bodhi of the samplings has taken root at the site. Therefore it has been decided to leave the  Bodhi tree on the same site. Thus since the first and the main sampling of Sri Maha Bodhi was planted here, it has been called Agrabodhi Viharaya.

Another folklore states that the temple was built by King Aggrabodhi IV (667-683) thus the the temple was named after him.

This temple is also mentioned in Sandesha poems like Thisara Sandeshaya, Kokila Sandeshaya, and Parevi Sandeshaya.

Weligama Agrabodhi Rajamaha Viharaya’s antiquity is also demonstrated by the finding of an ‘Ashtamangala Shilawa‘ or the “Ata Magala” stone (Eightfold prosperity stone)  which was used as the foundation stone of temples belonging to the Anuradhapura Era. This is about 6 inches on sides and 1 inch thick. This stone is considered the most complete Ata Magala (Ashtamangala / Astamangala) ever to be found where the eight carvings can be clearly identified.

The Buddha Image house and the paintings inside belong to the Kandyan Era.

The Kushtaraja Gala rock carving close by too has been part of this temple at one time but is now separated and is managed by the Department of Archaeology.

This temple was destroyed by the Portuguese during the time when the coastal area was under their control but rebuilt again with the sponsorship of King Rajadhi Rajasinhe ( 1781 – 1798) of the Kandyan Kingdom.

Also See

Map of Weligama Agrabodhi 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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Driving Directions to Weligama Agrabodhi Rajamaha Viharaya

Route from Galle to Weligama Agrabodhi Rajamaha Viharaya Route from Matara to Weligama Agrabodhi Rajamaha Viharaya
Through : Matara Road
Distance : 26.5 km
Travel time : 40 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Mirissa
Distance : 18.5 km
Travel time : 30 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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