Weligodapola Purana Viharaya is an ancient temple in Hatharaliyadda in Thumpane PS which was built during the Buddhist renaissance during the time of Weliwita Saranankara Sangaraja Thero. During this period, a group of 12 villagers from Weligodapola built a shelter for Buddhist monks and requested king Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 – 1781) to find a priest for the village. The king allocated this task to Weliwita thero who obtained all the requirements for a temple from the royal stores and assinged Bopitiye Nyagrodha thero to spend his “Was” (rainy) period at the village. The priest arrived at the site on the Esala poya day of 1755 and at the end of the Was period, the temple was built with part of the land donated from Molligoda Walawwa with additional farming land to maintain the temple.
The Tampita Viharaya of the temple has been built around 1776 and the pohoya seema was marked by Weliwita Saranankara Sangaraja Thero himself who came with 25 priests to the event. In 1963, the Sri Dharmarama Pirivena was started at the temple to provide education to both lay and the ordained.
Weligodapola Tampita Viharaya is one of the largest Tampita Vihara in Kandy district. The image house is 17 feet 7 inches long and 11 feet 9 inches wide. A 2 feet 5 inch circumambulating path is built around the image house. The front porch is 7 feet long. The whole Tampita Stucture is 29 feet 3 inches long and 18 feet 3 inches wide.
A 15 feet long and 30 feet wide Hewisi Mandapaya has been built in front of the Tampita Viharaya. This stucture is held on 8 brick pillars. Six granite stumps mark the Pohoya Seema boarder surrounding both these structures.
This is one temple where most of the original art has been well preserved. Two statues of guard deities carrying swards flank the main entrance. The door is rather narrow with a small Makara Thorana (dragons arch) painted at the top. Six deities are painted beside the arch. The doors are painted with Narilatha paintings similar to the door of the Kalotuwawa Tampita Viharaya suggesting a strong possibility of a single artist painting both structures. The brass door handles are also carved with dragon heads.
The roof at the entrance depict the Maha Brahma with other deities beside him. The old paintings along the circumambulating path has been painted over with lime paint but some of the paintings have been recovered by the department of archaeology restoration teams.
The wall has been divided in to several strips. The top strip depicts Vessanthara Jataka story. The second strip depict Sirisangabo Jathaka story which is unique to this Tampita Viharaya only. Most of the others are destroyed beyond recognition. The painting of Vessanthara giving away his white elephants is one well preserved painting which depict the expertise of the artist.
An 8 feet 8 inch seated Buddha statue (height with the seat) dominate the inner chamber of the Tampita Viharaya. On the left wall a statue of Vishnu and and on the right is a statue of a nobel. Next to these statues lies four 7 feet high standing Buddha statues, much taller than the previous two statues. All the Buddha statues have their aura encompassing the whole body.
The left wall is painted with Solosmasthana (sixteen holy places). A smaller stupa is drawn inside the Mahiyangana stupa suggesting a expansion of the original stupa during this period. The right wall is painted with Seven Weeks of Buddha after attaining Nirvana. The bottom rows of the walls are filled with images of arhaths with lotus flowers on their hands. They are line drawings using black on red wall.
To reach the temple from Kandy, take to Aladeniya road from either Peradeniya or Kandy and travel up to Galagedara. Take the road towards Rambukkana for 10 km to cross the steel bridge over Rambukkana Oya just before Hatharaliyadda town. The narrow lane towards the temple lies just 75 meters pass this bridge.
by Kusumsiri Wijewardhana
- Tampita Vihara Heritage of Sri Lanka
- Kandy – The Last Kingdom of Sinhale
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of the Weligodapola Sri Dharmarama Pirivena Tampita Viharaya
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Driving Directions to Weligodapola Sri Dharmarama Pirivena Tampita Viharaya
Route from Kandy to Weligodapola Sri Dharmarama Pirivena Tampita Viharaya
|Though : Aladeniya – Galagedara|
distance : 30 km
Travel time : 1.15 hour
Driving directions : see on google map