Yatawatta Purana Tampita Viharaya

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Yatawatta Purana Viharaya also known as Vidyaravinda Maha Pirivena is a popular seat of learning for buddhist priests today.  This temple is also known as the Pahalagama Viharaya (pansala) in the area. Nam Potha published during the Kandyan era, names this temple as Yatawatta but the name Pahalagama has become more popular today.

It is believed that this temple was established during the reign of king Parakramabahu VI (1411-1463) but door frame of the Tampita Viharaya is carved with the date 21 March 1861. This could be the date on which the Tampita Viharaya was built or a major renovation was carried out.

This  Tampita Viharaya is built on 30 (6×5) granite stumps of 4 feet in height. The stumps are roughly cut with no particular effort made to refine the shape. It is believed these had been belonged to an even older Devalaya which has been reused. The viharaya is 20 feet long and 16 feet wide. There is a 2 feet 6 inch wide circumambulating path built around the chamber. A 3 feet high wall is constructed around this path.

The temple structure is divided into 2 sections. Two statues of guardian deities can be seen at the entrance to the inner chamber. At the top is a Makara Thorana (dragons arch).  Paintings of Vishnu and Katharagama can be seen on side walls. Another painting with a sword in the hand is of a deity called Gane Bandara Devatha. He is believed to be a locally worshiped deity at the time this viharaya was built since today he is forgotten from the memories of the worshipers. The image of Udugampola Sonuththara Thero drawn on a wall is believed to be of a head priest of the temple long ago.

A 4 feet 6 inch seated Buddha statue is seen in the inner chamber. Two statues of Vishnu and Saman deities flank the Buddha statue. The roof is painted in typical Lotus flower designs.

The front of the Tampita viharaya is connected to a mandapa. A wooden flight of stairs from this mandapa leads to the entrance of the Tampita Viharaya.

To reach the temple, take the Pahalagama road from the Gampaha flyover bridge. The temple lies 650 meters down this road.

primary sources : Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara by Kusumsiri Wijewardhana
Dayada – July 2018 published by Department of Archaeology

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Map of Yatawatta Purana Tampita Viharaya

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Traveling to Yatawatta Purana Tampita Viharaya

Route from Colombo to Yatawatta Purana Tampita Viharaya
Distance : 35 km
Travel time : 1.15 hours
Time to spend : 20- 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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