Gothami Viharaya (Borella)

Gothami Viharaya was established in 1900, with the donation of temple land to Dodanduwa Sri Piyarathana Thera by the mother of Sir James Pieris.
Gothami Viharaya
The image house

Gothami Viharaya (Sinhala: බොරැල්ල ගෝතමී විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Borella, Colombo District, Sri Lanka.


Gothami Viharaya was established in 1900, with the donation of temple land to Rev. Dodanduwa Sri Piyarathana Thera by Apalonia de Soysa Pieris, the mother of Sir James Pieris (b.1856-d.1930) who is considered a prominent figure in Sri Lanka’s independence movement (Dalmia, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Temple Murals

After about 40 years, with the guidance of Rev. Telwatte Amarawamsa Thera and the invitation of Harald Pieris, George Keyt painted the outer walls of the ambulatory of the image house depicting the life episodes of the Buddha (Zoysa, 2016). He started the painting works in 1939 and completed them in 1940 (Dalmia, 2016; Dharmasiri, 1990). The walls for these paintings are said to be prepared by an architect called Andrew Boyd (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The Gothami Viharaya is the only Buddhist temple in the country which has a valuable collection of paintings done by George Keyt (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Besides the paintings of George Keyt, the image house of Gothami temple contains the paintings of the well-known Sri Lankan artist Manju Sri (Manathunga, 2016). The paintings of traditional "Punkalasa" at the front door and the floral designs on the pedestal around the inner wall have been done by Manju Sri.

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A Protected Site

The Viharageya (image house) with ancient paintings and sculptures belonging to Gothami Vihara in the village of Gothamipura situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Gothamipura bearing number 87 in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Thimbirigasyaya is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 July 2007.

George Keyt's paintings at Gothami Viharaya Stupa of Gothami Viharaya
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Books, Government Gazette Notifications, Journal Articles

1) Dalmia, Y., 2016. Buddha to Krishna: Life and Times of George Keyt. Routledge India. p.52.
2) Dharmasiri, A., 1990. Section V: Painting Modern Period (1815-1950). Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series; Vol. V. Painting. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.128.
3) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.58.
4) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. pp.46-47.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1505. 6 July 2007. p.549.
6) Zoysa, A., 2016. Modern Art in The Buddhist Image House. Gotami Viharaya. In proceedings of the 17th Conference on Postgraduate Research, International Postgraduate Research Conference 2016, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. p 90.

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