Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dowa Raja Maha Viharaya

The image house, Dowa temple
Dowa Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple located in the village of Dowa in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along the Bandarawela - Badulla road about 6 km distance from Bandarawela town.

History
According to the local beliefs the huge and partially carved Buddha statue at Dowa temple is a work belonging to the reign King Valagamba [(103 B.C. and c. 89–77 B.C.) de Jayawardena, 2015].

The rock cut Buddha statue, Dowa temple
Buddha statue
An incomplete Buddha statue of about 11 m (36 feet) tall is found carved on the surface of a large rock boulder located south to the image house (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017). It is believed that this statue was erected during the reign of King Valagamba in the 1st century B.C. Depending on these local beliefs, some authors (such as de. Jayawardena, 2015) point out that this statue could be the oldest statue in Sri Lanka.

Image house
The image house of the temple can be identified as the main monument of archaeological interest. It mainly consists of three chambers and is filled with the paintings belonging to the Kandyan era (1469-1815 C.E.). 

On the sides of the main entrance to the image house, figures of two demons, Kuwera and Vatuka are found (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017). The walls of the outer chamber is filled with the paintings depicting the Jataka stories of Buddha such as Vessantara, Telapatta, Dammapala etc. (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017). The canopy of the image house is decorated with various floral and other diagrams. Among them, the painting called as Ath-Gon Satana (battle between a tusker and a bull) is considered special. In the inner chamber, two reclining Buddha images, one standing and one seated Buddha statues are found.

A small Stupa of about 10 feet height is found at the rear part of the image house. A tunnel mouth which has been closed today is also found aside of the Stupa. The cave is about 15 ft in height and about 5 ft in width (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017). It is believed that this tunnel may had been used in ancient times by the royal people for their safe journeys (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017).

A protected monument
The image house with ancient paintings at Dowa Raja Maha Viharaya located in Divisional Secretary’s Division of Bandarawela is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.  
The Stupa Reclining Buddha statue
Kandyan era paintings An inscription ?
References
1) de Jayawardena, U.S., 2015. A Study on the present states of different rocks of ancient monuments in Sri Lanka. G. Lollino et al. (eds.), Engineering Geology for Society and Territory Volume 8. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. pp. 43-46.
2) Priyadarshani, S.A.N.; Gunasena, I.P.P., 2017. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Badulla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-48-8. pp.16-18.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.


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