Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dambadeniya Sri Vijayasundararama Viharaya

Dambadeniya Sri Vijayasundararama Viharaya
Dambadeniya Sri Vijayasundararama Viharaya (or Dambadeniya Vijayasundararamaya) is a Buddhist temple located in the ancient city of Dambadeniya in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along the Giriulla-Narammala road about 5 km distance from Giriulla town.

History
Struggles on power between the last rulers of Polonnaruwa made the country's political environment into an unstable state. Magha (1215–1236) of Kalinga (India) who came with a large army from Malabar (Kerala) easily invaded Sri Lanka during this period. As a result of the invasion, Polonnaruwa Kingdom was collapsed and Dambadeniya became the new and third kingdom of the country (Sudharmawathie, 2008). 

King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236) made Dambadeniya (Jambuddoni) as the capital city of the country in order to safeguard of Buddhism, kingdom and its people. He built Vijayasundararama Viharaya as the main temple of the kingdom and started an academy similar to Maha Viharaya and Abhayagiriya in Anuradhapura. He also adopted the first Dambadeniya Kathikawatha (Dambadeniya edicts) at this temple with the presence of Gramavasi (village dwelling) and Aranyawasi (forest dwelling) Bhikkus.

The Tooth Relic performed a miracleThe next ruler, King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 C.E.) had constructed two temples for the sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha on the summit of the rock palace and in the premises of Vijayasundararama temple. The temple built at the rock palace was the permanent house for the Tooth Relic and the other at Vijayasundararamaya was used mainly for the relic expositions (Seneviratna, 1987). He continuously made offerings to the relic at Vijayasundararama Viharaya and engaged in many meritorious deeds. It is said that, as a wish of the king, the Tooth Relic performed a miracle for seven and half hours by creating an image of Buddha walking in the sky (Holt, 2011) between the temple of tooth and the tree called Sapu Bodhiya. This tree can be seen today at the temple premises, located near to the temple of tooth building.

The temple of tooth built in Vijayasundararama Viharaya was initially a three storeyed building but later it was renovated during the reign of Kirti Sri Rajasingha (1747-1780 C.E.) by Meegasthenne Adikaram, the chief ruler of Sath-Korale (Seneviratna, 1987). He renovated this building as a two storey mansion (Seneviratna, 1987).
The two storeyed temple of tooth building Entrance to the ground floor image house
Temple
The temple of tooth building at Dambadeniya Vijayasundararamaya is considered to be the oldest (best conserved) such kind of building found in Sri Lanka. It has been built on a raised platform made of stone and the building is today used as an image house. The both lower and upper floors contain statues of Buddha and other sculptures and paintings belonging to several periods. The lower image house is encircled with a circumambulatory path of about 3 feet wide. Two stone slabs known as Veeragal are found at the entrance to the ground floor. These slabs are considered strange as they contain few figures related with Hindu tradition. The ground floor is connected to the upper storey through a wooden stairway. The upper floor was initially used to deposit the Tooth Relic of Buddha but after the removal of the relic from Dambadeniya, the upper floor became a shrine room of Buddha.

The Stupa of the temple has been built on an ancient platform which was once used to exhibit the Tooth Relic of Buddha. The roof over the Stupa is sustained by several granite pillars. At the sides of the entrance to the Stupa house are two Korawak Gal (balustrades) carved with elephants.

A protected site
The ancient image house at the premises of Dambadeniya Vijayasundararama Raja Maha Viharaya in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Narammala is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 9 March 1962. 
This stone table is believed to be used to exhibit the Tooth Relic The Stupaghara
Ancient buildings, Dambadeniya Vijayasundararama Viharaya Outer wall paintings
References
1) Holt, J. (Editor), 2011. The Sri Lanka reader: history, culture, politics. Duke University Press. pp.105-106.
2) Seneviratna, A., 1987. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic: An Architectural History of the Daḷadā Māligāwa, the Symbol of Buddhist Faith and Sovereignty in Sri Lanka. Government of Sri Lanka. p.59.
3) Sudharmawathie, J.M., 2008. Historical significance of the kingdom of Dambadeniya, Proceedings of the Annual Research Symposium 2008, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Kelaniya. p.105.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 12977. 9 March 1962.

Location Map

0 comments:

Post a Comment