Sunday, January 27, 2019

Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Viharaya

Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Viharaya
Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient cave temple located in the village of Pilikuttuwa in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along the Yakkala - Radawana road about 3.4 km distance from the Yakkala Junction. Pilikuththuwa temple is considered as the largest cave complex found in the area.

History
The history of Pilikuttuwa temple is expanded from the pre-historic period to the Kandyan period [(1469–1815) Jayarathne & Gunawardhana, 2017]. Archaeological evidences dating back to the pre-historic period have been found from several caves located in the site. Early Brahmi inscriptions found from some caves prove that this area was existing as a religious place since pre-Christian era. 
Pilikuttuwa cave inscription of Aggibhuti

Period        : 3rd century B.C.- 1st century A.D.
Scripts       : Early Brahmi
Language  : Old Sinhala
Transcript : Anikatasa batuno Agibutino dane
agata anagata chatudisa sagasa
Content : This inscription records that the cave
of Aggibhuti, the brother of Cavalry  officer  has
been   given  to   the  Sangha  of  four  quarters
present and absent.
Reference  : Paranavitana, 1970.
Pilikuttuwa cave inscription of Aggibjuti
The cave temples at Uruwala, Maligathenna, Warana, Miriswatta and Koskandawala which are situated in the vicinity of Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Viharaya are said to have formed one major cave site during the early Anuradhapura period (Anuradhapura period: 377 B.C.-1017 A.D.).

Folklore
According to the folklore, the caves of this temple have been used by King Valagamba (103 B.C. and c. 89–77 B.C.) during the time he was in hiding in order to organize troops against the South Indian invaders.

Temple complex
A large number of caves (about 99 caves) with or without drip-ledges have been identified in the temple premises. The small Stupa which is surrounded by a large drip-ledged cave has been build during the Kandyan period and had been sheltered with a roof. Other monuments such as the ancient cave temple with paintings of Kandyan period, three storied preaching hall, roads and the mould creeper (Pus Wela) with a perimeter of 6 feet (which is believed to be about 400 years old) have increased the historical value of the temple. 

The pond made with cairus of stones, under ground water canal, old wooden bridge and the ancient reservoir are also considered as important monuments found in the temple premises. The wooden bridge is belonged to the Kandyan period and has been constructed in the section connected to the pond of the ancient underground water system and the reservoir built across the temple premises.

A protected site
The ancient image house, all the caves, cave inscriptions, monks' dwelling houses, Stupa, Diggala, Dewala Lena, wooden bridge, pond and the Dharmasala (the preaching hall) within the premises of Pilikuththuwa Rajamaha Vihara situated in Grama Niladhari Division of Pilikuththuwa in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Mahara are archaeological protected monuments, declared by the government gazette notifications published on 1 November 1996, 22 November 2002 and 7 July 2016.  
The Devalaya Lena, Pilikuttuwa Viharaya Kandyan era paintings and sculptures in the cave temple, Pilikuttuwa Viharaya
A Portuguese soldier like guardian image, Pilikuttuwa Viharaya The wooden bridge, Pilikuttuwa Viharaya
References
1) Jayarathne, H.A.S.N.; Gunawardhana, K.K.H.M., 2017. පිළිකුත්තුව රජමහා විහාරයේ සිතුවම්, සෙල්ලිපි හා ආවාස සම්ප්‍රදාය පිළිබඳ අධ්‍යයනයක් [A study on the paintings, inscriptions and dwelling tradition of Pilikuttuwa Raja Maha viharaya (In Sinhala)]. Undergraduates' Research Conference on Archaeology, Tourism and Cultural Resource Management (URCAT), Department of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya. p.35.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.86.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1974/16. 7 July 2016. p.5A.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 2 June 2019

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