Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Ranawana Purana Raja Maha Viharaya

The Stupa of Ranawana Viharaya
Ranawana Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Pilimathalawa in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The temple is located about 1 km distance from the Colombo - Kandy highway and can be reached by traveling along the Ranawana temple road start from the Kiribathkumbura Highway Museum Junction.

The calm ascetic environment and some modern monastic features including the tallest walking Buddha statue in the country have made this temple an attractive place for local and foreign visitors.

History
Ranawana walking Buddha
The history of the old Ranawana temple is unclear. However, a gold sheet/Sannasa which had been given to an elite person in Ranavana village by the then king reveals some information about a Buddhist temple located in this area. The Sannasa mentions that it was issued in 1602 Saka years (1675 C.E.) to an indigenous doctor named Ranawana Vedarala with representing his farther Ranawana Mohottala. According to that Sannasa, Ranavana Mohottala and a monk called Hamithi Thera had continued previous constructions of the temple and finished the establishment work of three-Bodhis. Then they had conferred the temple to a Buddhist monk named Buluwe Maha Thera along with some paddy lands. However, after few years, that monk had abandoned the usual maintaining work of the temple for about 20 years and was begging in the Hath Korale area. Ranawana Vedarala, the son of Ranawana Mohottala informed this situation to Henakanda Biso Bandara who lived at the time at Anuradhapura. She ordered to dedicate the temple to a new monk and continue the ritual practices again. Instructed by Henakada Biso Bandara, Ranawana Vedarala came back to Ranawana and started the temple rituals along with other reconstruction work. One day, the king who came to the temple with dressing as a villager saw Vedarala and ordered his one of ministers to bring him to the palace. By hearing the total story from Vedarala, the king became happy and gave him more paddy lands and the appellation name 'Sri Rama Mohottalage Gedara' to him and his ancestry.

The name of the Ranawana temple can be found in the book, 'A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon (excluding Walapane)' written by A.C. Lawrie (Lawrie, 1898). According to the account given in that book, Ranawana Vihare has been built by the people of Ranawana Walawwa. It further mentions that Boyagama Unnanse was appointed as incumbent by Ranawana Disawa just after the accession in 1815 when he was Basnayaka Nilame of the Natha Devalaya in Kandy (Lawrie, 1898).

Walking Buddha at Ranawana temple The entrance Statues of eighty great disciples, Ranawana Viharaya Statues at Ranawana temple
Attribution
1) World's highest statue of walking Buddha by AntanO is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

References
1) Lawrie, A.C., 1898. A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon (excluding Walapane) (Vol. 2). GJA Skeen, Government Printer, Ceylon. p.771.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 September 2019

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