Thursday, April 18, 2019

Kasagala Raja Maha Viharaya, Angunukolapelessa

Ruins at Kasagala Raja Maha Viharaya
Kasagala Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in the village of Angunukolapelessa, Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
Locals believe that the Kasagala temple was established by Kavan Tissa (205–161 B.C.). It was first restored by Dappula of Rohana (c. 659 A.D.) and again by King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) during the 11th century (Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963).

Inscriptions
Six rock inscriptions belonging to the 4-5 centuries A.D. have been found inscribed on the surface of the rock where the temple Stupa is located. They all are in early Sinhala language and written with later-Brahmi scripts. However, a clear and complete interpretation of these inscriptions has become impossible as most of them are now in worn condition. The remaining parts indicate that they are "Vaharala sellipi":  inscriptions that record the grant of liberty from slavery.

Temple
The temple has been erected on a raised quadrangle constructed with large granite boulders (Abeyawardana, 2004).  Ruins of many buildings including two Stupas are found in the temple premises.

The paintings belonging to the style of the Kandyan period adorn the walls of the Kasagala image house. The ceiling is specially repleted with paintings depicting the style of the maritime provinces of the Kandyan era (Abeyawardana, 2004). The European influence is clearly visible in the paintings.

European influenced Kasagala temple paintings European influenced Kasagala temple paintings
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Archaeological Museum
A small site museum of the Archaeological Department is situated in the premises of Kasagala Viharaya. The museum is used to exhibit antiquities recovered from the temple. 

A protected site
The ancient Bhikku residence, Dhamma discourse hall, the Buddha shrine, Dagoba, two inscriptions and the pathway wall around the shrine of the Kasagala Raja Maha Vihara, situated within the Grama Niladhari Division of Udayala in the Divisional Secretary Division of Angunukolapelassa are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

The image house, Kasagala Viharaya Seated Buddha at the entrance of the temple Ruins of a building An inscription
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References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.118.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch), p.68.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.522.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 25 July 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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