Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya

Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
Kekunadola/ Kekulandola Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Prathiraja Pirivena) is a Buddhist temple situated near to Agalawatta town in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of Kekunadola temple can be compared with the account on Kekulandola Sri Vardhana Pathiraja, a rebel leader who is mentioned in the Sinhalese chronicle, Rajavaliya (Suraweera, 1997).

During the reign of King Parakramabahu VI (1410/1412/1415 - 1467), Sapumal Kumaraya, an adopted son of King Parakramabahu VI, attacked Jaffna (Yapa Patuna) and brought it under the control of Kotte Kingdom. After the demise of King Parakramabahu VI, the throne of the Kotte Kingdom was given to Prince Jayabahu [coronation name: Vira Parakramabahu (1467-1468)], the son of Ulakudaya Deviya [(the daughter of King Parakramabahu VI) Suraweera, 1997]. By hearing this coronation, Sapumal Kumaraya who was at the time at Yapa Patuna came to Kotte and usurped the throne and became the king of Kotte under the name Bhuvanekabahu VI [(1468-1475) Suraweera, 1997]. However, this incident caused to make an insurrection among Sinhalese people in the kingdom

Simhala Peraliya (the Sinhalese insurrection)
The coronation of King Bhuvanekabahu VI was not supported by several Sinhalese territories in the country. A serious insurrection against the authority of Bhuvanekabahu VI was occurred among the people of the Pasyodun Koralaya located between the Kalu Ganga river and Walawe Ganga river under the leadership of Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Thera (Suraweera, 1997). This insurrection was also spread to Satara Koralaya, Udarata and southern part of the country (Paranavitana, 1933). The slab-inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI in Dedigama Raja Maha Viharaya and the Pegu-Kalyani inscription of Burma (Myanmar) reveal some details about this insurrection occurred in Satara Koralas as well as southern part of the country (Khui, 1892; Paranavitana, 1933; Suraweera, 1997).

Meanwhile, King Bhuvanekabahu VI dispatched Prince Ambulugala, the ruler of Satara Koralaya, to subdue this insurrection (Paranavitana, 1933). Prince Ambulugala captured both Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Thera and brought them before King Bhuvanekabahu VI (Suraweera, 1997). The captives were then imprisoned by the king (Suraweera, 1997).

However, due to some reason, the king released both Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Himi later and placed his adopted son and hair under their protection (Suraweera, 1997; Paranavitana, 1933).

Kekulandola Viharaya to Prathiraja Pirivena
In order to commemorate this regional leader Sri Vardhana Pathiraja, the Kekulandola temple was later started to known by the locals as Prathiraja Pirivena (Fernando, 2003).

The Bodhi-tree of the temple is said to be planted in 1876 (Fernando, 2003).

Tempita Viharaya
Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
Tempita Viharaya (the temple on pillars) was a popular aspect of many Buddhist temples during the Kandyan period. Construction of these buildings were started in the 17th century and lasted till the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The Tempita Viharaya building in Kekunadola temple is considered as the only such kind of structure found in Kalutara District (Wijayawardhana, 2010).  It is also the main aspect of the temple with an archaeological significance. It has been built upon 9 granite pillars of about 3 feet tall. The four sided roof with elevated middle portion is paved with flat clay tiles. Several renovations have been done to the building on 6 July 1980.

The inside walls of the image chamber is adorned with the paintings belonging to the Kandyan style. The main sculpture is a seated Buddha statue accompanied by two images of Sariputta and Moggallana, the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. Figures of Kuragama Thera (left side) and minister Sri Vardhana Prathiraja (right side) can be seen on the inner side of the entrance wall.

A protected site
The Tempita Viharaya situated in Prathiraja Piriven Vihara premises in Agalawatta village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Agalawatta is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.
Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
References
1) Fernando, M., 2003. Kalutara (In Sinhala). Thejani Publishers. ISBN: 955-8818-00-3. pp.47-49.
2) Khui, T.C., 1892. The Kalyānī Inscriptions Erected by King Dhammacetī at Pegu in 1476 AD: Text and Translation. superintendent, government printing, Burma.p.77.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Dadigama slab-inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon :Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.278-286.
4) Suraweera, A. V., 1997. Rajavaliya: A critical edition with an introduction (In Sinhala). Educational Publications Department. pp.85-86, 90, 219-220.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.
6) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp. 12, 44.


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This page was last updated on 10 August 2019

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