Friday, September 13, 2019

Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala

Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala
Kaballelena Purana Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist cave temple situated in the village of Wellagala in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

Folklore
Locals connect the history of this temple with King Valagamba (103 B.C., 89-77 B.C.). They believe that the caves of this place had been used by the king when he was in hiding, seeking refuge from the threats by Cola invaders who were at the time ruling the Anuradhapura Kingdom (103-89 B.C.).

Etymology
The name of this temple, Kaballelena is thought to have been evolved from the name of God Suniyam (Suniyam Deviyo), the main deity of Kaballelena Viharaya. Suniyam Deviyo is considered as a powerful deity who is capable of placing curses on other people. The god is also called as Kaballe Devi by the locals and hence it is believed that the current name of this temple has come into the parlance through the local name of Suniyam Deviyo.

Cave temple
Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala
The main cave which shelters the Len Viharaya (cave temple) is located at the middle of the rocky mountain. A Bodhi-tree, the Suniya Devalaya and several other rock caves with drip-ledges are also found on the same terrace.

The cave temple is the main attraction of this temple with an archaeological significance. It is divided into two shrines, viz: the Stupa cave and the cave of reclining Buddha. The two shrines have been divided from each other and can be entered separately through a small antechamber. The Stupa cave is at the left corner of the main cave and it contains a small size Stupa and murals & sculptures belonging to a modern period. A large reclining Buddha statue along with other sculptures and paintings are found in the cave of reclining Buddha. The reclining Buddha statue is approximately 50 feet long and said to be one of the longest statues in the country. The inner surface of this cave is covered with an interesting collection of murals belonging to the Kandyan tradition. The paintings chiefly depict various Jathaka stories and life events related to the Lord Buddha. A decayed statue of Buddha made out of timber is also found placed in the cave temple.

A protected site
The cave temple (and paintings) of Kabellelena Vihara situated in Wellagala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Wariyapola is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 March 1974.

Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala
References
1) The Gazette notification. No: 102. 8 March 1974.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 September 2019

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