Saturday, September 7, 2019

Sri Saddharmarama Viharaya, Mahalloluwa

Mahalloluwa Sri Saddharmarama Viharaya
Mahalloluwa Sri Saddharmarama Purana Tempita Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in the village of Millate, Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
According to local beliefs, this temple is about 300 years old (Chandrasoma, 2013; Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Tempita Viharaya
Tempita Viharas (the temples on pillars) were a popular aspect of many Buddhist temples during the Kandyan period. These structures were usually built on a wooden platform resting on bare stone pillars or stumps which are about 1-4 feet tall. The roof is generally made of timber and held by wooden stumps and walls made of wattle and daub. Wattle walls make the main enclosed shrine room containing the Buddhist sculptures and murals belonging to the Kandyan style. Some Tempita Viharas have narrow verandas and ambulatories circulating the main enclosed space. Construction of these buildings was started in the 17th century and lasted till the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The Tempita Viharaya (the temple on pillars) is the main aspect of this temple with an archaeological significance. Having an appearance of a two-storied building, the Tempita Viharaya has been built on large stumps made of "Kabok" (laterite), granite rocks and clay (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The stumps are square in shape and plastered with lime mortar (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The total structure is about 31 feet long and 27 feet wide (Chandrasoma, 2013; Wijayawardhana, 2010). 

The image house in the upper part of the structure is about 20 feet long and 17 feet wide (Chandrasoma, 2013; Wijayawardhana, 2010). Circulating the image house is a narrow ambulatory of about 3 feet wide framed with plain wooden columns and a half-height wall (Chandrasoma, 2013; Wijayawardhana, 2010). The roof is paved with semi-cylindrical roof tiles (Sinhala Ulu) and held by these wooden columns. Five circular-shaped pillars of about 6 feet and 6 inches tall have been used to make an extended verandah at the front of the building (Chandrasoma, 2013).

The inside walls and the ceiling of the image chamber are adorned with the paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan style (Chandrasoma, 2013). The main sculptures are two Buddha statues; seated and reclining, accompanied by images of Sariputta and Moggallana, the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. The reclining Buddha is about 12 feet long and considered special as this temple is believed to be the only Tempita Viharaya where a reclining Buddha statue can be found (Wijayawardhana, 2010). Beside the Buddha statues, two images of deities, Vishnu and Kataragama are also found in the image house (Chandrasoma, 2013; Wijayawardhana, 2010).

A protected site
The Tempita Viharaya (and paintings) situated in Millathe Mahalloluwa Sri Saddharmarama Vihara premises in Millathe village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Dompe is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 7 August 1981.

Attribution
1) Mahaloluwa Soldara Viharaya by Ganga rajinee is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

References
1) Chandrasoma, S., 2013. Gampaha Distrikkaye Tempita Vihara (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-9159-85-8. pp.31-36.
2) The government notification. No: 153. 7 August 1981.
3) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp. 12,211-214.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 September 2019

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