Saturday, March 14, 2020

Haththikuchchi Viharaya, Rajanganaya

Haththikuchchi Viharaya
Haththikuchchi Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist monastery complex situated in Rajanganaya, Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
The ruins of the Haththikuchchi ancient monastery complex extends in an area of about 300 acres (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A large number of rock and cave inscriptions dating from the 3rd century B.C. to 10th century A.D. have been discovered from the site (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). Of them, the inscriptions known as Vaharala-sellipi record about the freeing of slaves from their compulsory services.

On the Haththikuchchi rock and its base, more than fifty rock inscriptions dating from 2nd to 9th centuries A.D. have been found. Among them, a 2nd century A.D. inscription reveals the name of this site as Atiku(ci)ya Vihara and therefore the site has been identified as the ancient Haththikuchchi Viharaya, a well-known monastery found in the old Pali Commentaries (Nicholas, 1963).

Haththikuchchi rock inscriptionsHaththikuchchi Vihara name rock inscription

Period : 2nd century A.D.
Script  : Later Brahmi
Language  : Old Sinhala
Content: This inscription records about donations made for the maintenance of the chapter house at Hatthikuchchi Vihara.  
Reference  : The information board at the site by the Director-General of Archaeology.

According to the early written sources, several kings have involved in the restoration or development of this temple. King Aggabodhi I (571-604 A.D.) is said to be established a Pasada in the temple and so did King Aggabodhi VII [(772-777 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963]. King Aggabodhi IX (831-833 A.D.) has rebuilt a ruined Pasada at the temple (Nicholas, 1963).

Also the Buddhist monk Buddhaghosa mentions that there was a cave suited for the meditation on the Haththikuchchi-pabbhara (Nicholas, 1963). The cave mentioned by Buddhaghosa is said to be the summit cave on the southern hill of the present Haththikuchchi temple (Nicholas, 1963).

A place related to King Sirisamghabodhi
Haththikuchchi is considered by many as the place where King Sirisamghabodhi (252–254 A.D.) offered his own head to a peasant (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). However, it is traditionally accepted that this incident happened at Attanagalla Raja Maha Viharaya in Gampaha District.

Archaeological Museum
A small site museum of the Archaeological Department is situated near the entrance of the Haththikuchchi Viharaya. The museum is used to illustrate the historical value of Haththikuchchi Viharaya by displaying the antiquities recovered from the site.

Haththikuchchi Viharaya Haththikuchchi Viharaya Haththikuchchi Viharaya Haththikuchchi Viharaya Haththikuchchi Viharaya
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References
1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. p.75.
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.93.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 5 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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