Monday, March 23, 2020

Maligatenna Aranya Senasanaya

Maligatenna Viharaya
Maligatenna Viharaya/ Aranya Senasanaya is a Buddhist temple/ a forest monastery located in Malwathuhiripitiya village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
Maligatenna Viharaya
A number of drip-ledged caves have been found from the temple premises. The caves are believed to be there as the abodes of Buddhist monks since the B.C. era. The other cave temples located in the vicinity of the Maligatenna Viharaya such as Uruwala, Pilikuttuwa, Warana, Miriswatta, and Koskandawala have clear archaeological evidence dating back to the pre-Christian era and therefore it has been assumed that this cluster of cave temples including the Maligatenna have existed as one major cave site during the early Anuradhapura period.

In one of the caves, a decorated stone door-frame has been found. Depending on its morphological features some believe that it is a work belongs to the 8th century A.D. Besides that, on the surface of the summit of the Maligatenna rock, a number of rock-carved holes used to install the pillars (probably the pillars of an ancient structure) have been identified. A Bodhi-tree surrounded by a rampart is also found on the rock summit.

The present temple and the forest monastery was established in this ancient site in 1924 with the efforts of a Buddhist monk named Menikdivela Sri Devananda Thera.

Folklore
As mentioned in the legends related to the cave temples of Pilikuttuwa and Asgiriya, the caves of the Maligatenna temple are also said to be used by King Valagamba as a hideout during the reign of the Five Dravidians (five Indian invaders who ruled Anuradhapura Kingdom from 103 to 88 B.C.). It is also believed by the locals that the Tooth Relic of the Buddha which was in the custody of Hiripitiye Diyawadana Nilame was kept here before it was carried to the temple at Delgamuwa during the 16th century.

A protected site
The rock caves in the lower courtyard and the pathway wall in the upper courtyard and flight of steps known as Degaldoruwa of the Maligatenna Aranya Senasana situated in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 297-Malwathuhiripitiya, in the Mahara Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

Maligatenna temple Maligatenna Viharaya
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References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.533.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 23 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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