Dematamal Viharaya

Dematamal Viharaya
Photo credit: Lakshan Abenaike, Google Street View

Dematamal Viharaya (Sinhala: දෙමටමල් විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Okkampitiya in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. The Stupa at the site is considered one of the oldest of its kind in the country (Jayasinghe et al., 2011).

Dematavala, identical to Dematahal, Gamitthavali, or Gamitthapali Vihara founded by King Kavantissa in the 2nd century B.C. is believed to be the present Okkampitiya where the Dematamal Viharaya situated (Nicholas, 1963). A Later Brahmi Inscription of King Gothabhaya (253-266 A.D.) has been found in a place called Galkotuwa located in the vicinity of Dematamal Viharaya (Paranavitana, 2001).

The temple is also popular as the place where Prince Tissa took refuge after he was defeated by Prince Gemunu at Yudaganawa.

Dematamal Stupa
The non-plastered Stupa of Dematamal Viharaya is believed to be one of the oldest Stupas in the country (Jayasinghe et al., 2011; Paskaran et al., 2011). It is said to have been built by Prince Mahanaga of Ruhuna, a brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(3rd century B.C.) Jayasinghe et al., 2011; Paskaran et al., 2011].

Before the restoration, the Stupa had been a ruin of ancient brickwork which was about 12.5 m in height and consisted of three Pesawalalus (Jayasinghe et al., 2011). The new Stupa was constructed by the Department of Archaeology over the ruined mound using modern bricks and mortar (Jayasinghe et al., 2011). The restoration works were commenced in 1975 and completed in 1990 (Paskaran et al., 2011). It was repaired again in 1992. The present Stupa is 19 m tall (Jayasinghe et al., 2011; Paskaran et al., 2011).

A protected site
The Stupa, stone pillars, and other ancient structures in Dematamal Vihara premises situated in Okkampitiya village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Buttala are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 27 December 1974.

1) Jayasinghe, M.T.R., Paskaran, S., Perera, T.M. and Kumara, D., 2011. Assessing the cracks developed in Dematamal Viharaya, Butthala. Civil Engineering Research for Industry. Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa. pp.49-53.
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.54.
3) Paskaran, S., Perera, M., Kumara, D., Jayasinghe, T., Jayasinghe, C. and Lewangamage, S., 2011. Study on the cracks developed in Dematamal Viharaya, Uva Province Sri Lanka. Proceeding of the  International Conference on Structural Engineering, Construction and Management (ICSECM-2.11)  Kandy. pp.301-309.
4) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.181-183.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 144. 27 December 1974.

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This page was last updated on 10 April 2023
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