Friday, March 12, 2021

Konduruwapola Tempita Viharaya

Konduruwapola Tempita Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
According to local tradition, this temple was constructed by Meegastenne Adikaram (Dumbara Nilame), an Adigar of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1781 A.D.) Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Wijayawardhana, 2010]. He was assisted by Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera (1698-1778 A.D.) who had lived at the time at Meddepola Raja Maha Viharaya (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). It is said that Kirti Sri Rajasinghe provided resources to Meegastenne for the construction works (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The image houses at Nakkawatta, Bihalpola, Godagamvela, and Kahatawila are believed to have been built during the same construction period of the Konduruwapola temple (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

The name of the village
The present name Konduruwapola is believed to have been evolved from the word "Kendirumpola" which roughly means " the place of whispering" (Wijayawardhana, 2010). It is said that the rock where the present temple stands was the place of royal ministers where they gathered to hold secret discussions (Wijayawardhana, 2010). 

Masuran-kotte tank
According to another folklore, the construction of this temple is related to the nearby irrigation tank called Masuran Kotte (Wijayawardhana, 2010). It is said that the bund of this tank was breached several times due to some reason and to prevent that, a soothsayer had advised villagers to build a temple on the nearby rock (Wijayawardhana, 2010). Accordingly, Meegastanne Adikaram built a temple on the rock and it is said that the bund never broke after that (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. The walls are usually made of wattle and daub and they form 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 until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Konduruwapola Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the main aspect of this temple with archaeological value. It has been built upon 16 granite pillars about 2 feet tall (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The pillars have been fixed on the rock without levelling the ground and therefore, the height of each pillar is varying (Wijayawardhana, 2010). A stone flight of steps provide access to the shrine. 

The shrine mainly consists of two parts; the outer wall and the inner shrine. Between these two is a narrow ambulatory which is about 2 feet 6 inches wide (Wijayawardhana, 2010). To get the sunlight into the inner environment, four small windows have been placed on the rear side of the outer wall (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The length of the outer wall is 23 feet 8 inches and the width is 18 feet 6 inches (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The inner shrine is 13 feet 2 inches long and 11 feet wide (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The front wall of the inner shrine is decorated with a Makara-Torana (the dragon-arch) accompanied by deities and guardians. The entrance door is 5 feet 4 inches tall and 3 feet wide (Wijayawardhana, 2010). 

The inside walls of the inner shrine are adorned with paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan tradition (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; Wijayawardhana, 2010). The main and central sculpture is a seated Buddha statue about 7 feet 3 inches high (Wijayawardhana, 2010). Two small figures of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the chief disciples of Gautama Buddha, are found on each side of it. Two standing Buddha statues of about 6 feet 6 inches tall and two statues of God Visnu and Natha are also found at both left and right side walls of the shrine (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The roof of the shrine is four-sided and it has been covered with flat clay-tiles.

A protected site
The Tampita image house (Image house built on stone pillars) belonging to the Konduruwapola Raja Maha Viharaya premises situated in No. 1140, Konduruwapola Grama Niladhari Division in the Kuliyapitiya East Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 24 July 2009.
 
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.48.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.20.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1612. 24 July 2009. p.1024.
4) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp.12,103-110.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 12 March 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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