Friday, March 12, 2021

Mangalagama Bodhimalakarama Viharaya

Mangalagama Bodhimalakarama Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. The famous Mangalagama Ambalama is located near this temple.

History
The name of the village
According to folklore, the village where the present temple stands has got its name due to an Indian Brahmin named Mangala who came on a pilgrimage to Udarata (Kandy) in Sri Lanka with a sapling of the Ananda Bodhi-tree in India (Wijayawardhana, 2010). On his journey, he rested one night at the Ambalama of this village by keeping the Bodhi-sapling on the nearby rock. However, on the next day, when he was ready to leave the place, he witnessed that the Bodhi-sapling had taken root on the rock. By thinking that the right place for growing the Bodhi-sapling is this spot, he decided to stay in the village attending the sapling (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The king of Kandy who heard this event built a temple around the Bodhi-sapling and granted him the village that later known among the people as Mangalagama village (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Kotte Period
Local tradition also dates the origin of this temple to the Kotte Period. It is said that Prince Ambulugala of Kotte had extended patronage to this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Kandyan Period
In the days of King Senarath (1604-1635 A.D.), this temple is said to have provided protection to the Buddhist monks who were hiding in Kotmale during the religious persecution by King Rajasinghe I [(1581-1593 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002]

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).

Mangalagama Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya can be identified as the main monument of this temple. However, it was completely renovated in the 1960s by the then incumbent of the temple (Wijayawardhana, 2010). As a result of that, the antiquarian value of the original construction has almost been faded away (Abeyawardana, 2002). The stone pillars and the wooden door frame are said to be the remains of the original structure (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The Tempita Viharaya has been built upon 10 stone pillars of about 2 feet 10 inches tall (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The length of it is 16 feet 5 inches and the width is 10 feet 10 inches (Wijayawardhana, 2010). A decorated wooden door frame with a Chandra-wanka design provides access to the shrine room (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The door frame is 6 feet tall and 3 feet 4 inches wide (Wijayawardhana, 2010). Mural and sculptures done in the 1960s are found inside the shrine (Wijayawardhana, 2010). An ambulatory has not been constructed around the shrine room. 

Vidya-mangala Pirivena
In 1968, a Pirivena named Vidya-mangala was started at this temple for the education of monks (Abeyawardana, 2002; Wijayawardhana, 2010).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  p.53.
2) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp.12,190-194.

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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