Friday, March 12, 2021

Medagodella Sri Sumanarama Viharaya

Medagodella Sri Sumanarama Viharayais a Buddhist temple situated in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is believed to have been constructed during the reign of King Vira Parakrama Narendra Singha [(1707–1739 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002; Wijayawardhana, 2010]. The door-key of the Tempita Viharaya of this temple is said to date from the time of that king (Bell, 1904).

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).

Medagodella Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the oldest structure of the Medagodella temple (Wijayawardhana, 2010). It has been built on a rocky plain that emerged within the temple premises. The rock plain has been levelled by constructing a stone foundation about 2 feet tall and on which the stone pillars of the Tempita building have been erected (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The stone pillars are about 1 foot 8 inches in height (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The Tempita Viharaya building is 22 feet 4 inches long and 12 feet 4 inches wide (Wijayawardhana, 2010). It mainly consists of two parts; the inner shrine and the outer ambulatory. The width of the outer ambulatory is 5 feet at the front section and is 1 foot 5 inches at the left, right, and rear sections (Wijayawardhana, 2010). A short wall made of wood planks runs around the outer edge of the ambulatory. The inner shrine is 14 feet long and 8 feet 6 inches wide (Wijayawardhana, 2010). It houses a seated Buddha statue flanked by two standing Buddha statues.

Due to later renovation works, the original elements of this building have been altered (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The steps at the entrance which probably had been made of stone or woods are replaced with modern cement steps. Also, the original wooden floor of the shrine has been covered by filling cement and laying tiles on it (Wijayawardhana, 2010). 

H.C.P. Bell in his book "Report on the Kegalle District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa" mentions that the inner walls and the roof of the Tempita shrine were adorned with murals depicting themes such as Suvisi-Viwaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas), and floral decorations (Bell, 1904). However, non of these paintings are found today (Wijayawardhana, 2010). 

He further mentions some carved stone slabs those believed to have been brought to the temple from a place called Mottappoliya-godella (Bell, 1904). The largest of them (6 feet 10 inches by 1 foot 7 inches) is said to be contained four transverse bands cut in low relief (Bell, 1904). According to bell, that artifact probably formed part of the central course of a basement such as that at Berendi Kovil (Bell, 1904).

Medagodella Devalaya
There was an ancient Devalaya shrine in the past at this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002). However, no evidence of it has been found today (Abeyawardana, 2002).

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.72.
2) Bell, H.C.P., 1904. Report on the Kegalle District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: XIX-1892. Government Press, Sri Lanka. p.37.
3) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp.12,215-217.

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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