Motagedara Sumangalaramaya

Motagedara Sri Sumangalaramaya
Motagedara Sri Sumangalarama Purana Viharaya (Sinhala: මොටාගෙදර ශ්‍රී සුමංගලාරාමය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Motagedara village in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

This temple is believed to have been established in 1814 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The image house and the residence of the monks are regarded as the old monuments of this temple (Wikramaratne, 2015).

The image house
The construction work of the image house is believed to have commenced with the establishment of the temple in 1814 and it is recorded that it took six years to complete (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan tradition of art are found inside the image house. Some of them have been repainted in recent times (such as the paintings in the inner chamber) and as a result, they have lost their original characteristics (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, some original paintings are still found on the outer wall of the inner chamber (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). Three rows of paintings depicting Suvisi-Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas) are found on that wall (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The inner wall of the outer chamber also contains three rows of paintings depicting the life of the Buddha, but they have been repainted about a hundred years ago (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Western features on paintings
The western influence is clearly visible on some of the paintings of this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). There is a portrait of a lady in western dress (probably Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom) over the portico which depicts the palace of King Suddhodana (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). Also, in the painting that depicts the procession where Queen Mahamaya is heading to her parent's home, there is a figure of a man wearing pantaloons and carrying a sward (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Motagedara Sri Sumangalaramaya
#) extends its gratitude to Lalith Kekulthotuwage for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.77.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.20.

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This page was last updated on 14 October 2023

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