Sunday, March 7, 2021

Vilbawa Raja Maha Viharaya

Vilbawa Raja Maha Viharayais a Buddhist temple situated in Vilbawa village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
As the presence of an early-Brahmi cave inscription, the history of this temple can be dated back to the period between the 3rd Century B.C. - 1st century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1970). This inscription records the donation of a cave to Buddhist monks by a merchant (Paranavitana, 1970).

Script: Early Brahmi                                   Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Vanica-Tisaha lene shagasha
Translation: The cave of the merchant Tissa, [is given] to the Sangha.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.

Locals link the history of this temple to Kuveni, a Yakshini queen who is mentioned in Pali chronicles such as Mahavamsa (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A Sannasa (a record of grant) which was given to the temple during the reign of King Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739 A.D.) also reveals the relation of Kuveni to this temple (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). According to another tradition, this region had been under the rule of a king called Veerabahu and the present name Vilbawa has been evolved from his name (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

The temple
Two image houses, a shrine of goddess Pattini, and a Stupa belonging to the Kandyan Period are found in the temple premises (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

A protected site
The Stupa, ancient Stupa mound, Vihara-geya, and the drip-ledged cave with Brahmi inscription in the Vilbawa Rajamaha Vihara premises situated in the No. 822, Vilbawa Grama Niladhari Division in the Kurunegala Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by three government Gazette notifications published on 16 December 1949, 27 July 2001, and 22 November 2002.

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. pp.4-5.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.70.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1195. 27 July 2001.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1264. 22 November 2002.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1749.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 7 January 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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