Weherahena Viharaya (Matara)

Weherahena Viharaya, Matara
Weherahena Viharaya, also known as Veherahena Poorwarama Viharaya (Sinhala: මාතර වෙහෙරහේන විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated in Matara District, Sri Lanka. It became more popular among devotees after the construction of its gigantic Buddha statue (80 ft. tall) in the meditation posture (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The history of the Weherahena temple runs back to the early part of the 20th century, probably to 1929-1930 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Ranaweera, 2015). The spot where the present temple stands was a forest land owned by six individuals (BJM, 1956). However, at the request of Buddhist devotees, Bedigama Sri Ratanapala Thera, the chief high priest of South Sri Lanka who lived at the time at Maha Mantinda Pirivena converted this land into a religious place of retreat [(Was Bhumiya) BJM, 1956]. He appointed his own second pupil Parawahera Revata Thera as the first incumbent of the place (BJM, 1956; Ranaweera, 2015).

The temple
The temple has been built on a plot of land extending an area of 6 acres (Ranaweera, 2015). The gigantic Buddha statue is 88 riyan (length from the elbow to the middle finger) in height and has been built on a lotus pedestal (Padmasana) about 10 ft. high (Ranaweera, 2015). The statue is covered from three sides except from the front by a storied building and devotees are allowed to reach the upper stories of the building. 

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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.76.
2) BJM, 1956. Buddha Jayanthi Memorials. Information Department. Government Press Ceylon. p.62.
3) Ranaweera, D. D., 2015. Matara Urumaya (in Sinhala). ISBN: 978-955-30-6285-7. S. Godage & Bros. pp.74-75.

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This page was last updated on 12 November 2023
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