Wewurukannala Viharaya | Former Sudassananandaya

Wewurukannala Viharaya
Wewurukannala Purana Viharaya, also known as Wewurukannala Budu Rajamaha Vehera (Sinhala: වැවුරුකන්නල පුරාණ විහාරය, වැවුරුකන්නල බුදු රජමහ වෙහෙර) is a Buddhist temple situated in Dikwella in Matara District, Sri Lanka. The temple is famous among devotees due to its gigantic seated Buddha statue of about 160 feet (49 m) tall (De Thabrew, 2013).

The history of this temple runs back to the reign of King Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha (1781-1798 A.D.) of Kandy (Ranaweera, 2015). It is said that the son of the Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha and his queen Madakumbura Wasala Deviya lived as a Buddhist monk by the name Rajakumara Himi in an Ambalama situated in Wewurukannala (Ranaweera, 2015). This Rajakumara Himi is considered one of the seven monks who represented the delegate to Burma (present Myanmar) to obtain the higher ordination (Ranaweera, 2015). He is believed to be the first monk who established this Viharaya (Ranaweera, 2015).

This temple has three image houses and the oldest of them belongs to the Kandyan Period. It is believed to have been built in the latter part of the 18th century, probably around 1780 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The second oldest image house was built in 1899 and the last one is on a more recent date (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The preaching hall of this temple is said to have been constructed in the late 19th century (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, the Pirit-Mandapaya, a wooden chamber where monks perform Pirit chanting has the date "18th July 1839" marked on it (Abeyawardana, 2004; Ranaweera, 2015). This Mandapaya has been made out of jackwood and decorated with traditional designs and paintings depicting Jataka stories (Abeyawardana, 2004). The building which is being used as the residence of monks is said to have been built in the early 20th century (Abeyawardana, 2004).

There is a locally manufactured chiming clock in the temple premises and it is said to have been invented by a juvenile offender named W. Elaris Silva in 1927 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The incumbent of the Wewurukannala temple at the time purchased it from Elaris on payment of Rs. 3,000 (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

After unveiling the gigantic Buddha statue at the site on 2 March 1969, the temple started to be known as Wewurukannala Budu Rajamaha Vehera (Ranaweera, 2015). It was formerly known as Sudassanananda Viharaya (Ranaweera, 2015).

A protected site
The ancient image house and Uposathagara belonging to the Wewrukannala Rajamaha Vihara situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Wewrukannala in Dikwella Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 November 2012.

Do you know?

1) Wewurukannala Vihara by pixel.fabian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.83.
2) De Thabrew, W. V., 2013. Monuments and Temples of Orthodox Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka. Author House. p.72.
3) Ranaweera, D. D., 2015. Matara Urumaya (in Sinhala). ISBN: 978-955-30-6285-7. S. Godage & Bros. pp.66-69.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1786. 23 November 2012. p.1188.

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This page was last updated on 12 November 2023
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