Horana Raja Maha Viharaya

Horana Raja Maha Viharaya
Photo credit: Google street view

Horana Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: හොරණ රජ මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Horana town in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. 

The history of Horana temple runs back to the early Anuradhapura Period (Abeyawardana, 2002). It is believed that a princess from Andra Pradesh in India established this temple after planting a Bodhi tree sapling at the site (Abeyawardana, 2002). During the 13th century, the temple was popular as a prominent education centre and has been referred to as Prathiraja Pirivena in the Kelaniya Vihara inscription (Abeyawardana, 2002). Pathiraja was the name of a minister of the Dambadeniya Period and he is believed to be the one who is responsible for the establishment of this institute.

The temple is said to have been developed by Alagakkonara in the 14th century. It was destroyed later by the Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka in the 16th century (Abeyawardana, 2002). The author of Mayura Sandeshaya is believed to be hailed from this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The temple went through a major restoration in 1824 under the direction of Sri Soratha Thera of Veediyagoda (Abeyawardana, 2002). In 1929, the Vidyaratne Pirivena, an educational centre for Buddhist monks was established at the temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Although locals link the establishment of this monastery to the Anuradhapura Period, no archaeological evidence has been found so far at the site to prove that belief. However, some ancient decorative stonework at the site suggests that they belong to the period between the 15-16th centuries A.D.

A protected site
Ancient stone carvings found within the premises of the Horana Rajamaha Vihara (Pimburu No. 59416) in Horana village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Horana are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 16 February 1968.

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.113.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 14789. 16 February 1968.

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This page was last updated on 15 May 2023
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