Rakkhiththa Kanda Viharaya (Monaragala)

Rakkhiththa Kanda Viharaya
Rakkhiththakanda Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: රක්ඛිත්තකන්ද විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Kurugama village in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. The way to the famous Kurullangala prehistoric site falls through the premises of this temple.

As the presence of several drip-ledged caves with Early Brahmi Inscriptions, the history of this site runs back to the pre-Christian era. The caves of this site have been used as the abodes of Buddhist monks since the early part of the Anuradhapura Period.

Rakkhithakanda cave inscriptions
Rakkhithakanda cave inscriptions
Period: 2nd-1st centuries B.C.
Script: Early Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript I: Budarakita terasha lene
Translation: The cave of Venerable Buddharakkhita
Transcript II: Rakitasha lene
Translation: The cave of Rakkhita
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the State Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

During the Kandyan Period, the main cave of this temple was converted into an image house and the paintings and sculptures of the Kandyan tradition are found in it. As mentioned on the wall, this temple has undergone renovation on 22 October 1886 (Prabuddha, 2018). Colonial influence is clearly visible over some of the murals of the cave temple as there are several elements which are exclusively found in western arts. The images of God Saman and Kataragama are notable as they have necklaces with the cross.

A protected site
The drip-ledged cave temple and the Stupa of Rakkhithakanda Purana Vihara situated in Kurugama village, in Wellawaya Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.

Rakkhiththa Kanda Viharaya Rakkhiththa Kanda Viharaya Rakkhiththa Kanda Viharaya Rakkhiththa Kanda Viharaya
#) LankaPradeepa.com extends its gratitude to V. M. Vidanapathirana for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

1) Prabuddha, G.M.S., 2018. රක්ඛිතාකන්ද පුරාණ ලෙන් විහාරයේ සිතුවම්වල දක්නට ඇති යටත්විජිත ලක්ෂණ. URSARU, Department of Archaeology & Heritage Management. University of Rajarata. pp.39-41.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

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This page was last updated on 18 November 2023

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