Sagama Raja Maha Viharaya

Sagama Raja Maha Viharaya
Photo credit: Shalaka Gamage, Google Street View

Sagama Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: සගම රජ මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Sagama village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

The history of Sagama Viharaya runs back to the reign of King Buvanekabahu V of Gampola [(1372-1408 A.D.) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009]. However, some believe that this temple was established during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (3rd century B.C.) after planting a sapling of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya at this premises (Senanayaka, 2018). The name of this temple is mentioned in Nampota, an ancient Sinhalese text which is considered to have been compiled after the 14th century A.D.

The old image house and the Sanghawasa (monks' dwelling) building are considered ancient monuments of this temple with archaeological significance (Rajapakse, 2016). The architecture as well as the paintings and sculptures of the image house display features of the Gampola and Kandyan Periods (Rajapakse, 2016).

Sagama inscription
The historic Sagama inscription of King Buvanekabahu V (1372-1408 A.D.) is located in Nugaliyadda village in close proximity to Sagama Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 1934; Ranawella, 2014).
Reign: 9th regnal year of Buvanekabahu V                 Period: 14th century A.D.
Script: Medieval Sinhala                                                Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: Two minister brothers named Alakeshwara and Deva-mantrishwara offered certain lands and fields in the village of Saputalagama (present Haputale) in Sagama to God Natha of Senkadagala and the god of the Na-tree (of unspecified location). The two brothers are described in terms indicating that they were second in importance to the king only.
Reference: Paranavitana, 1934.

The name: Sagama
In the Sinhala language, Sagama means "the six villages". The present temple at Sagama is surrounded by six villages namely Nugaliyadda, Bettawatta, Godamunna, Kapuliyadda, Haputale, and Mahaedagama (Herath, 2018).
A protected site
The two ancient image houses and the residence of monks in the premises of Sagama Raja Maha Vihara situated in Sagama village in the Grama Niladhari Division of Bootawaththa South in Pathahewaheta Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 June 2023.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.57.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.54.
3) Herath, H.M.M., 2018. An archaeological and religious study of Sagama Rajamaha Vihara and Sagama rock inscription. Proceeding of the 2nd International Research Symposium, Uva Wellassa University. p.377.
4) Paranavitana, S., 1934. (Edited and translated by Codrington, H.W.; Paranavitana, S.) Sagama Rock-Inscription of Bhuvanaikabāhu V. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. IV. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.296-311. 
5) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.112-114. 
6) Ranawella, S., 2014. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-62-9. pp.79-81.
7) Senanayaka, P., 2018. Senkadagala Mahanuwara pradeshaye peranima Bauddha Vihara Arama (In Sinhala). Samodhana, The Journal of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Vol.7 (1). pp.55-83.
8) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 2334/41. 1 June 2023. p.4A.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 3 December 2023
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