Friday, June 25, 2021

Madanwala Raja Maha Viharaya

Madanwala Raja Maha Viharaya
Photo credit: Google street view

Madanwala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Madanwala village near Hanguranketha in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.
History
The history of this temple runs back to the Period of Dambadeniya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018). A broken stone pillar containing an inscription of the 9-10th century A.D. have been placed along with other rocky antiquities close to the cave of the temple.

Madanwala Pillar Inscription
Period: 9-10th centuries A.D.               Script: Medieval Sinhala               Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: This records about a person named Sena, a caretaker of the royal bedroom and another person from the Elahera Kadawat area. It is mentioned that jungles were being cleared for preparing paddy fields for consumption and therefore, personal stock of cattle should be protected by the owners. (Since only a part of the inscription remains today, it is difficult to extract the whole meaning of this recording).
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology

Kings such as Wimaladharmasuriya II (1687-1707 A.D.), Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739 A.D.) have contributed to the development of this temple (Withanachchi, 2018).

Artefacts
The Buddha image
There is a magnificent seated image of the Buddha in Madanwala Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018). The statue is 0.308 m in height and has been accommodated on a seat accompanied by a Makara Thorana (a dragon arch). According to folklore, this is one of the four Buddha statues that had emerged from the funeral pyre of the Buddha (Abeyawardana, 2004). The other three images are said to be at Vattarama Viharaya, Pusulpitiya Viharaya and Diddeniya Viharaya.
 
Two alms-bowls
There are two large bowls in the Vihara premises and they are believed to have been used as containers to offer alms (Wijesinghe, 2015). The person named Hanguranketha Dukgannarala is said to be the one responsible for the offering of daily alms to this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). The word "Maha Wahala" is found engraved on these bowls (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).
 
A protected site
The cave temple and the Avasa-geya of Madanwala Raja Maha Vihara situated in Madanwala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Udahewaheta are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.247.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
3) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.46-48.
4) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.26.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 30 June 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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