Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya

Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya
Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya, also known as Sri Narendrarama Viharaya (Sinhala: සූරියගොඩ රජමහා විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated in Suriyagoda village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.
The history of this temple runs back to the Kingdom of Kotte (Rajapakse, 2016). It is said that this temple was established by Suriyagoda Wijesundara Seneviratna Wijekoon Rajakaruna Attanayaka Bandara, a mentor of King Parakramabahu VI [(1412-1467 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Senanayaka, 2018]. It was later renovated and renamed "Narendraramaya" by King Sri Narendrasinghe [(1706-1739 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. Ven. Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera (1698-1778 A.D.), the famous scholarly monk who became the Sangharaja of the country, entered the Buddhist order at this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Rajapakse, 2016; Withanachchi, 2018).

Some of the buildings of this temple are said to have been burnt by the Portuguese (Abeyawardana, 2004).
Tempita Viharaya
Tempita Viharas (the temples on pillars) were a popular aspect of many Buddhist temples during the Kandyan Period. These structures were usually built on a wooden platform resting on bare stone pillars or stumps which are about 1-4 feet tall. The roof is generally made of timber and held by wooden stumps. The walls are usually made of wattle and daub and they form the main enclosed shrine room containing the Buddhist sculptures and murals belonging to the Kandyan style. Some Tempita Viharas have narrow verandas and ambulatories circulating the main enclosed space. The construction of these buildings started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Suriyagoda Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya shrine at Suriyagoda Viharaya is considered an ideal example of Kandyan architecture (Abeyawardana, 2004). It has been built upon 8 pillars about 0.77 m tall (Abeyawardana, 2004). The shrine is 4 m in length and 2.46 m in width and a small open hall has been attached in front of it (Abeyawardana, 2004). A seated Buddha statue under the shade of a Makara Thorana (a dragon arch) is found inside the shrine room.

The Stupa and the Chapter House of the temple have been built in front of this Tempita Viharaya.

A protected site
The ancient Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya situated in Suriyagoda village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Yatinuwara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 October 1953.

Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya
1) would like to thank Vishwa Sri Jayasinghe for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.90.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.83-84.
3) 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.
4) The gazette notification. No: 10593. 1 October 1953. 
5) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12.
6) 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. pp.10-11.

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This page was last updated on 4 April 2023

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