Wegama Raja Maha Viharaya

Wegama Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: වෑගම රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Wegama village in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

This temple is believed to have been constructed by Queen Henakanda Biso Bandara, the consort of King Wikramabahu III [(1357-1374 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018]. According to the inscription found in the temple, some lands have been donated to this temple in 1585, during the reign of King Rajasinghe I (1581-1593 A.D.). Kings such as Rajasinghe II (1629-1687 A.D.), Wimaladharmasuriya II (1687-1707 A.D.), Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739 A.D.), and Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782 A.D.) have contributed to the development of this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

When the British dispatched forces into Kandyan Territory in 1803, the Tooth Relic of the Buddha is said to have moved to this Vihara for protection (Wijesinghe, 2015; Withanachchi, 2018).

The only statue of Queen Henakanda Biso Bandara in the country was placed in this Viharaya. However, some vandals who searched for imaginary treasures in that statue had destroyed it in 2007.

A protected site
The image house with ancient paintings and the inscription of Wegama Raja Maha Vihara situated in Wegama village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Udahewaheta are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.252.
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.19-21.
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.

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This page was last updated on 1 July 2022

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