Friday, 20 August 2021

Ambilla Raja Maha Viharaya

Ambilla Raja Maha Viharaya
Photo credit: Google Street View

Ambilla Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: ඇඹිල්ල රජ මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Hulangamuwa village in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

The ancient Ambariya Viharaya which is mentioned in the commentary to Dhajagga Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya is believed to be this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004). According to the local tradition, the history of this temple runs back to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa [(250-210 B.C.)Abeyawardana, 2004]. It is said that the Arhats who came for the Buddhist Council held at Alu Viharaya had used this temple as a resting place (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The name of this temple is mentioned in the Nampotha, an ancient text written after the 14th century. The Bodhi tree at the entrance gate of the Viharaya is believed to have been planted there about 400 years ago by a Brahmin named Solanga (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The cave temple
The cave temple of Ambilla Viharaya is considered an important monument. A reclining Buddha statue of about 8.31 m long and three standing statues and one sitting statue are found inside the cave (Abeyawardana, 2004). Figures of deities such as Vishnu, Saman, and Vibhishana are also found.

A protected site
The cave temple with ancient wall paintings at the premises of Embilla Raja Maha Vihara, Hulangamuwa situated in the Grama Niladhari Division Hulangamuwa in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Matale is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 9 March 2016.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.133-134.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1957-18. 9 March 2016. p.2A.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 9 January 2023


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