Danthure Raja Maha Viharaya

Danthure Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Danture village. The area where the present temple stands is known as Danthapura in ancient times.
Danthure Raja Maha Viharaya

Danthure Purana Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: දන්තුරේ රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Danture village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.


The area where the present temple stands is known as Danthapura in ancient times (Abeyawardana, 2004). There is a tradition that at one time the Tooth Relic of the Buddha rested at Danthure and that locality was gifted to Prince Dantha who brought the sacred relic to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Kithsirimewan [(304-332 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Lawrie, 1986]. It is said Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala had stayed here for seven weeks before they left for Anuradhapura (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). To honour this event, King Kitsirimewan constructed a temple at this site and bestowed it on Buddhist monks (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Early in the 19th century, a monk named Danture Samanera Unnanse was the incumbent of this temple and after he quit the order, Mawathagama Nayaka Unnanse became the incumbent in about 1807 (Lawrie, 1986). After him, Dehigama Unnanse claimed the incumbency on the grounds he was a member of the family which had the hereditary right to it (Lawrie, 1986). He was succeeded by Danture Unnanse litigated in 1827 with the Government of Ceylon for this and Malagama Viharaya in Seven Korales (Lawrie, 1986).

By 1858, there was no proper Buddhist shrine in the temple but a large Bo tree (Lawrie, 1986). The Buddhist shrine had been built by Giragama Basnayaka Nilame but it was not kept in repair (Lawrie, 1986). Giragama Diwa Nilame is said to have rebuilt the Viharaya (Lawrie, 1986). Two long inscriptions on stone slabs beside the Bo tree record the endowment and rebuilding of the Viharaya by the Diwa Nilame (Lawrie, 1986).

Campaign of Danthure

The battle between King Wimaladarmasuriya I (1590-1604 A.D.) and the Portuguese occurred at Danture in 1594 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The Tempita Viharaya

The Tempita Viharaya or the two-storey image house of this temple is said to have been built during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Rajapakse, 2016]. It has two parts; the Ihala Viaharaya (upper image house) and the Pahala Viharaya [(lower image house) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009]. The upper image house has been built on stone columns while the lower image house is on a raised platform on the ground floor (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The inside walls of both image houses are adorned with paintings of the Kandyan Period.

A Protected Site

The Tempita Viharaya in the premises of Danture Raja Maha Vihara situated in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Yatinuwara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 4 May 1971.

Danthure Raja Maha Viharaya


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.91.
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.23.
3) Lawrie, A.C., 1896. A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon (excluding Walapane) (Vol. 1). GJA Skeen, Government Printer, Ceylon. p.133.
4) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.88-89.
5) The Government Gazette notification: No: 14958. 4 May 1971.

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This page was last updated on 11 February 2024

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