Rahath Gal Vehera (Embalawa)

Embalawa Rahath Gal Vehera or Maluwewatta Purana Viharaya (Sinhala: ඇඹලව රහත් ගල් වෙහෙර විහාරය, මළුවේවත්ත පුරාණ විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Maluwawatta village in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

Available archaeological evidence proves that the history of this site runs back to the medieval Anuradhapura Era. It is believed by locals that this is the ancient Embalawa Rahath Gal Vehera which is mentioned in Sinhala Bodhivamsa where the Sela Chaitya existed and one of the 32 saplings of Sri Maha Bodhi was planted (Ranchagoda, 2015).

Recently, ruins of a Pilimageya (an image house) that belonged to the post-Kandyan Era and a structure believed to be a Bodhighara (a Bodhi-tree shrine) of the Dambadeniya Period were unearthed from this premises by the Department of Archaeology. It is accepted that this temple received the patronage of Devapathiraja, a minister of King Parakramabahu II of Dambadeniya [(1236-1270 A.D.) Ranchagoda, 2015]. As happened to the other temples in the area, this Buddhist site may also have been destroyed by the hands of the Portuguese who controlled the coastal areas of Sri Lanka during the 16-17th centuries A.D. (Ranchagoda, 2015).

In ancient times, this temple is said to have been connected with nearby Kothduwa Viharaya through a walking pathway (Ranchagoda, 2015). The present image house of this temple has been built in 1726 (Ranchagoda, 2015). H.C.P. Bell, the first Commissioner of Archaeology visited this place and reported about an illegible inscription at this place (Bell, 1913). In the 19th century, this place was inhabited by Buddhist monks. Many archaeological ruins located in the vicinity of this temple have been destroyed or displaced due to the activities of newly colonized people.

1) Bell, H.C.P., 1913. Galapate Vihara inscription. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. pp.lxix-lxxvii.
2) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.14-15.
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This page was last updated on 2 January 2023

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