Ketapitiya Purana Viharaya

Ketapitiya Purana Viharaya
Photo credit: Google street view

Ketapitiya Purana Viharaya (also known as Ketapitiya Tempita Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Kotaligoda village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.
This temple is believed to have been constructed during the reign of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815 A.D.) and renovated in 1948 (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

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. Construction of these buildings was started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Ketapitiya Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the main attraction of this temple with archaeological value. It is a two-stored building built with brick and mortar. The upper floor is used as an image house while the ground floor is a preaching hall. The upper floor is supported on brick pillars and wooden beams instead of usual rock pillars.

The solid base, arched openings, decorative plaster works on the external walls of this building have made it a rare example of a Kandyan Period image house (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). Inside the image house is a large seated Buddha statue accompanied by two figures of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. It is said that the eyes of this statue had gems in them but they are not found today (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). A smaller seated Buddha statue in meditating posture is found on the right side of this statue. Also, a few standing Buddha statues are found facing each other at both left and right walls.

A protected site
The Buddhist shrine situated in Katapitiya ancient Vihara premises in Kotaligoda Grama Niladhari Division in Yatinuwara Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

1) 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.22.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.524.
3) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 September 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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