Mottunna Tempita Viharaya

Mottunna Tempita Viharaya
Photo credit: Pradeep K Liyanage, Google street view

Mottunna Kiritarama Viharaya (Sinhala: මොට්ටුන්න කිරීටාරාම ටැම්පිට විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Mottunna village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

According to local belief, the history of this temple runs back to the Kandyan Period (Chandrasoma, 2013). The Tempita Viharaya building which is considered the oldest structure of this temple has architectural and other features of the Kandyan Era.

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).

Mottunna Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the main monument of this temple with archaeological value. It has been built upon 21 pillars of about 3 feet 9 inches tall (Chandrasoma, 2013). Of the 21 pillars, 9 have been made of stone while the rest are concrete (Chandrasoma, 2013). The building is 21 feet 6 inches in length and 17 feet 6 inches in width (Chandrasoma, 2013). The deck of the building is made of wood and can be approached through a masonry staircase of modern construction built at the front of it. An ambulatory has been built around the shrine room.

A seated Buddha statue accompanied by two figures of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha, are found inside the image house. Two standing statues of God Kataragama and God Vishnu are also found facing each other at both left and right walls (Chandrasoma, 2013). The inner walls of the shrine are decorated with paintings of the 18th century Kandyan style. Of them, the Suvisi-vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas) is prominent (Chandrasoma, 2013).

A protected site
The ancient Tempita Viharaya located in the Mottunna Kiritarama Vihare premises in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Attanagalla is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 February 1967.

Mottunna Tempita Viharaya .
1) Chandrasoma, S., 2013. Gampaha Distrikkaye Tempita Vihara (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-9159-85-8. pp.25-30.
2) The Government gazette notification, no: 14737. 23 February 1967.
3) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12.

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This page was last updated on 11 June 2023

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