Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya

Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kempitikanda village. It is said to have been established for devotees in the 1740s.
Kempitikanda Viharaya
Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya

Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya, also known as Sri Bodhirukkharama Purana Tempita Viharaya (Sinhala: කෙම්පිටිකන්ද බෝධිරුක්ඛාරාම ටැම්පිට විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated in Kempitikanda village in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.


The history of this temple runs back to the time of the Kandyan Kingdom. It is said to have been established for the worship of devotees in the 1740s (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021).

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

Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya

The Tempita Viharaya is the main monument of this temple with an archaeological value. It is an image house that measures 6.1 m by 4.2 m and has been built upon 8 stone pillars about 0.9 m tall (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Wijayawardhana, 2010). The image house can be accessed through a wooden flight of steps and a narrow ambulatory with a wooden railing runs around it. The roof rests on the wall as well as 11 wooden columns (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

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Two guards carrying swards can be seen on either side of the entrance of the front wall. The main sculpture in the image house is a seated Buddha statue accompanied by two standing Buddha statues facing each other on both the left and right walls. The inner walls and ceiling of the shrine have been decorated with paintings depicting Buddhist themes. However, the paintings have lost their original form due to later renovations.

A Protected Site

The Tampita image house (image house on stone piles) in the Kempitikanda Bodhirukkarama Purana Vihara Premises situated in the Digana Kanda Grama Niladhari Division in the Rambukkana Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 24 July 2009.

Kempitikanda Viharaya
Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya

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Books, Government Gazette Notifications

>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.24.
2) Silva, K.D. and Chandrasekara, D.P., 2021. The Tämpiṭavihāras of Sri Lanka: Elevated Image-Houses in Buddhist Architecture. Anthem Press. pp.132-133.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1612. 24 July 2009. p.1021.
4) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12,95-98.

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To Whom extends its gratitude to Lalith Kekulthotuwage for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

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