Unagalavehera Raja Maha Viharaya

Unagalavehera, also known as Unagalavehera Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: උණගලාවෙහෙර), is a Buddhist temple situated in Unagalawehera village in Polonnaruwa District, Sri Lanka. 

Built according to the Maha Vihara tradition centering a Stupa, the builder of this monastery complex is not known. However, as revealed by the pillar inscription that was unearthed from this place in 1963, King Dappula IV (923-935 A.D.) had made certain grants for the maintenance of this monastery that was known at the time as Purvaramaya (Ranawella, 2004).

Unagalavehera Pillar Inscription of Dappula IV
This inscription has been dated in the 10th regnal year of a king styled Abha Salamevan, a son of a king called Sirisangbo and a chief queen named Deva (Ranawella, 2004). Scholars have identified this king as Dappula IV, the son of King Sena II (853-887 A.D.) and Queen Deva (Ranawella, 2004).

The inscription contains a decree issued by the king granting certain immunities in respect of some land situated in a village named Pahanavaka (Ranawella, 2004). The said land had been owned by the Puvaram-rad-maha-vehera (Purvaramaya) near Hinginiwella which had been affiliated to a monastery named Ritgal-arama [(present Ritigala) Ranawella, 2004]. According to the Puliyankulama slab inscription of Dappula IV, Puvaram-vehera was a temple attached to the Kapara Fraternity and the Kivulekada pillar inscription of King Sena I (833-853 A.D.) reveals that he was the one who founded Ritigal-arama (Ranawella, 2004).

Ancient Veluvanaramaya?
According to the view of Wikramagamage, this temple could be the ancient Veluvanaramaya built by King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) at the Vijita suburb (Wikramagamage, 2004).

The Stupa
A colossal Stupa and the ruins of other monastery buildings are found scattered over an area of six acres (Wikramagamage, 2004). Conserved by the Department of Archaeology during the period between 2016-2017, the present Stupa consists of three basal rings, dome, Hathares Kotuwa, Devatha Kotuwa, and the spire. The ruins of four ancient image houses are found on the four sides of the Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004).

1) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-30-5. pp.68-70.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.228.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 17 January 2023

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