Hiththatiya Raja Maha Viharaya

Hiththatiya Viharaya
Hiththatiya Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: හිත්තටිය රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Hiththetiya village in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The image house of this temple was built on the present site after the original Tempita image house was destroyed by the heavy flood that occurred in 1760 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). The seated Buddha statue that is sheltered in the present image house is said to be a statue placed in the original image house (Wikramaratne, 2015). Although there are no constructions dating from the 18th century, some Ola leaf documents reveal gifts given to the temple in the 18th century (Abeyawardana, 2004). According to them, King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1742-1782 A.D.) bestowed the temple with some valuable gifts in recognition of the efforts made by Indrasara Thera for the development of the temple (Wikramaratne, 2015).

Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) who played a prominent role in the revival of Buddhism in the country is said to have received his basic education from this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004). The Potgula (library) of the temple was constructed in 1915 and the building where the monks reside today was built more than a hundred years ago (Abeyawardana, 2004). As mentioned in the Pin Potha (the book of merits), Mudaliyar David de Saram was one of the main patrons of this temple until his death in 1815 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The "Ganga Rohana Festival" in which the relics of this temple are taken to the Godapitiya Jetavanaramaya in Akuressa through boats along the Nilwala Ganga was conducted with Mudaliyar's patronage (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Artifacts
The ivory palace
A small model of a palace made of ivory is found preserved at the temple. It is 2.3 ft. in length and width and the roof is made of metal (Wikramaratne, 2015). Carved 12 pillars similar to those found at the Magul Maduwa in Kandy can be seen on this replica (Wikramaratne, 2015). The palace is mounted on a seat of about 2.5 ft. tall (Wikramaratne, 2015).

The Pirith Mandapaya
The 19th-century wooden Pirith Mandapaya (the Pirith enchanting pavilion) of this temple is considered a special creation. Made in 1842, it has two seats to be used when Asana Deke Bana sermons were delivered by two Buddhist monks; one reciting the text and the other explaining it in simple language (Abeyawardana, 2004).

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Attribution

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. pp.73-74.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.29-30.

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This page was last updated on 12 October 2023
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