Hulugalla Tempita Viharaya

Hulugalla Tempita Viharaya in Kurunegala District was built by King Mahasen in the 3rd century A.D. Sulugulu Upasaka constructed the Tempita Viharaya.
Hulugalla Tempita Viharaya (Sinhala: හුළුගල්ල ටැම්පිට විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Nikaweratiya in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

This temple and its adjoining tank of the same name are believed to have been built during the reign of King Mahasen [(274-301 A.D.) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021]. The tank is said to have been flooded seven times in the Kotte Period and as a remedy, a devotee named Sulugulu Upasaka constructed the present Tempita Viharaya at the site under the patronage of a Buddhist monk called Harambagala Thera (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). As per locals, the flooding was stopped miraculously after the construction of this Tempita Viharaya. The rest of the temple complex is said to have been built after 1930 (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Tempita Viharaya
Tempita Viharas 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 was started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Hulugalla Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya of this temple can be identified as an ancient monument with archaeological value. It is a small rectangular building balanced on 16 stone stumps (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). Mainly, it consists of two parts, viz: the inner shrine room and the outer short wall. The outer short wall runs around the inner shrine room making a narrow ambulatory path. The wall is made of wattle and daub and a wooden Biralu connects the upper edge of the wall to the lower edge of the roof. A lean roof has been constructed around the building at a lower level to protect the outer short wall from Diyahulang [(windy rain) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009].

A seated Buddha statue in Samadi mudra (gesture of meditation) is found inside the inner shrine room. Two standing statues of Buddha in Vitarka mudra (gesture of discourse) are also found facing each other on both left and right walls. The inner walls of the shrine are filled with paintings depicting Buddhist themes such as "the Suvisi-vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas)" and various decorative motifs. Figures of Suriyavanka (sun curve) and Sri Pada are also found among the paintings.

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.39.
2) Silva, K.D. and Chandrasekara, D.P., 2021. The Tämpiṭavihāras of Sri Lanka: Elevated Image-Houses in Buddhist Architecture. Anthem Press. pp.110-111.
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 2 July 2022

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