Mayuragiri Raja Maha Viharaya, Monaragala

Mayuragiri Raja Maha Viharaya
Mayuragiri Raja Maha Viharaya (Photo credit: Madhuka Mihiranga Wickramarathna, Google street view)

Mayuragiri Raja Maha Viharaya, also known as Monaragala Raja Maha Viharaya, (Sinhala: මොනරාගල මයුරගිරි රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated near Weliyaya junction in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. 

Several artefacts such as guard stones and Stupas of this temple are attributed by people to the reign of King Valagamba (103,87-77 B.C.). An inscription found in this site reveals that King Mahanaga (555-567 A.D.) donated some lands to this temple. It is believed that the Tooth Relic of the Buddha was kept here during the time of the war between King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) and Queen Sugala. According to locals, Arhat Maliyadeva Thera had occupied this temple for some time (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Mayuragiriya Raja Maha Viharaya rock inscription
Period: 5-6th centuries A.D.           Script: Transitional Brahmi           Language: Old Sinhala
Content: This inscription mentions the donations given to the temple by a person named Damaga of Machala Bala
Reference: The Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage

The temple was subjected to renovations during the Kandyan Period. It is said that King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782 A.D.) donated lands to the temple (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). Two statues of Bodhisattva, a statue of King Parakramabahu I, a stone bed and two stone inscriptions are found inside the image house of this temple (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

A protected site
All the drip-ledged rock caves with inscriptions, ruined buildings with ancient stone pillars and foundations belonging to Mayuragiri Purana Vihara premises in the Grama Niladhari Division of No. 130-B, Weliyaya, in Moneragala Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.  

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.76.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.528.

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This page was last updated on 2 July 2022
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