Dembawa Tempita Viharaya

Dembawa Tempita Viharaya in Matale has roots related to Pilimatalawe & Nugapola families. Built in 1730, the temple has murals of Nilagama artists
Dembawa Tempita Viharaya (Sinhala: දැඹව ටැම්පිට විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Dembawa village in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

As per the folklore mentioned in Matale Viharavamsa, the Tempita Viharaya of this temple was constructed in 1730 by the families of Pilimatalawe and Nugapola with the guidance of a Buddhist monk named Varavala Thera (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). Varavala Thera is believed to be a descendant of the lineage of Heratgama Ratanapala who belonged to the Nilagama Sittara Paramparawa, a guild of artists famous for their paintings at Dambulla and Degaldoruwa Viharas (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021).

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).

Dembawa 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 6 stone stumps. A seated Buddha statue in Samadi mudra (gesture of meditation) is found inside the inner shrine room. The inner walls of the shrine are filled with paintings depicting Buddhist themes and various decorative motifs.

1) Silva, K.D. and Chandrasekara, D.P., 2021. The Tämpiṭavihāras of Sri Lanka: Elevated Image-Houses in Buddhist Architecture. Anthem Press. pp.74-75.
2) 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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