Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Viharaya

Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Viharaya
Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Viharaya (Photo credit: DaRcAssan Zirekile, Google Street View)

Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Viharaya (Sinhala: හඟුරන්කෙත පොත්ගුල් මාලිගා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Hanguranketha town in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

Hanguranketha was known in ancient times as Diyatilakapura or Digiliya Nuwara (Abeywardana, 2004). King Senarath (1604-1635 A.D.), as recorded in Rajavaliya, established this town and several later kings including Rajasingha II (1635-1687 A.D.), Sri Vira Parakrama Narendrasinha (1707-1709 A.D) and Sri Vijaya Rajasinha (1739-1747 A.D.) resided in Hanguranketha from time to time (Abeywardana, 2004).

The Pothgul Viharaya at Hanguranketha was established on the present site in about 1830 by a Buddhist monk named Poholiyadda Thera who bought the temple land from its owner H. J. Soysa (Wijesinghe, 2015). Poholiyadda Thera started the construction of the temple using some of the stone remains of the Hanguranketha Royal Palace building that had been destroyed decades ago by the hands of invading armies, but he couldn't finish the works of the temple (Abeywardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

The monk Doratiyawe Atthidassi Thera completed the temple by 1880 (Abeywardana, 2004). The relics of the Buddha preserved in a golden casket, received by the Thera from his sister who lived in Bulankulama Walawwa at Anuradhapura, and a gem received from Ratnapura and some Buddhist scriptures written on gold and silver plates are said to have been enshrined in the monuments of this temple (Abeywardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

It is believed that this temple has been built on the ground where the ancient Devram Vehera of the Polonnaruwa Period was located. The evidence of the Stupa of this temple has been found in the locality where the present Government Dispensary is situated. The 13th-century Sinhala inscription of Queen Lilavati from Rekitipe and a Grantha inscription have been preserved in the temple premises today (Veluppillai, 1972; Wijesinghe, 2015).

Rekitipe Fragmentary Pillar Inscription
A stone containing a record of the reign of Queen Lilavati (1197-1200, 1209-1210, 1211-1212 A.D.) was discovered at Rekitipe in Diyatilaka Korale (Ranawella, 2007). The sun and the moon emblems carved above and the abrupt ending of the inscription indicate that the stone is only the top fragment of a pillar about 13.5 inches square (Ranawella, 2007). Although the subject matter of the record is unclear, the remaining part reveals a grant of land or some other benefaction in the reign of Lilavati, the Queen-dowager of King Parakramabahu I [(1153-1186 A.D.) Ranawella, 2007].

The temple
The Sangawasa building (dwelling house), the stone Vahalkada, the image house, the Pothgula (library) and the house of Siri Pathula are considered the main architectural monuments of the temple. The Stupa of the temple is small and it is accommodated in a separate room in the image house. It has been painted with decorative motifs such as Lotuses designs, Pala-peti, Gal bindu and Liya-vel of the Kandyan Period. Figures of the four guardian deities have been painted over the middle part of the four walls of the Stupa room. The Suvisi-vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas) and a scene of the ocean have been depicted on the upper and lower parts of these walls respectively.

A protected site
The ancient buildings and the Sangawasa belonging to Hanguranketha Pothgul Maliga Vihara situated in Udamaluwa Grama Niladhari Division in the Hanguranketha Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by two government gazette notifications published on 1 November 1996 and 21 October 2010.


1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  pp.245-246.
2) Ranawella, S., 2007. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume VI. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-61-2. p.215.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 948. 1 November 1996.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1750.
5) Veluppillai, A., 1972. Ceylon Tamil Inscriptions: Part II. Published by the author. pp.88-89.
6) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.41-44.

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This page was last updated on 20 January 2023

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