Ginikarawa Viharaya

Ginikarawa Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: ගිණිකරාව රජ මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Ginikarawa village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.


The history of this temple goes back to the Anuradhapura Period (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). The drip-ledged cave temple (Len Viharaya) presently preserves the paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan Period (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A dilapidated Stupa built on a short platform of 1.5 m in height is found on the rock located northeast of the cave temple (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; Kannangara, 2022). A few rock-cut steps and rock inscriptions of the Vaharala type belonging to the 6-7 centuries A.D. are also found near this Stupa site (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; Kannangara, 2022).

Ginikarawa Vaharala Inscriptions

About four rock inscriptions of this type have been discovered at the Ginikarawa Viharaya site. Belonging to the period between  6-7 centuries A.D., these inscriptions have been written in Old Sinhala language using the Transitional Brahmi Script. According to the eminent archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana, Vaharala cidavi means manumission from slavery. Sirimal Ranawella believes that it means redemption from Vihara salaka while Malini Dias thinks that it means freedom from compulsory service. The merit gathered by performing the act is bestowed upon all beings.

Period: 6-7 centuries A.D.               Language: Old Sinhala               Script: Transitional Brahmi
Transcript: (1) Chethayaha vasana (2) sadava vaharala
Translation: (a person) lived at Stupa (site) liberated from Vaharala
Notes: The inscription was copied on 23 May 2008 and documented under register no. 3864.
References: Kannangara, 2022. pp.26-27.

A Protected Site

The drip-ledged cave temple (Len Vihara) belonging to the Ginikarawa Raja Maha Vihara premises situated in the No. 771, Ginikarawa Grama Niladhari Division in the Kurunegala Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 21 October 2010.


1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. pp.14-15.
2) Kannangara, T, N., 2022. අභිලේඛන සංග්‍රහය-2 (Abhilekhana Sangrahaya-2). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-624-5840-15-1. pp.22-32.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1749.

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This page was last updated on 1 January 2023

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