Uddhakandara Viharaya

Uddhakandara Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: උද්ධකන්දර විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated near Yodhakandiya Wewa in Tissamaharama in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.


A few Early Brahmi Inscriptions dated to c. 250 B.C.E. have been discovered at the temple premises (Somadeva, 2006). They indicate that this site was an ancient Buddhist monastery since the pre-Christian era (Nicholas, 1963).

Uddhakandara Cave Inscription of Matamata

Period: 3rd century B.C.-1st century A.D.                   Script: Early Brahmi                  Language: Old Sinhala
Transcription: Lene shagasha matamata-Tishsha lene shagasha
Translation: The cave of the Sangha. The cave of Maha-Matta Tissa [is given] to the Sangha.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.p.53.

Presently it is believed that this is the ancient Uddhakandara Viharaya which is said to have been founded by Mahanaga, the younger brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001]. However, a later Brahmi rock inscription (2nd century A.D.) discovered at the site reveals the ancient name of this temple as "Nakaragalaka", a monastery of which name is not found in any chronicle (Paranavitana, 2001). This inscription registers a private grant of several Kahapanas, from the interest of which non-spirituous drinks were to be supplied to the Sangha on the occasion of Ariyavasa celebration at the Nakaragalaka monastery (Paranavitana, 2001).

A Protected Site

The caves, inscriptions and building ruins at Uddhakandara Vihara premises in Ranakeliya village in Tissamaharama Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.130.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.61.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.53.
4) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.266-267.
5) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in Archaeology at Uppsala University. p.120.
6) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996. 

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This page was last updated on 16 January 2023

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