Maha Elagamuwa Viharaya

Maha Elagamuwa Viharaya (Sinhala: මහ ඇලගමුව විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Alagamuwa village near Kekirawa in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

Although there is no conclusive evidence, this temple is believed to have been established during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Herath, 2016]. The Early and Later Brahmi Inscriptions discovered at the place indicate that this site was an ancient Buddhist monastery since the early part of the Anuradhapura Period (Paranavitana, 1970). Eminent archaeologist S. Paranavitana has read and published 28 early Brahmi and 2 later Brami inscriptions at this site in his book "Inscription of Ceylon, Vol. I" (Paranavitana, 1970).

The temple is believed to have gone wild after the 7th century A.D. as there is no reference to this temple found in any historical or epigraphical sources (Herath, 2016). However, according to an inscription in situ, this temple underwent a major renovation in 1775 A.D. on orders of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782 A.D.) at the behest of a Buddhist monk named Maha Elagamuwe Atthadassi Thera and a Mudaliyar named Kumbukwewe Rajakaruna.

1) Herath, M.M.N.T., 2016. ඓතිහාසික මහඇලගමු කන්ද විහාරය පිළිබඳ අධ්‍යයනය. URSARU - 2016 / Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management. University of Rajarata. p.19.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.17-19,92.

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This page was last updated on 30 January 2023

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