Kanugala Tempita Viharaya

Kanugala Tempita Viharaya, also known as Kanugala Pushparama Purana Viharaya (Sinhala: කණුගල පුෂ්පාරාම පුරාණ විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated in Kanugala village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

The temple is believed to have been erected by Prince Virabahu, the son-in-law of King Parakramabahu III (1287-1293 A.D.) of Dambadeniya (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). According to folklore, the village where this temple stands was known as Kanugala because the elephant stable of the kings of Dambadeniya was located in this area (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

Tempita Viharaya
Tempita Viharas were popular in 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 form the main enclosed shrine room containing Buddhist sculptures and murals in the Kandyan style. Some Tempita Viharas have narrow verandas and ambulatories circulating the main enclosed space. The construction of these buildings started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Kanugala Tempita Viharaya
The Kanugala Tempita Viharaya is built upon 6 short stone pillars placed on a shallow plinth of clay (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). The sanctum is surrounded by a narrow ambulatory margined by a peripheral wooden handrail and roof-supported columns (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). The statues in the sanctum have been renovated at a later period (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021).

A protected site
The Tempita Vihara in Pushparama Purana Viharaya premises in the Grama Niladhari Division of Wattegedara in Pannala Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

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. p.81.
2) Silva, K.D. and Chandrasekara, D.P., 2021. The Tämpiṭavihāras of Sri Lanka: Elevated Image-Houses in Buddhist Architecture. Anthem Press. pp.114-115.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
4) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12,291-294.

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This page was last updated on 22 March 2023

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