Udasgiriya Tempita Viharaya

Udasgiriya Tempita Viharaya (Sinhala: උඩස්ගිරිය ටැම්පිට විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Udasgiriya village in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

The Tempita Viharaya of this temple is unique as it has been created by converting an Atuwa (a granary) into an image house (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). The folklore says that a headman named Hitibandara created this temple when a sacred relic that had been hidden inside the granary for his family's worship became disclosed to the public (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). He converted the granary into an image house overnight by erecting a roof over it before any royal inquiry (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021).

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).

Udasgiriya Tempita Viharaya
The Udasgiriya Tempita Viharaya has been built upon 6 short masonry pillars (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). The roof is extended in front of the temple to accommodate the people who come to worship it. The main Buddha image has been placed over a Pettagama (wooden storage box) instead of a base as it was not originally built as an image house (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). The interior and exterior walls of the temple have been painted with murals later (Silva & Chandrasekara, 2021). 

A protected site
The Tempita Viharaya (Viharaya built on stone piles) at Udasgiriya Bodhi Malu Viharaya situated in the No. 336, Udasgiriya Grama Niladhari Division in the Yatawatta Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 24 July 2009.

1) Silva, K.D. and Chandrasekara, D.P., 2021. The Tämpiṭavihāras of Sri Lanka: Elevated Image-Houses in Buddhist Architecture. Anthem Press. pp.86-87.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1612. 24 July 2009. p.1022.
3) 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 28 March 2023

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