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Weligodapola Tempita Viharaya

Weligodapola Tempita Viharaya
Weligodapola Tempita Viharaya also known as Weligodapola Sri Dharmarama Pirivena (Sinhala: වැලිගොඩපොල ශ්‍රී ධර්මාරාම පිරිවෙණ ටැම්පිට විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Weligodapola village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

Buddhism in Sri Lanka had declined by the 17th and 18th centuries and the erudite Buddhist monk Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera (1698-1778 A.D.) with the support of King Kirti Sri Rajasingha (1747-1782 A.D.) of Kandy re-established the Upasampada (higher ordination) in the country in 1753. This resulted in a Buddhist Renaissance throughout the country and according to local tradition, the temple at Weligodapola was established during this period (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

It is said that 12 Weligodapola villagers who built an Awasa-ge (a dwelling house) in their village requested King Kirti Sri Rajasingha to find a Buddhist monk who could stay there and serve the village (Wijayawardhana, 2010). The king informed about this to Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera who, after obtaining all the requirements needed for a Buddhist temple from the royal stores, assigned Bopitiye Nyagrodha Thera of the student lineage of Morathota Sri Dhammakanda Anunayaka Thera to spend his Was season (rainy period) at this village (Wijayawardhana, 2010). Bopitiye Nyagrodha Thera who accepted the offer arrived at the site and spent the first Was season in 1755 (Wijayawardhana, 2010). After doing a great service to the development of the village and to the temple, this Buddhist monk passed away in 1775 (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The Tempita Viharaya, Pohoya-geya (the chapter house) and Hewisi-Mandapaya (the drumming hall) of Weligodapola temple were constructed around 1776 by the next incumbent of the temple, Weddagala Thera (Wijayawardhana, 2010). Sri Dharmarama Pirivena, the monastic college for the education of Buddhist monks, was established on the temple premises in 1963 (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

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).

Weligodapola Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya of Weligodapola temple has been constructed over an elevated platform supported by 20 short stone pillars 0.62 m tall (Abeywardana, 2004). The walls are made of wattle and daub over a wooden deck of 5.38 m in length and 3.64 m in width (Abeywardana, 2004). The inner walls and the ceiling are adorned with Kandyan era murals depicting Buddhist themes. A seated Buddha statue in Dyana Mudra (meditation posture), two standing Buddha images in Abhaya Mudra and the figures of deities are found inside the image house (Rajapakse, 2016).

A protected site
The Tempita Viharaya at Sri Dharmarama Pirivena situated in Grama Niladhari Division of Weligodapola in Hatharaliyadda Divisional Secretary Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.

Weligodapola Tempita Viharaya
1) would like to thank Vishwa Sri Jayasinghe for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.95-96.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.133-134.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.
4) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp.12,278-286.

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This page was last updated on 10 April 2023

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