Janthaghara in Sri Lanka

The Janthagharaya, Arankele
Janthaghara (Sinhala: ජන්තාඝර) is a type of Buddhist structure constructed in monasteries in ancient Sri Lanka for the body-wellness of monks.
Buddhism has mainly concentrated on the physical and mental well-being of all living beings.  Physical well-being is considered important to mental hygiene and information and instructions on the physical hygiene of monks are found described in several Buddhist manuscripts such as in Vinaya Pitakaya (Hemalatha et al., 2012; Wijepala, 2014). During the Anuradhapura Period, some specific buildings were constructed considering the physical health of monks and Janthagharaya was a such structure constructed in monasteries to assist monks to control their body weight and obesity (Hemalatha et al., 2012).
The structure
Janthaghara can be considered a steam-bath house built for the usage of Buddhist monks and they are found in association with some centric monasteries, Pabbata monasteries and Double-platform monasteries (Wijepala, 2014). Common artifactual remains existing at Janthagharas include fireplaces for water, medicine grinding stones, a basin for bathing, steam bathing rooms and sometimes an outer well (Wijepala, 2014).

Distribution of Janthagharas in Sri Lanka
Janthagharas have been discovered in a number of places across the country. 
(1) Abhayagiriya                                            (2) Arankele                                                (3) Jetavanaramaya
(4) Manakanda                                              (5) Mihintale Hospital Complex              (6) Nagolla
(7) Pankuliya                                                  (8) Rajagala                                                (9) Ritigala
(10) Ruwanweliseya                                     (11) Sandagiriya

1) Hemalatha, R. D. S.; Gunarathna, M.; Mendis, A. M. N. W, 2012. Architectural Features and their use by Sri Lankans in relation to Temples’ Hygiene in Anuradapura Period as revealed in Tripitakas. SAARC International Conference on Archaeology of Buddhism: Recent Discoveries in South Asia. ISBN 978-955-0567-04-1. p.56.
2) Wijepala, W.M.T.B., 2014. Physical & Mental Wellness Management of Ancient Buddhist Monasteries in Sri Lanka: in Special Reference to Janthaghara & Chankamana. Rajarata University of Sri Lanka; IRSYRU. pp.109-111.

This page was last updated on 26 May 2023
Previous Post Next Post