Ratnapura Pothgul Viharaya

Ratnapura Pothgul Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: රත්නපුර පොත්ගුල් රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Karangoda village in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka.

Locals link the history of this temple to the period of King Valagamba [(103, 88-77 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2002]. During the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1781 A.D.) of Kandy, the temple was refurbished (Abeyawardana, 2002). Two Viharas belonging to these two periods are found at the site. The temple is called Pothgul (a library or bookstore) by locals as they believe that this Viharaya was a place where Buddhist sacred books were rewritten and distributed (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The temple complex
As the temple has been constructed on a rock, a panoramic view is available from a distance. There are a total of 454 steps to be climbed before entering the Vihara precincts (Abeyawardana, 2002). The shrine room in which a reclining Buddha statue measuring 27 cubits (about 40 ft.) is found is accommodated within a large cave (Abeyawardana, 2002). This Buddha statue is carved out of living rock and the statues of deities such as Saman and Visnu are found erected close to the head of it (Abeyawardana, 2002).

There is a pond named Darupokuna (child pond) near the Bodhi tree of the temple and locals believe that its water bears some medicinal properties (Abeyawardana, 2002).

A protected site
The two Len Viharas (cave temples) and paintings of Pothgul Rajamaha Vihara in Karangoda village in the Elapattha Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 22 November 2002.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7. p.13.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

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This page was last updated on 28 June 2023

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