Kadadora Viharaya | Temple Under the Waters of Kotmale Reservoir

Not to be confused with Ancient Kadadora

Kadadora Viharaya
Kadadora Viharaya (Sinhala: කොත්මලේ කඩදොර විහාරය), was a Buddhist temple located in the village of Kadadora in Kotmale in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. The temple no longer exists as it was abandoned to be submerged in the waters of Kotmale Reservoir commissioned in 1985. The ruins of the temple are still visible when the water level of the reservoir is low in dry seasons.

Kotmale project is one of five major projects that was undertaken under the Mahaweli Development Scheme (Manatunge & Takesada, 2013). Its dam was constructed in 1979 and the water filling of the reservoir was started in 1984. Kadadora Viharaya which is said to have been established by the Mulkirigala fraternity of monks, was abandoned as it had got submerged in the waters after the construction of the dam (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

Besides Kadadora Viharaya, several other religious sites such as Thispane Viharaya, Morape Kataragama Devalaya and shrines at Kadadora and Meddegoda were said to have gone underwater or abandoned when the reservoir was built. A gigantic Stupa named Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya was built near the dam later in memory of these submerged temples and the people who had to leave their properties when the Kothmale Reservoir was built.

The temple
H. A. P. Abeyawardana in his book released in 2004 mentions that there had been paintings on the walls of the verandah and on the ceiling of the image house (Abeyawardana, 2004). Of them, the paintings of wrestlers and twin peacocks, according to him, were among the best Kandyan murals (Abeyawardana, 2004). He further records that the Sandakada Pahana of the temple had unusual features (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Kadadora Viharaya
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.229.
2) Manatunge, J. and Takesada, N., 2013. Long-term perceptions of project-affected persons: A case study of the Kotmale Dam in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 29(1), pp.87-100.

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This page was last updated on 27 August 2023

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