Bem Vehera Viharaya

Bem Vehera Viharaya
Bem Vehera Raja Maha Viharaya, also known as Gane Purana Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: බෙම් වෙහෙර රජමහා විහාරය, ගණේ පුරාණ රජමහා විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated in Dope village near Bentota town in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

According to locals, the history of this temple runs back to the early Anuradhapura Period probably to the time of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Ayrton, 1920; Ranchagoda, 2015]. It is believed that the present Bem Vehera Viharaya stands on the site where the Stupa of ancient Bemtota Maha Viharaya was once located (Ranchagoda, 2015). Although presently function as separate temples, the four Viharas; Galapatha, Bodhimaluwa, Wanawasa and Udakotuwa Bodhi Sameepa which are situated in the vicinity of Bem Vehera Viharaya are said to have formed one major Buddhist monastery named Bemtota Maha Viharaya during the ancient period.

Bem Vehera Viharaya is said to have been developed during the reign of King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 A.D.) of Dambadeniya and the name Bem Vehera is mentioned in Nampota, an ancient Sinhalese text which is considered to have been compiled after the 14th century A.D. (Ranchagoda, 2015).

As happened to the many Buddhist temples in the southern coastal region, Bem Vehera also fell victim to the wrath of the Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka in the early 16th century. The temple was re-established during the Buddhist revival that occurred in the region in the 18th century (Ranchagoda, 2015).

A protected site
The ancient Buddha shrine within the precincts of Dope Ganekanda Vihara situated within the Grama Niladhari Division No. 5 - Dope in the Bentota Divisional Secretary Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

#) would like to thank Lalith Kekulthotuwage for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

1) Ayrton, E.R., 1920. Antiquities in the Southern Province. The Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register. Vol: VI. pp.43-44.
2) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.9,12.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.524.

Explore Other Nearby Attractions
Location Map (Google)
This page was last updated on 15 September 2023

Post a Comment

Cookie Consent
We serve cookies on this site to analyze traffic, remember your preferences, and optimize your experience.
It seems there is something wrong with your internet connection. Please connect to the internet and start browsing again.
AdBlock Detected!
We have detected that you are using adblocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website, we request you to whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.
Site is Blocked
Sorry! This site is not available in your country.