Kurumbure Raja Maha Viharaya

Kurumbure Viharaya
Kurumbure Purvarama Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: කුරුඹුරේ රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple in Bambarenda village near Rathmale town in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

Although several old bricks belonging to the  Anuradhapura Period have been found on the premises, it is generally accepted that this temple was established during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1781 A.D.) of Kandy (Ranaweera, 2015; Vanarathana, 1994). Dematapitiye Sangharakkhita Thera was the first incumbent of the temple (Ranaweera, 2015). 

The temple preserves several religious artefacts donated to Dematapitiye Sangharakkhita Thera by King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (Ranaweera, 2015; Vanarathana, 1994). Among them, the 2 ft. high gold-plated Buddha statue known as Randena is considered unique and special (Ranaweera, 2015; Vanarathana, 1994). Placed under a Makara Thorana (dragon arch), the statue shows typical artistic features of the Kandyan period. According to folklore, this statue was made using the gold that melted during the cremation of the golden pyre of the Buddha. A few statues having the same folklore are found in several other Buddhist temples around the country (such as VattaramaPusulpitiya and Madanwala) and locals believe that these statues were brought to Sri Lanka later by an Arhat. However, some have shown that the statue at Kurumbure Viharaya is a bronze Buddha statue depicting features of the late Kandyan period.

The temple
Kurumbure Viharaya
The temple consists of a Stupa, an image house, a Bodhi tree, a preaching hall and a three-storey monks' dwelling known as Pothgul Viharaya. Two Buddha statues in the Samadhi (meditation) and standing positions are found in the inner chamber of the image house along with the statues of deities such as Visnu and Kataragama. The murals adorning its inner and outer walls show features of the Kandyan art tradition. Life scenes of the Buddha, the Suvisi Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas) and Jataka tales including Vessantara are found among the murals. The wooden inscription above one of the two entrance doors of the inner chamber mentions that this image house of which construction started by Dematapitiye Sangharakkhita Thera was completed by Kapugama Indrajothi Thera.

The three-storey monks' dwelling building shows architectural features of the colonial period. It has been built around 1935 by Walpita Sri Siddhartha Rathanapala Thera. A valuable collection of religious manuscripts is preserved in the library established in this building.

A fragment of a stone statue (probably a statue of a Bodhisattva or a deity), Korawak Gal, lavatory stones and broken stone pillars are found scattered on the temple premise. Also, a stone post erected on the wayside of the temple road that joins the main road has the following inscription;

Transcript: Sri Buddha 2435 Kurumbure Purvarama Viharasthanayata yana para menna. Kri. 1892.
Translation: 2435 B.E. This is the road to the Kurumbure Purvarama Viharaya. 1892 A.D.

Kurumbure Viharaya Kurumbure Viharaya
#) LankaPradeepa.com extends its gratitude to V. M. Vidanapathirana for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

1) Ranaweera, D. D., 2015. Matara Urumaya (in Sinhala). ISBN: 978-955-30-6285-7. S. Godage & Bros. pp.177-179.
2) Vanarathana, K., 1994. Matara Puravidyathmaka Ithihasaya (In Sinhala). ISBN: 955-9325-00-0. p.159.

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This page was last updated on 22 December 2023
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