Ransegoda Purana Viharaya

Ransegoda Viharaya
Figure 1: The Stupa, image house and monks' dwelling at Ransegoda Viharaya

Ransegoda Purana Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: රන්සෑගොඩ පුරාණ රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple in Ransegoda village situated between Kamburupitiya and Makandura in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

According to folklore, Ransegoda received its name due to a golden Stupa (Ran-seya in Sinhala) which had been constructed in the 7th century A.D. by Dappula (or Dapulusen), a ruler of Rohana (Vanarathana, 1994; Wikramaratne, 2015). The names of the nearby areas such as Wahalwatta, Malwatta and Uhangoda (Uyangoda) indicate that a ruler was living in this region in the past (Vanarathana, 1994). A large pit probably the remains of an ancient pond has been recorded in the Uhangoda area and a brass or golden pinnacle about 3 ft. in height is said to have been unearthed from a paddyland located in Wahalawatta (Vanarathana, 1994). Also, an old wooden plaque (6 x 4 inches) containing a sketch of a three-storey building has been discovered in a pit located near the Ransegoda temple (Vanarathana, 1994; Wikramaratne, 2015). According to the view of S. Paranavitana, the sketch on this plaque could be a depiction of some reputed building in the past probably the Galathurumulaseya of Devinuwara (Vanarathana, 1994). He had dated this plaque to a time before the Polonnaruwa Period (Vanarathana, 1994).

The present temple at Ransegoda is believed to have been established around 1715 (Wikramaratne, 2015). An old document reveals that a Tempita Viharaya was constructed at this site in the 18th century by a monk named Ransegoda Dhammadassi (Vanarathana, 1994).

The image house of Ransegoda Viharaya consists of two sections. New murals have been drawn over the old paintings hiding their original features (Wikramaratne, 2015). The years 2472 B.E. (1929), 2481 B.E (1938 A.D.) and 2513 B.E. (1970) are mentioned over the doorframes of the image house.

#) 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) Vanarathana, K., 1994. Matara Puravidyathmaka Ithihasaya (In Sinhala). ISBN: 955-9325-00-0. pp.178-179.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.30-31.

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This page was last updated on 20 December 2023

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