Thanumpotha Raja Maha Viharaya

Thanumpotha Viharaya
Thanumpotha Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: තැනුම්පත රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple in Wattegama village in Dikwella in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

Thanumpotha Raja Maha Viharaya
According to the book "Thanupotha Puravurthaya" (Legend of Thanumpotha) written by Attudawe Rahula Thera, this temple was established around 1753 during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1781 A.D.) of Kandy (Wikramaratne, 2015). It is said that this is one of the temples in the Southern Province built by Ketagoda Rathanajothi Thera (Ranaweera, 2015; Vanarathana, 1994). The temple received the attention of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha when Dikwelle Buddharakkhita Thera of this temple wrote a poem named Kavya Deepani around 1778 (Ranaweera, 2015; Vanarathana, 1994). This poem consisting of 973 hymns has been composed around the story of Sutasoma Jatakaya (Ranaweera, 2015). Dikwelle Buddharakkhita Thera is considered to be a student of Sitinamaluwe Dhammajothi Thera (Ranaweera, 2015; Vanarathana, 1994).

As an appreciation for the work of Dikwelle Buddharakkhita Thera, King Kirti Sri Rajasinha donated several gifts to the temple including a gold-plated Buddha statue, some relics and a pair of tusks (Ranaweera, 2015). Two palanquins (a Dolawa and a Pelekkiya) used to carry these gifts from Kandy to Thanumpotha have been still preserved on the temple premises (Ranaweera, 2015; Wikramaratne, 2015).

The monk Bedigama Rathanapala Thera who established Maha Mantindaramaya was a monk of this temple (Vanarathana, 1994).

The temple
The temple consists of a Stupa, an image house, a Bodhi tree, and a preaching hall. Some Buddha statues in the image house show artistic features of the Kandyan period. However, the old murals on the walls have been completely covered by a layer of paintings done later (Wikramaratne, 2015). The stone door frame at the entrance of the Stupa is marked with the Buddhist year 2420 (1877 A.D.). An inscription near the Stupa reveals a contribution made to build a statue by a group in 1921.

Thanumpotha Viharaya Thanumpotha Viharaya
#) 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.223-225.
2) Vanarathana, K., 1994. Matara Puravidyathmaka Ithihasaya (In Sinhala). ISBN: 955-9325-00-0. p.158.
3) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.43.

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This page was last updated on 23 December 2023
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