Purana Wanawasa Kuda Viharaya

Not to be confused with Wanawasa Viharaya, Bentota

Purana Wanawasa Kuda Viharaya
Purana Wanawasa Kuda Viharaya (Sinhala: තංගල්ල පුරාණ වනවාස කුඩා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple in Polommaruwa village near Tangalle in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

The Sinhalese poem Kahakurulu Sandeshaya (message of Black-hooded oriole) written by Dikwelle Samanera during the reign of King Vira Parakramabahu VIII (1490-1509 A.D.) of Kotte mentions that the Stupa known as Polommaru Vehera at Wanawasa Viharaya was constructed by a ruler named Minikirulu (Vanarathana, 1994). It further records that the Kone tree (Schleichera oleosa) at this temple was the tree where the bird spent the first night of its journey to Kataragama. This tree is still growing within the temple premises.

The name of this temple is mentioned in Mahabodhivamsa as one of the 32 places where the saplings of Sri Maha Bodhi Tree at Anuradhapura were planted (Vanarathana, 1994). Famous Buddhist monk Wehelle Dhammadinna Thera (1679-1775 A.D.) is said to have lived in this temple for some time (Vanarathana, 1994).

The image house
Purana Wanawasa Kuda Viharaya
The image house consists of two sections; the inner chamber and the ambulatory around it. A seated Buddha statue and two standing Buddha statues facing each other are found in the inner chamber. The seated statue is flanked on either side by the figures of Arahat Sariputta and Arahat Moggallana, the two chief disciples of the Buddha. The outer walls of the inner chamber are filled with the statues of 24 Buddhas showing the Suvisi Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas). Two small Devalayas of the Buddhist deities Visnu and Kataragama are located on either corner of the image house. Although the statues show features of the old Kandyan art tradition, the murals seem to have been done later covering the original murals. However, a fragment of the original set of paintings depicting the Queen of the British Empire is found above the entrance door of the image house.

Purana Wanawasa Kuda Viharaya Purana Wanawasa Kuda Viharaya
See also
#) 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. p.207.

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This page was last updated on 26 December 2023

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