Pethigepitiya Viharaya (Mawathupola)

Pethigepitiya Viharaya

Pethigepitiya Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: මාවතුපොල පෙතිගේපිටිය රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Mawathupola village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.


Folklore reveals a Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) that was planted here by two Brahmins about a few hundred years ago. Also, it is believed that the present temple probably stands on the land where the ancient Ganegoda Viharaya of Mawathupola village was once located. The name of the Pethigepitiya temple can be found in the book, 'A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon (excluding Walapane)' written by A.C. Lawrie (Lawrie, 1898). It mentions that the temple fell down about the time of the accession (around 1815) and then was in a state of ruins for twenty years until villagers rebuilt it (Lawrie, 1898). 

The Dhamma discourse hall (preaching hall), the image house and the Bodhi tree are considered the old monuments of the temple (Rajapakse, 2016; Withanachchi, 2018). Of them, the preaching hall is of archaeological value as it still remains in its original state (Rajapakse, 2016). Figures of Arhats and Jataka tales are depicted on the Mandapaya (pavilion) of the preaching hall. However, the murals found in the image house have been altered significantly due to the renovations done later. The bodhi tree at the site is believed to be more than 300 years old (Rajapakse, 2016).

A Protected Site

The ancient Dhamma discourse hall belonging to Mawathupola Pethigepitiya Ancient Vihare premises situated in the Grama Niladhari Division, No. 580 in Harispattuwa Divisional Secretary’s Division, is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

Pethigepitiya Viharaya


1) Lawrie, A.C., 1898. A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon (excluding Walapane) (Vol. 2). GJA Skeen, Government Printer, Ceylon. p.558.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.142-143.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.525.
4) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.18.


#) extends its gratitude to Ven. Ankumbure Chandananda Thero for providing the necessary photographs required for this article. All the photos are published here with the permission of the author.

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This page was last updated on 21 January 2024

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