Rekawa Jayamaha Viharaya

Not to be confused with Uththara Jayamaha Viharaya

Rekawa Jayamaha Viharaya

Jayamaha Viharaya (Sinhala: රැකව ජයමහ විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated east of the Rekawa Lagoon in Rekawa village in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.


The history of the Jayamaha Viharaya runs back to the 18th century A.D. and it is considered the oldest Buddhist temple in the Rekawa area. The elite people of the Karava clan are said to have contributed to the development of the temple. A stone Penthaliya (a water container) engraved with the year 1860 and a Stupa-shaped monument of a Buddhist monk named Pagngnasara with the date 1899 is found on the temple premises (Abeyawardana, 2004). An elaborately carved wooden chair used by monks to deliver sermons is also preserved in the temple.

The Temple

The temple mainly consists of an image house, a monks' dwelling, a preaching hall and a Stupa. The monks' dwelling and the image house show architectural features of the Dutch Period (1640-1796 A.D.) and the paintings in the image house and the preaching hall display the maritime features of the Kandyan art style. The preaching hall has tall timber columns holding up the roof. The half-rounded roof tiles (Sinhala Ulu) have been used to cover the roofs of the monks' dwelling and the image house.

A Protected Site

The ancient Buddha shrine with the frescoes of the Kandyan period within the precincts of Rakawa Jayamaha Vihara situated within the Grama Niladhari Division of Rakawa West in the Tangalle Divisional Secretary Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

Rekawa Jayamaha Viharaya Rekawa Jayamaha Viharaya


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.105.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.523.


#) 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.

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This page was last updated on 20 January 2023

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