Kalalpitiya Viharaya

Kalalpitiya Kshetrarama Viharaya is a historic Buddhist temple situated in Kalalpitiya village near Ukuwela town in Matale District.
Pethigepitiya Viharaya

Kalalpitiya Viharaya, also known as Kshetraramaya or Wele Pansala (Sinhala: කලල්පිටිය විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated in Kalalpitiya village near Ukuwela town in Matale District, Sri Lanka.


Sri Lankan ancient texts such as Pujavaliya (13th century) and Asgiri Talpata (18th century) have recorded that 500 Buddhist monks gathered at Alokalena or Alulena (present Alu Viharaya) during the reign of King Valagamba (89-77 B.C.) of Anuradhapura, under the protection of a chieftain (Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963). The monks undertook the task of committing the Tripitaka (Pali Theravada Canon) and its commentary to writing, for the first time ever, using ola-leaves as their medium. They wrote on ola-leaves the Dhamma words pronounced by the Buddha and passed down by word of mouth (Bhanaka system) nearly five centuries after the conclusion of the Buddhist Council held at this site (Abeyawardana, 2004). According to popular belief, this crucial act of writing down the Canon took place after the 12-year famine known as Beminitiyasaya in the first century B.C. (Abeyawardana, 2004).

It is believed by locals that the Kalalaya used by the monks gathered for this venue was enshrined in a Stupa erected at the present Kalalpitiya Viharaya. 

Image House

The image house of Kalalpitiya Viharaya preserves a valuable collection of paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan tradition. Above the entrance door to the image house is marked with the date 28 August 1907 (2451 B.E.). The crown drawn over this date indicates that the country is ruled under the British crown.


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.309-312.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.114.


#) LankaPradeepa.com 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 3 February 2024

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