Vidyanikethana Piriven Viharaya

Vidyanikethana Piriven Viharaya

Vidyanikethana Piriven Viharaya, also known as Ilangangoda Purana Viharaya (Sinhala: සපුගොඩ විද්‍යානිකේතන පිරිවෙන් විහාරය, ඉලංගන්ගොඩ පුරාණ විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Sapugoda near Kamburupitiya in Matara District, Sri Lanka.


Although this site is said to have a history running back more than 200 years, the present temple has no structures surviving from that period (Abeyawardana, 2004). In the past, this area was known as Ilangangoda which means the place where people were trained in weaponry and war (Abeyawardana, 2004; Vanarathana, 1994). The temple was established at this site by a Buddhist monk named Mudduwe Dhammarakkhitha Thera who was a student of Kuttapitiya Thera, the student of Kamburupitiye Gunarathana Thera, the head monk of Sri Padaya, Sabaragamuwa Province and the low country (Abeyawardana, 2004; Vanarathana, 1994). An ola leaf manuscript preserved in the temple reveals details of gifts by a minister of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782 A.D.) of Kandy (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). A wooden Buddha statue and a cupboard (Pettagama) painted in the Kandyan style are still in the temple's possession (Abeyawardana, 2004). The Katapaya-type inscription (Sakabadam Somasatyam) written on this cupboard mentions the Saka year 1757 [(1835 A.D.) Wikramaratne, 2015].

It is said that there was a Tempita-type Vihara from the Kandyan period but the new image house was built around 1895 hiding its original characteristics (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). However, the seated Buddha statue in the present image house is said to be the original statue placed in the old Tempita Viharaya building (Wikramaratne, 2015). Elapatha Mudali, the person famous for having an affair with poetess Gajaman Nona is said to have lived at this temple as a monk before leaving the Buddhist order (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The adjacent Vidyanikethana school was started in 1938 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

A Protected Site

The image house in the premises of Vidyanikethana Piriven Vihara in Sapugoda village in Kamburupitiya Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

Vidyanikethana Piriven 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. pp.63-64.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
3) Vanarathana, K., 1994. Matara Puravidyathmaka Ithihasaya (In Sinhala). ISBN: 955-9325-00-0. p.174.
4) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.46-47.


#) extends its gratitude to Lalith Kekulthotuwage 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 10 March 2024
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