Koombuwa Raja Maha Viharaya (Kumbukgete)

Koombuwa Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kumbukgete village. It became popular due the discovery of the magnificent bronze statue of Buddha.
Koombuwa Viharaya
Pohoya Ge ruins at Koombuwa Viharaya

Koombuwa Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: කෝම්බුව රජමහා විහාරය, කුඹුක්ගැටේ) is a Buddhist temple situated in Kumbukgete village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.


The history of the Koombuwa temple runs back to the early part of the Anuradhapura Period (Mendis et al., 2019). A few Inscriptions in Brahmi Script which are found engraved just below the caves' drip ledges (Katarama) testify that these caves were used as adobes by Buddhist monks since the pre-Christian era. Some of these inscriptions were published by eminent scholar Senarath Paranavitana in his book published in 1970 (Mendis et al., 2019; Paranavitana, 1970).

Kumbukgete Standing Buddha Colombo Museum

Period: 3rd century B.C.-1st century A.D.
Script: Early Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Gamika-Shivaha lene shagasha
Translation: The cave of the village councillor Siva [is given] to Sangha
References: Paranavitana, 1970.p.75.

Standing Buddha Statue

A bronze standing statue of Buddha was unearthed on the premises of Koombuwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The statue is 105 cm (3.44 ft) in height and is considered the tallest solid-cast Buddha bronze discovered in the country. Dated by scholars to the 9-10th centuries A.D., it is currently on display at the entrance lobby of the Colombo National Museum (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018)

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Other Archaeological Monuments

Among the structures of archaeological value, the Pohoya Geya (chapter house), the four caves with drip ledges and the two cave temples are important (Mendis et al., 2019). Of them, the remains of the ancient Pohoya Geya building show architectural features of the Anuradhapura period and scholars have compared its similarities with the Padhanaghara ruins at nearby Arankele Monastery (Mendis et al., 2019). The entranceway to the ground of the temple is paved with stone steps. The Sandakada Pahana, Korawak Gal (wing stones) and Muragal (guard stones) are other monuments found on the temple premises (Mendis et al., 2019).

Koombuwa Viharaya Drip-ledged caves

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Books, Journal Articles

1) Mendis, D.T.; Wijepala, W.M.T.B.; Harshajith, D.M.N., 2019. දැදුරු ඔය සහ මී ඔය අතර කලාපයේ පුරාවිද්‍යාත්මක ස්ථාන පිළිබඳ මූලික විමර්ශනයක්. මධ්‍ය දැදුරු ඔය හා මී ඔය නිම්නයේ ජනාවාස පුරාවිද්‍යාව. Research and Publication Fund, Rajarata University Of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 978-955-0189-14-1.pp.33-103.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.75.
3) Prematilaka, L., Hewage, R., 2018. A guide to the National Museum, Colombo: Department of National Museum. ISBN: 978-955-578-035-3. p.6.

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To Whom

LankaPradeepa.com extends its gratitude to 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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