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Molagoda Kotamudungala Raja Maha Viharaya

Also known as ‘Kotamudungala Raja Maha Viharaya’. Travel via Kandy-Kurunegala Road, turn at Arambekada, proceed about 4 miles towards Bokkawala to reach the Molagoda village. This temple is sited in a scenic location near Sri Piyadassi Rajaye Vidyalaya on either side of the main road.

The shrine is built inside a cave under a fairly high rock outcrop with a straight inclination. Large vats are carved out on this rock as well as on another rock nearby, to prevent rain water flowing into the cave. Even today, a len lipiya (cave epigraph) is ...

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Also known as ‘Kotamudungala Raja Maha Viharaya’. Travel via Kandy-Kurunegala Road, turn at Arambekada, proceed about 4 miles towards Bokkawala to reach the Molagoda village. This temple is sited in a scenic location near Sri Piyadassi Rajaye Vidyalaya on either side of the main road.

The shrine is built inside a cave under a fairly high rock outcrop with a straight inclination. Large vats are carved out on this rock as well as on another rock nearby, to prevent rain water flowing into the cave. Even today, a len lipiya (cave epigraph) is found  under the vat on the rock away from the Vihara cave, engraved clearly in a text similar in terms of language, script, meaning and sentence structure to those on the Wessagiri Len Lipi written around 2-3 B.C. in the early Anuradhapura Period.

As for the name, it can be assumed that this temple would have been called ‘Kotha Mudungala’ in the early days because the shrine is located under a fairly high rock outcrop that rises rather like a ‘kotha’ (pinnacle), and the name would have evolved to ‘Kota Mudungala’ later on.

The history of this temple appears to date back to well over two centuries. According to a popular legend, it was built by King Walagamba (88 B.C.) Some of the ancient frescoes inside the temple, as well as some of the Buddha statues kept there at present appear to be similar to the Dambulla Len Vihara frescoes and Buddha statues. Hence it can be assumed that they were made in the Kandy Kingdom era.

At present, there are two sitting Buddha statues, one standing statue, as well as two Makara Thorana (ornate arched gateways) at the site.

This temple, sited in accordance with the ‘Sharirika, Paribhogika, Uddeshika’ order or sequence, is replete with all components that constitute a Viharaya. In the foreground of the temple, the twelve-cubit ‘Maha Shailamaya Nishanna Pilimaya’ (Great Sessile Stone Statue),  is seen behind the Bodhiya.

Passing through the Makara Thorana, on the right side there is a chamber with a Sacred Footprint carved on the stone floor. A heavy bell tower, weighing over a hundred pounds, can be seen nearby.

Sited ahead is the Maha Len Viharaya, with three ancient Buddha statues inside. On the extreme left is a sitting posture statue, and on the extreme right there is an Oth Pilimaya (sleeping posture statue). In the hall between the inner sanctum and Hewisi Mandapaya (Drummers’ Hall) there is a number of glass cabinets displaying Suvisi Vivarana (24 Buddhas) images, and stories illustrating the Buddha’s 45-year lifetime. Frescoes found on the ceiling belong to the Kandy Tradition.

Behind the Viharaya, there is a massive rock, with a height of approximately 100 feet, and straight slopes on all four sides. Silumini Seya, a magnificent Chaitya (Dagoba), is situated on this rock. The commanding height of the location makes it visible from every direction, even from very far away.


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