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Gangarama Viharaya

Travel up to Buwelikada Junction on the Kandy-Mahiyangana Road, turn to Lewella Road to reach this temple 100 meters down.

In 1747 King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe, returning from a bath in the Mahaweli River, had rested in the shade of a bamboo grove, and noticed an incomplete Buddha statue carved on a rock. Pleased, he ordered that the statue be completed, built a temple on the site and gave it the name Gangaramaya. It was donated by way of a Sannasa (dispatch) to the then Sangharaja of the Malwatte Chapter – Weliwita Asarana Sarana Sangharaja Thero.

The tradition o ...

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Travel up to Buwelikada Junction on the Kandy-Mahiyangana Road, turn to Lewella Road to reach this temple 100 meters down.

In 1747 King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe, returning from a bath in the Mahaweli River, had rested in the shade of a bamboo grove, and noticed an incomplete Buddha statue carved on a rock. Pleased, he ordered that the statue be completed, built a temple on the site and gave it the name Gangaramaya. It was donated by way of a Sannasa (dispatch) to the then Sangharaja of the Malwatte Chapter – Weliwita Asarana Sarana Sangharaja Thero.

The tradition of conferring the position of Chief Incumbent of the temple to the Head of the Malwatte Chapter is continued to date - Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Nayake Thero is the current Chief Incumbent, while Nehiniwela Piyadassi Thero, Head of the Sri Sangharaja Pirivena, occupies the position of Trustee.

King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe, having opened the protective wall around the Sri Maha Bodhi, is said to have planted a branch of the Bodhi in this temple. The chronicle Chulawamsa explains that a bronze Buddha statue, equaling the King’s height, was erected and deposited inside a Chaitya at this site. The Degaldoruwa Viharaya, situated about a mile away, belongs to the same time period as Gangaramaya.

Famous for some 350 colourful and fine wall paintings depicting highlights of the history of Bodhisatva  as well as that of the Buddha, it attacts thousands of devotees. The Wahalkada (vestibule) at the temple’s entrance shows architectural characteristics of the Kandy Era. The ancient Magul Maduwa (pavilion) is yet another prominent feature. Devotees and tourists alike visit the temple by their thousands throughout the year.


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