Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharayaya
It was raining. But fortunately our destination the Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya was easily accessible.
The Temple buildings were beautifully placed at different levels on a rock cliff. We walked up the slight incline to reach the old shrine room. We passed an ancient rock inscription and the Bo tree.
The paintings on its outside walls and the makara thorana in this little building is notable. Inside was a huge seated Buddha statue possibly of later origin. The origin of this Viharaya is believed to date back to the Polonnaruwa period. The Viharaya is said to have gained prominence during the days of Raigam Bandara.
Another impressive shrine room is situated on the side of the rock cliff at a slightly lesser elevation. As we descended towards it a natural pool rock almost spilled over with the rain water.
The rock sculpture here is beautiful and believed to be similar to the Gal Viharaya statues at Polonnaruwa. According to local belief this sculpture was done by the same artists that executed the celebrated Polonnaruwa statues. An unusually long and highly ornate carved wooden structure served as the table for offerings in front of the main Buddha image.
It was raining harder and we sat on the steps of the shrine room looking down into the entrance yard of the temple. At the bottom of the hill was the Darmasalawa with its elegant granite pillars amongst other buildings.
Pokunuwita Rajamaha Viharaya can be reached by travelling on the Welikala road branching at the Pokunuwita junction along the Colombo- Horana Highway.
by Kishanie S. Fernando
February 4, 2007