Lendora Raja Maha Vihara
Whom we met at the Kottimbulwala Rajamaha Vihara in the suburbs of Balangoda informed us of an interesting old temple in the close vicinity of Belimalliyaddha.
According to him the viharaya shrine room which was built into a cave was of unique significance since the head of the sculpture of the reclining image of Lord Buddha has been placed to the west. The usual normally being placed to the east.
“How come? Why would that be? Was it a genuine mistake of the artist ?” we asked him.
Smiling slyly, he informed us that according to local legend it is said that the shrine room was built on the instructions of King Valagamba’s queen and like most things women do, it was also done in the opposite, or in the reverse.
After this apparently offensive statement against womankind, which we doubted could be the real reason; we were determined to see the place.
We travelled from Weligapola to Belimalliyaddha on quiet country roads. And there; bordering the road was the Lendora Raja Maha Vihara, our destination.
We asked where the cave shrine room was, for we could hardly see any rock or boulder that could be harbouring a cave.
A young boy offered to show us the way and led us along the side of the temple premises and there, so well concealed was an elongated rock boulder into which was tucked a little cave, in which was built the shrine room. The structure itself seemed comparatively new and the few ancient statues were also reconstructed and freshly painted.
The main sculpture was the image of a reclining Lord Buddha. Yes, the sculpture had its head to the west. But I pretty much hoped it was for some other reason than the given one.
Sadly, gaping holes had been drilled into the statue by greedy and callous treasure hunters. The holes had been patched up with cement. The cave was small but airy. Beyond the cave, the forest seemed to take over
by Kishanie S. Fernando
February 13, 2007