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Home > Heritage > Kandy > Gangaramaya Raja Maha Vihara

Gangaramaya Raja Maha Vihara

Renowned for its murals of the Kandyan Sittara art, "Gangarama Raja Maha Viharaya" is attributed to King Kirti Sri Rajasinhe (1747 - 1781). The temple is named "Gangarama" due to its location near the great Mahaweli river in Lewella.

A rock inscription in this temple describes the Building of the temple by the King:

“When Kirti Sri having being inaugurated king of Lanka noticed a stone statue of ancient date, in a rock lying in the palmyra garden and caused a viharaya to be made containing stone walls of 13 cubits in length 7 in breadth and 11 in height surrounded by stone pillars and above a roof with rafters covered with tiles. Within the walls a stone image of 9 cubits in height was made, beautified its robe with vermillion painting, covered its different members with golden leaves painted around with paintings of five hues and completed it after enshrining it with relics.

In the year 1752 AD wen all the work of the supremely magnificent image of Buddha variegated with golden workmanship were completed in the viharaya, bearing the appellation of Gangaramaya two eyes were affixed to the image with great solemnity, rejoicing and excessive offerings, and then satisfied the workmen by giving then appropriate gifts"

According to this inscription this location has been already a place of veneration with a Image of Buddha by the time King Kirti Sri Rajasinhe (1747 - 1781) built the temple. Gangarama was earlier associated with the educational activities of Velivita Sri Saranankara Thero.

The paintings in this temple depicts scenes of Buddha in this birth and of Jataka Stories. Even today they are valued as excellent examples Kandyan Sittara Art. The decorated eave tiles with the lion symbol, the high roof structure and above all the large standing figure of the Buddha 27 feet height surrounded by walls of paintings, speak for the artistic and religious of the Kings of that day.

Source : "Kandy"
By Central Cultural Fund


The Treasure Troves of Lewella - Daily Mirror - February 19, 2007


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Created July 8, 2007
Updated July 8, 2007
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