Asgiriya Maha Viharaya

Paintings | Temple | Kandy

Asgiriya Maha Viharaya

Stimulating you to find the most wanted tourism destinations in kandy, Asgiria Raja maha viharaya is another Buddhist complex. Asgiriya Maha viharaya is the place where two best known and highly venerated priests, Malwatte and Asgiriya are resided. It is older than the Malwatu viharaya in Kandy. The temple is the head quarters of the Siyam maha nikaya. It is believed that all the reigned kings gradually developed and constructed the monastic centre.

The temple was built by Commander Siriwardhana of Parakramabahu 4 (1305-1335 A.D) in Kurunegala era. The bhikkus, sent from the ‘Valasgala temple’ of yapahuwa are dwelled at the Asgiriya premise. The name Asgiri is derived from the ‘Valasgala’.

Another version is that the temple was named after the cremation of the mother queen of King Vikramabahu. In past, the Asiriya temple was a education centre for princes. It is one of reputed places of the Maha sangha of the Mahavihara tradition in accordance to the written records which dates back about 700 years. In addition the Vihariyans had to safe guard the sacred tooth relic of Buddha several times due to the troublesome situations. Wariyapola Sumangala Anunayaka thero who re-hoisted the Sri lankan flag in resist when the British hoisted their flag before signing the kandiyan convention in 1815 is a historical incident bound with the Asgiriya Maha viharaya.

The temple known as ‘Meda pansala’ built by Meegastenne Dissawe in 1767 is also located in the Vihara perimeter. There is a recumbent Buddha statue carved on a rock. It is 6 feet long. Aluth vihare or the New temple was built by Pilimathalawe dissawe in 1768. Statues of god Natha and Saman are resided in the temple called ‘parana Vihare’. Many historical monuments can be worshipped here. Another curious feature of the temple site is the ‘Adahana maluwa’ so called as the Royal cremation ground.

Significantly Adahana maluwa is used to place the relic casket of the Dalada maligwa in the final night of the Esala perahera. So on the final day of the Perahera is begun from here. This is ritual was begun by King Kirthi Sri rajasingha as a respect to his queen mother.
Apart from the history of the temple, Sri Chandananda Buddhist college, conducted by the bhikkus is a new attempt to the improve the quality of the Buddhist teachings and studies.

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