|The historic Ridhi Viharaya
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|Author:||LankaLibrary [ Sun May 07, 2006 3:52 pm ]|
|Post subject:||The historic Ridhi Viharaya|
The historic Ridhi Viharaya
The historic Ridhi Viharaya is situated in Ridhigamain in the Kurunegala district, a village about 10 kilometres from Mallawapitiya, a town on the Kurunegala-Kandy road. The Rajamaha Viharaya dates back over 2000 years. Built by King Dutugemunu, the temple spreads over about 30 acres, making it one of the most picturesque religious sites in the area.
“During King Dutugemunu’s era, while he was building the sacred Ruvanweliseya, people were discovering precious metals in different areas of the island and silver or ridhi was found in this particular area. This is how both the temple and the village got its name,” says Ven. Buddha Rakkhitha, the chief guardian priest of Ridhi Viharaya. The temple falls under the purview of the Mahanayake of the Malwathu Chapter.
Having numerous special features, the temple is most famous for its paintings belonging to the Kandyan era, a unique Makara Thorana and ivory carvings. “The Makara Thorana at this temple is different to others. Normally the heads of the two Makarayas turn towards the Buddha statue. But in this particular one, the heads are turning outward and away from the statue. Also, normally there are only about four gods depicted on either side of the statue, but this Makara Thorana has many gods depicted,” said the Ven. Thera. Going on to describe the ivory carvings, he said this is probably the only instance where such carvings have been inserted into a part of the roof of a temple.
Yet another interesting artefact at Ridhi Viharaya is a line of tiles portraying the life of Christ. Fixed along the stand built for offering flowers to Lord Buddha, the presence of these tiles in the temple is remarkably interesting. Possibly being presented to the temple by a Dutch governor, the temple officials may have incorporated it in the viharaya.
Consisting of many rock caves, the viharaya has been built in the cave where the silver was originally found. Called Maha Viharaya, it has a large reclining Buddha statue and statues of God Vishnu and King Dutugemunu, along with paintings belonging to the Kandyan era and a few other rare statues made of ceramic.
“The Ridhi Viharaya was reconstructed during the Anuradhapura era by King Amandha Gamini and once again by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe during the Kandyan era. During these reconstructions, little changes have been added to the temple over the years,” said the Thera.
Among the other artefacts in the temple, is also a unique carriage that was used to transport monks of the ancient times, as well as two seats used by monks to preach bana.
Ridi Vihara, where three great religions meet
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