Ganekanda Raja Maha Vihara
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Author:  Rohan2 [ Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Ganekanda Raja Maha Vihara

Ganekanda Raja Maha Vihara where Arahanth Maliyadeva resided

By D.B.Kappagoda

Close to Polpithigama lies Mandalarama Ganekanda Rajamaha Viharaya where valuable artefacts are perishing ignored by the authorities .The shrine dates back to King Devanampiya Tissa giving details in historical documents such as Mahavamsa. Thupawamsa, Saddharmalankaraya, Jinalankaraya.

The easiest way to reach this shrine steeped in history is by the road through Abbagamuwa.

Approaching the destination by road one could see a large cave inside which there is a reclining Buddha image. The head of the image rests on a pillow, which has been damaged by treasure hunters.

On the surface of the cave shrine there are painted murals belonging to the Kandyan period. The style of the paintings show Sittara art tradition which is getting damaged by soot from burning camphor, candlelight and incense.

At the entrance, there is a Makara Thorana, adorning the doorway. Nearby, there is a footprint of the Buddha carved on an elevated rocky surface.

It is believed that the last of the Arahants,700 in number including Arahant Maliyadeva, had resided inside this cave. There are stone pillars on which there had been a roof of a building meant for a pirivena where bhikshus had their learning in dhamma.

Most of the buildings had been destroyed which include a stupa. The inscriptions lying within the premises of the shrine state that a Dhamma Sanghayana was held here before the Dhamma was committed to writing at Aluvihara close to Matale.

Surrounded by the jungle one has to trudge on foot for three kilometres to join the main road revealing the difficulties of people who live within the environs of this historic Raja Maha Viharaya.

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