Heritage of Gampaha

The Gampaha District, located in the western part of Sri Lanka, holds significant heritage importance due to its rich historical and cultural heritage.The district is home to several historical sites that reflect the region’s ancient civilization and architectural brilliance. These include the ancient temples such as Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, a renowned Buddhist temple dating back to the 3rd century BCE.

Gampaha District also bears the marks of colonial influence, particularly from the Dutch and British eras. The city of Negombo, located in the district, is known for its Dutch Fort, constructed during the Dutch colonial period. The fort stands as a testament to the region’s colonial history and architecture.

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Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, commonly referred to as the Kelaniya Temple, is a renowned Buddhist temple located in Kelaniya, Gampaha District.It is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country and holds significant historical and religious importance.

The temple is believed to have been visited by Lord Buddha himself during his third visit to Sri Lanka in 500 BCE. According to legend, the temple was established to enshrine a sacred relic of Lord Buddha, a gem-studded throne (Dakkhina Jinasena Palliya). Over the centuries, the temple has undergone various renovations and expansions, reflecting the architectural styles of different eras.

The Kelaniya Temple is known for its beautiful architecture, intricate carvings, and vibrant murals that depict Buddhist teachings and stories from Buddhist mythology. The temple’s main stupa (dagoba) is a prominent feature, surrounded by smaller stupas and structures that house statues of the Buddha and other important figures in Buddhism.

Visiting the Kelaniya Temple offers a serene and spiritual experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Buddhist traditions and appreciate the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

Maligatenna Raja Maha Viharaya

The Maligathenna Cave Temple is an ancient cave temple located in a small village in the Gampaha district of Sri Lanka. Recognized as an archaeological protected site by the government, this temple is perched on top of a rock on a small hill. It boasts several very old caves, bearing evidence of its ancient origins. The history of Maligathenna Raja Maha Vihara dates back to the Anuradhapura Kingdom era, with legends suggesting that it served as a significant hiding place for kings and ministers during enemy invasions.

The temple is a magnificent sight, built atop a giant rock, offering a majestic view of the surrounding landscape. Upon entering the temple grounds, visitors can observe a mix of old and new structures. The temple is divided into two main levels: Pahala Maluwa (lower level) and Ihala Maluwa (upper level). The Pahala Maluwa includes monks’ quarters, a meditation center, the main shrine, outdoor and indoor promenades (Sakman Maluwa), a sacred bo tree, an ancient temple, and the Sri Devaraja Aakasha Chaitya Rajaya stupa. The Ihala Maluwa features a stupa, another bo tree, and a pond.

To reach the Maligathenna Temple, one must ascend an ancient flight of stone stairs, adding to the sense of adventure and history. The temple’s location atop the rock offers breathtaking views from the plateau, making it an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the beauty of the surroundings while exploring this remarkable place.

Attanagalla Raja Maha Viharaya

The Attanagalla Rajamaha Viharaya is a renowned ancient royal temple in Sri Lanka. It holds a significant place among its nine subordinate temples and is located in the Western Province, approximately 28 miles northeast of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka.

What sets this temple apart is its historical recognition as the place where a Bodhisattva, a future Buddha, fulfilled his Dana Paramita, which is one of the ten perfections to be completed by a Bodhisattva on the path to becoming a Buddha. In an act of profound gratitude towards a poor countryman, the Bodhisattva sacrificed his life by offering his head. This tale, known as the Sirisanghabo story, is widely celebrated as one of the most popular folk tales in Sri Lanka.

Another noteworthy archaeological treasure within the temple premises is the “Vatadage,” a circular relic house. This particular Vatadage holds special significance as it is the only intact Vatadage in Sri Lanka, although it has undergone several modifications over time.

Visiting the Attanagalla Rajamaha Viharaya allows one to immerse in the rich history and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, with its unique tales and architectural marvels like the intact Vatadage.

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