Dadagamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya
Dadagamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya
A journey back in time
Sri Lanka is an island of many different layers. Only rarely does one get lucky enough to walk past the shrouds of time and witness something so spectacularly ageless that it alters one’s perspective. Little known yet revered, hidden yet waiting to be discovered, the Dadagamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya is one such ancient and priceless religious monument that seems to have been frozen in time. It’s something that is truly beautiful to behold and even though little known, it is something that is worth seeing.
How long would it take you to travel?
You can both travel from Kandy or from Colombo and being located in the Gampaha District very close to the area of Veyangoda, the ancient dagoba is not too far away in either case.
Which route should you take?
Come to the Kalagedihena Junction and turn onto the Veyangoda Road where after travelling for 1km you will come to the Dadagamuwa Junction from where you need to take a left turn and go on for another 500 metres.
What’s the best time to visit?
August and September being the two months that happen to be the driest would be ideal for travelling to this ageless shrine. However, December through February will also be great as the chances of rain are quite low.
A little backstory…
The first thing that struck me as I walked near the entrance of the temple was how incredibly calm and quiet it was. The ambiance seemed almost as if it has hushed in reverence and was at one with the tranquil nature around it. Surrounded by verdant paddy fields that swayed in the breeze with a life of their own, this ancient temple is located alongside a sparkling, rippling lake.
The temple dates all the way back to the times of King Devanampiyatissa and was built by a local leader in the name of Sumitta. However, as time took its toll the structure began to lose its former glory until it was revived again during the Kandyan era of Ceylon. The paintings that date back to the Kandyan era and the Watadageya stand testimony to this while the latest addition, a Buddha statue built adjoining the lake gives an aura of breathtaking spirituality and beauty to this unique architectural feat. A meditation centre that is also a recent addition gives the pilgrim the opportunity of a lifetime to relax, focus and refresh.
One more feature that really caught my eye was the Watadageya that has almost singularly historic and Sri Lankan architecture without any doubt. The roof, again one of its kind, is divided into two big decks that also break down into four directions. A pinnacle roof characteristic to Kandy can also be seen. The roof of the Watadageya boasts two rows of meticulously done, ornate paintings the upper of which indicate the Simbula and Themiya Jathaka stories (reincarnations of the Buddha) while the bottom row depicts the Dhamsoda Jathakaya. The sacred Bo tree in this ancient temple is said to be a sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura, another ancient and sacred site of Sri Lanka.
The beautiful and incredibly expressive Buddha statues stand true to the architectural skill and talent of the ancient architects and artists of Ceylon while they add to that tangible spirituality that is present in the very air of the temple.
Out of the many shapes under which dagobas have been built in Sri Lanka the Dadagamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya dagoba takes the shape of a water bubble or ‘Diya Bubula’ while the ancient ‘padassa gala’ and ‘nidana gala’ speak volumes in silence about its immense historic significance.
I never imagined that tucked away in Gampaha, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of modern day city life, I would discover a hidden gem in the form of an ancient temple that very few even had heard of. It’s that kind of place, the ones that change your take on life merely by being so incredibly pure and beautiful.
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