Saturday Jun 15, 2024

Haththikuchchi Buddhist Viharaya, Sri Lanka

Address

Haththikuchchi Buddhist Viharaya, Rajanganaya, Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka

Diety

Buddha

Introduction

Haththikuchchi Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist monastery complex situated in Rajanganaya, Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

Puranic Significance

The ruins of the Haththikuchchi ancient monastery complex extend in an area of about 300 acres. A large number of rock and cave inscriptions dating from the 3rd century B.C. to 10th century A.D. have been discovered from the site. On the Haththikuchchi rock and its base, more than fifty rock inscriptions dating from 2nd to 9th centuries A.D. have been found. Among them, a 2nd century A.D. inscription reveals the name of this site as Atiku(ci)ya Vihara and therefore the site has been identified as the ancient Haththikuchchi Viharaya, a well-known monastery. According to the early written sources, several kings have involved in the restoration or development of this temple. Also the Buddhist monk Buddhaghosa mentions that there was a cave suited for the meditation on the Haththikuchchi-pabbhara. The cave mentioned by Buddhaghosa is said to be the summit cave on the southern hill of the present Haththikuchchi temple. The ruins and the stone inscriptions at the site dates from the 3 rd century BC and to about 10 th century indicating that this complex was born at the same time Buddhism was brought to the country by Mahinda Maha Thero. The main buildings which has been identified are a Vatadage (a stupa house), an image house, a poya house, some stupas, an alms hall, a semicircular building, an image house restored during the Kandy period, ponds, meditation chambers used at the very early stages of Buddhism, many of stone inscriptions and many cave dwellings used by meditating bikkus. The whole complex covers an area of over 300 acres. Although the stupa in the vatadage is in a dilapidated state the remains of the vatadage can still be seen including two impressive stone doorways. Between the vatadage and the steps to the rock there is a pathway to the right in to the jungle. About 150 metres through the path you will come to an area where remains of mediation chambers made out of 3 slabs of rock. These are said have been used at the early stages of the Buddhism.

Century/Period/Age

3rd century B.C. to 10th century A.D.

Managed By

Department of Archaeology

Nearest Bus Station

Rajanganaya

Nearest Railway Station

Kurunegala Station

Nearest Airport

Colombo

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