Magul Maha Viharaya | Ancient Buddhist Temple

Magul Maha Vihara

Magul Maha Vihara

When talking about history, we cannot forget about the legends. But some legends has been refused with the factors found by archaeological inventions. But yet there are some incidents where the legend became more powerful than the archaeological evidences. Today we are going to talk about a special Sacred place located in the Eastern province in Sri Lanka. That is the ‘Magul Maha Viharaya’. Travelling to Pottuwil from Monaragala passing Siyabalanduwa, we can find this Sacred place located in the Lahugala area.

The legend

The legend regarding Magul Maha Vihara is as follows. There is a rumour that the princess Vihara Maha Devi had been washed ashore near the Magul Maha Vihara in Pottuwil. Later she became the main consort of king Kavan Tissa. That is the story according to the legend. Ruins of some stone pranks which were considered to be the Wedding Plank (the Magul Poruwa) of their wedding is being considering as a proof.

Who is this Vihara Maha Devi

But the archaeologist who refuse this legends came up with a different story. According to them this place has a connection with the queen. But not the one who is considered to be the mother of the great king Dutugamunu. They refers to another queen who has the same name who lived in 14 th century AD. They have found an ancient epigraph from the temple ground including these information.

According to the archaeological evidences, this temple was built by king Dathusena – a ruler in Anuradhapura kingdom. Later, the temple has been reconstructed according to the commands of the queen Vihara Maha Devi who was the consort of both King Gampola Buwanekabahu and Dedigama Parackramabahu. According to the archaeologists, this is the reason for the involvement of the queen Vihara Maha Devi and King Kawan Tissa regarding with this place.

Ancient majesty

However, we can say that the ruined Magul Maha Vihara was a well-developed Sacred place in the past. An ancient Stupa (Dagaba), Guard stones to enter in to, four stone entrances with the moonstone and the staircase made from stone as well as the ruined painting and sculpture (bodhi ghara), statue house (pilimageya) , poya house (uposathagaraya) and the pond can be seen today also. Availability of carved and non-carved moonstone can be considered as a special feature of Magul Maha Vihara. The carved moonstone is regarded as a special one.

In that, elephants with the trunk bent upwards and the trunk bent downwards can be seen alternatively while the swans have been carved as if they were hanging something from their beak. Moreover the kraal which is located outside the vihara area is another fabulous example to proove the ancient majesty.

Written By – Jeewana Pahan Thilina & Chandana Ponnamperuma Translated by – Umesha Sewwandi