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Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya

Description

The Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya is a testament to the fusion of architectural influences. Its local name hints at its basic form – a stone and brick pavilion. Yet, a towering gopuram imparts a distinctive Hindu identity to the structure. This amalgamation of styles speaks to the coexistence of Tamil-Hindu elements within the confines of a Buddhist place of worship.

Read More in Details

Nestled just a short drive away from the bustling city of Kandy, a unique and intriguing structure awaits those who venture off the Kundasala Road – the Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya. This architectural marvel carries a fascinating history that intertwines Buddhism, Hindu influence, and the legacy of a king. This writing will delve into the intriguing past and captivating features of the Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya, uncovering its significance and allure.

A Royal Interruption

The story of the Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya begins with King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe. According to historical accounts, as this unique edifice's construction progressed, the king received news of a remarkable discovery – a cave at Degaldoruwa. Captivated by the find, the king shifted his attention and resources to the newfound site, leading to the unfinished state of the Galmaduwa Viharaya. This twist of fate forever left the grand structure devoid of its intended purpose as a temple.

Architectural Marvel with a Twist

The Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya is a testament to the fusion of architectural influences. Its local name hints at its basic form – a stone and brick pavilion. Yet, a towering gopuram imparts a distinctive Hindu identity to the structure. This amalgamation of styles speaks to the coexistence of Tamil-Hindu elements within the confines of a Buddhist place of worship.

The central building is encompassed by a substantial wall adorned with a deeply moulded cornice that gracefully overhangs. Five windows punctuate three sides of the outer wall, while the fourth side – the western facade – features a doorway of slightly larger dimensions. The measurements reveal the distance between the central building and the outer wall is roughly 14 feet. The central building spans 29 feet, while the outer wall covers 16 feet on each side. Notably, there are two doorways: one leading into the enclosure and another facing it into the sanctum. Both doorways are 6 feet wide, while the windows measure 4 ½ feet. The thickness of the outer wall, excluding the mouldings of the sanctum wall, is three ¼ feet, while the sanctum wall measures 3 feet.

Curious Arches: A Unique Design Element

One of the Galmaduwa Rajamaha Viharaya's most intriguing facets is its arches' design. The doorways and windows feature semi-circular cusped arches with a keystone. The entrance door boasts six cusps, while the windows display two. An ogee arch forms the apex of the entrance door. Additionally, a substantial stone border frames the windows on the exterior, with the arch's outer line maintaining a simple semi-circular form.

The Sanctum's Secrets

Within the interior of the sanctum lies the asane, the pedestal or throne for an image, serving as the central furnishing of the space. Other than the asane, the shrine still needs to be unadorned. The brick-domed roof remains unplastered, lending the sanctuary an earthy and authentic ambience.

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