Kande Viharaya- Aluthgama
Established in 1734, Kande Viharaya is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Remaining found up in the hills, the serenity surrounding the temple celebrates one of the most peace-loving philosophies of the world. The relic chamber of the temple is considered to be the most beloved structure in the temple. Its walls are decorated with Kandyan Era frescoes, while murals illustrating Lord Buddha’s life are depicted across the temple. After a few rounds of renovation under state patronage, Kande Viharaya is formally identified as an archaeological site today. Therefore, every step into this temple in its most scenic atmosphere feels like the unravelling of a fascinating novel.
History and Significance of Kande Viharaya
Kande Viharaya was founded in approximately 1734 by Venerable Karapagala Dewamitta Thero under the guidance of Venerable Udugama Chandrasara Thero, the Chief incumbent of Raja Maha Vihara Galapatha. Over the years, the temple has flourished under the leadership of seven Maha Theros, including Venerable Pothuwila Sri Saranatissa Thero. Venerable Batuwanhene Buddharakkhita Thero, the chief Sangha Nayake of Kalutara District and Bentara Walallawita Korale, leads the temple.
The Sacred Components of Kande Viharaya
At the heart of the temple premises, a bell-shaped stupa stands as a symbol of reverence. Enclosed within an octagonal shelter, the stupa exhibits meticulous craftsmanship. It features intricate flower petal mouldings, basal terraces, a dome, and square enclosures adorned with Bo leaf engravings. The stupa's construction dates back to the 2479 Buddhist era, initiated by Ven Pothuwila Sri Saranatissa Nayaka Thero.
The Relic Chamber
Considered the oldest building within the temple grounds, the relic chamber holds immense historical significance. Adorned with a stone door frame and a moonstone at the entrance, the room houses the sacred relic casket. The ceiling and walls of the chamber showcase paintings from the later part of the Kandyan period, adding to its allure.
The Bo Tree
The Bo tree at Kande Viharaya boasts a history spanning over 300 years. Surrounded by a square-shaped wall, it is a focal point for pilgrims. Within the walldivisionulptures depict the events related to the arrival of the Branch of Sri Maha Bodhi to Sri Lanka, creating a captivating sight for visitors.
The Image House
The image house at Kande Viharaya is an architectural marvel characterized by intricate floral and creeper designs. With three arched entrances and a mesmerizing Thorana, the image house was erected in 1731. Buddha images in various postures, including standing, seated, and sleeping, can be found inside. The outer chamber of the image house features mural paintings and Deva Mandira dedicated to God Vishnu.
Devale and Deities
Sri Vishnu Maha Devala
Situated adjacent to the outer chamber of the image house, Sri Vishnu Maha Devala is a place of worship for Sri Lankan and foreign devotees. It is customary for devotees to pay homage to the Buddha before seeking blessings from God Vishnu. Paintings within the devala depict events related to Vijaya's arrival in Sri Lanka.
Kataragama Devala and Four Maha Devalas
Near the image house, Kataragama Devala and the four Mahha Devalas enhance the religious significance of Kande Viharaya. These sacred spaces are revered and respected by devotees who seek spiritual fulffulfilment and blessings.
Seema Malaka and Vinaya Kamma
Outside the vihaViharamises, the Seema Malaka servitization for Vinaya Kamma rituals. This area is where devotees engage in religious practices and observe traditions. Adjacent to the vihara, the Bo Tree, surrounded by a lotus lotus-petalled, creates a beautiful and serene environment.
The Five-Storied Building and Facilities
Relic Chamber and Museum
A five-storied building stands on the temple grounds, housing various facilities. At the topmost floor, another relic chamber preserves sacred relics. The floor below features a museum showcasing antiquities, ancient books, and other valuable items for public viewing.
Sri Saranatissa Memorial Library
On the subsequent lower floor of the five-storied building, the Sri Saranatissa Memorial Library provides access to numerous valuable books. Established by Venerable Batuwanhene Buddharakkitha Nayaka Thero and Yatadolawatte Ariyawansa Thero, the library aims to foster academic research and knowledge.
Saranatyissa Dhamma Hall and Kshetharama Maha Pirivena
The Saranatyissa Dhamma Hall, situated on the other side of the Bo Tree, serves as a venue for classes held by the Kshetharama Maha Pirivena. This renowned educational institution, founded in 1904 and led by Venerable Yatadolawatte Ariyawansa Thero, contcontributesnificantly to the nation's educational landscape.
The Project for the Highest Buddha Statue
An ambitious project at Kande Viharaya is constructing the highest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. The foundation stone for this statue, depicting the Bhoomisparsha Mudra, was laid in November 2002. Venerable Batuwanhene Sri Buddharakkitha Nayaka Thero and Venerable Yatadolawatte Ariyawansa Thero spearhead this endeendeavoure Buddha statue, standing at 107 riyals (160 feet) in height, is intended to inspire reverence and will be adorned with religious paintings and sculptured events.
Travel Directions to Kande Viharaya – Aluthgama
To reach Kande Viharaya from Colombo, take the Panadura-Kalutara route. After passing Beruwala, you'll come across the "Kaluwamodara" bridge, located approximately 59 km (36 miles) from Colombo. Turn left after crossing the bridge and continue for about 1 km toward "Kaalawila" until you reach Kande Viharaya. The travel time from Colombo to Kande Viharaya is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Kande Viharaya in Aluthgama is a remarkable Buddhist temple with great historical and religious significance. With its ancient stupas, relic chamber, image house, dev devices other sacred structures, the temple provides a visitor rene and spiritually uplifting experience for the ongoing project to construct the highest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, further adding to the allure of Kande Viharaya. Plan a visit to this divine destination and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage and spiritual ambience it offers.
FAQ 1: Is Kande Viharaya accessible to visitors?
Answer: Yes, Kande Viharaya welcomes visitors of all backgrounds and provides accessible facilities for a comfortable experience.
FAQ 2: Are there any entrance fees to visit Kande Viharaya?
Answer: No, there are no entrance fees to enter Kande Viharaya. However, donations are appreciated to support the maintenance and development of the temple.
FAQ 3: Can I take photographs inside Kande Viharaya?
Answer: Yes, photography is allowed inside the temple premises. However, it is advisable to be respectful and follow any guidelines provided by the temple authorities.
FAQ 4: Are there any accommodation options near Kande Viharaya?
Answer: Yes, the several accommodation options available in the nearby towns of Aluthgama and Bentota to suit different budgets and preferences.
FAQ 5: Are there any restrictions on the dress code when visiting Kande Viharaya?
Answer: While there are no strict dress code requirements, it is advisable to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting any religious site in Sri Lanka.