Kantharodai Vihara – Kadurugoda Temple


Kadurugoda Viharaya also known as Kantharodai Vihara is a historic Buddhist temple in the little village of Kandarodai, approximately two kilometres from Hunugama, Sri Lanka, on the Hunugama (Chunnakam) - Minipe (Manipai) route. It is one of the few Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, having a history that can be traced back to the Anuradhapura period. The Sri Lankan army presently maintains the temple designated as an archaeological site.

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Kadurugoda Viharaya's History

According to historical sources, a prince of the Shailendra dynasty of the Sri Vijaya Kingdom constructed Kadurugoda Vihara. During his second tour to Sri Lanka, it is also claimed that Lord Buddha visited this location and remained for a while. In addition, it is rumoured that Sangamitta, the daughter of Emperor Asoka, stopped there on her way from Dambakolapatuna to Anuradhapura to present the Sri Maha Bodhi seedling to King Devanampiyathissa.

Unique Architecture of Kadurugoda Temple

The presence of several little stupas, as opposed to the typical giant stupa, is the most distinctive aspect of Kadurugoda Temple. According to legend, these stupas were constructed to house the bones of sixty Arhat Bhikkus who perished while fleeing the oppression of Jaffna's ruler Sangili. There are 20 of these stupas and other stupa foundations on the temple grounds, for 56 stupa ruins. The stupas have unique characteristics to Sri Lanka and cannot be found elsewhere. They are constructed of grey coral stone and have a distinct pattern of little holes around them. In addition, these ancient stupas lack the standard square-shaped sections (Hathares Kotuwa and Dewatha Kotuwa) above the dome and instead feature umbrella-shaped fixed pinnacles.

The remnants of a shrine room, colourful tiles, pieces of Buddha and Bodhisattva sculptures, Buddha foot imprints, a guard stone with Punkalasa, and old coins dating back to the time of 1st Parakumba, Malla, Leelawathi, and Buwenakabahu were discovered during excavations on the temple grounds. The Jaffna museum has some of these relics.

Visiting Kadurugoda Temple

For anybody interested in Sri Lanka's history and architecture, Kadurugoda Viharaya is a must-see. The temple is easily accessible by road, and visitors may enjoy the tranquil setting while examining the temple's distinctive architecture. However, to demonstrate respect for the Buddhist tradition, it is advised to wear modest attire and remove footwear before visiting a temple.


1 What is the history of the Kadurugoda Temple?

Kadurugoda Temple has a long history dating back to the Anuradhapura era. It is believed that Lord Buddha visited this site and stayed there during his second visit to Sri Lanka. Additionally, it is said to be one of the places that Sangamitta visited en route from Dambakolapatuna to Anuradhapura to deliver the sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi to King Devanampiyathissa.

2 Who built Kadurugoda Temple?

Kadurugoda Temple was built by a prince of the Shailendra dynasty of the Sri Vijaya Kingdom, according to interlinear inscriptions read by Professor Senarath Paranavithana.

3 How far is Kadurugoda Temple from Hunugama?

Kadurugoda Temple is located on the Hunugama (Chunnakam) – Minipe (Manipai) road, about 2 kilometres from Hunugama.

4 What is the significance of the multiple small stupas at Kadurugoda Temple?

The unique feature of Kadurugoda Temple is the existence of multiple small stupas instead of the usual single large stupa. It is believed that these were built to enshrine the remains of 60 Arhat Bhikkus, who died while fleeing the harassment of King Sangili, who ruled the Jaffna peninsula then.

5 How many stupas are found within the temple premises?

There are 20 stupas within the temple premises and many stupa foundations, totalling up to 56 stupa ruins.

6 What are some unique features of the stupas at Kadurugoda Temple?

The stupas at Kadurugoda Temple are made of grey-coloured coral stone and have a very distinguished pattern with small holes. These ancient stupas do not have the standard square-shaped parts (Hathares Kotuwa and Dewatha Kotuwa) above the dome but have umbrella-shaped fixed pinnacles.

7 What artifacts have been found during excavations at Kadurugoda Temple?

During excavations on the premises, the ruins of a shrine room, coloured tiles, parts of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, Buddha foot imprints, a guard stone with Punkalasa, and ancient coins belonging to 1st Parakumba, Malla, Leelawathi, and Buwenakabahu's time were found.

8 Where are the artifacts found during excavations at Kadurugoda Temple preserved?

Some of these artifacts are preserved at the Jaffna Museum.

9 What is the current state of the temple, and how is it maintained?

Kadurugoda Temple has been declared an archaeological site in Sri Lanka and is currently maintained by the Sri Lankan army.

10. Is Kadurugoda Temple open to the public?

Yes, Kadurugoda Temple is open to the public, and visitors are welcome to explore the ancient site and learn about its fascinating history.


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