Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya


Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya, a towering figure in the landscape of Sri Lanka, is more than just a stupa; it's a symbol of the nation's enduring spirit and deep-rooted Buddhist traditions. Emerging from a backdrop of development and change, this remarkable structure tells a story of sacrifice, commemoration, and faith.

The inception of Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya is intertwined with the vision of Gamini Dissanayake, a prominent figure in Sri Lanka's political landscape. His foresight in conceptualizing this stupa was a tribute to the country's rich Buddhist heritage and a beacon of hope for those affected by the Mahaweli Development Project. This section delves into Dissanayake's role and the initial steps that led to the creation of this iconic monument.

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Standing at an impressive height of 88 meters (289 feet), Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya is the second-largest stupa in Sri Lanka, only next to the ancient Ruwanweli Maha Seya in Anuradhapura. This comparison highlights the stupa's significance in the context of Sri Lanka's architectural heritage, drawing parallels between the old and the modern.

The Mahaweli Development Project, the largest in Sri Lanka since independence, had profound implications for the nation. While it propelled the country towards modernization, it also led to the submergence of over 50 temples and the displacement of numerous communities. Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya is a commemorative structure that pays homage to these lost temples and the people's resilience. This subheading explores the complex interplay between development and cultural preservation.

The construction of Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya was not just an architectural endeavour but a heartfelt gesture to honour the memory of the submerged temples and the upheaval experienced by many Sri Lankans. It symbolizes a bridge between the past and the present, offering solace and acknowledging the sacrifices made during the nation's journey towards progress.

The journey of Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya began with the laying of its foundation stone by President J. R. Jayewardene on March 20 1983. This significant event marked the commencement of a project that would eventually become a landmark of spiritual and cultural importance in Sri Lanka. This section recounts the ceremonial beginning and the aspirations tied to this foundational act.

On June 20, 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe officially opened the stupa after decades of construction. The completion of Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya is a testament to countless individuals' dedication and hard work and marks a new chapter in the nation's religious and cultural narrative.

The structural design of the Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya, crafted by the renowned engineer Vidya-Jyothi Dr A.N.S. Kulasinghe, stands as a masterpiece of modern engineering infused with ancient wisdom. Its design reflects traditional stupa architecture and incorporates contemporary elements, making it a bridge between the past and the present.

Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya is not just an architectural wonder but a vital pillar in the practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It serves as a place of worship, meditation, and spiritual gathering, crucial in the community's religious life. This section explores how the stupa contributes to the country's continuation and growth of Buddhist traditions.


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