Muhudu Maha Viharaya
The Muhudu Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple located in Pottuvil, within the Ampara District of Sri Lanka's Eastern Province. This temple, situated near a vast and picturesque beach, carries a rich historical legacy dating back over 2000 years. It was constructed by King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna and stands as a testament to the island nation's cultural and spiritual heritage.
The origins of Muhudu Maha Viharaya trace back to King Kavan Tissa, a prominent ruler of the ancient Ruhuna Kingdom. As an ardent patron of Buddhism, King Kavan Tissa commissioned the construction of this grand temple to foster the spread of the faith in the region. As a result, the temple played a pivotal role in the religious and social life of the local community, offering a sacred space for worship and contemplation.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Muhudu Maha Viharaya's history is its association with the legendary figure, Viharamahadevi. According to the ancient chronicle Rajavaliya, Viharamahadevi was King Kelani Tissa's daughter and became King Kavan Tissa's queen. The temple is believed to be the landing site of Viharamahadevi, cast into the sea in a Golden Vessel to appease the gods after the city of Kelaniya was submerged by a natural disaster.
Architecture and Remains
Exploring the temple premises, visitors are greeted by the remnants of an ancient civilization. The ruins and remains of stupas, including the Seema Malaka and Avasa Geya, offer a glimpse into the architectural brilliance of the bygone era. These structures stand as a testament to the craftsmanship and spiritual dedication of the ancient builders.
Among the notable attractions at Muhudu Maha Viharaya are the stone statues of Buddha and two statues representing old kings or gods. These meticulously carved statues exude a sense of serenity and serve as reminders of the deep reverence and devotion of the people who once worshipped here. Moreover, they connect to the past, transporting visitors to an era where faith and art intersected harmoniously.
The Legend of Viharamahadevi
The tale of Viharamahadevi's journey is essential in Sri Lankan folklore. After being cast into the sea, she miraculously washed ashore near the Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil. Viharamahadevi's arrival at this sacred spot began a new chapter in her life. She eventually became the beloved queen of King Kavan Tissa, ruling alongside him under the name Viharamahadevi.
Viharamahadevi's story resonates deeply with the Sri Lankan people, representing resilience, divine intervention, and the power of destiny. The temple is a testament to her journey, immortalizing her spirit and inspiring generations to embrace their unique paths.
Muhudu Maha Viharaya is a revered landmark, blending history, spirituality, and natural beauty. As one explores the temple's architecture and immerses themselves in its serene ambience, a sense of awe and wonder pervades. This ancient Buddhist temple, built over two millennia ago, preserves the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and serves as a beacon of tranquillity and enlightenment.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can visitors enter the Muhudu Maha Viharaya? The temple is open to visitors who wish to explore its historical and religious significance. However, it's essential to dress modestly and respect the site's sacredness.
2. Are there any rituals or ceremonies held at the temple? Various religious ceremonies and rituals occur yearly, especially during Buddhist festivals. These events offer a unique opportunity to witness traditional practices and experience the vibrant cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.
3. Is photography allowed within the temple premises? Yes, photography is generally permitted within the temple premises. However, checking with the temple authorities for any specific guidelines or restrictions is advisable.
4. Are there any nearby attractions worth visiting? The surrounding area of Pottuvil offers several attractions, including stunning beaches, wildlife reserves, and archaeological sites. One notable nearby destination is the famous Arugam Bay, known for its pristine beaches and excellent surfing conditions.
5. How can one reach Muhudu Maha Viharaya? Muhudu Maha Viharaya is located in Pottuvil, approximately 300 kilometres east of Colombo. Visitors can reach the temple by road using public or private vehicles. However, planning the journey and considering hiring a local guide for a more enriching experience is recommended.