Rathganga Viharaya (Punchi Dambadiwa)


Nestled in the Ratnapura District, Rathganga Viharaya, revered as "Punchi Dambadiwa" or "Asoo Maha Shravaka Budhuraja Maha Vihara," stands as a sanctuary of peace and spirituality at the feet of Sripadha. The journey to Rathganga Viharaya is a mere 7-8 km from Ratnapura, transcending through misty forests and rolling hills. The site's natural beauty accentuates its holiness, offering a tranquil retreat for both pilgrims and tourists.

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Originally a humble thatched cottage, Rathganga Vihara has transformed into a magnificent vihara complex. This transformation involved the construction of several sacred structures, each adding to the site's grandeur.

A unique feature of Rathganga Vihara is the world's first colossal image house, housing the images of 80 great monks and 25 Lord Buddhas. This remarkable edifice represents a significant achievement in religious architecture.

Another architectural marvel is the world's first two-storied massive stupa. This monumental structure reflects the region's deep-rooted Buddhist traditions and artistic craftsmanship.

The large chamber, used as a Dharma-sala, is spacious enough to accommodate 4000 devotees simultaneously. This space serves as a communal area for religious teachings and gatherings.

The complex also boasts a 4½-ton marble Buddha image and a recumbent Buddha image on the Parinibbhana terrace. These images draw parallels to the revered Buddha image at Kusinara Nuwara in Dambadiva, further enhancing the site's religious significance.

Rathganga Vihara's development from a simple hermitage to a sprawling complex is a testament to its cultural and religious importance. The site's evolution mirrors the growth of Buddhism in the area, serving as a centre for spiritual learning and worship.


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