Buddhist temple devanagala

This historical temple is situated in Mawanella in the village of Devanagala, Sri Lanka. The site was named as Danasen pawwa, kithsen pawwa and Parana Nuwara in the past. But the present name of the site is Devanagala, which is originated due to several reasons.  

How the name Devanagala originated

According to the well-known archaeologist H.C.P Bell the word Devanagala originated from two parts Dewana (second) + Gala (stone); the stone here is only second to the Batalegala when it compared to the size. The second explanation is, the site had been visited by God on his way to Alutnuwara. Therefore the site was named as the Deviyanwedi gala (the place where God had been), later the name became Devanagala.

Where is the temple

Devanagala is located in the Sabaragamuwa province, it is surrounded by several picturesque mountains namely Urakanada, Utuwankanda, Alagalla. One can have a breathtaking view of the surrounding area from the summit of Devanagala. The area is dominated by lush green vegetation throughout the year.

History of the temple

The history of the temple expands over several centuries from the Anuradhapura period to the Gampola period. The history of the temple is ascertained by the artefacts discovered at the site though there is no written historical evidence about it. Stone inscriptions, dagobas, stone slabs carved with Buddha’s footprint and image houses are helpful information to discover the age of the temple.

The temple of Devanagala believed to be constructed during the reign of King Dhatusena and the temple was known as Dhasen pawwa. King Dhatusena lived in 5th Century A.D (Anuradhapura period) and the stone slab of Buddha’s footprint shows the characters of Anuradhapura period stone carvings. Even though there is no evidence dagoba also believed to be dating back to the same period as the footprint of Buddha.

Dagoba is located on the summit of the rock. The dagoba is constructed on a pond that collects water from the rain. The function of the pond is to lower the temperature of the immediate environment, thereby stops the damage (cracks) on the dagoba due to the high temperature. The same method is very often used by the ancient engineers in Sri Lanka for instance in the Sigiriya. There had been a water ditch with water surrounding the palace on the summit of Sigiriya to lower the high temperature.

Importance of the temple

It is believed that the temple had been given a prominent place during the Polonnaruwa period (during the reign of King Parakramabahu), due to one of his commanders. King Parakramabahu had built many Buddhist temples in Polonnaruwa as well as many other temples throughout the island. The commander who lived in the village had been the commander of the regiment who invaded Burma. The forces of King Parakramabahu successfully invaded Burma under the supervision of the commander. In order to appreciate his service for the king, the commander was given control over Devanagala by the King.

The temple was given the patronage of King Wimaladharma Suriya 1 during the Kandyan period. Image house, statues and paintings of the temple show the characters of Kandyan style. It is believed that the tooth relic of Buddha had been was deposited in the temple as it was taking to Kandy.

There are three routes to reach the temple one is the via the Ayagama junction. The second route is along the Udapamunuwa road while the 3rd route is along the Katugahawatta road.

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