KELANI RAJA MAHA VIHARAYA

By Kamal T.A Wellaboda (BA.Hon LON, Dep.Edu. Vidyodaya)

At Kelaniya, about 10km to the northeast of Colombo, in Sri Lanka, lays Kelani Rajamaha Viharaya, one of the most revered historic Buddhist temples of the orient. Set on the summit of a small mound lapped by the waters of the river Kelani, this beautiful shrine presents one of the most panoramic views ever offered to the tourist by this small island of ours, the pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Among the many Buddhist temples of Sri Lanka, the Kelani Viharaya stands out as one of the most exquisite examples of the sculptor’s art. Its history runs back to more than 2500 years. In the days of yore, it always received full royal patronage, and to this day, it’s has been highly venerated by the people of the island. Its significance as a place of Buddhist worship is clearly evident in the island’s folklore. One such instance is the popular folk verse which when rendered into English would read as follows;

 

“The sin of a life time
Are all rendered null
Once Kelaniya is worshipped,
A single time”