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|Year and Month||June, 2012 (6th & 7th)|
|Number of Days||2 Days (1 night)|
|Crew||2 persons (Myself Driving, and my wife)|
|Accommodation||Sarvodaya Nilwala Vishva Dharma Kendra center at Old Tangalla Road. Pallimulla Matara|
|Transport||Lite Ace van|
|Activities||Visiting Buddhist Vihara and important sites|
|Weather||Bit cloudy but ok|
|Route||Colombo -> Kottawa -> Southern Highway -> Galle -> Matara & return on the same route (total mileage 450km)|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
During the past Matara was called “Mahathota”. The river running through Matara is ‘Nilwala River. There was a wide area across this river. Hence it was called “Mahathota” which means “The great ferry”
Unfortunately the site where the River mouth meets the sea is closed to the public as the site is supposed to be sold to put up a hotel.
According to historical chronicles the Portuguese called it as “Maturai”. “Thurai” which is a Tamil word means “Ferry”.
The presently used name “Matara” has been in used for the last three centuries connecting its contact with the river “Nilwala”. The temples of Matara became a seat of learning during the Portuguese, Dutch and the British period.
The Matara Temples were seats of learning headed by well known scholarly monks. These temples were patronized not only by the Sinhalese but Portuguese Dutch and British Scholars too who wanted to study Sinhala. A literary period called Matara Yugaya is set a part to cover the great literature produced at that period.
- Kirala Kelle, Matara
- Hittatya (Temple) Rajamaha Viharaya
- Galgane Viharaya
- Gedi Ge
- Sri Sumangalaramaya Rajamaha Viharaya
- The Pigeon Island Temple
- Weragampita Rajamaha Viharaya
- Kotikagoda Rajamaha Viharaya
- Rajakulawadana viharaya Weligama
- Bodhi Malu Viharaya or earlier called Thiruala Kovil
- The Aggrabodhi Vihara
- Samudragiri Viharaya
- Ath Kanada Viharaya
- Four Hundred years old Nuga tree
As it was a long weekend we decided to visit Matara district and spend the holiday in Matara of course with a safe sea bathing at Polhena. The rest of the time was used to visit some important Buddhist temples and it was Poya day too
Most travelling on Matara rout visit only Weherhena temple, Weurukannala temple Matara Bodhi and the Vishnu devalaya. We decided to avoid those temples as most of the places are visited by all.
We stayed at the Sarvodaya center which has rooms given to outsiders if no training program is conducted at the center. The rooms are very clean and charger low for a back packing visitor. All details are in the report with Pictures.
Starting at 7.00 am on the 6th Sunday morning we used the Kottawa Galle Southern High way reaching almost in one hour and reached Matara Polhena beach in two hours as it was less traffic on rout to Matara from Galle.
After a bath at Polhena Beach we first decided to visit Kirala kelle mangrove forest. It was a sad sight and recommends that no one should waste time in visiting Kira kelle.
Lots of money has been wasted and what is in internet web sites is old stuff to bluff donors.
The road net work at the start of the entrance look good but once you are inside it is a horrible state. According to internet web site on Kirala Kelle, The Southern Province Tourist Development Authority has spent a lot of funds and few NGOs have got foreign funding to have projects and funds wasted.
The first visit was to the Hittatya (Temple) Rajamaha Viharaya.
Hittatya Rajamaha Viharaya is on the Matara Deniyaya road and travel one Km from Matara.
It is said Kirhti Sri Rajasinha has donated land and helped the temple
Next visit was to the Galgane Viharaya, travelling towards Dondra passing the Upulwan Devala or the Vishnu Devalaya
We turned left towards 3km come to Galgane viharaya.
It is the Gedi Ge next to the temple is the important site.
This is a structure made of stone. Architecture is supposed to be of mixture of Sinhalese and Tamil. Some say that this was the original Upulwan Dewalaya and a tunnel is supposed to be there connecting this site with Upulwan Dewalaya
Sri Sumangalaramaya Rajamaha Viharaya
Getting back to main road travelling back to Weherahena road towards kekenadura we come to Sri Sumangalaramaya Rajamaha Viharaya
Constructed in 1717 this Viharaya has frescos and Murals painting that is having the Kandyan era style.
The Pigeon Island Temple
On the Marine drive the Parevi Dupata Temple is seen. Earlier it was an island photo taken in1890 is bellow
Pigeon Island’ (Parevi Dupata) belongs to the Rohana Maha Sangha Sabhawa, and a new construction. The beauty of the hanging bridge made us visit there
Weragampita Rajamaha Viharaya
One of the most famous temples in Matara is the Weragampita Temple.
It was a seat of learning at the time of Reverend Karatota Dhammarama a Sinhala scholar and a Sanga Nayaka of the South..
It is mentioned that Dutch Governor Whillem Folk and British Government Agent Doyle studied Sinhala at this temple.
The second day Monday poya day we started with travelling on the Akuressa Road from Dharmapala road turning off at RajamahaVihara road to the Kotikagoda Rajamaha Viharaya.
Kotikagoda Rajamaha Viharaya
There are two views on who constructed the Viharaya. Some say it was by King Kumaradasa and some it was King Mayadunna.
There is a viharage with murals may be of the Kandiyan era
Rajakulawadana Viharaya Weligama
The temple was contructed by Queen Kalyanawathi. A Kalinga princess and queen of King Nissanka Malla. She ruled for 6 years supported by a Lieutenant called Ayasmantha of the late king
Traveling on the same route we came to the Bodhi Malu Viharaya
Bodhi Malu Viharaya or earlier called Thiruala Kovil
The Tiruwala Kovil had been built in the Polonnaruwa period or during the Dambadeni period by Parakrama bahu11.With The Portuguese invasion the Kovil has been destroyed.Kokila sandeshaya also mentions about this Kovil and Viharaya. In 1957 The land was given to Bodhi Malu Viharaya by the Government.
The Aggrabodhi Vihara
The next was to the The Aggrabodhi Vihara located about 1 Km from Weligama rest house towards inland is an ancient temple established in the 3 century BC. Aggrabodhi Vihara is a reconstruction of an ancient Buddhist temple built in the third century and destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. The Sinhalese literary works of the 13th and 14th centuries had narrated on Aggrabodhi Vihara Buddhist Temple establishing the importance of it.
The Bodhiya had been the first sapling that sprang up from the Sri Maha Bodhi during the time of King Devanampiyathissa.
At the western end of the town, near the railway track, stands a 3meter high rock carved statue of a regal figure. It was believed to be a statue of a king whose identity hasn’t been established today. According to the legends, the statue depicts an eighth or ninth century provincial ruler who had leprosy and by drinking coconut milk for three months got cured. The other belief is the statue depicts the Mahayana Bodhisahva, possibly Avalokitesvara. The carvings of mediating Buddhas in the tiara of the statue lend credence to the belief concerning the Bodhisatva.
An important land mark still preserved at the same sits is the tomb of a former owner of the land in 1825 period.Thomas.H. Gauder. His relatives supposed to live close by and the Gauder family is now Buddhists.
This Viharaya had been established in the early nineteenth century by Ven. Thiranagama Buddharakkhitha Thero. This location is at the Mirissa beach, famously known as Veheragalla.There is a well maintained library at the temple where treasures of ancient books including Ola leaf books are preserved.
The other important feature in this temple is the paintings on the walls of the Vihara, which belong to the Kandyan era. Those paintings depict stories of the birth of Buddha and Jataka stories for people to learn the consequences of good and bad actions. When we went the roof has been blown off and still no useful action taken to repair the damage.
Next was to the Ath Kanada Viharaya
Traveling on Galle road we turn off at the 156KM post and travel on the Kanatha goda Road to the templ
Ath Kanada Viharaya
This is a cave temple as normally says was to have been built by King Walagambahu. The real Ath Kanada Viharaya is supposed to be this and not the eth kanada Viharaya at Kurunegala.
The rock where the vihara is built is in the shape of an Elephant
The Kamburupitiya Tank shown below on Galle Road is supposed to be the bathing tank for elephants.
Next we wanted to visit the Gangarama Viharaya but the road was closed to vehicular traffic because of a damaged bridge.
But we saw an ancient Nuga tree on the road 400 years old and belong to the Gangarama Temple.
No other historical information was found.
The clean rooms and toilet seen below at Sarvodaya Nilwala Vishva Dharma Kendra center at Old Tangalla Road. Pallimulla Matara, or near CTB depot on the Dondra Road.
For reservations telephone Mr.K.G.Dasanayaka the Southern Provincial coordinator at the Sarvodaya Nilwala Vishva Dharma Kendra;
Telephone 0412222145 or,
and book if rooms are available and ask for the charges. All Rooms are Non A/C with fans and mosquito nets.
Having completed two days covering about 425KM we returned home Monday 7th..
To cover all major historical temples it needs to spend at least four days.