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Ranagala Raja Maha Viharaya

Ranagala Raja Maha Viharaya

Ranagala Rajamaha Viharaya is a devalaya located at a popular ancient crossroads connecting Siriwardanapura, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, and Kandy. Lying on a rocky outcrop called Viharagala, surrounded by paddy fields, the Devalaya you see today is a modern temple except for a few remnants of the ancient past. About 500 meters in front of the entrance to the temple there is an ancient bo tree at the bottom of the rock and an ancient Ambalama protected by the Archaeological Department.

It is believed that the Bo tree was planted during every reign of King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC) in the Anuradhapura kingdom on bo trees planted every mile (cow) on the popular roads after the arrival of Mihindu Thero. Ancient Ambalama This is another proof that this is one of the popular ways of ancient times. At the top of the rock is a mysterious deep well carved into the rock. The top is about 5 feet in diameter and the bottom is about 9 feet. The inner surface of the rock well is well smoothed. The well is about 19 feet deep. It is not known why or by whom this well was dug. But it is said that Brahmi inscriptions were seen on the inner wall of the well. According to popular legend, this is a treasure well and it is said that the treasure of Kuveni or Ravana will be buried in this well.

Today there are 206 steps carved into the rock to reach the temple. The steps were recently carved and there are 2 old access roads to the top of the rock that is not used today. One is carved out of rock and the other is made of granite. The present stupa is built on top of the ruins of an ancient stupa, and several attempts to excavate the stupa by treasure hunters are said to have failed. According to a pamphlet on the temple, there was a Thampita temple on top of the rock about 200 years ago. Today there is no sign of this temple but the rocky surface gives evidence that there was an ancient granite building on this rock at some time.

Photos & video sponsored by The Backpacker

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