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Temple

Delgamuwa Raja Maha Vihara

  Province Sabaragamuwa
  District Ratnapura
  Nearest Town Kuruwita
  Period 1581-1593
  Ruler King Seethawaka Rajasinghe

Introduction

Two places are accessible to Delgamuwa Raja Maha Vihara temple, when you travel along the Colombo- Ratnapura main road, one way to the temple is found near the Kuruwita central college just opposite to the Kuruwita Post office and the other leads via Sri Saddhathissa Mawatha to the temple 2 miles far from Higgashena. From the period of (1581- 1593) the king Seethawaka Rajasinghe to the king Wimaladharmasooriya 1 st, the holy tooth relic was provided security at the Delgamuwa Raja Maha Vihara temple and the Kurahan grinding stone in which the tooth relic was hidden and protected is even now available .The Dalada Perahera or the Tooth relic procession is annually held to mark this historic incident.

History

Delgamuwa ancient Raja Maha Viharaya is an important place of worship for all Buddhists of Sri Lanka as the sacred tooth relic of Buddha was protected inside this temple from the Portuguese for over 40 years. The ancient Kurahan grinding stone in which the holy tooth relic was hidden safely can be seen in this Delgamuwa temple even today.

The King Dharmapala of Kotte who is well known for his incompetence embraced Catholicism in 1557 to safeguard his throne. Dharmapala became a puppet king and the Portuguese got complete control of the Kingdom through Dharmapala. Realising the danger to the Tooth Relic by the Diyawadana Nilame, Hiripitiye Divana Rala, the custodian of the Tooth Relic swam the Diyawanna Oya (river) and took the relic from Kotte to king Mayadunne of Sitawaka (now Avissawella) for safe keeping. The king fearing a Portuguese invasion at any moment had it hidden at the Delgamuwa vihara. The incumbent of the vihara, sensing danger, caused to artificial replicas to be made in ivory. Keeping one of them in the place where the original was, gave the other to Vidiya Bandara, and the thera, and concealed the genuine one inside a grinding stone. By this time the Portuguese had already destroyed the original Dalada Maligawa (The Shrine of the Tooth Relic) at Kotte Kingdom and built a Catholic Church on top of it. Then they invaded Sitawaka and carried away the artificial relic, thinking it to be the original, and sent it to Gowa to be destroyed. However, the Portuguese got the news that what they had got was a duplicate of the Relic and the original was in the hands of Vidiya Bandara, the son-in-law of king Mayadunne. Vidiya Bandara was captured on the orders of the Archbishop of Gowa in 1561. The Archbishop, having secured the artificial relic from Vidiya Bandara placed it in a mortar pulverized it, burnt the powder in a brazier and threw the ashes into a river.

When Konappu Bandara ascended the throne of Kandy in 1592, in the name of Wimaladharmasuriya I, the incumbent of the Delgamuwa vihara, handed over the real Relic to the king who enshrined it in Kandy.

Delgamuwa Raja Maha Vihara temple is accessible by 2 routes, when you travel along the Colombo- Ratnapura main road; one way to the temple is found near the Kuruwita central college just opposite to the Kuruwita Post office and the other leads via Sri Saddhathissa Mawatha to the temple 2 miles far from Higgashena.