Asgiriya Maha Viharaya

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Chamila D - Google

A beautiful ancient Buddhist Monastery located on a small hill towards the north of Kandy Lake. Asgiriya Maha Viharaya is one of the three guardians of the sacred tooth relic, and the main temple of the Asgiriya chapter of Siyam Nikaya. There are more than five hundred temples around the island that function under this monastery. The monastery was built during the Dambadeniya era by King Parakramabahu IV (1305 - 1335). The monastery consists of several temples, “Parana Pansala” (Old Temple), “Aluth Pansala” (New Temple), “Mada Pansala” (Middle Temple) and “Adahana Maluva Gedige Viharaya”, housing beautiful Buddha statues, carvings and paintings. Views of surroundings from the temple are amazing. You can see Buddhist monks practicing religion in the monastery, which will give you a glimpse of Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka.

It was believed monks from the Walasgala hermitage in Yapahuwa were sent to Asgiriya Maha Viharaya in the old days. In Pali “Acchagiri” is the word for “Walasgala” and might have been the original name of the monastery, the current name “Asgiya” is derived from “Acchagiri”. The original monastery has been extended up to the high plains where the current Trinity College is located.

The “Adahana Maluva Gedige Viharaya” was an old cremation ground to the royalists. It is believed that the cremation traditions were similar to the traditions of Polonnaruwa Alahan Pirivena, and Queen Chandravati mother of King Vikramabahu was cremated here. 

There is a small hike to get to the temple premises, and note that you’d be expected to wear appropriate clothing when visiting.