Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple, believed to have been built about 2300 years ago and is considered as one of the oldest rock temples in our country. It was built during the kingdom of King Devanampiya Tissa of the Anuradhapura era, when one of the branches of the sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree was planted in that area.
It was believed that King Parakramabahu II of the Dambadeniya period had ordered a 18 riyan reclining statue of Buddha to be built within the cave of the rock. During the last royal kingdom in Kandy, the temple was gifted with a land and gifts by King Wickrama Rajasinghe. These gifts are still kept in custody of the temple.
When you step foot into the temple, you are greeted with a 9 metre long reclining statue of the Lord Buddha. This temple has been built into rock formation and many statues can be seen here. Vibrant and colorful murals depicting certain events in the life of the Lord Buddha too can be seen in this Raja Maha Viharaya. There is a vast terrace that provides a panoramic and breathtaking view of the whole area. In the recent past this entire site was announced as a sacred site and there has been development in restoring its former glory.
As the government has rehabilitated the framework of the temple, the Dayakas of the temple had donated to build a gold fence around the Bodhi tree and have also erected a Samadhi Buddha statue under the tree. The cave formed by giant rocks was converted into a meditation hall.
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