The archaeological and historical heritage of Ridee Viharaya - Silver Temple

Ridee Viharaya - Silver Temple _50x50_143330426611.jpg

Some temples in upcountry  were  received more and more attention of kings.These temples are called as Raja Maha Vihara.The most famous one of them is Ridee viharaya.



It is situated in Rideegama village in Kurunegala  distric.On the way from Kurunagala to Rambodagalla passing 16 kilometers could reach rideegama.There are two ways  to go temple.One is old staircase and  other one is newly made main road.It was become a  Raja maha vihara in Kandy era.Ridee viharaya is a valuable place like as art  gallery for people who follows  Sinhala art  technics.


Ridee Viharaya – Past

Monks were lived in caves  of ridee viharaya before 2300 years  ago.They arranged  those caves for their shelter and meditated there.One of monk was very famous for meditating and he was  Dharmakeerthi thero.Today  also can identify his cave from the old characters carved under the cauldron( brahmee letters).


First details about ridee viharaya received to hear after few years  from  Mihindu thero’s  arrival.There  were nearly  500  arahath bikkus stayed there,According to evidence in letters in caves .So many letters can found  in caves of ridee vihara rock.Ridee  viharaya was famous in polonnaruwa  era. King  maha parakkramabahu had  arrived  here.Some lake near to it were made .Archiologist believed that king Parakkramabahu ,king  Nissankamalla  also came here. 


Maha Viharaya


The main temple in ridee viharaya land called as  ‘’Maha viharaya’’ or ‘’Patha viharaya’’. It is situated under the huge stone cave.Some  a  beautiful paintings could  be seen the under side of the rock above  the main door.The colours in past are uncleared  due to influence  of  sunshine rain and wind.One of these paintings valuable for students  who followed Buddhist paintings.Before drawing  a image,showing width and lengh is essential.First artist drawing lines lenghtly and widthly  and makes a plan.The lines which artist drew can be seen today.The  dragon pandol over the Buddhist house is showed talents of upcountry artists.In the top of it four images of  gods were pained. 


One of  images is kept in a glass cabinet  The most  valuable  one is this one.It is made by pure gold. It was  brought to here on sky.There is a sleeping posture Buddhist image in this temple. This ‘’oth  image’’ consists 27 feet long.The robe folds at this image were on upcountry  art tradition.There is a standing image is in the headside its legs were designed in weerassana cachet Its right sole was over the left sola.There are some other images in the root of sleeping image.One of them is Ananda thero’s  another one is Maithree Buddhist’s. There are some god images in it.One of them is a picture of king Dutugemunu according to Mahavansaya.In addition to these images four standing images are on a one row.Mahavansaya mentioned that they were painted in gold.The roof and walls were  painted beautifully.The other specialization is 100 images were in sitting posture.


Some pictures of Jesus Christus were in on the mahaviharaya in front of ‘’oth image’’ on the  flower boared.On the flower boared there are 100 tiles.In some of them were painted by various circumstances of jesus life.One of the tile was designed by baby jesus.There tiles were received from dutch governer.The bikku of ridee viharaya accepted these as a gift..The carpenters had not comprehension about these tiles and formation of setting tiles were showed that. 


Valuable  Elephant Tooth Doorframe

There is a doorframe which made by elephant teeth through Mahavansaya and uda viharaya. Today it is covered  with glass because of protection .This door frame was  covered with teeth carvings fully.But a few of them were left today.The most important carving is ‘’Pancha nari  gataya’’.Gataya means a pot or a vase.This carving shows as a pitcher offshore.But look at closely it shows five womens .So that this name was used to that carving .Two lions images carved by elephant teeth were in both sides of this carving.The lions were designed as a posture of jumping up.Around the doarframe  has a festoon carving.Some  parts were disappeared.    


Uda  Viharaya

Uda viharaya is situated over the mahaviharaya.There are valuable and wall paintings at here.The main image in here is the sitting image of lord Buddha.It is 18 feet high.There is apeculiar dragon pandol is located behind the sitting image.This is the most famous dragon pandol in Srilanka according to art analizets.Two standing  images of Buddhist were both sides of this pandol.In this pandol there were two dragon faces referring  to two sides.There were pictures gods were over it and connoisseurs said that these images were showed to secure of pious people worshipping Buddhist.

All walls of this viharaya were decorated with beautiful paints.It helps to identify capital feature of upcountry wall painting tradition.The specialization of this is Jathaka katha is not drawn.There  are paintings about seven weeks after  getting enlightment and solosmasthana which were the places the lord Buddha came here.


Attainment for drawing paintings in ridee viharaya belongs to few ancestry.First paintings were done by Devaragompala  silwaththana painter .After that this responsibility was accredited to painters of Nilagama ancestry. 



Ridee viharaya have two topes.One of them is behind the udaviharaya.Another one is on the top of Sarasunugala  rock.There is a stair to go out udaviharaya.There  is a stage on the left side when go down compound  and walk to left.The top is here and it receives shade of stonecave.Elephant’s head and trunk are used as balustrades.There is a carving under korawakgala a trunk.One of balustrades shows.trying to uproot a free with its trunk and he is aimed to bore by bow.


Other tope is located in top of the Sarasumgala rock.Stone steps are used to go this.This tope is called at sarasumgala cairn. 



  • Kurunegala, Sri Lanka

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