The archaeological and historical heritage of Ridee Viharaya - Silver Temple
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.
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 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.