Athkanda Raja Maha Viharaya also known as Ethkanda Viharaya is a Buddhist temple placed in the Kurunegala city in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. It is believed that this temple was built in the Dambadeniya era during 14-15 centuries.
About the destination
The history of the establishment of Athkanda Viharaya is obscure. However, a name similar to this temple has been recorded in several chronicles in the country which include Mahavamsa, Sahassavattuppakaranaya, Saddharmalankaraya, Rasavahini, and Vamsattappakasini. According to the information given in Mahavamsa, it’s assumed that this temple may have been established during the reign of King Suratissa. This temple is believed to have received the royal patronage of prince Buvanekabahu and Bosat Vijayabahu at some stage in the Dambadeniya period. The Asgiri Thalpatha is famous because the Buddhist monks who had been touring to Kandy in the arrangements made by King Parakramabahu IV (c.1305-1326 A.D.) had been accommodated at Athkanda Vihara in Kurunegala till king’s officials were capable of taking them to Asgiri monastery at Senkadagala. Also, a few statistics referred to as Thalkola Seetu offer some information about the temple and its in- charge monks during the 18-19th century A.D.
Folklore of the destination
Locals consider that the Jathaka testimonies were composed in a cave in this historic temple. This local belief is pinned through the Korawakgala (the balustrade) at the entrance of the cave temple no. 1 in which a unique carving that depicts a Buddhist monk writing a book is found.
There are two drip-ledged caves in the temple premises. Of them, the cave temple no. 1 is the biggest and the main Buddhist shrine. It includes statues of Buddha and numerous artwork belonging to the Kandyan tradition as well as to the present-day period. The cave is divided into sections: the internal shrine and the outer part. Three doors offer front to the inner shrine and the center door is guarded by way of two doormen of Nagas. A rock inscription belonging to the nineteenth century A.D. has been found adjacent to the cave temple no. 1. It records about certain lands donated to the temple.
Reaching the destination
You have to head west on McCallum Road toward Kovil Veediya. Then turn right at the National insurance trust fund onto Sri Sangaraja Mawatha. Continue straight onto Colombo – Katunayake Expressway and turn left at People’s Co-Op Super onto Divulapitiya Road, Ekala – Kotadeniyawa Road, and Kurunegala Road.
Then turn right at Notecarts onto Katugastota-Kurunegala-Puttalam Highway, Kurunegala – Minuwangoda Road, Puttalam Road. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Katugastota-Kurunegala-Puttalam Highway to reach your destination.
You have to take Colombo – Kandy Road, Peradeniya Road. Driveto Katugastota-Kurunegala-PuttalamHighway in Kurunegala to reach yourdestination.