Ridi Viharaya

Ridi Viharaya

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Ridi Viharaya also known as the silver temple is a good stop while traveling to Matale or other historic cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, or Dambulla from Kurunegala.

How to reach?

  • Located twenty kilometers away from the Kurunegala town, you can reach Ridi Viharaya without a problem with a vehicle or bus.
  • Proceed along the main Kurunegala-Kandy road and flip to the left at the junction in Mallawapitiya.
  • Drive towards Ridigama for approximately 13km.
  • Pass Barandana, Kavisigamuwa, and 2km from the town.
  • You will be then directed to a road uphill that leads you to the Raja Maha Viharaya.
  • Ridi Viharaya lies approximately 20 kilometers away from the historical kingdom of Kurunegala in a small village referred to as Ridi Gama.

History of the location:-

This temple is said to be built by King Dutugemunu in the second century BC as a memorial to the region wherein he observed a ridi (silver) ore mine which was used to fund the building of the significant Ruwanweli Seya.

As a gesture of gratitude the king decided to construct a temple at the same location and sent over three hundred stone craftsmen to work on the temple. He also got a big gold plated Buddha statue to be bought from Dambadiva, India to be kept in the temple. According to the historic book referred to as “ridi vihara asna”, when king Dutugemunu was coming to the completed temple with the Buddha statue brought from India, the cart was stuck between some rocks and couldn’t be moved. The king being disappointed, sat on the rock refusing to move till the cart is moved. Arhath Indragupta Thero, the thero who showed the merchant the way to the silver mine, saw this and made the statue to float in the sky and travel through the air to the temple.

Current state:-

  • Today this 2200-year-old antique statue is visible in the very spot where the silver ore was observed in the pahatha maluwa covered using a glass casing.
  • Although this area belongs to Kurunegala District, this location was part of the Kandyan Kingdom throughout the European time and King Kirthi Sri Rajasainha has made major renovations in this temple.
  • Therefore most of the artwork and statues that can be seen nowadays days belongs to the Kandyan Era.
  • Ridi Viharaya is a significant temple that shouldn’t be missed. It has a long history and a higher significance in the history of Sri Lanka. Visit Ridi Viharaya and witness the architecture and specialty of the place by yourself.

Photo courtesy : Onal Karunaratne