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.
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.
Photo courtesy : Onal Karunaratne
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