Asian art

Magul Maha Viharaya

Magul Maha Viharaya

Magul Maha Viharaya: An ancient Buddhist temple of Sri Lanka

Magul Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple located at Lahugala, Ampara District of Sri Lanka. It lies on the northern edge of the Lahugala National Park which is about 22 km away from Siyambalanduwa town and about 11 km away from Pottuvil town. It is believed that the temple was established in 2nd century BCE during the period of King Kavantissa. However, there is still confusion regarding the construction of this temple since there are other legends as well regarding the construction of the temple. It is speculated that around 12,000 monks inhabited the complex at some stage in history, which is evident in the largeness of the ancient temple.

At present period, we can only observe the ruins of Magul Maha Vihara which have been transformed into the major tourist attraction and Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

Legends associated with Magul Maha Viharaya

View our Buddha statues

It is believed that the construction of the temple was initiated by the King Kavantissa, the Kingdom of Ruhuna in ancient Sri Lanka. He built the temple on the exact location where he married the princesses Viharamahadevi, the daughter of King Kelani Tissa.

There are other sources which claim that the temple was constructed by King Dhatusena. With the passage of time, the temple was renovated by other fellow rulers. To support this claim, there is a 14 century stone inscription at the site of this temple.

The extended version of the first legend goes like this - once the gods were very angry with the King Kelanitissa because he punished an innocent monk. Therefore to appease them, the King's daughter, Viharamaha Devi volunteered to sacrifice herself to the sea. Since the princess was full of innocence and the pure heart, she was safely carried over the ocean waves to the shore. Later she met King Kavantissa in Pottuvil. The legend also shares that they both got married. To celebrate the auspicious event, the King had later built the temple. It can still be seen the foundations of the Magul Maduwa at the temple premises.

After its establishment, Magul Maha Vihara had been renovated several times. As mentioned in 14th century stone inscription mentions about a queen, Viharamaha Devi, wife of King Buvenekabahu IV of Gampola and Parakramabahu V of Gampola, who renovated and donated many acres of land to this temple. This inscription mentions the temple as Ruhunu Maha Viharaya.

Some sources claim that king Dappula I constructed Magul Maha temple after listening to the teaching of the Buddha through Buddhist monks.

Surroundings and ruins of the temple

At present condition, we can observe there are a significant amount of ruins of the ancient temple on the premises. But there are the structures that are in good conditions, like the image shrine, the Bodhi Tree (sacred fig) and the stupa. The main gate along with a solidly built wall which surrounds the buildings and the remains of a small shrine are some of the structures that we can be seen at the site. These walls were built with moonstone which is equipped with elephants with riders on their backs. This type of image is something unseen in all other Sri Lankan moonstones. The stupa is built on a high terrace with three staircases leading up to it. There are images of grand lion guardians at the top of these stairs.

Apart from these structures, there are other ruins structures of the palace, moonstone, monastery, bo-maluwa, stupas as well. These structures are scattered around 10,000 acres of land which is surrounded by the forest of the Lahugala National Park.

Note: Apart from maintaining the blog on Buddhism, we also manage huge collection of various period and regional Buddhist arts, Buddha statues, and artifacts. Please feel free to visit our online Buddha statues gallery to know more about the Buddha statues for sale.

Share this page

Collection of our antique and unique styles of Buddha statues

Antique wooden Burmese Buddha statue

Antique wooden Burmese Buddha statue

300 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

300 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

1,850 euro
Old bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

300 euro
Antique bronze Thai Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Buddha statue

1,450 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

500 euro
Nepali bronze Medicine Buddha statue

Nepali bronze Medicine Buddha statue

200 euro
14th century bronze Thai U-Thong Buddha

14th century bronze Thai U-Thong Buddha

3,500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

400 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

500 euro
Large antique wooden Mandalay Buddha

Large antique wooden Mandalay Buddha

3,500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

1,550 euro
Special antique bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Special antique bronze Burmese Buddha statue

5,250 euro
Special large antique Mandalay Buddha statue

Special large antique Mandalay Buddha statue

11,500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

750 euro
Antique Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

300 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

900 euro
Old Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

Old Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

1,850 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

300 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Antique bronze Burmese Buddha statue

2,750 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
Antique bronze Thai Lanna Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Lanna Buddha statue

3,750 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

1,250 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

1,350 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Special antique wooden Burmese Buddha statue

Special antique wooden Burmese Buddha statue

6,000 euro
High quality Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

High quality Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

1,500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha

Old bronze Nepali Buddha

1,350 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

300 euro
Very special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

Very special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

17,500 euro
arrow-right keyboard_arrow_right arrow-down chevron-down keyboard_arrow_down chevron-up arrow-left keyboard_arrow_left close menu search twitter facebook youtube-play linkedin envelope instagram google-plus pinterest whatsapp heart-o Wishlist share file-pdf-o printer trash