The well-known Ridi Vihara is one of the well-known cultural attractions in the Kurunegala District of Sri Lanka. It is a renowned Buddhist shrine. which dates to the 2nd century BC. The temple inherits a rich historical legacy as it is associated with the ancient Sinhala kingdom of Sri Lanka. According to historical records, the place of worship was constructed during the rule of King Dutugemunu, who is renowned for his campaign to liberate the nation from foreign invaders.
The story goes that several merchants were journeying through the area to the capital of the land, Anuradhapura. Having plucked a ripe jackfruit from a forest tree, the merchants thought of offering half to the Buddhist monks as was their custom. A number of ‘arahat’ monks (spiritually realised monks) materialised at the location and the merchants were able to follow their generous practice. The last monk indicated the merchants follow a certain path, which led to a secluded cave full of silver ore. The merchants informed their king of the cave, much to the delight of the monarch.
King Dutugemunu was involved in the construction of the immense stupa ‘ruwanvelisaya’ at this time and required a certain amount of silver to complete the undertaking. The silver ore found in the cave was adequate for this need, and the grateful king decided to build a temple at the location of this cave; this was the origin of Ridi Vihara. Several buildings and structures of historical and religious interest may be seen at this site today. Serasum Gala is a boulder that stands on the original site of the shrine. Meanwhile, Waraka Welandu Viharaya is said to mark the location where the arahats accepted the fruit from the travellers. The principal building, the Maha Viharaya features an immense boulder, which resembles the hooded head of a cobra. On the other hand, the Hevisi Mandapaya (‘Drummers’ Pavilion’) features numerous artefacts of historical significance. With so much to see and admire, it is not surprising that Ridi Viharaya has become a visitor attraction of note.
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Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+