Muhudu Maha Viharaya, Arugam Bay

Muhudu Maha Viharaya, Arugam Bay, Arugam Bay Overview

Muhudu Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated at Pottuvil in Ampara District, Eastern province of Sri Lanka. This temple is next to a beach and was built over 2000 years ago by King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna. The temple is known for ruins and remains of ancient stupas, Seema Malaka, Avasa Geya and statues that attract visitors from all over the world.

Being a Buddhist temple, the most famous figures in the temple are that of Lord Buddha. There are other stone statues of famous Gods and kings in the temple. The temple owned about 264 acres of land during the British rule and was gazetted in 1965. Later the land shrunk down to 30 acres with over 200 acres grabbed by Muslim rulers. Due to the rising terrorism driving out the Sinhalese from the eastern area, this land was left unchecked, and now it spans only 3 acres. This temple surprisingly was not harmed by the tsunami that hit in 2004

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The tourists are taken aback by the beautiful stone statues and sculptures in the temple. The figures of Lord Buddha, other deities, past kings and Gods will surely mesmerize you. This place is the main tourist attraction in Pottuvil. The temple even has newly built stupas and ancient ruins. Its a dream location for those who like to explore historical spots. The architecture is clean yet rustic, a massive white temple with gold detailing. It is situated next to a beach, so the weather is pleasant, and tourists can walk on the sandy beach once they have toured the temple.

History of Muhudu Maha Viharaya

The temple derives its name from its location. Muhudu means sea, and maha means big and vihara means temple, so it is nothing but a big sea-side temple. But it has a rich history and mythological meaning. This Viharaya marks the landing place of Viharamahadevi, daughter of Kelani Tissa. According to ancient scripts, in the second century BC, after the sea submerged Kelaniya due to a natural disaster, Devi, the daughter of King of Kelaniya, was cast to sea in a Golden Vessel to appease the gods and washed ashore near the Muhudu Maha Vihara in Pottuwil. Later she became the chief consort of King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna Kingdom, under the name Viharamahadevi.

Tips for Visiting Muhudu Maha Viharaya

Tourists are advised to visit the temple in the early hours, preferably before noon as the temple gets very hot and it becomes difficult for tourists to walk on the heated temple floor barefoot. If it isn't possible to visit in the morning, evening time is also suitable, preferably after 4:00 PM as then the tourists can enjoy walking on the beach and witness the sunset after exploring the temple.

How To Reach Muhudu Maha Viharaya, Arugam Bay

The temple is about 5 kilometres from Arugam Bay and only 1.5 kilometres from the Arugambey-Panama main road. The nearest airport to the area is the Batticaloa Airport. If travelling from Colombo, you can take a bus which will take about 9 hours. You can even travel by taxi, which will take about 8 hours. One in Arugam Bay, visitors are advised to hire a private vehicle as public transport is not readily available due to the temple being in a very isolated area. Visitors can take a Tuk-Tuk ride to the temple.

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