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Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara

Seruwila Stupa Sri Lanka

  • It is a Buddhist temple in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. It’s among the 16 divinest Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka.
  • It was constructed during the rule of King Kavantissa and it contains the sacred forehead bone of Lord Buddha. It can be reached by sea and land.
  • As per the late Dr. R. L. Brohier, the Seruwila area was a villu or huge area of low-lying land in which the flood waters of the Mahaweli Ganga accumulated. During migratory time this villu was the home of big herds of teals (seru). That possibly was the reason that this place was called as Seruwila.

History and development

  • It’s thought that 3 viharas were at this specific place constructed during the periods of 3 former Buddhas named Kassapa, Koṇagamana and Kakusandha with their remnants preserved. Gautama Buddha, who was the last Buddha in this era, had visited this place personally and offered 8 handfuls of 'sapu' flowers, after that he wished that the temple which would be constructed in future must be named as Mangala vihara.
  • South Indian Pandya and Chola attackers threatened the Kingdom of Ruhuna later on during the reign of King Kavantissa so the king needed to develop a policy to avoid the disaster.
  • The King Kavantissa could exploit the respect and loyalty of the Sinhala noblemen and the general public had for Buddhism to win over Princes Abhaya and Siva, his ally. The Buddhist monks told that holy artifact of Lord Buddha that was possessed by King Kavantissa had been predestined to be protected by him in a stupa to be constructed at Seru; Lord Buddha made prediction that this would take place. Then, King Kavantissa paraded towards Seru with his army and proclaimed the resolve of his visit requesting all the landlords within and around Seru to come to his help. The holy remnants of the Lord Buddha were protected in the stupa. Soon after the building of the stupa King Kavantissa united the whole part of the country to the south of the Kelani and Mahaweli rivers and then set up his capital at Mahagama. In the meantime, the reputation of the Seruwila monument had spread everywhere and it turned out to be an important location of pilgrimage and worship.
  • Under the pressure of the Tamil attacks from the north over the years, the stupa decayed. There are proofs that this area was in the range of operation of the Kandyan territory during the existence of this stupa in the 17th century.
  • Priority was accorded to productive western portion of the island during the Western Colonial occupation, so consequently the unfertile dry zone was ignored and left into wasteland.

Present state of conservation

  • Ven. Dambagasare with assistance of the Archeological Department re-discovered the dagaba in 1922. He used remains of ancient structures around the stupa. The conservation work was finished in 1931. In 1962 the stupa as well as its surroundings was declared as an Archaeological Reserve. After this conservation work was performed by the Department of Archaeology in stages. Due to the importance of this sacrosanct shrine the Department of Town and Country Planning devised a plan during the 1970s for the development of a new city complete with market areas, pilgrim rests, etc.
  • Under the supervision of a minister Dinesh Gunawardane the National Physical Planning Department spent roughly 25 million Rupees for renovation. The city was officially opened for the worship of a number of devotees in June 2009.