or the first time the state Vesak festival would be held in the Galle district
Kotte era was the golden era of Sinhala literature
The importance of this State Vesak Festival is that its venue is Thotagamu Vijayaba Maha Pirivena Rathpath Temple
Arrangements have been made to hold the State Vesak Festival at the ancient Thotagamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya in Galle District and it is for the first time that the state Vesak festival would be held in the Galle district. It is of great importance that the Thotagamuwa Rajamaha Vihara that dates back to the Anuradhapura period during which the advent of Buddhism in Sri Lanka took place, has been chosen as the venue of the state Vesak festival this year. This sacred place has been mentioned in chronicles. Due to literary pursuits of Sri Rahula Thera who was said to have been well versed in six languages and honoured with the title “Shad Basha Parameshwara” who lived in this temple, it had been the nurture ground of literature in the Kotte period.
This sacred place of Buddhist worship that showed a rapid development under the royal patronage during the Anuradhapura period, had been subject to the influence of the Portuguese rule when they occupied the Maritime Provinces in the country. Although renovations had been effected at times, there is no evidence of any attempt to uplift it.
I made necessary arrangements to meet the Minister of Buddhasasana Gamini Jayawickrama Perera after considering the personal request given to me by Buddhists of the area including the Board of Trustee and the Chief Incumbents of the Temple. It has already been decided to give State Vesak Festival, 2019 to the Ampara District. But I was highly satisfied as a Buddhist that the Minister of Buddhasasana agreed to give this opportunity to the Galle District for the first time considering my humble request. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the two ministers of the District, District Secretary and all the Public Officers for their support given to this task to make it a success. Arrangements have been made to maintain this temple as a permanent sacred place after the State Festival.
Sri Rahula Thera who was said to have been well versed in six languages and honoured with the title “Shad Basha Parameshwara” who lived in this temple, it had been the nurture ground of literature in the Kotte period
Kotte era was the golden era of Sinhala literature, but it was in fact the golden era of literature in Galle and not in Kotte and it was Ven. Sri Rahula Thera who played a prominent role. Vijayaba Pirivena in Thotagamuwa, Hikkaduwa in Galle was a nurture ground of education in the world.
The importance of this State Vesak Festival is that its venue is Thotagamu Vijayaba Maha Pirivena Rathpath Temple which was created and developed by Thotagumuwe Sri Rahula Thera.
This sacred place is historical, with a history of two thousand years according to legends attached to the Thotagamuwa Maha Vihara complex, which is extended up to the Era of King Devanampiyatissa.
According to legend, this Viharaya had been offered to the Mahasangha by Viceroy Mahanaga, who was a brother of King Devanampiyatissa. However, the Mahawansa says that Vijayabahu Pirivena had been established in this temple during the reign of King Vijayabahu (1055-1100AD)
Nevertheless, the first renovation had been done in Kurunegala by King Parakramabahu IV. A village named “Salagam” was offered to this temple with an estate of five thousand coconut trees by this king for the future purposes of this temple.
We are trying to show the government and the Department of Archaeology that there should be an archaeological excavation
Ven. Rahula Thera had arrived later to reside in the temple during period of Parakramabahu the sixth. Several Pandits including Ven. Galathurumula Medankara had stayed in addition to Rahula Thera. The temple has had strong relations with Sinhala literature with Rahula Thera playing the main role and the Pirivena. He has written all the books of literature by staying in this sacred land. Several Sinhala literary works including Paravi and Salalihini Sandesha started their journey from this place. Books such as Kaavyasekeraya, Buddiprasadini, Panchika Pradeepaya were written by him in this sacred place. We have identified only five stone drains existing in the temple according to archaeological research. There is an inscription in this temple. No government has paid proper attention to this sacred place. If that happened, it would have become the only archaeological campus.
Nevertheless this temple and its environs should be converted to a sacred city. Some places with archaeological values in this temple have been conserved by the Department of Archaeology.
But that is not enough. We are trying to show the government and the Department of Archaeology that there should be an archaeological excavation. All development work has already been commenced by the Department of Buddasasana, Road Development Authority, Department of Archaeology and Central Cultural Fund and Rs. 20 million has been allocated to develop the ancient Thotagamu Raja Maha Viharaya where the State Vesak Festival is going to be held. All arrangements for the festival are nearing completion. It will be a great endowment to all the Buddhist people for tomorrow about the situation of this Thotagamu Raja Maha Viharaya in this sacred place.