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Wewrukannala

15 miles east of Matara is the town of Dikwella, where there is one of the most extraordinary Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The Wewurukannala Vihara temple is dominated by an image of a seated Buddha. It is 160ft high, the largest statue in all of Sri Lanka and dates back to the time of King Rajadhi (1782 - 1798). The temple has three parts, the oldest being about 250 years old; however this is of no particular interest.

The next part has life size models of demons and sinners shown in graphic detail. If you don't follow the path to enlightenment this is what happens to you. Punishments include being drunken in boiling cauldrons, swan in half, disemboweled and so on. Finally there is the enormous seated Buddha that is as high as an eight storey building.

The temple walls show you the path towards enlightenment by depicting hundreds of comic strip representations of events in the Buddha's lives. Among one of the episodes is the Chulla Dhammapala Jataka. It tells the story of how King Maha Prathapa of Varanasi on entering the palace found the queen cuddling her seven month old child. After ignoring him the King was left insulted so ordered that the prince be executed and the body be thrown into the air. Several Jataka Stories are also amid the paintings, which where selected for Vesak stamps in 1991. One depicts The Kattahari Jataka showing Prince Kastavahana, son of King Brahmadatta resting with his entourage.

The temple museum is a must see place if you visit there. The most impressive is the large clock which can be seen from font of the the building. Inside, the mechanism of the clock is protected inside a glass cubicle. The clock is has been built by a local craftsman called W. Elaris De Silva from Maggona in 1926 and purchased by the priest in 1928 for a sum of 3000 rupees and fixed at the temple. This mechanical masterpiece is working even today and rings at thewawa time at the temple every morning and evening.  

 

   
   
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