Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara is one of the ancient Buddhist temples in Mulkirigala. Mulgirigala, There are several other names, including Muvathitigala, Muhudungiri, and Dakkhina Vihara. You can reach the temple after passing about 2km from the Mulkirigala junction, Hambantota district. Amongst the known ancient rock temples in the country, Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara is unique in architecture and style.
It is also a protected archaeological site. Mulkirigala is famous for its marvelous architecture, paintings, and sculptures. It is on a rock that is around 205 m tall. Four other cliffs are surrounding the temple. Locals identify Mulkirigala as ‘Punchi Seegiriya’ aka Little Sigiriya. It is because the temple has been constructed on a massive natural rock similar to Sigiriya.
There are seven other smaller temples within the premises. Those are the Siyambalamaluwa, the Lower Temple Compound, Bomaluwa, the Royal Temple Compound, and the Upper Temple Compound. There is also an extensive collection of murals and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan era present in the vihara premises. Most paintings showcase episodes from the life of the Lord Buddha and Jataka stories, such as Vessantara, Telapatta, and Shivi.
In the 18th century, the Dutch called Mulkirigala rock Adam’s Berg. They believed that Europeans confused Mulkirigala with the Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). They also assumed that the tombs of Adam and Eve were here.
“James Cordiner, a Chaplain attached to the British Military Garrison in Colombo between 1797 and 1804, described the temple in detail as an extensive complex of intricately painted caverns and temple buildings” – Wikipedia
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