Medirigiriya monastery, (near) Hingurakgoda, North Central Province, SL

Raw data

“[…] This site […] has a history going in to the pre-Christian times. The brami characters found on the bricks and the some of the stone carvings is an indication of the long history of this site. The first reference to this site in the chronicles is during the king Kanittha Tissa (192-194) of the Anuradhapura Era. Later many kings have contributed to this complex and finally after the invasion of Maga this site too was abandoned when the Sinhalese migrated to the southern parts unable to withstand the torture.
This site was later discovered in 1897 in the middle of a thick jungle by Mr H.C.P Bell and he immediately realised the importance of the site calling it an architectural jewel. […] There are two ponds in the area. These probably have been used by the bikkhus who lived in these temples.
Cave - Near the entrance to the Vatadage area is a cave which is thought to be made during recent times or a natural cave.
Hospital -There are remains of an advance[ed] hospital in the same area. This is built as two squares. The outer square has 33 stone pillars and the inner square has 20 pillars. There have been three entrances to the building. There are indications that the rooms have had doors. A well preserved medicine boat too can bee seen here. The Medicine boat - This is a common feature you find in all the hospital of the ancient time. This boat is made out of hard rock so that the medicine would not absorb on the rock. The cavity is built to fit any human.”

“Medirigiriya Temple - Medirigiriya is famous for its 7th century Vatadage Temple atop a low rocky point. There are 3 concentric rows of pillars, making a total of 68, surrounding 4 large seated Buddha’s facing the four directions.
[…] An ancient name Mandala Mountain Monastery (Mandalagiri Vihara) 14 miles from Minneria [Lat 8.0333 Long 80.9000]. It is not known who first established it but earilest [sic] reference is in the Mahavamsa where it says Kanittha Tissa (166-184) built an uposatha house there. The Malayaraja built the dome over the stupa there during the reign of Aggabodhi that is the shrine we see today. In the 9th century a hospital was built there. The place was restored by Vijayabahu I. In the dispute between Parakramabahu and Gajabahu II it is said that Gajabahu came to Medirigiriya and carved the agreement on a rock. The inscription has not been found but a copy is known.
Nissankamalla came to Medrigiriya on one of his pilgrimages or tours of inspection through his realm. The stupa is built on a huge exposed rock. And was built some 800 years before the thing that later enclosed it. Facing the four cardinal directions are four beautiflul Buddhas on pedestals. Only the one on the east is intact. […]” -

“By Amal HEWAVISSENTI Sunday, 26 February 2012 […] The […] Vatadage of Medirigiriya is [a] perfect shrine which is presumably the most singular archaeological monument of this nature so far discovered in Sri Lanka is located some fifteen kilometres north from Hingurakgoda in the locality of Thamankaduwa (twenty kilometres north of Polonnaruwa). […] Past story of Vatadage - The round terrace which is the base for the entire Vatadage has been paved with granite slabs. Every pillar is masterfully sculptured and has a decorated heads (architecturally - (capitol's).
According to historical records, the origin of Medirigiriya Shrine is datable to the pre-Christian era. Mahavamsa, the great chronicle associates the Vatadage of Medirigiriya with the reign of King Kanittatissa.
It is referred to as "Mandalagiri Vihara" in historical records. Mahavamsa says that King Kanittatissa established a 'Seemamalaka' to the Aramaya which was a building where intellectual and disciplinary discussions were carried out by monks. The Medirigiriya Aramaya received the royal patronage since second century AD and a large number of Bhikkhus resided in the premises at the time. King Sena II made an official donation of several villages for the maintenance and welfare of Medirigiriya Shrine in the 9th century and history records that he made restorations in the 'Chetiyaghara' built earlier by King 'Malayaraja'.
When King Wijayabahu I regained political power from the reign of South Indian Cholas, Medirigiriya Vihara remained a major significant shrine to be restored and developed. This corroborates the story that Medirigiriya Shrine had been a significant seat of learning by the 10th century AD. During the 12 century AD, Gajabahu II and Parakramabahu I specially selected Medirigiriya Aramaya to sign the royal official agreement between them. An exclusive inscription was displayed in "Mandalagiri" (Medirigiriya) in order to keep the public informed of the convention.” -

“Mandalagiri Vihara - A monastery in Ceylon, built by Kanitthatissa (Mhv.xxxvi.17). The ruler of the province of Malaya in the time of Aggabodhi IV. built a relic house for the cetiya there (Cv.xlvi.29), while Sena II. gave to it several maintenance villages (Cv.Ii.75) and Vijayabahu I. restored it (Cv.lx.58). It was while living there that Gajabahu made his peace with Parakkamabahu I. and set up an inscription to that effect in the vihara (Cv.lxxi.3; for its identification see Cv.Trs.i.100, n. 3.). v.l. Mandalagirika, Mandaligiri.” -

“The 7th century Mandalagiri Vihara dagoba near Medirigiriya, about 30km north of Polonnaruwa. Getting here by bus is possible but it will take a long time.” -

“An original 2pp magazine article titled 'AN ANCIENT SANCTUARY NEWLY REVEALED: DISCOVERIES AND RECONSTRUCTIONS IN THE CEYLON JUNGLE' illustrated with 5 photos showing the monastery / holy place of Mandalagiri Vihara: SOURCE: The Illustrated London News; COUNTRY: UK; DATE: June 1948” -

Input by: tmciolek, Feb 08, 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 08 Feb 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Medirigiriya monastery, SL.

General location of the Medirigiriya monastery, SL.
Lat 8.15672 Long 80.99630
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2013.

Google Map link:,%20SL)&ll=8.15672,80.99630&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Medirigiriya monastery -

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Sri Lanka:North Central Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 8.15672 Long 80.99630 - based on visual identification of the site in maps/satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 08 Feb 2013.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Theravada

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag <=0200 - tmciolek 08 Feb 2013
  • <=02000200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 08 Feb 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeological, epigraphical, mentions in ancient literature

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 1]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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