Panama Raja Maha monastery, (in) Panama, North Eastern Province, SL

Raw data

The road beyond Panama turns inland, and leaves its pavement behind, as it winds its way deeper and deeper into the bowels of the Kumana Game Reserve. It skirts the Panama tank […]. A few hundred meters beyond the edge of the tank is a road leading into thick forest; the road to Panama Raja Maha Vihara.
The locals scarcely refer to it by its original name, and were quite at sea when we asked around for directions. They refer to the temple instead as “wehera-godella.” […]
Further in, in a clearing lies the temple, arrayed in two terraces, separated by a stone buttress over two feet in height and thickness. […] The Awasa Geya, built into a huge overhanging rock, is home to a lone bikkhu, who in his autumn years has taken refuge in this Vihara. […] We are warmly welcomed, and he obliges us with a guided tour, exploring the Aawasa Geya with its pre-historic imagery, the meditation courtyard carved atop the overhanging boulder, accessible only by his rickety ladder. The monk is as nimble on his feet as he is with his words, despite being over 80 years old.
[…] The monk […] tells us of more ruins lying just beyond the buttress, yet to be explored and restored. He speaks of the rich history of Panama Raja Maha Vihara, and we are all ears, enthralled.
Dating back a few centuries before Christ, the earliest evidence of its existence is proven in the inscription carved just below the gutter on the cave roof, which is in Brahmin dialect belonging to the 2nd Century BC. It states “Parumaka thisha putha parumaka adi liya lene shagasha,”
which can be translated as
“I, Pramuka Adali, son of Pramukha Thisha, hereby donate this cave to the Sangha sasana”
Having been frequented by Arhat bhikkus ever since, it has been reconstructed and renovated many times in history. More recent stone inscriptions belonging to the 5 – 7 centuries AD have unfortunately not been preserved as well as the earliest one found to date.
Its location and relative anonymity has helped this site remain untouched for as long as it has. Subtle signs of a sprawling temple complex that once existed here are seen in the ruins which hide behind the surrounding forest. […]” -

Input by: tmciolek, Jan 24, 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 24 Jan 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Panama Raja Maha monastery, SL.

General location of the Panama Raja Maha monastery, SL.
Lat 6.71698 Long 81.78097
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2013.

Google Map link:,%20SL)&ll=6.71698,81.78097&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Panama Raja Maha monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Sri Lanka:North Eastern Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 6.71698 Long 81.78097 - based on visual identification of the possible site in maps/satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 24 Jan 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

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 24 Jan 2013
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32p 0433-66p 0467-99p 0500-32p 0533-66p 0567-99p 0600-32p 0633-66p 0667-99p dated-ex

12. Date-intermediate

  • MBM chrono-tag: 0400-32p 0433-66p 0467-99p 0500-32p 0533-66p 0567-99p 0600-32p 0633-66p 0667-99p - tmciolek 24 Jan 2013

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

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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