Rediscovery

12208742_906552712763128_5162547931161000433_n It is in the middle part of the 19th century that Bellanwila once again comes into religious prominence. The story of the revival of Bellanwila is closely linked with Attidiya, a village adjoining Bellanwila. The discoverer was an adventurous monk known as Thengodagedara Hamuduruwo.

It is not known to which temple or sect he belonged, but he is said to be the founder of Galauda Vihara. One day in 1850, he was traveling by boat along the Katu-ela stream towards Pepiliyana. On his journey it is said that he heard the sound of drums from a nearby thicket. Being inquisitive, he left the boat and walked towards the sounds.
As he approached, the drum sounds faded away and he was surprised to see a Bodhi-tree. Subsequently he came to discover that this was one of the thirty two saplings from the sacred Bodhi-tree at Anuradhapura.. With the help of villagers, he cleared the land around the tree and built a modest shelter for monks.

With this modest and mysterious beginning, Bellanwila began to attract the attention of devotees in the neighborhood. As they were mostly poor villagers, they were not in a position to contribute much to the temple’s structural development.

Since Thengodagedara Hamuduruwo rediscovered Bellanwila it has had a succession of chief monks including Ven. Udugampola Sri Ratanapala, Udugampola Sri Dammakkhandha, Abhidhammika Weboda Sri Sangharatana, Asgiriya Devarakkhita and Bellanwila Sri Somaratana. Amongst these erudite, well-disciplined monks it is Ven. Bellanwila Sri Somaratana who must be given credit for raising Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara to its present state of glory and grandeur.

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