වාරණ රජමහා විහාරය
Varana Rajamaha Viharaya
Warana Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Thihariya, Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. The temple is located approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) away from the Colombo - Kandy highway. Currently, this temple has been recognized as a protected archaeological site in Gampaha District by Archaeological department.
Warana Raja Maha Vihara is believed to have been built during the reign of King Devanampiyathissa (307–267 BC), and according to the temple chronicles preserved at the Vihara, later renovations haven been undertaken by King Valagamba (103 BCE and c.89–77 BCE), Nissanka Malla (1187–1196), Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782) and Parakramabahu VI.
According to the Dr. Senarath Paranavithana's book Inscriptions of Ceylon, Part I, a Brahmin inscription, found in the vihara premises, has been interpreted as follows:
Bata Maj himas batikabata Tissadatta dne. (In English: "The gift of Lord Tissadatta, brother of Lord Magji hima)
It reads that Tissadatta, an Arahat who had gifted the cave, is a brother of Mahinda Thero, who brought Buddhism to the country in the 3rd century B.C. It is believed that Tissadatta Therro was the first pupil of the Venerable Mahinda.
The temple mainly consists of three levels as Pahala maluwa, Meda maluwa and Ihala maluwa. In the first level, the Sangawasaya and the Dharama Hall is located, and in the middle level, the drip ledged cave temple with its ancient Stupa can be seen. It is said that Stupa is around 800 years old. Inside the cave temple, many of Buddha statues and paintings are found. The canopy of the cave has been decorated with lotus flowers and with various other flower designs. In the top-level, another Stupa and Cave temple can be seen.