Raja Maha Vihara temple at Getaboruwa which is well known throughout the Sir Lankan territory is a significant sacred premises associated with not only the people of Ruhuna but also with the masses of this whole country.
Numerous are the Buddhist temples situated in various locations of the Country. It has been a common practice to call even recently built Viharas as Raja Maha Viharas. Even such temples follow the traditional practice of conducting Perahera festivals (processions). That is a notable aspect.
Although there are numerous temples and continuous preaching’s of the Dhamma, the society has resorted to a vain and meaningless way of life forgetting in turn our religion, dhamma and morality. Even the Triple Gem has been forgotten. They do not believe in gods or the Self Awakened One. It is during such an era that the Raja Maha Vihara at Getabaru holds its Esala festival drawing attention of the people to our traditional Values.
Raja Maha Vihara at Getabaruwa is a Raja Maha Vihara in the real sense. There is evidence to the effect that the Raja Maha Vihara at Getabaruwa was built by king Valagamba during the time of his hiding in the Ruhuna Jungles and organizing his armies. He existing sleeping Buddha statue of 18 riyanas in length at the Vihara is a living testimony in this connection.
In the past people from distant places came on pilgrimage to Getabaruwa on foot and climbed the hillock to pay theirs vows to the god carrying with them the “panduru mitiya” and arecanut flower with much devotion to the Getabaru deviyo during the perahera season in July, the month of the god. Even today people from villages have their faith the God in tact. Esala Perahera at Getabaruwa commences on the day the devotees of Ruhuna reach the summit of the “Getabaru Kanda” From the days of yore this festival has been a complexed process of responsibilities and not merely a procession. Customs and religions observances play a vital part in this Perahera festival held annually is the major component. This is more complexed than what you see in the Perahara. A chain of responsibilities fulfilled throughout the year is associated with the Perahera.
History of the Raja Maha Vihara, Getabaruwa
Raja Maha Vihara of Getabaruwa is located on the summit of famous Getabaru Kanda at an elevation of 1500 feet above the mean sea level in the village of Katapola between 45-47 mile posts on Gall Deniyaya main road, and within the area of authority of Divisional Secretary’s division of Kotapola in historic Matota, the birth place of many learned and wise sons and daughters of Mother Lanka. The mountain which gives a charming splendid scenic beauty even at a distance is surrounded by many guardian attendant mountains. On one side it is connected to Rakwana hills and the virgin Sinharaja forest and on the other side to Morawak Kanda mountain and is extended to the thick forest.
Natures splendid Inheritance
Natural beauty around the temple is charmingly attractive to the eye. It is rich with rare medicinal plants and local animal species. The peak is a unique creation of Mother Nature. The Raja Maha Vihara of Getabaruwa located on the peak is 1 ¼ miles from Kotapola Bazaar.
This age old rock temple is located in a cave of 30 feet which is a majestic creation of the Nature. Inside the care,there is a sleeping Buddha statue of 18 “riyanas” in length. On the side of the Vihara there
is the devale of god Ragguru Bandara and on the other side are the devalas of gods Vishnu and Kataragama.