History Panadura Controversy Home


Beginning of the Rankot Viharaya

Rankot Viharaya is situated 17 miles away from the south of Colombo. Long ago this sacred place was known as “ Galkanda Viharaya”. The temple built upon a rock, which is harmonizing the natural formation. It was renamed as Rankot Viharaya, After the chetiya or pagoda was adorned with a golden pinnacle (Rankota), on 1890 A.D.

Chetiya or Pagoda

There is a very beautiful granite rock raising from the sea. On the top of it the pagoda has been built. It could be seen from far away places and has become a great blessing to this town of Panadura.

Shrine Room

Around the rock vast walls have been constructed with buttresses. The devotion and dedication of the people was such that to fill up the premises sands was carried hand by hand from the seashore.

The shrine room has been built on the south of the pagoda on the filled portion. Very valuable murals appear in the shrine room.







Buddha’s life story and various jataka stories depict on these murals. There are some rare pictures too. For an example, there is a picture of a cart, which is not pull by a bull, but ride by a pole. As we know, nowhere such pictures than this one.



Old Library

Old library building is situated on the western side. Buddha’s relie, rare books and antiques are kept in this building. On special occasions and Wesak Full moon days its doors are kept open and exhibited.


Sripada or foot print of the Buddha

There is a small special beautiful building which is called ‘Sripada” inside which a marble foot print of the Buddha brought form Burma (Meyammar) has been placed.

Bo Tree

There is a common belief that Bo Tree is older than the temple. Thousands of devotees flock daily to fulfill their desires. A new wall and a Bodhi gara have been built around the Bo- tree.

Preaching Hall

Preaching hall bears its own unique features. It appears to be Roman – Dutch architectural construction. It is a vast building that could be accomated thousands of people at a given time. It is used not only for “bana” preaching but to conduct many conferences that have religious and social value also.

The dwelling place of the Bikkhus

The dwelling pace of the Bikkhu’s has been built on 1830 A.D. It is a historical place, the upstairs of which was used as an in camera study venue by Buddhist faction of the Panadura Controversy. Prior to great debate all necessary papers and references were made here.

The great Panadura Controvesy.

On the beginning of the 19th century there had happen many religious debates among the Buddhist and Christian missionaries in Sri Lanka. Christian missionaries to win Buddhist for their faith used many strategies. Formally, Buddhist priests had cordial relationship with Christian clergy. But it deteriorated when Christian clergy began to engage on unethical conversions. As a remedy for this Buddhist monks stood firmly to educate the Buddhists. Many debates were held orally and written. There were five renound debates, namely Baddegama, Gampola, Orugodawatta and Udamwita and Panadua. The latter was the most famous debate, which was held Aug. 26th and 28th in 1873 A.D. At this debate Buddhist Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda led party and Pasture David de Silva led Christian fraction. The Buddhist party won the debate. The proceedings were published on “Times” according to record of John Caper.

H.S. Olcott

Dr. Peebles, a great traveler and a learned scholar, gathered these reports from the press and published them in book from . it was this booklet that introduced colonel H.S.Olcott of America to Buddhism . Olcott arrived in Ceylon and initiated a new phase in the revival Buddhism.

Sri Edwin Arnold

Sir Ediwn Arnold “Light of Asia” famed Buddhist revivalist had visited Rankoth Viharaya and had discussed various matters relevant to Buddhist philosophy with Ven. Weligama Srisumangala. In his own book “ India Revisited” he has dedicated whole chapter for this conversation. Especially he has mentioned that for the first time most venerable Weligama Srisumangala guided him that the Buddhagaya in India should be taken into the hands of the Buddhists. Dipak K. Barua in his book “Buddha Gaya Temple: its history” has mentioned this matter.

Chief Incumbents from the beginning.

1. Ven. Batapola Kalyanatissa Mahanayaka Thera ( 1810-1841)

2. Ven. Walpita Siri Sumanatissa Nayake Thera ( 1841-1857)

3. Ven. Walpita Gunaratana Mahanayaka Thera (1857-1920)

4. Ven. Panadure Nanavimala Nayaka Thera (1920-1929)

5. Ven. Karagampitiya Jotiratana Anunayaka Thera (1929-1958)

6. Ven. Prof. Moratuwe Sasanaratana Anunayaka Thera (1958-1981)

7. Ven. Dr. Kahapola Sugataratana Nayaka Thera (1981 – upto date)

Sugata Vidyalaya Pirivena

The Bhikkhu training college or pirivena was started on September 17th 1896, for providing sound knowledge on oriented languages, Dhamma and especially English language for Bikkhus. The first principal of the pirivena was great scholar Ven. Weligama Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera. Most Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera the Chief incumbent of the Viddyodaya Maha Pirivena had supervised annual examinations. Many eminent Bhikkus have been past pupils of this Sri Sugata Vidyalaya Pirivena. At present about 40 Bhikkus are learning in this seat of education.


Social Services

The temple conducts various social services. Sunday school and preschool providing Dhamma knowledge to children in a serene atmosphere. The Prajapathi Gothami women’s society organizes many social activities such as distributing school materials and essential goods to poor of the area. Newly formed Bodu Pubudu foundation, which consists of educated youth, has planed many long-term programs that would amnesty benefit the Buddhist community.

Future plans

There is large hue and cry on the condition of the Buddhist. Many propaganda meetings are held daily. But the gain is very unsatisfactory. What has to be done is improving the economic condition of the poor people. For that purpose we are planning enormous economic program. Near future we hope to release ten-year plan. We intend our brothers who are living abroad will help us at the needy moment.

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