Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya will remain open: Thera

Published : 9:15 am  July 12, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (139) reads | 

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By Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa   

Despite the announcement by the Archaeological authorities that the Rangiri Dambulu Rajamaha Viharaya or the Dambulla Cave Temple has been closed for renovation, the custodian of the Temple Ven. Ambagaswewe Rahula Thera said under no circumstances would anybody be allowed to begin restoration work after closing the Viharaya or to stop the issuing of tickets to foreign tourists.

 

Under no circumstances would anybody be allowed to begin restoration work after closing the Viharaya   

 

The Thera who is also the custodian of the Sri Visnu Devalaya and also the Chief Incumbent of Dambulla Rajamaha Meda Pansala and Director of the Walgamba Maha Pirivena expressed these remarks yesterday (11) to the media at the Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya.   
 This statement was made in reply to the decision taken to close the Rajamaha Viharaya and begin restoration work thereof and to stop the issuance of tickets to foreign tourists.

In fact many devotees and foreign tourists were seen as usual yesterday at the Damulla Viharaya despite the announcement by the authorities that the temple had been closed.

Ven. Thera and a group of Buddhist monks of the temples affiliated to the Walagamba Pirivena of the Meda Mahapansala gathered at the premises of the Dambulla Temple and stayed there for several hours.

The Thera urged the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs to intervene to settle this problem and expressed his regret over the statement made by the Education Minister.

He said they had never interfered with the restoration work of the Dambulla Temple. However, nobody would be allowed to pilfer the temple income collected from foreign tourists under the pretence of restoration.

He invited the devotees to the temple and to attend the religious performances.

The Thera said he met the President on Monday and handed over a letter seeking a solution to the problem. However, after a few hours Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam made the announcement of closure of the Viharaya for restoration work and for the issue of tickets by them, he added.

“They are trying to impose restrictions on a place of Buddhist heritage, not on a world heritage, and this is a plan to destroy the temple”.   
Ven. Ethabendiwewe Upali Thera said people are coming to the Dambulla Temple to worship the sacred place and not only to view the paintings. People in the area are prepared to face the threat of closing of the temple, he said.

Ven. Ambulugala Vachiswara Thera, the chief attendant of the Dambulla temple – Visnu Devalaya and Dambulla SLFP chief organiser U.R. Dayanandasiri were also present at the occasion.