Gokanna Rajamaha Viharaya trincomalee

Gokanna Rajamaha Viharaya

Gokanna Rajamaha Viharaya


Gokanna Raja Maha Viharaya is located at a distance of about 4.7 km from the town of Trincomalee. The Koneshwaram Kovil is located on this road. This is a Buddhist temple with a lot of ancient artifacts.

The old Gokanna temple was located on the site of the present Koneshwaram Kivila. After the Portuguese set fire to the temple and destroyed it, the Hindus tortured the site, which was later captured by Hindus as the Koneshwaram Kovil, and other ancient artefacts are said to have been buried under the site at Koneshwaram. The new Gokanna Temple, built after 1856 to worship again for the Buddhists, is located near the entrance to Fort Frederick.

Traveling Time: 11 min (4.7 km) Trincomalee to Gokanna Raja Maha Viharaya

Gokanna-Rajamaha-Viharaya trincomalee
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Gokanna Rajamaha Viharaya, Trincomalee
  • Acording to Chronicles, Gokanna Viharaya was built by Mahasen in 3rd century at the top of rock where the Koneswaram Kovil stands today. Trincomalee (Gokanna) being one of the busiest ports in the past, the temple also grew with the support of the rulers at various times.

    In 1505, the Portuguese landed on to Sri Lanka and under their control, Buddhist Temples were ransacked, valuables looted, burnt and destroyed.

    De Queyroz, a Portuguese historian says that the Gokana Vihara was a Buddhist temple until it was destroyed by Portuguese in the 16th century. According to him the Pagoda or the Stupa of the temple was destroyed by Portuguese Trincomalee’s ruler Costantino da Sa while Buddhist monks were still in residence there.

    The old Gokanna Viharaya gradually became a site for the Hindus to worship and the current Kovil has been built in 1856 and any Buddhist heritage of this site is now buried under the foundations of the Konesvaram Temple lost for ever.

    The new Gokanna Viharaya now lies inside the Fort Fredrick on the North of the point close to the fort entrance of the fort. Few Buddhist artifacts which has been unearthed at various times has found home in this new temple.

Gokanna Rajamaha Viharaya trincomalee
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