Hanguranketa, also spelt Hanguranketha, is the name of a village which is situated about 30 km south-east of Kandy. The name Hanguranketha or “Sangaruwanketha” refers to thriving paddy fields. Hanguranketa was the hiding place of the Kandy kings whenever Kandy came under attack by Portuguese and Dutch colonial armies. The second Kandyan King. Senarat (1604-1635), who was a former monk who became the successor of his bother Vimaladharmasuriya, built a palace in Hanguranketa. Robert Knox during his captivitiy in the Kandy Kingdom also visited Hanguranketa and reports it had been surrounded by a white-washed fortification wall. The original temple was destroyed by the British people in 1818 during the Uva Rebellion also called “Great Rebellion”.
The most interesting structure to see in today’s Hanguranketa is the temple at the central village square. The temple called Potgul Maliga Mahaviharaya was built between 1830 and 1880 under British colonial rule. Some stones of the former palace, for example moonstones, were used to construct this temple, the term “Maliga” refers to this. The term “Potgul” means book. Indeed, the Hangurankata temple has one of the most impressive palm-leaf libraries in Sri Lanka. Don’t miss to visit it. It is part of a museum in the upper floor of the big entrance building. The main temple is surrounded by a Veranda. Several Rooms with Kandyan style paintings can ne entered from different directions when walking along this patio. The most significant ceremonial halls face the entrance building. A stupa is situated right in the centre of the main shrine and of the entire building, which is a quite uncommon design.
Another structure worth visiting in Hanguranketa is the Vishnu Devale (Devalaya) close-by. When you cross the road you may come across this ancient temple. It has an impressive drummers hall called Digge.
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