Delgamuwa Rajamahavihara, Kuruwita
Kuruwita 10 km north of Ratnapura
Kurahan, hiding place of the Tooth Relic
The Sacred Tooth Relic venerated during the current Randoli Perahera was not always sheltered in Kandy. It arrived on the island about 400 AD. The Chinese traveller Faxian witnessed Tooth Relic processions during his stay in the capital Anuradhapura. Usually the city which was in posession of the Tooth Relic was considered to be the Sinhalese capital. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Kurunegala, Yapahuwa, Kotte became succesive capitals with their respective Tooth Temples. The Portuguese, on behalf of their Christian bishop in Goa, tried to steal and claimed to have destroyed the Sacred Tooth in the 16th century.
However, Sinhalese know that what the Christian vandals crushed and burnt in Goa was not the original relic but a copy of it. The hiding place of the Sacred Tooth during those days when all other Sri Lankan religions were persecuted by Christians was die the Delgamuwa Mahavihara close to Kuruwita in Ratnapura District. The guardian of the Sacred Tooth in the Tooth temple in Kotte, which was soon afterwards looted by the Portuguese soldiers from Colombo, had been warned by the appearance of an old guy in white clothes. So the guard fled with the Tooth of Buddha and gave it to the king of Sitavaka. But Sitavaka was often attacked by the invaders, too. So the king decided to safe the Sinhalese palladium farer away in the Sabaragamuwa Monastery, which is today’s Delgamuwa Vihara. The abbot made copies of it, one of which was brought to Sitavaka, where it finally came into the hands of the Christian soldiers, who brought it to Goa for a Christian celebration of victory over other religions and destruction of their sacred symbols.
The abbot had the idea to hide the original Tooth Relic in a giant millstone, which was placed behind a Buddha statue. The Holy Tooth had been here for more than one generation, before it was finally transferred to the save haven of Sinhalese culture, Kandy. The Sinhalese word for millstone is Kurahan Gala. The Kurahan Gala which once sheltered Sri Lanka’s national relic is now an object of veneration on its own in this region.
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