- Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe is the only Executive President who has joined in the restoration work of a sacred site – Ven Urulewatte Dhammarakkhitha Thera
President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented a momentous proclamation to the Mahavihara Vamsika Shyamopali Maha Nikaya Asgiri Vihara Senior Karaka Sangha Sabhika, Most Venerable Urulewatte Sri Dhammarakkhitha Thera, designating the historic Mahiyangana sacred site as an officially recognized place of worship.
As the first Executive President of independent Sri Lanka to have visited the Mahiyangana sacred site, President Wickremesinghe participate in its restoration work last afternoon (28), a momentous occasion that received blessings from the esteemed Chief Incumbent, Urulewatte Dhammasiddhi Thera.
During his visit, President Wickremesinghe placed flowers at the Chaitya and engaged in religious rituals. Furthermore, he unveiled a commemorative plaque honouring the unveiling of a magnificent 102-foot Buddha statue situated in the middle of the Villuva Lake. This awe-inspiring creation was brought to life by the “Meth Saviya Mind Education, Compassion Society,” led by the esteemed founder of Meth Saviya, Astronomer and Professor of Physics at the University of Colombo, Mr. Chandana Jayaratne.
Expressing their gratitude, the Chief Incumbent of the Mahiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya, Urulewatte Dhammarakkhitha Thera, presented President Wickremesinghe with a memento. In his welcome address at the Punya Mahotsava, Urulewatte Dhammarakkhitha Thera highlighted the historical significance of President Wickremesinghe’s efforts in renovating the Mahiyangana sacred site. He emphasized that while two kings, Dutugemunu and Vijayabahu I, and Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake had previously initiated renovations, President Wickremesinghe was the sole executive president who took the initiative to restore this revered location.
Urulewatte Dhammarakkhitha Thera further acknowledged President Wickremesinghe’s role in officially designating the Mahiyangana shrine as a place of worship. Until that moment, the shrine had only been gazetted as a sacred city.
The event was graced by the presence of notable dignitaries, including Most Ven. Warakagoda Gnanarathana Maha Nayaka Thera, the Mahanayaka of the Asgiri Chapter, Shyamopali sect; the head of the historic Badulu Muthiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya; the Anunayaka of the Malwatu Maha Viharaya, Aggamaha Pandita, Most Ven. Dr. Niyangoda Wijithasiri Anunayaka; the Venerable Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Anu Nayaka of the Asgiri Maha Viharaya; and the Malwathu-Asgiri Ubhaya Maha Vihara Anu Nayaka Thera.
Other notable attendees included Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, ministers Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Vidura Wickramanayake, and Minister of State Tenuka Vidanagamage. Senior Presidential Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Uva Provincial Governor A.J.M. Muzamil, Vietnamese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mrs. Ho Thi Thanh Truc, tribal leader Uruvarige Vannilatto, Diyawadana Nilame of the Dalada Maligawa Pradeep Nilanga Dela, Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, Inspector General of Police Mr. C.D. Wickramaratne and a group of invited guests including representatives of the security forces.