Vilgam Rajamaha Viharaya, also known as Velgam Vehera, is a less-visitied historical Buddhist temple complex near Kanniya Hot wells to the northwest of Trincomalee. The Tamil name of Vilgam Rajamaha Viharaya is Natanar Kovil. Kovil is usually the name of a Hindu temple, which indicates that the Buddhist site is also venerated by Hindus.
Although Vilgam Rajamaha Viharaya was founded during the Anuradhapura period, the remnants of the structure that can be seen at the site today are mainly from the subsequent Chola period (11th century). This is remarkable insofar as the the Chola invaders from Southern India destroyed other Buddhist temples, but they renovated this one. More than that, they introduced a type of building that became predominant in the subsequent Polonnaruwa period, the large image house (Patimagara). Image houses had already been an integral part of Buddhist monasteries earlier on, but they now were increased and became the predominant building of the complex. In Vilgam Rajamaha Viharaya, the image house is not only much larger than ist predecessors from the Anuradhapura period, it also forms the single center of the entire complex. A Buddha statue is still in situ.
Although Vilgam Rajamaha Viharaya is a sacred place to local Tamils, too, the archaeological site was attacked several times by the LTTE separatists during the civil war.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka