26th March 2018 23:07:34 Hours
The Army's expertise in Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical and Construction fields will go into monumental memory once again when the new state-of-the art preaching hall (Dharmashalawa) and the adjoining administrative building at Devagiri Raja Maha Viharaya compound, built at a remarkably low cost are offered to the Buddhasasanaya on account of the forthcoming National Vesak Festival-2018, to be held at Bingiriya with full state patronage.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army on Monday (26) conducted an inspection tour to the construction site at Bingiriya and closely reviewed the progress of the ongoing project, together with officers and all engineering troops, engaged in it. He received an update from constructors and had separate meetings with the monks. A few Senior Officers, including Brigadier Dhammika Jayasundara, 532 Brigade Commander and Brigadier Palitha Perera, 143 Brigade Commander were also present during the Commander's visit.
The new eco-friendly preaching hall of 142 ft long and 68 ft wide accommodates 1000 devotees at a time and the adjoining new administrative and library building is 60 ft in length and 32 ft wide. Both constructions are to cost Rs 40 million according to Army estimates.
Professional workforce of the 143 Brigade Headquarters of the 14 Division under the Security Force Headquarters - West (SFHQ-West) has undertaken the task of completing the project in less than three months before the National Vesak Festival.
The Bingiriya Devagiri Raja Maha Viharaya has been nominated by the government as the main centre of attraction in the National Vesak festival this year. To coincide with the event, a series of mega development and renovation projects in the premises as well as in adjoining areas have already got underway in coordination with respective state agencies before the National Vesak commemoration week begins.
The incumbent, Ven Mallagane Aththadassi Nayake Thero, the adviser to the construction project personally intervened and wanted the Army Engineers to take over the construction as the monk was fully confident of expertise of Army personnel. Accordingly, 143 Brigade troops under the 14 Division of the SFHQ-West undertook the responsibility of constructing this huge lecture hall on time before the Vesak festival.
1 Corps of Engineer Services (CES) troops, together with the support of Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) and Sri Lanka National Guard (SLNG) troops are actively participating in the construction of the new Dharmashalawa and the other building.
Kurunegala district-based Bingiriya Devagiri Raja Maha Viharaya in the North Western Province is one of the most ancient temples in Sri Lanka and its history dates back to about 3rd Century BC. History further records that traders under the guidance of the King Devanampiyatissa built the sacred place at first. Later, the King Agbo I (6th century AD) also built a two-storied building to the west of the stupa, a shrine with three stone Buddha Statues and a small dome to the East of the Stupa.