History Of The Temple
What was once a swamp adjoining the famous Beira Lake, a landmark in the capital city, is today a vibrant complex comprising the Gangaramaya temple, the ‘seema malaka’ – an assembly hall for monks – in the picturesque Beira Lake and a vocational training institute. The temple has been in existence for over 120 years having being established by one of the most famous scholar monks, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumanagala Nayaka Thera, founder of the Vidyodaya Pirivena, originally an institute of oriental learning for monks, now a State University – Sri Jayewardenapura University.
He appointed his chief pupil, Devundera Sri Jinaratana Nayake Thera to administer the temple. He laid the foundation to convert the small temple to what it is today – an institution of international reckoning. He made Buddhist texts available to the masses, collected Buddhist artifacts, in addition to the normal facilities for devotees to worship.
When Devundera Vacissara Nayaka Thera succeeded him, further expansion of the temple’s activities was undertaken including the establishment of the Sri Jinaratana Vocational Centre in memory of his teacher monk.