Our History

How Vihara progressed through the years from its inception

How Vihara progressed through the years from its inception

Ketumati Buddhist Vihara has come a long way since its inception in the nineties. It all started with the emergence of “A Buddhist Vihara for Manchester of Theravada Tradition” interest group amongst a brotherhood of Sri Lankan expatriates living in the North West of the UK, especially around the Vales of Greater Manchester. However, raising the necessary funds for a Vihara for the priests seemed formidable and insurmountable.

In early 1999, a retired nurse philanthropist, Miss Gammanpilla, offered her residence in Crumpsall for the purpose of creating a Buddhist Vihara for Manchester. Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa was invited to head the mission as the prospective chief incumbent priest. Ketumati Vihara in its vestigial form was inaugurated at 5 Claremont Road in Crumpsall. Venarable Piyatissa’s late guru priest was invited from Thulawala, Lunuwila Sri Lanka to provide the inaugural blessings and oversight at the very inception and infancy of the Vihara.

Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Trust came into existence as a charity registered with The Commissioner of Charities, with a Governing Document laying down the primary objects of the Trust and facets of governance. Late Mrs. Jayanthi Wijesinghe, a respected lawyer from the Sri Lankan community, was instrumental in fine-tuning the Trust Deed.
When difficulties of running a Vihara with a “gihi contagion” inevitably surfaced, the responsibility of acquiring a suitable residence for the monks replete with calm and tranquility fell on a group of friends of the Dhamma, led by late Dr. Dudley Bandara, a Community Paediatrician from Oldham. The search for a home for the priests (a Vihara) started in earnest.

A three-bed semi-detached house in Hollins Oldham was chosen for the purpose because of the relative quiet of its surroundings and adequate street parking in its vicinity. It was offered at a price of £49,500. Since a mortgage could not be obtained, a sum of £20,000 was raised in absolute grants, and a further sum of £30,000 was raised as “interest-free loans” from a close group of friends of the Dhamma, who under the guidance of Venerable Piyatissa rallied around Dr. Dudley Bandara in this noble venture.

In April 2000, the present premises were purchased by the Trust, and the Ketumati Vihara moved to its new abode at 3 Pretoria Road, Hollins Oldham. Today, Ketumati Buddhist Vihara stands as a beacon of light and hope for the Sri Lankan expatriate community in the North West of the UK, fulfilling its primary objects of setting up centers for the Teaching of Buddha Dharma (Theravada) and teaching of Buddhist Meditation.