The Malwatta Mahavihara is located bordering southern bank of the Kandy lake and the area had been the flower garden of the royalty prior to its transformation into a Buddhist monastery. The monastery consists of two major Viharas, namely, the Poyamalu Vihara and the Pusparama Vihara. The Malvatu Vihara came to be well recognized and expanded since the time of the great prelate, Venerable Weliwita Pindapatika Asarana Sarana Saranankara Sangharaja Maha Thera, who was responsible for the establishment of he Higher Ordination during the time of king Kirti Sri Rajasimha, who was instrumental in getting down the monks from Siam (Thailand) under Venrable Upali Maha Thera in 1753.
The Malwatta monastery originally consisted of three temples, the Sangharaja Temple, Tibbotuwawe Temple (Meda Pansala) and the Poyamalu Viharaya. These temples which exist even today are veritable museums containing very valuable historical articles that belonged to the original chief incumbents. Among the many monastic edifices of the Malwatta Chapter, the Chapter House (Uposathaghara) and the Octagon shaped Library constitute important utility buildings. All religious functions such as Uposatha ceremonies, Higher Ordinations, sittings of the Executive Council of the monks etc. are held within the Uposathaghara. The temple where the Venerable Saranankara Sangaraja lived consists of a small museum exhibiting the valuable articles used by him.