Buddhism and Sri Lanka

According to Sri Lankan chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Arhant Mahinda, during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa.

Sri Lankan Inscriptions

The earliest trace of epigraphy in South Asia is said to be found in Sri Lanka. A piece of pottery, dated to circa the 4th century B.C. has been discovered from the Anuradhapura citadel.

Architecture of Sri Lanka

The architecture of Sri lanka has a long history and shows diversed forms and styles, mainly infuenced by their religions and traditional beliefs.

Sri Lankan Antiquities

Inherited from the past, Sri Lanka has a large number of antiques with cultural and historical significance which reflects the glory of past era.

Visit Sri Lanka

Located in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island blessed with a large number of attractons which has made the country an ideal destination for the tourism.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Nawagiriyawa Wewa Archaeological Ruins

Nawagiriyawa Wewa (Tamil: Navakiri Aru Reservoir) is a reservoir situated in Gal Oya Valley in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This tank was constructed during the 1950-1954 period by impounding the waters of Nawagiri Oya (Tamil: Navakiri Aru) originating from the Friars Hood well-known hill of Veddah resident Tissahamy, bounded by Rajagala mountain range (Arumugam, 1969).

Archaeological ruins
A site with the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery has been found on two rocks located near the reservoir.

The reservoir
The bund of the reservoir is about 2 miles long and the water is extending in an area of about 2,700 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has three spills and one sluice (Arumugam, 1969). 

A protected site
The two rocks with the mound of a Stupa, buildings with stone pillars, foundations of buildings, chisel holing situated in Nawagiriyawa Lake belonging to Bandaraduwa village situated in the Grama Niladhari Division No. W/104B/2, Bandaraduwa in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Uhana are protected archaeological sites declared by a government gazette notification published on 10 October 2014. 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.181.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1884. 10 October 2014, p. 922.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 16 October 2021
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Friday, October 15, 2021

Udamuna Purana Viharaya

Udamuna Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in the Veraduwa area in Matara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This temple is believed to have been constructed during the Kandyan Period and the Vihara-ge (the image house) of the temple is probably a work of the first decade of the 19th century (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). The date 1864 with the British crest has been found engraved over one of the doors at the residence building of the monks (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The image house
The image house consists of two sections, viz: the inner chamber and the outer part. The inner chamber preserves the oldest murals of the temple and a seated statue of the Buddha with two statues of standing Buddhas on either side are found within it (Abeyawardana, 2004). The murals in the outer part have been repainted recently.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. pp.77-78.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.29.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 October 2021
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Agalakada Sri Dhammarakkhita Viharaya

Agalakada Sri Dhammarakkhita Viharaya (also known as Agalakada Dhammarakkhitaramaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in the Akuressa area in Matara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This temple was constructed by a Buddhist monk named Agalakada Sri Dhammarakkhita Thera during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015]. This monk is said to be the first one from the Southern Province to obtain the Upasampada (the Higher Ordination) from the famous scholarly monk Welivita Sri Saranankara Thera [(1698-1778 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004].

The temple
The Vihara-ge (image house), Stupa and Awasa-ge (monks dwelling) are identified as old monuments of this temple (Wikramaratne, 2015). The small image house preserves a collection of paintings and sculptures of the Kandyan Period (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). The group of short stone pillars which is found within the temple premises provides evidence of the existence of a Tempita Viharaya (temple on pillars) in ancient times (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.84.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.35-36.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 14 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Kadawedduwa Thunbodhi Viharaya

Kadawedduwa Thunbodhi Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kadawedduwa in Matara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This temple is said to have been constructed in 1754 (Wikramaratne, 2015). The paintings in the Vihara-ge (image house) as well as in the Dhamma-sala (preaching hall) show the features of the art tradition of the Kandyan Period (Wikramaratne, 2015). The year 1819 is mentioned in one of the paintings in the preaching hall (Wikramaratne, 2015).

A fragment of an inscription is found within the Stupa terrace (Wikramaratne, 2015).

References
1) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.35.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 14 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Weragampita Raja Maha Vihara

Weragampita Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Weheragampita Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Weragampita village in Matara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This temple is believed to have been constructed during the Kandyan Period in the late 18th century (Abeyawardana, 2004). King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782 A.D.) is said to have contributed to the construction works of the temple (Wikramaratne, 2015).

This temple was the abode of the famous scholarly Buddhist monk Karatota Dhammarama Thera [(1735-1827) Abeyawardana, 2004]. He was one time the incumbent of Sri Pada Mountain (Abeyawardana, 2004). The tomb of this Thera has been presently designated as a protected monument by the Department of Archaeology.

A protected site
The grave monument of Karatota Thera and ancient shrine in the premises of Weragampita Rajamaha Vihara situated in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 417, Uyanwaththa North in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Matara are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 7 July 2016.
 
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. pp.74-75.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 1974/16. 7 July 2016. p.2A
3) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.22.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 13 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Himidurawa Wewa

Himidurawa Wewa is a reservoir situated in Himidurawa village in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This tank was constructed during the 1951-1952 period by the Gal Oya Development Board (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The bund of the reservoir is about 5,000 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 275 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has one spill and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). It feeds the nearby Konduwaruwana Tank (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.167.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 13 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Maha Mantindaramaya

Maha Mantindaramaya (also known as Maha Mantinda Pirivena) is a Buddhist temple situated in Bamunugama village in Matara District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This temple was established in 1893 as an education centre for Buddhist monks as well as laymen (Abeyawardana, 2004). Bedigama Siri Ratanapala Thera was the first incumbent of the temple (Abeyawardana, 2004).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.71.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 13 October 2021
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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sri Meenachi Sundareshwarar Temple, Kaluwella

Sri Meenachi Sundareshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Kaluwella in Galle District, Sri Lanka. It is popular among devotees for the annual festival held in April.

History
This temple is believed to have been established in 1877 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.29.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 12 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Deepaduttaramaya, Kotahena

Deepaduttaramaya (also known as Dipaduttarama Purana Thai Raja Maha Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Kotahena in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is considered the oldest Buddhist place of worship in the Colombo city area (Bajpai, 2019; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

History
Establishment of the temple
This temple was established in 1745, in a part of an aristocratic residence called Kulatunga Wijayasiriwardana Walawwa and therefore known as the "Walawwe Pansala" which means the "Temple of the Mansion" (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In the beginning, the doors of this temple were only opened for elites as it was on a private property (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Although it was bestowed to Buddhist monks in 1784, only the aristocratic people had permission to enter the temple (Manathunga, 2016). However, due to the effort of Seenigama Dhammakkhandha Thera, it became a Buddhist place of worship for the public in 1806 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).
 
Period of Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera
The temple later became the home of Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera (1823-1890) who is well-known for the debates held between Buddhists and Christians (Bajpai, 2019; De Silva, 2009; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Of the debates headed by him, the Panadura-vadaya (1873) debate made a phenomenal impact on the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and it also attracted some influential western personalities to the country such as Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907) and Madam Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) the co-founders of the Theosophical Society (De Silva, 2009; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

1883 Kotahena riot
Sri Lanka was under the British regime from 1815 to 1948. During this period Christianity received more support from the British Government than Buddhism. At the time Kotahena was regarded as a Roman Catholic stronghold and Deepaduttaramaya was the only Buddhist place of worship there (De Silva, 2009; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). After Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera took over the charge of Deepaduttaramaya, the Buddhist activities in the area continued in an atmosphere of overt and covert opposition from missionary organizations and government officials (De Silva, 2009). During the Easter Week of 1883, Catholics in Kotahena attacked a precession of Buddhists headed by Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera and as a result of this, one Catholic and one Buddhist were killed leaving hundreds injured (Bartholomeusz, 1995).

A number of Roman Catholics were arrested over these riots but the government dropped charges against most of them (De Silva, 2009). A report by a commission appointed by Governor James Robert Longden (1877-1883) held the view that the Catholics who had been provoked by Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera's fiery speeches had indeed attacked the Buddhists (De Silva, 2009). However, by disappointing the Buddhist party, the government placed restrictions on all religious processions (De Silva, 2009).

Olcott and Blavatsky who were absent from Sri Lanka during the riot period returned in January 1884 and established a Buddhist Defence Committee to present this case of the Buddhists to the colonial government (Bartholomeusz, 1995; De Silva, 2009). However, it didn't succeed in influencing the government position towards the Buddhists but succeeded in honouring the identity of the Buddhist community (Bartholomeusz, 1995).

Hoisting the Buddhist flag
As a universal symbol of Buddhism, the present Buddhist flag was designed in 1885 by the Colombo Committee, Sri Lanka with the participation of scholarly monks such as Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera (1827-1911) and also Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera. It was first publicly hoisted on Vesak day, 28 May 1885 at the Deepaduttaramaya, by Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera (Bajpai, 2019). It was the first Vesak public holiday in Sri Lanka under British rule (Bajpai, 2019).

The temple
Deepaduttaramaya was established during the Dutch colonial period in Sri Lanka [(1640–1796) Bajpai, 2019]. Therefore, traces of Dutch architecture is still visible along with British architecture on several monuments of the temple. As it received the patronage of the royal family of Thailand, some buildings of this temple have been built according to Thai architecture. Of the buildings, the image house, monks' dwellings, and Stupa are considered special (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Image house
Originally built by Wijayasiriwardana, the image house displays the Dutch and British touches of architecture (Bajpai, 2019; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). A facade was added to it in 1785 and in 1873 and the British Royal emblem is found on the upper part of it (Bajpai, 2019; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Inside the image house are the statues of the Buddha with murals depicting some of his life events. The Antaralaya section is filled with sculptures of gods, Bodhisattvas and paintings of Jataka stories (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).
 
Monks dwelling
The building with five Victorian arches is said to be the dwelling of Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera (Manathunga, 2016). It was preserved by the Department of Archaeology during the 2016-2017 period (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Besides this dwelling, another building has been built for monks.

Stupa
The Stupa was built during the 1904-1911 period by the royal family of Thailand (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The architecture of this monument is similar to that of the Mulagandha Kuti Vihara in India (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A protected site
The old Vihara-geya (the image house) and the Avasage (the monks' dwelling) situated in the premises of Deepaduththarama Vihara in Kotahena Grama Niladhari Division in Colombo Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 18 June 1999.
 
References
1) Bajpai, L.M., 2019. Stories of the Colonial Architecture: Kolkata-Colombo (Vol. 1). Doshor Publication. pp.140-141.
2) Bartholomeusz, T., 1995. Catholics, Buddhists, and the Church of England: The 1883 Sri Lankan Riots. Buddhist-Christian Studies, 15, pp.89-103.
3) De Silva, K.M (Editor in chief), 2009. History of Ceylon: Vol. III. Ministry of Higher Education. pp.199-202.
4) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.77-78. 
5) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. pp.40-41. 
6) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 October 2021
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Monday, October 11, 2021

Parama Dhamma Nivesa Pirivena

Not to be confused with Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena

Parama Dhamma Nivesa Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Boralesgamuwa in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This temple was built at the same time as the Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena in Ratmalana (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). With the addition of new buildings and other facilities, it gradually became a prominent Pirivena (a centre of learning) for Buddhist monks in the country. 
 
As mentioned in the Vihara documents, the Awasa-ge (monks' dwelling) and the Vihara-ge (image house) were added to the temple around 1880, during the time of Godigamuwe Saranatissa Thera (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The completed Vihara-ge is said to have been declared open by the scholarly Buddhist monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera (1827-1911) in 1898 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The construction works of the Bodhi tree shrine, Stupa, belfry, and the Bana Maduwa (Dhamma preaching hall) were finished around 1928, during the time of Lenadora Dhammarakkhita Thera (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A protected site
The image house and ancient Avasage in the Paramadamma Niwasa Piriwena in Boralasgamuwa Grama Niladhari Division bearing No. 533 B in Kesbewa Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.
 
References
1) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. pp.50-51.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.524.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map