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.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Kingdom of Dambadeniya

Ruins of Dambadeniya Kingdom
Dambadeniya Kingdom was the third kingdom that flourished in Sri Lanka during the 13th-14th centuries A.D.. The kingdom was mainly ruled from three capitals; viz: Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, and Kurunegala.

Dambadeniya
The ancient capital of Dambadeniya
The Polonnaruwa Kingdom (1056-1236 A.D.), the second kingdom of Sri Lanka was abandoned in the 13th century mainly due to its susceptibility to invasions from the South India and the seat of government for the Sinhalese kings was moved to Dambadeniya.

King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.) was the first king who chose Dambadeniya as the new capital. According to ancient chronicles such as Culavamsa, the king built a new city on the summit of the Jambudoni mountain consisted of fine walls and gate towers (de Silva, 1990). The details given in the Dambadeni Asna reveal that there were two parts in the capital: the inner city and the outer city (de Silva, 1990). The inner city where the main buildings of the kingdom were located such as the Palace complex and the Temple of the Tooth is said to be protected with an 18 cubit tall wall (de Silva, 1990). The outer city had three boundary walls built of stone, clay, and timber (de Silva, 1990). The remains of the clay (earth) wall is still visible at the site.

The rulers of Dambadeniya
Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.)
Parakramabahu II (1236-1271 A.D.)
Vijayabahu IV (1271-1273 A.D.)
Buwanekabahu I (1273-1284 A.D.) - Transferred to Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa
The ancient capital of Yapahuwa
Yapahuwa was the capital of Sri Lanka in the latter part of the 13th century.

Yapahuwa was originally built by Subha, a military chief, in order to protect that part of the country from the Kalinga invader Magha (1210-1230 A.D.). Later, King Vijayabahu IV, during his reign, improved this old fortification and stationed his younger brother there (de Silva, 1990). The fortress was further improved to a great city by King Buwanekabahu I who later transferred his capital from Dambadeniya to Yapahuwa (de Silva, 1990).

However, after the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the South Indian Pandyans invaded the kingdom, and captured the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. This invasion resulted an interregnum period in the country until Parakramabahu III (c.1298-1303 A.D.) became the king of Sri Lanka.

The rulers of Yapahuwa
Buwanekabahu I (1273-1284 A.D.)

Polonnaruwa
Parakramabahu III, the son of Vijayabahu IV became the King of Dambadeniya Kingdom but chose the Polonnaruwa, the second kingdom of the country, as his capital.  He brought back the sacred Tooth Relic to the country by establishing diplomatic relationships with the Pandyan Kingdom.

The rulers of Polonnaruwa (Dambadeniya Kingdom)
Parakramabahu III (c.1298-1303 A.D.)

Kurunegala
The ancient capital of Kurunegala
During the 14th century, Kurunegala became the third capital of the Dambadeniya Kingdom and hence the governing center of the country.

The rulers of Kurunegala
Bhuvanaikabahu II (c.1303-1305 A.D.)
Parakkamabahu IV (c.1305-1326 A.D.)
Buwanekabahu III (c.1326-1335 A.D.)
Vijayabahu V (c.1335-1344 A.D.)

The Dambadeniya Kingdom marked its end after the reign of King Vijayabahu V. Buwanekabahu IV (c.1344-1353 A.D.), the son of King Vijayabahu V ascended to the throne after his father and shifted the capital from Kurunegala to Gampola giving birth to the forth kingdom of Sri Lanka, the Kingdom of Gampola (c.1344–1408 A.D).

Coins
The copper coinage started since the period of Polonnaruwa was continued by the kings of Dambadenia too and popularly known as Dambadeni Coins. During this period, Parakramabahu II and Vijayabahu IV of Dambadeniya and Buvanekabahu I of Yapahuwa minted a coin known as Massa with their names.

Literature
The Sinhalese literature during the Dambadeniya period was at its golden phase. Many literary works in Sinhala, Pali were written during this period by various authors including Buddhist monks and royals such as King Parakramabahu II.

Notable literary works of the Dambadeniya period
Sinhala
1) Dambadeni Asna                                                            2) Dambadeni Katikavata
3) Elu Sandas Lakuna (Bhadra Thera)                             4) Kandavuru Sirita
5) Kav Silumina (Parakramabahu II)                                6) Pujavaliya (Buddha Puthra Thera)
7) Saddharma Ratnavaliya (Dharmasena Thera)           8) Sidath Sangarawa (Vedeha Thera)

Sinhala Sanna
1) Anavum Pirith Sannaya                                           2) Anuruddha Shathaka Sannaya
3) Atada Sannaya (Parakramabahu II)                      4) Brahmajala Sutrartha Sannaya (Vilgammula Thera)
5) Janaki Harana Sannaya                                          6) Kachchayana Sannaya
7) Kav Silumina Sannaya                                             8) Kudusika Sannaya
9) Lakunusara Chandas Granthaya Ha Sannaya     10) Maharupa Siddhi Sannaya
11) Moggallayanayata Virith Sannaya                      12) Padasadana Sannaya
13) Sachcha Sankhepa Sannaya                               14) Samanera Prashna Sannaya
15) Sutra Nipatha Sannaya                                         16) Theli Pitapotha
17)  Vinatartha Samuchchaya Sannaya (Vanarathana Medhankara Thera)
18)  Visuddhimarga Sannaya (Parakramabahu II)  19) Vuththodaya Sannaya

Pali & Tika
1) Abhidharmayata Sili Pitapatha                               2) Bhesajja Manjhusa (Panchamula Pirivenpathi)
3) Haththavanagalla Vihara Vansa (a student of Anodassi Thera)
4) Jina Charitha Gatha (Vanarathana Medhankara Thera)
5) Kankha Vitharana Pitapatha (Ananda Thera)       6) Pajjamadhu Gatha (Buddhappiya Thera)
7) Pali Maha Vamsa: Part II. (Dhammakitti Thera)   8) Rasavahini (Vedeha Thera)
9) Rupa Siddhi (Choliya Buddhappiya)                       10) Saddhamemapayanaya
11) Samantakuta Varnana Gatha (Vedeha Thera)
12) Sambandha Chintha (Sangharakkhitha Sangharaja Thera)
13) Sikkhapada Valajhana (Panchamula Pirivenpathi)
14) Simalankara Sangraha (Vachissara Thera)         15) Simalankara Sangraha Tika
16) Subodhalankaraya (Sangharakkhitha Sangharaja Thera)
17) Susadda Siddhi Vyakarana                                    18) Thupavamsa (Vachissara Thera)
19) Vinaya Sarattha Dipani (Vachissara Thera)         20) Vinaya Vinishchaya Tika (Buddhadatta Thera)
21) Vuththodaya Pali Chandas

Attribution

References
1) de Silva, N., 1990. Sri Lankan architecture during the period 1200-1500 A.D.. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.76-77.
This page was last updated on 3 April 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Galle Fort Ambalama

Galle Fort Ambalama
The Galle Fort Ambalama is located in Court Square in the ancient Galle Fort premises, Sri Lanka.

Ambalama
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were traveling to distant places.

Structure
The brick-built structure is relatively small and has been built on an elevated square-shaped platform. Four cylindrical pillars erected at the four points of the platform make the the inner space of the Ambalama but they are not bound by any side walls. The roof tha Ambalama is held by the four cylindrical pillars and has been tiled with semi-cylindrical clay tiles (Sinhala Ulu).

Attribution
1) SLGalleFortAmbalama by Greenleaf~enwiki is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Location Map

This page was last updated on 1 April 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Koneswaram Temple, Trincomalee

Koneswaram Temple
Koneswaram Temple (also known as Thirukkoneswaram Kovil) is a famous Hindu Kovil/temple in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. The temple has been built on the top of a rock situated on the brink of the sea and can be reached through the main entrance of Fort Fredrick. Koneswaram is traditionally considered as one of the ancient Saiva shrines in Sri Lanka.

History
The origin of the Koneswaram temple is obscure (Gunasingam, 1975). However, its history can be combined with the nearby Trincomalee harbor, one of the ancient sea-ports in the country. Trincomalee was a well-known harbor in the region and Koneswaram may has been built on this sea-port to fulfill the religious needs of the Hindus of the area as well as the merchants who landed at the port. The Indian Hindu text Vayu Purana (this ancient work is generally assigned to the first half of the 1st-millennium A.D.) mentions about a temple of Siva named Gokarneswaram located on the eastern coast of an island (Gunasingam, 1975).
"30. In that island, on the eastern shore of the sea there is Gokarna, the great shrine of Sankara."
Reference: Tagare, 1987. p.311. 
This Siva temple is believed by some as the present Koneswaram temple (Gunasingam, 1975).

The Sri Lankan Pali chronicle Mahawamsa refers to the existence of a temple of God on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka during the reign of King Mahasena [(277-304 A.D.) Gunasingam, 1975]. According to Mahawamsa (Chapter XXXVII: 40-41), King Mahasena founded three Buddhist Viharas at Gokanna, Erakavilla, and Brahman Kalnda by destroying the temples of Brahmanical gods (Geiger, 1912). The Mahavamsa Tika reveals that the Gokanna Vihara was on the coast of the eastern sea while the other two in the region of Rohana (Geiger, 1912). The Gokarna temple of Mahawamsa is thought to be the same one mentioned by Vayu Purana (Gunasingam, 1975).

Daksina Kailasa Manmiam, a section of the Sanskrit Skanda Purana (about 8th century A.D.) mentions that from very ancient times nine sacred shrines were famous for the Hindus. Among them, two were in Sri Lanka namely Koneswaram and Tiruketheeswaram (Navaratnam, 1998).

Inscriptions
A slab inscription known as the Nilaveli record was found within the premises of Pillayar temple in Nilaveli, a small town located 14 km northwest of the Trincomalee town (Gunasingam, 1975). This record contains 14 lines of writing indited in an admixture of Grantha and Tamil characters and has been dated to the early 11 century A.D.; the beginning of the Cola rule in Sri Lanka (Gunasingam, 1975). According to Gunasingam, the palaeography of this inscription very closely resembles that of the periods of Rajaraja I (c. 985-1014 A.D.) and Rajendra I [(c. 1014-1044 A.D.) Gunasingam, 1975].

This inscription records about a donation of two hundred and fifty Veli of irrigated and unirrigated lands to a temple named Maccakesvaram at Tirukonamalai (present Trincomalee) to meet its daily expenses (Gunasingam, 1975). The Maccakesvarama temple, referred to in the inscription, is said to be the present Koneswaram temple (Gunasingam, 1975).

Besides the Nilaweli inscription, another reference to the Koneswaram is found in the Manankeni inscription of Cola Illankesvaradeva, the representative of Sri Lanka of Cola King Rajendra I (Gunasingam, 1975).

Portuguese Period
The Koneswaram temple was looted in 1624 by Portuguese and then it was completely demolished by Constantine de Sa in order to employ its materials for the building of the fort (Navaratnam, 1998). Some of the statues in the temple were taken by locals to Thambalagama where later a temple to the lord of Koneswaram was built by King Rajasinha II [(1635-1687 A.D.) Navaratnam, 1998]

Dutch and British occupation
During the Dutch occupation of Trincomalee, the site was not allowed for the public to perform their religious activities (Navaratnam, 1998). However, the permission was given to them by the British when they displaced the Dutch in 1795 (Navaratnam, 1998).

Present temple
The present Koneswaram temple was constructed by the Hindus on 3 March 1963.

Ruins
In 1944, two images of Vishnu and Lakshmi were unearthed inside the fort area (Navaratnam, 1998). Several bronzes of deities such as Ganesha (standing) and Parvati (seated, standing), Siva (seated), and Chandrasegara were also discovered from the site, later (Navaratnam, 1998).

A fragmentary slab-inscription of the reign of Rajaraja I
Koneswaram inscription

Reign       : King Rajaraja I (985-1014 A.D.)
Period      : 10th-11th centuries A.D.
Scripts      : Medieval Tamil
Language : Medieval Tamil

This inscribed fragmentary slab was discovered in 1961, by under-water explorers who searched antiquities of the demolished temple at the bed of the nearby sea (Gunasingam, 1979). It is presently preserved in the premises of the Koneswaram Temple.

The remaining slab is about one foot long and six inches wide and contains 9 lines of writing (Gunasingam, 1979). A portion of the meykkirtti (prasasti) of King Rajaraja I (a South Indian king who reigned from 985 to 1014 A.D.) is found recorded on the slab (Gunasingam, 1979).

Lovers' Leap or Ravana's Cleft at Swami Rock temple entrance. baby cots
.
Attribution
1) This image (Koneswaram inscription Pandyan era) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Dushipillai.

References
1) Geiger, W., 1912. The Mahavamsa or The Great Chronicle of Ceylon, translated into English by assisted by Mabel Haynes Bode. p.270.
2) Gunasingam, S., 1979. Trincomalee inscriptions series, No. 2: Three Cola inscriptions from Trincomalee. Published by the author. Peradeniya. pp.1-3.
3) Gunasingam, S., 1975. A Tamil slab inscription at Nilaveli. The Ceylon Journal of the Humanities. Colombo. pp.61–71.
4) Navaratnam, C.S., 1998. Koneswaram: A temple of a thousand columns. North-East Sri Lanka- A compendium: 50th anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence 1948-1998. North-East Provincial Council. pp.159-171.
5) Tagare, G.V., 1987. The Vayu Purana: Part I. UNESCO collection of representative works: India series. p.311

Location Map

This page was last updated on 31 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Parakrama Samudra, Polonnaruwa

Parakrama Samudra
Parakrama Samudra (lit: Sea of Parakrama) is a large man-made irrigation reservoir in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

This shallow reservoir (Z max= 12.7 m) which is extending in an area about 25.5 km2 is considered as one of the larger reservoir of an ancient irrigation system (Schiemer, 2012). It has a natural catchment area of about 75 km2 located on the western side of the lake (Schiemer, 2012). The same side is bordered by the Sudukanda ridge (Schiemer, 2012). The reservoir is mainly fed by a channel from the Amban Ganga river and the inflow is regulated by the anicut at Angamedilla (Schiemer, 2012).

Parakrama Samudraya is said to be a result of connecting three original reservoirs (Schiemer, 2012). The northernmost reservoir is the oldest and referred to as Topa Wewa built around 386 A.D. (Schiemer, 2012). The middle part represents the Eramudu Wewa and the southernmost part is the Dumbutula Wewa. The middle and southern parts of the reservoir were constructed during the reign of King Parakramabahu the Great [(1153-1183 A.D.) Schiemer, 1981]. The dam of the middle part was destroyed in 1854 and the area subsequently swallowed by the forest (Schiemer, 1981). In 1945, the dam was reconstructed (Schiemer, 1981).

  • Reservoir data

    Length of bund : 12.38 km
    Bund height (Max.) : 9.45 m
    Catchment area : 71.71 km2
    Area at full supply level : 2539.50 Ha.
    Capacity at f. s. l. : 134.07x106 m3
    Dead storage : 18.45x106 m3
  • Sluice & spill data

    No of sluices : Three - (I), (II), (III)
    Sill level : [(I) 51.51 m, (II) 51.82 m, (III) 51.82 M.S.L.]
    Max discharge : (I) 13.02 m3/s, (II) 4.53 m3/s, (III) 1.41 m3/s.
    Spills : Natural (N) and Radial gates (RG)
    Sill level : (N) 59.30 m, (RG) 59.15 m
    Length : (N) 121.96 m, (RG) 30.48 m

.
References
1) Schiemer, F., 1981. Parakrama Samudra (Sri Lanka) Project, a study of a tropical lake ecosystem I. An interim review: With 3 figures and 1 table in the text. Internationale Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie: Verhandlungen, 21(2), pp.987-993.
2) Schiemer, F., 2012. Limnology of Parakrama Samudra—Sri Lanka: A case study of an ancient man-made lake in the tropics (Vol. 12). Springer Science & Business Media. pp.1,4-5.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 29 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dipa Uyana, Polonnaruwa

Deepa Uyana
Dipa Uyana (lit: the Island Park) is an archaeological site situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. 

History
This site has been identified as the Dipa Uyana (the Island Park) built by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D.). King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) built his audience hall within this park and renamed it as the Kaling Uyana (the Kalinga Park). 

The site
The site is located to the west of the walls of the Palace of Parakramabahu the Great and extends up to the verge of the Parakrama Samudra reservoir (Wikramagamage, 2004). The ruins of many important monuments including the Council Chamber of Nissankamalla are found located within this premises. To the extreme south of the site is a bathing pond which could be the Ananta Naga Pokuna built by King Parakramabahu the Great. The water to the pond had been supplied from the Parakrama Samudra reservoir by using a conduit (Wikramagamage, 2004). The ruins of a building, probably a summer house is found on a small nearby island located in the Parakrama Samudra reservoir (Wikramagamage, 2004). 

References
1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.204-205.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 29 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Naigala Raja Maha Viharaya

Naigala Viharaya
Naigala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Weeraketiya in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
Naigala Viharaya
The ruins of many ancient structures and monuments such as pillared buildings, Siri Pathul Gal (the Buddha's footprint), urinal stones, Korawak Gal (balustrades), molded stone slabs, Sandakada Pahana (moonstone), Yupa stones (stone pillar of a Stupa) have been found from the Naigala temple. A two-storied image house that belonging to the Anuradhapura period was excavated and conserved in 2013, by the Department of Archaeology. The building is quadrangle in shape and had been built as an image house of Gandhakuti tradition. The Buddha image is believed to be placed in the center of this building.

Among the ruins, there is a carved circular-shaped stone vessel. It is believed that this artifact could be one of vessels that used to hide the Tooth Relic of the Buddha by Sugala Devi during the Polonnaruwa period.

Besides the structural ruins, two rock inscriptions dating back to the 3rd-5th centuries A.D. have also been found in the temple premises.

Inscriptions
Naigala rock inscription no. 1 
Naigala rock inscriptions
This rock inscription was copied by the Department of Archaeology in 1929 (Dias, 1991).
Period: 3rd-4th centuries A.D.
Scripts: Later Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Content: This inscription records about a gift of Kahapanas given for the festival of Ariyavansa at Kala-pavata (Kala Parvata) monastery. The inscription can not be read completely due to its worn condition.
Reference: Dias, 1991.

Naigala rock inscription no. 2
Naigala rock inscriptions
Period: 4th-5th centuries A.D.
Script: Later Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Content: The slaves of the Kala-pavata (Kala Parvata) temple were freed from their compulsory service by the monk of Mahawaka who donated one hundred Kahavanu coins. The merit of this action was to be shared by all beings
References: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage. 

Modern image house
The modern image house of the Naigala temple has a number of paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan style. It has been built in 1880.

A protected site
The ancient monuments of Naigala Purana Vihara (marked in the land plots 9c, 10 & 11 of the village plan no. 244) situated in the village of Agrahara in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Weeraketiya are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 4 June 2004.

Naigala temple Naigala Viharaya Naigala temple Naigala Viharaya
.
References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp. 71,75.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1344. 4 June 2004. p.15.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 25 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Monday, March 23, 2020

Maligatenna Aranya Senasanaya

Maligatenna Viharaya
Maligatenna Viharaya/ Aranya Senasanaya is a Buddhist temple/ a forest monastery located in Malwathuhiripitiya village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
Maligatenna Viharaya
A number of drip-ledged caves have been found from the temple premises. The caves are believed to be there as the abodes of Buddhist monks since the B.C. era. The other cave temples located in the vicinity of the Maligatenna Viharaya such as Uruwala, Pilikuttuwa, Warana, Miriswatta, and Koskandawala have clear archaeological evidence dating back to the pre-Christian era and therefore it has been assumed that this cluster of cave temples including the Maligatenna have existed as one major cave site during the early Anuradhapura period.

In one of the caves, a decorated stone door-frame has been found. Depending on its morphological features some believe that it is a work belongs to the 8th century A.D. Besides that, on the surface of the summit of the Maligatenna rock, a number of rock-carved holes used to install the pillars (probably the pillars of an ancient structure) have been identified. A Bodhi-tree surrounded by a rampart is also found on the rock summit.

The present temple and the forest monastery was established in this ancient site in 1924 with the efforts of a Buddhist monk named Menikdivela Sri Devananda Thera.

Folklore
As mentioned in the legends related to the cave temples of Pilikuttuwa and Asgiriya, the caves of the Maligatenna temple are also said to be used by King Valagamba as a hideout during the reign of the Five Dravidians (five Indian invaders who ruled Anuradhapura Kingdom from 103 to 88 B.C.). It is also believed by the locals that the Tooth Relic of the Buddha which was in the custody of Hiripitiye Diyawadana Nilame was kept here before it was carried to the temple at Delgamuwa during the 16th century.

A protected site
The rock caves in the lower courtyard and the pathway wall in the upper courtyard and flight of steps known as Degaldoruwa of the Maligatenna Aranya Senasana situated in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 297-Malwathuhiripitiya, in the Mahara Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

Maligatenna temple Maligatenna Viharaya
.
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.533.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 23 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Buddha Walawwa, Nagadeepa

Buddha Walawwa Viharaya
Buddha Walawwa Viharaya is a small Buddhist temple located about 950 m away from the Purana Nagadeepa Viharaya in the island of Nagadeepa (Tamil: Nainativu), Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

Folklore
Buddha Walawwa statue
Locals believe that Buddha Walawwa was one of the places visited by Manimekalai, a Buddhist nun who is mentioned in Manimekalai, a great epic of the Indian Tamil literature composed in about the 6th century. According to Manimekalai, the Buddhist nun Manimekalai was taken without her knowledge to the island of Manipallawam (believed to be present Nagadeepa/Nainativu island) by a goddess named Manimekhala. On the island, Manimekalai found herself alone and confused by this sudden happening. But later she experienced a series of incidents related to the Buddha, and several other miraculous things (Manimekalai: Cantos VIII-XI).

In the present day, there are some places on this island with the names related to the Buddha such as Buddha Pallanka, Buddha Thottam, and Buddha Karni. The Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya, the main Buddhist shrine in Nagadeepa reveals the strong relation of the island to the Buddha. According to the Pali chronicle Mahawamsa, the Buddha visited Nagadeepa after five years of attaining Enlightenment to settle a dispute that occurred between two Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara. The Tamil epic Manimekhalai also describes the Buddha's intervene in settling a dispute between two Naga princes over a gem-set throne seat on an island known as Manipallavam.

The temple site
The present temple has been built on a land where a stone sculptured Buddha statue was unearthed. The land was originally a property of a Tamil man and later it was bought from him by a Buddhsit monk named Dhammakittitissa Thera.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 22 March 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map