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, July 31, 2021

State Pharmaceuticals Corporation Building, Colombo

The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka Building is located on Sir Baron Jayatilaka Mawatha, near the Gaffoor Building in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

History
This building is said to have been constructed in 1854 by John Walker, a Scottish planter who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1842 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

The building
The four-storied building has been constructed following the British architecture (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Although, many alterations have been made to the interior of the building, the facade remains largely unchanged (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The front porch on the ground floor is designed with five arches and subsequent renovations have removed the arches in the back portion of the building (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Presently, the building is used as the headquarters of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPC), a state-owned enterprise established in 1971.

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. p.36.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 31 July 2021
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Old General Post Office, Colombo

The Old General Post Office Building is located on Janadhipathi Mawatha, opposite the President's House in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. It was the headquarters of the Sri Lanka Post and the office of the Postmaster General until it was moved out to a new building in 2000 due to security reasons.

History
This building was designed by Herbert Frederick Tomalin of the Public Works Department and constructed by Wapchi Marikar during the period 1891-1895 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Wright, 1999). The completed building was declared open by Arthur Elibank Havelock, the then British Governor of Ceylon from 1890-1895 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

The building
Constructed on a raised platform, the building can be entered through a wide flight of steps leading to four arch-shaped entrances. The Corinthian, Ionic and Doric pillars with various moldings and decorations have given a majestic appearance to the facade of the building (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A protected monument
The old building called as the General Post Office (G.P.O.), situated on the Janadhipathi Mawatha Street in Colombo Fort in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Colombo is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 21 January 2000. 

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.22-23. 
2) 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. p.25.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1116. 18 June 1999.
4) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. pp.122.

Location Map
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Friday, July 30, 2021

Colombo Club Building

The Colombo Club Building is located at the Taj Samudra Hotel premises overlooking Galle Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

History
The Colombo Club is considered the second-oldest social club in Sri Lanka as well as one of the oldest social clubs in Asia. It was established in 1871 and the then Governor of Ceylon, Sir Hercules Robinson (Governor of British Ceylon: 1865-1872) was among its founding members. In the beginning, its membership was limited to the British and Europeans and the club building was used as a resting place and a pavilion for them for watching horse racing at Galle Face Green (Manathunga, 2016). In 1893, it turned into a clubhouse (Manathunga, 2016).

Attribution

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.45-46.

Location Map
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Lloyd's Buildings, Colombo

The Lloyd's Buildings is an old five-storied building located on the wayside of Sir Baron Jayatilaka Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. 

History
This building was built in 1908 by Clifford Lake and Company in accordance to the design by Edward Skinner, a British architect (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). At the time, it was known by the name "Freudenberg Building" as the main occupant of the building was Freudenberg & Co., an import and export company (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

In the beginning, the Freudenberg and Company used this building for their business activities mainly focused on coffee and oil trading (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Later, Aitken Spence purchased the building and renamed it the "Lloyd's Building".
 
Attribution

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.39. 
2) 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. p.35.

Location Map
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Whiteaways Building, Colombo

The Whiteaways Building is an old three-storied building located on the wayside of Sir Baron Jayatilaka Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. 

History
This building is said to have been built by following a plan by British architect Edward Skinner under the Walker & Company during the period 1905-1908 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Owned by Whiteway, Laidlaw & Co., the building was initially used for various retail trade activities (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Wright, 1999).
 
Attribution

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.29-30. 
2) 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. p.44.
3) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. pp.456.

Location Map
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Wolvendaal Church, Colombo

Wolvendaal Church (Wolvendaalse Kerk) is a Protestant church situated in Pettah in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is considered the first Protestant church in the country and also the only Dutch building in Colombo which is still being used for the same purpose it built (Jayatunga, 2010; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

History
This church was begun to construct in 1749 (the foundation stone was laid in 1749 and the building was dedicated to public worship in 1757 or 1759) by the Dutch Reformed Church with the help of the Dutch East India Company [(Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) Jayatunga, 2010; Lewis, 1913; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018]. A Portuguese church of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was standing at this site is said to have been demolished by the Dutch to occupy the ground for this church building (Jayatunga, 2010; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

Tombstones
A number of tombstones of deceased priests and elites are found on the church premises (Lewis, 1913; Manathunga, 2016). Of them, about 37 tombstones have been fixed onto the floor of the church while a few are in the outer compound (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Some of these tombs are not original to the church and have been brought from other churches outside (Lewis, 1913; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

The church building
The church building is about 100 ft. in height and has been built in accordance to the Dutch Architecture (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The cross-shaped foundation is made with large granite slabs and blocks and the walls have been made of laterite while burnt red bricks were used for the arches (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The walls are about 5 ft. in thickness.

The dome which has been constructed with bricks and cement is considered a special feature of this building. It was damaged by a bolt of lightning in 1856 but repaired later (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

The church building went through renovations in the years 1783, 1856, 1969, and 1992 (Manathunga, 2016). In 2017, the glass windows of the church building were conserved by the Department of Archaeology with the financial assistance of the Government of the Netherlands (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

References
1) Jayatunga, P.A., 2010. Wolvendaal: An Etymological Study. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 56, pp.31-56.
2) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. pp.101-120.
3) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.79-80. 
4) 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.19-20.

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Pravachanodaya Pirivena, Molligoda

Pravachanodaya Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Molligoda in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. Presently it serves as a Pirivena (an educational institute) for Buddhist monks.

History
After the establishment of Vidyoda Pirivena in Colombo (1873), and Vidyalankara Pirivena in Peliyadoda (1876), several Pirivenas were set up around the country mainly to educate Buddhist monks (Abeyawardana, 2002). Pravachanodaya Pirivena in Molligoda was one such institute established in 1891 by a local donor named Liyanage Lewis Perera Vidana-arachchi (Abeyawardana, 2002).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7. p.100.

Location Map
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Sunandarama Pirivena, Ovitigala

Sunandarama Pirivena, Ovitigala
Sunandarama Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Ovitigala in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been established in the second half of the 19th century. Induruwe Medhankara Thera was the first incumbent of the temple.

The image house
Murals in the image house
The old image house of Sunandarama Viharaya is considered the most important monument of the temple. It mainly consists of two parts; the inner chamber and the outer chamber (the vestibule). The inner chamber contains three Buddha statues in the seated, standing and the reclining postures. An entrance decorated with Makara Thorana (the dragon arch) provides access to this chamber. The walls and the ceiling of the outer chamber are filled with old murals depicting Buddhist themes such as Sath Sathiya (the first seven weeks after the enlightenment), Suvisi Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas), and some important events in the life of the Buddha.

Two male figures wearing a colonial dress
The entrance door of the inner chamber is flanked by two lions and two guardian statues. Adjacent to the guardian statues are the paintings of two male figures wearing a dress of the colonial period. The black coat, tight-fitting breeches, pointed shoes have given these figures a western appearance and the white halo around their crowned heads have increased their status among other figures in the vestibule. As both figures have the same features, they probably represent the same person. However, of the two figures, one holds a brown leather-bound book by his right hand.

The front cover as well as the spine of this book contain some words written in Roman and Devanagari characters. The Roman scripts on the front cover label this book as "Denapota" which is probably the incorrect form of the original word "Dinapotha" (Sinhala: the diary), because the word written in Devanagari characters above this Roman word can be pronounced as "Dinapota". The Devanagari word on the spine of the book says "Me Potha" which can be translated from Sinhala to English as "this book". The year 1827 is also denoted in this book.

A protected site
The old Vihara-geya (image house) of Sunandarama Viharaya, situated in Ovitigala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Matugama is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996. 

Sunandarama Pirivena, Ovitigala .
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.

Location Map
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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Ashokarama Maha Viharaya, Kalutara

Ashokarama Maha Viharaya, Kalutara
Ashokarama Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kalutara North in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The image house
According to the details in the plaque fixed on to the front wall of the image house, a wealthy devotee named Wel Arumage Elliyas Fernando established the Ashokaramaya temple in the Buddhist Year 2411 (1868 A.D.) and bestowed it to Buddhist monks headed by Matara Sri Dhammarama Maha Swamipadayan Vahanse. Later, they (the Buddhist monks) handed over the custody of the temple to the lineage of students of Alutgama Sangharatana Maha Sthavira.

The Stupa of the temple, as mentioned on the upper part of it (in the Hatares Kotuwa), has been built in the Buddhist year 2442 (1899 A.D.). The decorative gate in front of it has been constructed by a person named A.F. Jayasekara Dharmasiriwardana Mudiyanse Ralahami.

Murals in the image house .
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Sudarshanarama Viharaya, Dodangoda

Sudarshanarama Viharaya, Dodangoda
Dodangoda Sudarshanarama Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Dodangoda in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
By the 19th century, there were no Buddhist temples in the Dodangoda area and people had to go to Pushparama Viharaya in Malegoda for their religious activities (Priyandana, 2013). Therefore, a new Buddhist temple was established at the present site in Dodangoda under the guidance of a Buddhist monk named Dodangoda Sudassi Thera on 12 August 1855 (Priyandana, 2013). Later, Sudassi Thera handed over the custody of this temple to one of his students named Mawanane Indragupta Thera (Priyandana, 2013).

With the support of local donors such as D.V.W. Kotalawala and K.K.A. Ranaweera, an image house for this temple was begun to construct in 1880 (Priyandana, 2013). In 1911, the preaching hall of the temple was erected (Priyandana, 2013). A Stupa was added to the temple in 1928 (Priyandana, 2013).

The image house
The image house of Sudarshanarama Viharaya
The image house of Sudarshanarama Viharaya is considered the most important monument of the temple as it contains Kandyan mural and sculptures belonging to the second half of the 19th century. It mainly consists of two parts; the old image house and the newly-built outer house. The old image house is 52 ft. long and 45 ft. wide and contains two sections, viz; the inner chamber and the outer chamber (Priyandana, 2013). The inner chamber contains three Buddha statues in the seated, standing and reclining postures. Two entrances provide access to this chamber and a figure of the Queen of Great Britain surrounded by a lion, a unicorn and a royal crown is found over one of these entrances (Priyandana, 2013).
 
The murals in this old image house have been drew between the period 1881-1882 by a painter of the Kadolgalla Sittara lineage (Priyandana, 2013).

Murals of the Kandyan tradition.
References
1) Priyandana, W.H.R., 2013. Dodangoda Sri Sudarshanarama Maha Viharaye Bithusithuwam (In Sinhala). An author publication. pp.1-17

Location Map
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