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, February 26, 2021

Bowattegala Caves, Kumana

Bowattegala Len Viharaya is an abandoned Buddhist monastery site (a cave temple) situated within the woods of Kumana National Park in Ampara District, Sri Lanka.

History
As evident by the cave and rock inscriptions in-situ, Bowattegala was an important Buddhist monastery site for centuries before it falling in to ruins (Paranavitana, 1983). A number of caves, mostly with drip-ledges and inscriptions, are found scattered in the site. Some of the caves have the remains of walls.

Inscriptions those have been discovered from the site are belonging to the pre-Christian era as well as to the reigns of King Bhatiya Tissa II (140-164 A.D.) and Jettatissa II [(331-340 A.D.) Dias, 1991; Hettiarachchi, 1990; Paranavitana, 1970; Paranavitana, 1983]. Among them, the inscription of King Jettatissa II helped historians to ascertain that he was a son of King Mahasena [(277-304 A.D.) Dias, 1991].

Inscriptions
A number of cave and rock inscriptions ranging from pre-Christian era to the 6th century A.D. have been discovered from the site (Dias, 1991; Paranavitana, 1970; Paranavitana, 1983). Of them, three inscriptions [Paranavitana, 1970. (IC. Nos. 549, 550, 551)] reveals detail about ten brother kings (Sirisoma, 1990).

Bovattegala inscriptions of ten brother kings
Transcript: Gamani-puta dasha-batikana jhete Shava-jhetuha puta Damarajha Damarajhaha-pute Mahatisha-aye karite ima len[e] Mahashudashane shagasha dine
Translation: The son of Gamani was the eldest of the ten brothers. The son of the eldest of all [the ten brothers] was Dhammaraja. This cave named Mahasudassana which prince Mahatissa, son of Dhammaraja, caused to be established, is given to the Sangha.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970. No. 549. p.42.

According to scholars such as Sirisoma and Medhananda, the aforesaid inscription (No. 549) refers to ten brother kings who were the sons of a "Gamini" and the eldest of them had son Dammaraja whose son was Mahatissa (Medhananda, 2003; Sirisoma, 1990). The second inscription (No. 550) reveals the name "Uti rajha" (King Uttiya) who was also one of the ten brother kings (Medhananda, 2003; Sirisoma, 1990). According to that inscription, Gamani was the father of Uti and Abhaya was his son (Medhananda, 2003; Sirisoma, 1990). Anuradhi (Anuradha) was the daughter of Abhaya (Medhananda, 2003; Sirisoma, 1990). The third inscription (No. 551) again refers to Mahatissa, the son of Dhammaraja (Paranavitana, 1970). These three inscriptions mention the names of two of the ten brother kings (Sirisoma, 1990). However, the identity of this lineage of rules remains uncertain to date (Medhananda, 2003).

A contemporary inscription in Mottayakallu in Ampara District, mentions a person named Uparaja Naga who was the Javaka leader of the ten brother kings (Paranavitana, 1970). The only reference to ten brother kings in literature is found in Dhatuvamsa and according to that, the ten brother kings are Ksatriyas from Kataragama (or a regal line related to them) and they were put to death by Gotabhaya [(3rd century B.C.) Sirisoma, 1990]. 

References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.91,93.
2) Hettiarachchi, A.S., 1990. Investigation of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century inscriptions. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)]. Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume II: Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.69,73-74.
3) Medhananda, Ven. Ellawala, 2003. Pacheena passa - Uttara passa: Negenahira palata ha uturu palate Sinhala bauddha urumaya (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-686-112-9. pp.85-90.
4) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.37, 42-43.
5) Paranavitana, S., 1983. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part I. Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka. p.123.
6) Sirisoma, M.H., 1990. Brahmi inscription of Sri Lanka from 3rd century B.C. to 65 A.D. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)]. Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume II: Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.22.

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Diyagama Inscription

Diyagama inscription (also known as Pelunu-gala inscription) is a rock inscription discovered from Diyagama in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. It is presently placed in a plot of land situated about 8 km distance above the Kalu Ganga river mouth.

Pelunu-gala in Sinhala means "the split rock". This inscription is known by that name because of the split rock that is in the middle of the Kalu Ganga River near the location of this inscription.

The location & the discovery
The inscription has been engraved on the surface of a rock boulder at Diyagama close to the Kalu Ganga river. In ancient times, Diyagama is believed to be a port of the Kalu Ganga river and the area located to the north of it belonged to the old division Kalyani-desa, originally the Kingdom of Kalyani (Katupotha, 2011; Nicholas, 1963).

The inscription was first recorded by E. Muller in the 19th century (Muller, 1883). It had been brought to the attention of Muller by Waskaduwe Sri Subuthi Thera (Katupotha, 2011; Muller, 1883).

Content
The inscription is believed to have been indited in or before the 5th century A.D. (Katupotha, 2011; Muller, 1883). It has four lines of writing. Of them, several letters in the first three lines are missing due to the weathering of the rock. It records a temple named Kalaka Mahavihara, an old Buddhist temple in Kalutara which no longer exists (Nicholas, 1963). The market-town of Kaliniya (present Kelaniya) is another name found in the inscription (Abeyawardana, 2002; Nicholas, 1963).

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. pp.104-105.
2) Katupotha, J., 2011. Cultural and Historical Monuments and Protected Resources of Archaeological Significance in the Lower Kalu Ganga Basin, Sri Lanka. Conference PaperNational Archaeological Symposium 2011. pp.197-213.
3) Muller, E., 1883. Ancient Inscriptions in Ceylon. London. pp.48,77,111.
4) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.118. 

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Akurugoda Pillar Inscription

Akurugoda Pillar Inscription is a lithic record discovered from the urban mound of Akurugoda in Tissamaharama, in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

The pillar
The record has been engraved on two faces of an octagonal pillar of granite of about 30 feet tall (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 2001). It was brought to the attention of scholars for the first time in 1884 by H. Parker and then by E. R. Ayrton (Paranavitana, 2001; Parker, 1884). After Ayrton, the pillar itself had got buried again and its exact location remained unknown to archaeologists until 1951 (Paranavitana, 2001). The pillar is said to had been broken into two fragments when it was rediscovered by the Archaeological Department (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Content
The language of the Akurugoda record is Sinhala Prakrit and it is written in later-Brahmi characters (Abeyawardana, 2004). Scholars have dated this inscription to the 1st century A.D. (Abeyawardana, 2004; Somadeva, 2006).

Transcript : Siddham, Yage dhama sebaye nama Saga-vadama ne nama......>>
Translation: Success!, The sacrifice is, Dharma; it is also to be accepted as the Good,......>>
Notes: The record is composed like a poem, and it mentions the conversion of a viceroy named Naka to the Buddhist faith.
Reference: Paranavitana, 2001. Abeyawardana, 2004.

An inscription containing similar text to the Akurugoda inscription has also been found engraved on a rock at Kirinda Raja Maha Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 2001; Somadeva, 2006). According to the view of Paranavitana, the record in Kirinda has been set up by the monks of the monastery at which the Prince Naka declared his profession of faith while the record at Akurugoda has been set up by the prince himself at his place of residence (Paranavitana, 2001).

As stated by scholars, these two inscriptions are unique and bear a political significance (Abeyawardana, 2004). Nicholas has given a short description about its significance as follows;
"The chronicles give us to understand that from B.C. 246 onwards Buddhism was the firm and only faith of the Sinhalese monarchy and people, and the accuracy of that assertion is not impugned by this solitary instance of one dissident prince professing other beliefs and recanting them in favour of Buddhism. This singular event is not recorded in the Chronicles or Commentaries, but it was apparently of sufficient local importance for the recantation to be publicised by the engraving of two inscriptions, one at the Uvaraja's seat (Mahagama) and the other at the Vihara where the conversion occurred".
Citation: Nicholas, 1963. pp.62-63.
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.123,141-142. 
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). pp.62-63.
3) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.211-214
4) Parker, H., 1884. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Report on archaeological discoveries at Tissamaharama in the southern province of Ceylon. Vol: VIII. Part: I. No:27. pp.86-87.
5) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in archaeology at Uppsala University. pp.131,429.

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Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya

The Grand Hotel is a star-class hotel situated in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

History
On 11 August 1828, Sir Edward Barnes, the then British Governor of Ceylon (1824-1831 A.D), mandated a home for the British residents in Nuwara Eliya and in the next year (1829) he established his residence also there, by the name "Barnes Hall" (Abeyawardana, 2004). In 1831, Barnes left Sri Lanka and the home fell into the hands of his successor, Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton (governed: 1831-1837 A.D.). In 1843, the Barnes hall was purchased by Reginald Beauchamp Downall, a British plantation owner and member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon. He operated it as a guest house until the property was sold to the Nuwara Eliya Hotels company in 1891, which converted by them to the present Grand Hotel. 

A protected monument
The building known as “Grand Hotel” bearing Assessment No. 17, in Grand Hotel Road in the Administrative Limits of Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council in Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 February 2007. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.211.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.127.

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Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya

Victoria Park is an urban park located in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

The park was established in 1897. In 1917, a Cyprus tree was planted in the park to commemorate World War I of 1914 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Presently, the park extends in an area of about 12 hectares (Abeyawardana, 2004). Initially, it had a large extent of the land but it got reduced later as utilization of some of the lands for civic purposes (Abeyawardana, 2004). Presently, the park is maintained by the Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.209-210.

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Stupas of Delft Island, Jaffna

Delft Stupas
A site with the remains of a Buddhist temple has been discovered from the north-western part of the Delft Island, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka (Devendra, 1969; Dias et al., 2016; Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987; Wijebandara, 2014). The area where these ruins are scattered is presently known as Vetiyaracan Kottai (the Fort of Vedi Arasan) by the locals (Goonatilake et al., 2013; Wijebandara, 2014).

History
This site is identified as the only place on the island that had been subjected to the earliest human activity (Dias et al., 2016). It is estimated that their origin dates back to the 2nd century B.C. (Dias et al., 2016; Wijebandara, 2014). However, definitive evidence about the construction of the Stupas on the island is obscure up to date (Dias et al., 2016; Wijebandara, 2014). Sri Lankan chronicles reveal that there was a number of Buddhist temples in the Jaffna Peninsula during the Anuradhapura Period (Goonatilake et al., 2013). According to the view of Ragupathy, this site possibly a place of Buddhist warship patronized by the ancient traders (Ragupathy, 1987). It could have abandoned after Hindu influence that took place intensively in the time of the Jaffna principality (Ragupathy, 1987).

Local legends
Local people identify this site as Vetiyaracan Kottai (the Fort of Vedi Arasan) because they believe that these ruins belong to Vetiyaracana (or Vedi Arasan), a legendary Tamil figure (said to be the king of Mukkuvar caste) found in local tradition (Devendra, 1969; Ragupathy, 1987).

Stupas and other ruins
Delft Stupas
There are remains of Buddhist Stupas and other ancient structures including fragmented Buddha statues, Yantra-gal, socket stones, etc. (Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987). These remains are scattered in an area of about 15-20 acres (Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987). Apparently, these structures had been built using chiselled and unchiselled corals (Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987).

Stupas
Circular basements of three Stupas have been identified at the site (Devendra, 1969; Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987). In 1969, Devendra recorded about a fragment of a Dagaba-spire (Kot-Kerelle - the upper portion of a Stupa) he observed during a visit to the site (Devendra, 1969). The Stupa basements were partially restored by the Department of Archaeology in the late 1970s (Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987).

The main Stupa has been built in the highest elevation in the area and its remaining base is 34 feet in diameter (Dias et al., 2016). Recent restorations have made it a 3 feet high monument (Dias et al., 2016; Wijebandara, 2014). The bases of two other small Stupas are found on the west and the east of the main Stupa (Dias et al., 2016; Wijebandara, 2014). The Stupa base at the eastern side has a diameter of 10 feet (Wijebandara, 2014). Ruins of some ancient structures are also found in the north-eastern part of the main Stupa (Wijebandara, 2014).

Other artifacts
Analysis of pottery remains (such as black and redware, roulette ware) that were discovered from the site have revealed evidence of the first few centuries of the Christian era (Goonatilake et al., 2013; Ragupathy, 1987). In 1987, Ragupathy recorded fragments of copper, iron tools (nail), iron slags, pestle stones, grooved tiles, carnelian beads, glass beads and a copper coin that belonged to King Sahassamalla (c.1200-1202 A.D.), from this site (Ragupathy, 1987).

Destruction
Most of the ruins of ancient structures have been moved by locals to construct fences, wells, and other structures (Goonatilake et al., 2013).

A protected site
The ancient Vediarasan Fort situated close to Mangaraikarasi Vidyalaya belonging to Delft Grama Niladhari Division bearing No. J-1 in the Divisional Secretariat Divison of Delft West is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

Destroyed Buddhist ruins
.
Attribution

References
1) Devendra, D.T., 1969. A ruined Dagaba in Delft. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 13, pp.i-iii.
2) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.217-218. 
3) Goonatilake, S. de A., Ekanayake, S., Kumara, T.P., Liyanapathirana, D., Weerakoon, D.K., and Wadugodapitiya, A. 2013. Sustainable Development of Delft Island: An ecological, socio-economic and archaeological assessment. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Colombo, Sri Lanka & Government of Sri Lanka. pp.29-30.
4) Ragupathy, P. 1987. Early settlements in Jaffna, An archaeological survey. Published by Mrs. Thilimalar Ragupathy. Madras. pp.17-22.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.129
6) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.62-63.

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Somawathiya Viharaya

Not to be confused with Somawathi Stupa, Dambulla

Somawathiya Viharaya
Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Polonnaruwa District, Sri Lanka.

History
Somavathi Vihara is believed to have been constructed by Prince Giri Abhaya, the brother-in-law of Prince Kavantissa of Ruhuna [(205-161 B.C.) Ranawella, 2005]. The chronicle Dhatuvamsa states that Somawathi Vihara was situated in the same region close to the Mangala Maha-cetiya built by Kavantissa (Ranawella, 2005). However, some inscriptions discovered from the Somawathiya premises have proved beyond doubt that it was not the Vihara built by Giri Abhaya but that it is a Vihara named Pajina Nakela Araba built by a Prince named Nakula, son of King Mahadatika Mahanaga [(9-21 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1983; Paranavitana, 2001; Ranawella, 2005].

Decadence and restoration
The Stupa and the temple fell into decay after the Polonnaruwa Period and it didn't receive the attention of Buddhists until the 20th century. A gazette published on 29 August 1947 declared the entrust of the custody of Somawathi Stupa and its environs to Ven. Sirimalvatte Sri Piyaratana Nayaka Thera by the then British Governor Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore (Wikramagamage, 2004). The repaired Stupa was opened for public veneration in 1948 (Wikramagamage, 2004).

The construction of roads and colonization works were begun around the Somawathiya after 1949 and by 1963 the construction work of the access road to the Somawathiya was completed (Wikramagamage, 2004). In 1966, the renovation works of the Stupa was commenced with the participation of the then Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake (Wikramagamage, 2004). The ceremony of enshrining the relics inside the Stupa was held in 1974 and the pinnacle-placing ceremony was held in 1981 under the patronage of the then President J. R. Jayawardena (Wikramagamage, 2004). Presently, a vertical opening has been left on the dome of the renovated Stupa to observe the different phases of construction.

LTTE attack
In 1987, Somawathiya was attacked by LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), a rebel group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries including Sri Lanka, India, the USA, and the EU. They had tried to remove the crest-jewel of the Stupa but abandoned the attempt for some reason (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Inscriptions
A number of inscriptions have been found from the temple premises. Of them, the majority are found on a large boulder at Minvila near the Somawathi Stupa.

Minvila rock inscription I
This inscription records a channel that done by Gamani Abhaya [(2nd century A.D.) Dias, 1991].

Somawathi Stupa slab inscription of Mahanaga
This slab inscription was discovered from the terrace of Somawathi Stupa by W.E. Fernando in 1940 (Paranavitana, 1983). It records the foundation of a monastery named Pajina-Naka-Araba (Pacina Nagarama) by a prince named Nakela, a son of King Mahadatika Mahanaga [(9-21 A.D.) Paranavitana, 1983].

Minvila rock inscription II
The purport of this inscription to record the grant of a village by King Naka Maharaja (Mahadatika Mahanaga) to the monastic establishment founded by his son Nakala (Paranavitana, 1983).

Minvila rock inscription III
The inscription is fragmentary and therefore, it is not possible to ascertain the purport of the record (Paranavitana, 1983).

Minvila rock inscription IV
The inscription records a donation by a king named Gamani Abhaya who is probably King Gajabahu I [(c.113-135 A.D.) Paranavitana, 1983].

Minvila rock inscription V
This inscription has recorded the foundation of a monastic grove in a lake at Raja-alivitiya and attachment of it to the Abhayagiri fraternity by Kanittha Tissa [(2nd century A.D.) Paranavitana, 2001].

Minvila rock inscription VI
This is the longest inscription found on the Minvila rock. It contains the same details engraved on the  Somawathi Stupa slab inscription of Kanittha Tissa [(see below) Paranavitana, 2001].

Somawathi Stupa slab inscription of Kanittha Tissa
This inscription was discovered at a location near Somawathi Stupa in 1954 by the Assistant Archaeological Commissioner for Epigraphy W.S. Karunaratna (Paranavitana, 2001). It records the foundation of a sacred grove and the grant of land made for its maintenance by Kanittha Tissa (Paranavitana, 2001)

Besides the above-mentioned inscriptions, two more lithic records have been found on the rock boulder called Eric Swan (Wikramagamage, 2004). It has got its name because of a photographer (Eric Swan) who was killed in 1952 by a wild elephant near this boulder (Wikramagamage, 2004)

A protected site
The Somawathi Stupa in the No.11 last Bu-lakshana Pumbura land situated in Minvillu village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Aralaganwila is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 7 July 1967.

Somawathi Viharaya
.
References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.29,31.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.42. 
3) Paranavitana, S., 1983. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part I. Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka. pp.1-2,39-40,48,102.
4) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.131-136.
5) Ranawella, S., 2005. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part III. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-91-59-57-7. p.85.
6) The Gazette notification. no: 14756. 7 July 1967. 
7) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.254-256.

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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya

Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya
Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Seruwawila Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Seruwawila in Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. It remains on the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites (UNESCO) since 2006.

History
Seruwila
In about the 2nd century B.C., there was a provincial kingdom named Seru in Seruwawila. According to chronicles such as Dhatuvamsa, Prince Kavantissa of Ruhuna (205-161 B.C.) built a Stupa named Mangala Maha-cetiya there, by enshrining the frontal bone of the Buddha. The Stupa at the present Seruwila Viharaya is identified as that ancient Mangala Maha-cetiya (also known as Tissamaha-vehera) built by Kavantissa (Ranawella, 2005). However, the 10th-century "Seruwila rock inscription of Sirisangabo" which was discovered from the temple premises has referred to the monastery at the site as Kuratis Mahavehera (Ranawella, 2005). This epigraphical evidence, therefore, has raised some doubt regarding the true identity of this site (Ranawella, 2005).
 
Decadence
Over the years, the Seruwila Stupa and the temple fell into decay due to the consequences of the Cola and Pandya invasions from South India (de Thabrew, 2013).

Restoration
The ruined Seruwil Stupa and the temple were rediscovered in 1921 by a Buddhist monk named Ven. Dambagas-are Sri Sumedhankara (1892-1984). He, with the assistance of others, restored the Stupa and the temple (de Thabrew, 2013). The restoration work of the Stupa was completed with pinnacle-placing ceremony held on 8 September 1930 (de Thabrew, 2013).

Inscriptions & other monuments
A few inscriptions belonging to the period between the 2nd century B.C - 10th century A.D. have been found from the site (Dias, 1991; Ranawella, 2005). 
 
Seruwila cave inscription
This cave inscription was copied by the Department of Archaeology in 1949.
Period: 2nd century B.C.               Script: Early-Brahmi               Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Bata Gutaha lene caduke......
Translation: The cave of lord Gutta (is dedicated to the Sangha of) the (four quarters)
Citation: Dias, 1991.p.25.

Seruwila rock inscription
This rock inscription was discovered near a flight of steps and copied by the Department of Archaeology on 2 October 1962.  
Period: 1st century A.D.               Script: Early-Brahmi               Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: (Upa)saka Dataha (lene)
Translation: (The cave of) devotee Datta
Citation: Dias, 1991.p.26.
 
Another two early-Brahmi cave inscriptions belonging to the 2nd and 1st century B.C. have been discovered in the archaeological reserve at Seruwila (Dias, 1991).

Seruwila rock inscription of Sirisangabo
Period: 10th century A.D.          Script: Medieval Sinhala          Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: This fragmentary inscription says it is a boundary stone. It also mentions a monastery named Kuratis Maha-vahara and the names of two Buddhist monks.
References: Ranawella, 2005.
 
Besides inscriptions, the temple also comprises a large number of other monuments including the old entrance gates, image house, ruined monastery buildings, chapter house, ponds, caves with primitive paintings, etc.

An archaeological reserve
The land including the Seruvila Stupa (P.P.S. 96 lot no.1 to 4: consists 84 acres, 0 roods, 29 perches) situated in Seruwawila village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Seruwila is an archaeological reserve, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 16 November 1962.

Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya
.
Reference
1) de Thabrew, W. V., 2013. Monuments and Temples of Orthodox Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka. Author House. p.70.
2) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.25-26,65,68.
3) Ranawella, S., 2005. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part III. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-91-59-57-7. p.85. 
4) The Gazette notification. no: 13394. 16 November 1962.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 21 February 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Uggal Alutnuwara Kataragama Devalaya

Uggal Alutnuwara Kataragama Devalaya
Uggal Alutnuwara Kataragama Devalaya (or Uggal Aluthnuwara Kuda Kataragam Devalaya) is a Devalaya shrine situated in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka.  It has been dedicated to Kataragama Deviyo, a local deity who is believed to be one of the guardians of Buddhism in the country.

History
This shrine is said to have been constructed in the Saka year 1304 (1382 A.D.) by Surya Maha-raja of Surya Mahanuwara (Medagama) who is a descendant of the royal lineage of Sena Sammata (Gnanawimala Thera, 1967). After about 200 years, the shrine was developed by Yapa Maha-raja of the same royal lineage (Gnanawimala Thera, 1967). It is said that Constantino de Sa, the Governor of Portuguese Ceylon from 1618 to 1622, destroyed Medagam Nuwara (Uggal Alutnuwara) when it was the temporary kingdom of Mayadunna the second (Gnanawimala Thera, 1967).

A palm-leaf manuscript (Tudapatha), which is preserved in the Devalaya reveals certain offerings granted to the Devalaya by Pilimatalawe Adikaram in the Saka year 1736 (1814 A.D.), or the 16th regnal year of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe [(1798-1815 A.D.) Gnanawimala Thera, 1967].

A protected site
The Kataragama shrine in Aluthnuwara Perani Uggal Kataragama Devala premises situated in Alutnuwara village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Imbulpe is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 3 September 1999.

Uggal Alutnuwara Kataragama Devalaya Uggal Alutnuwara Kataragama Devalaya Uggal Alutnuwara Kataragama Devalaya
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References
1) Gnanawimala Thera, K., 1967. Saparagamu Darshana (In Sinhala). S. Godage Saha Sahodarayo. pp.254-255.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1096. 3 September 1999.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 21 February 2021
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Dematamal Viharaya

Dematamal Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Okkampitiya in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka.

History
Dematavala, identical to Dematahal, Gamitthavali, or Gamitthapali Vihara founded by King Kavantissa in the 2nd century B.C. is believed to be the present Okkampitiya where the Dematamal Viharaya situated (Nicholas, 1963). A late-Brahmi inscription of King Gothabhaya (253-266 A.D.) has been found in a place called Galkotuwa located in the vicinity of Dematamal Viharaya (Paranavitana, 2001).

The temple is also popular as the place where Prince Tissa took refuge after he was defeated by Prince Gemunu at Yudaganawa.

Dematamal Stupa
The Stupa of Dematamal Viharaya is believed to be one of the oldest Stupas in the country (Paskaran et al., 2011). It is said to have been built by Prince Mahanaga of Ruhuna, a brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(3rd century B.C.) Paskaran et al., 2011].

Restoration
The restoration works of the Stupa was commenced in 1975 and completed in 1990 (Paskaran et al., 2011). It was repaired again in 1992. The present Stupa is 19 m tall (Paskaran et al., 2011).

A protected site
The Stupa, stone pillars, and other ancient structures in Dematamal Vihara premises situated in Okkampitiya village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Buttala are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 27 December 1974.

References
1) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.54.
2) Paskaran, S., Perera, M., Kumara, D., Jayasinghe, T., Jayasinghe, C. and Lewangamage, S., 2011. Study on the cracks developed in Dematamal Viharaya, Uva Province Sri Lanka. Proceeding of the  International Conference on Structural Engineering, Construction and Management (ICSECM-2.11)  Kandy. pp.301-309.
3) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.181-183.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 144. 27 December 1974.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 20 February 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map