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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Kota Vehera, Dedigama

Dedigama Kota Vehera
Kota Vehera (also known as Cuthighara/Suthighara Cetiya) is an ancient Stupa located in the village of Dedigama in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along the Nelundeniya - Galapitamada road (B540) about 3.2 km distance from the Nelundeniya junction.

History
Ruins of Dedigama
During the 12-14 centuries A.D., Dedigama served as the residence of provincial leaders of Dakkhinadesa (Abeyawardana, 2002). In several chronicles and inscriptions, Dedigama is called by different names such as Punkhagama (in Pali Mahawamsa), Dathigama (in Thisara Sandeshaya), Jatigama (in Uttamala Sandeshaya) and Gnathigama (In the inscription of King Parakramabahu IV).

The Stupa has been built at the site where King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) was born (Abeyawardana, 2002). According to Mahawamsa, King Manabharana, the father of King Parakramabahu I, used Punkhagama as the capital city of southern locality. It is mentioned that King Parakramabahu I was born there and afterward he had built the Cuthighara (Suthighara) Stupa of 120 cubits (180 ft) tall on the site of the house in which he was born (Nicholas, 1963). The ancient Punkhagama, according to Paranavitana, is the modern Dedigama and the ruined Stupa which is today known as Kota Vehera is the ancient Cuthighara Dagoba built by King Parakramabahu I (Nicholas, 1963).

According to the accounts given in Thisara Sandeshaya (a Sinhalese literary work), Dedigama was the capital of King Parakramabahu V [(1344-1359 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002].

Artifacts
The site was conserved in 1947 by the Archaeological Department after excavations. At present, the Stupa is 47 feet in height and has a diameter of about 804 feet.

During the excavations, a number of artifacts including a unique hanging lamp known as Eth Pahana (elephant lamp) were discovered from the Kotavehera Stupa. Most of antiquities are presently placed in the Dedigama Museum located nearby.

Reliquaries
These two reliquaries which are made of gold were discovered from the Kota Vehera Stupa. The larger reliquary is 8.7 cm in height and represents a miniature Stupa of Amalaka fruit shape. A small crystal reliquary containing the relics in a gold capsule was found enshrined within this large reliquary. The Hathares Kotuwa (the square enclosure) and the Koth Kerella over the dome part represent the Stupa form characteristic of the 12th century.

The small reliquary which also has a shape similar to the larger reliquary is representative of the early medieval Stupa form of Sri Lanka.
Reference: National Museum of Colombo

Meditating Buddha
A seated Buddha statue depicting meditation has been discovered from the Dedigama Kota Vehera Stupa and presently on the display at the National Museum of Colombo. This gold colour statue with an inner core of Sandalwood paste is about 16 cm in height and a work belonging to the 12th century A.D.

The statue depicts the Buddha in meditation (Samadhi) posture. The Buddha is sitting on a pedestal decorated with Vajra symbol which is considered as a common element found during the Polonnaruwa Period. Behind the Buddha is a decorated Makara Thorana (a dragon arch) adorned with gem stones. The dragon arch is held in position by two pillars and also by two rampant lions.
Reference: National Museum of Colombo

A stone-slab inscription of King Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.) is found set up near the Bodhi-tree in the Dedigama Raja Maha Viharaya premises situated in front of the Kota Vehera. 
Dedigama slab inscription
Reign : 9th regnal year of Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.)
Period  : 15th century A.D.
Script   : Modern Sinhala
Language : Modern Sinhala
Content :  The    inscription    was    indited    on    stone    by
Vikramasingha Adhikara on the orders  of  his  majesty, King
Bhuvanekabahu  VI.  It   has  been  established  to   allay  the 
suspicion of fear from the minds of the people of the Satara 
Korale   who   were    subdued   after    a    rebellion   against
King  Bhuvanekabahu VI.  According   to  the  inscription,  an
amnesty was granted to the inhabitants of the Satara Korale,
by the king.
Citation  : The information board at the site by the Department
of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.
Dedigama slab inscription
The larger Stupa has been built by covering a small Stupa The relic chamber of the small Stupa
.
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.59-60.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.123.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya

Nawagamuwa temple
Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya and Purana Viharaya (or Sri Sugatha Bimbaramaya) are located in Nawagamuwa village, Colombo District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along Kaduwela-Avissawella road about 4.5 km distance from Kaduwela town. The site is popular among the people as a place where they can receive the blessings of Pattini, the patron goddess of fertility and health.

Legends
The most popular legend links the history of Nawagamuwa Devalaya to the period of King Gajabahu I [(112-134 A.D.) Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018]. According to the legend, King Gajabahu, after invading the South India, brought the anklet of Pattini with him and also a large number of Chola men as prisoners (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). On his return to Sri Lanka, the ship was hit by a storm and the king finally landed at Nawagamuwa where he built a Devalaya by enshrining the Pattini anklet (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

History
The preaching hall
During the Kotte Period (1412-1597 A.D.), this place was used as a jetty on the road connecting Colombo with Hanwella, Malwana, and Gurubewila (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

As mentioned in the Godagama Sannasa, the Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya has been called during the early period as Pattini Kovila and according to the details given in the Sannasa, King Buvanekabahu VI (1472-1480 A.D.) had offered a gift of oil for the Perahera ceremony of Nawagamuwa Pattini Kovila (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

It is said that King Mayadunne (1521 - 1581 A.D.) had stopped at the Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya to make a vow prior to his departure to war against the Portuguese in the Colombo Fort. In 1576, the Portuguese made a military establishment on the site by destroying the Devalaya but it was recaptured and rebuilt by King Mayadunne. However, the Devalaya was again destroyed by the Portuguese in 1594 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Later renovations have been done to the temple during the period 1813-1920 by caretakers of the temple including Sri Sumanatissa Thera.

Findings
Excavations around the Devalaya premises have unearthed a number of artifacts including building materials, Dutch coins, Ura Keta Lin (wells)  and metallic statues, etc. (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

A protected site
The old image house, Galkanu Devalaya, Sri Maha Pattini Devalaya, Vishnu Devalaya, Kataragama Devalaya, Dedimunda Devalaya, the monks' dwelling, and the yard with the grove of ancient Na trees in the premises of Nawagamuwa Devala situated in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Kaduwela are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 February 2002.

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.105-106.
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. pp.63-64.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 February 2002.

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Uthuwankanda Saradiel's Rock

Utuwankanda
Uthuwankanda (also known as Saradiel's rock) is a rock located in Mawanella, Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. According to locals, Uthuwankanda was the hideout of Sura Saradiel, a legendary personality who is popularly known among the people as the Robin Hood of Sri Lanka.

Saradiel
Deekirikevage Saradiel (popularly known as Utuwankande Sura Saradiel) is famous among the locals as a figure who supports the poor and the downtrodden by robbing the British administrators and their native supports (Abeyawardana, 2002). Uthuwankanda mountain was his hideout and from where he carried out numerous raids. However, Saradiel was captured by Police and taken to the gallows on 7 May 1864.

Presently, the area including the Uthuwankanda rock has been promoted as a destination for cultural tourism by the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council.

Attribution
1) Utuwankanda by Milan.Shashintha is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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.53-54.

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Roland Silva

Deshamanya Dr. Sembukutti Arachchilage Roland Silva (1933-1 Jan. 2020) was an eminent archaeologist of Sri Lanka. He was the Commissioner of Archaeology in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 1991 and the founder of Central Cultural Fund.

He passed away on 1st January 2020, after a brief illness at the age of 87 .

Education
University of Leiden, Netherlands (Ph.D.)

Known for
2008-2013: Chancellor, University of Moratuwa.
1996-1998: President of the Council of Archaeologists, Sri Lanka.
1990-1999: President, ICOMOS International, Paris.
1983-1991: Commissioner of Archaeology, Sri Lanka.
1982-1991: President, ICOMOS Sri Lanka.
1980-1997: Founder and the first Director General of the Central Cultural Fund.
1972-1973: President of the Ceylon Institute of Architects.

Bibliography
Notes: This list may incomplete.
1968
Prematilleke, L. and Silva, R., 1968. A Buddhist Monastery Type of Ancient Ceylon Showing Mahāyānist Influence. Artibus Asiae, pp.61-84.
1982
Silva, R., 1982. The engineering principles behind the largest brick monuments of the ancient world. The colossal Stupas of Sri Lanka.

Awards
2005: Deshamanya: National Award Conferred by the President of Sri Lanka.
2004: Fukuoka Prize for Arts and Culture: Fukuoka City International Foundation.
1999: Piero Gazzola awar: International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
1992: Vidya Jyothi: National Award Conferred by the President of Sri Lanka.

References
1) The official website of Presidential Secretariat Sri Lanka: National Honours.
Disclaimer
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The information published in this biography have been extracted from reliable sources but we, Lanka Pradeepa (lankapradeepa.com) assumes no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate or outdated content in this page.

Malini Dias

Dr. Malini Dias is an archaeologist and was the Director of Epigraphy & Numismatics of the Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka from 1968-2004. She is the present vice-president of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.

Education
1986-1989: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Ph.D.)
1962-1966: University of Peradeniya (BA)
1959-1962: Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo

Known for
2011-present : Vice President Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.
1968-2004    : Director of Epigraphy and Numismatics, Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka

Bibliography
Notes: This list may incomplete.
2016
Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016: The Archaeological heritage of Jaffna Peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo.
1991
Dias, M., 1991: Epigraphical notes Nos. 1-18., Department of Archaeology. Colombo.
Dias, M., 1991: ඓතිහාසික බදුල්ල (Aithihasika Badulla). Department of Archaeology. Colombo.

Awards
2014: Gold Award for Archaeology, Uruma Prasada Pranama Festival, 22 Dec. 2014.

Disclaimer
By accessing this website, we hope that you are accepting the following disclaimer notice.
The information published in this biography have been extracted from reliable sources but we, Lanka Pradeepa (lankapradeepa.com) assumes no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate or outdated content in this page.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thivanka Image House, Polonnaruwa

Thivanka Pilimage
The Thivanka Pilimage/ Pilima Geya (or Tivanka image house) is a Gedige (vaulted) type image house located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. This image house is famous across the country for its 12th-century paintings belonging to the Polonnaruwa Period (1017-1232 A.D.).

History
Constructed by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D.), Thivanka Pilimage was the image house that belonged to the Jetavanarama monastery (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Rediscovery
The image house which was covered by jungle for about five centuries was rediscovered in 1885, by S. M. Burrows (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Image house
Thivanka Pilimage
The walls and the roof of Thiwanka Pilimage have been completely built out of bricks and therefore, known as a Gedige type image house (Wikramagamage, 2004). There are three examples of this type of vaulted-roof shrines at Polonnaruwa; viz: Thivanka Pilimage, Lankathilaka Pilimage, and Thuparama Pilimage. The original brick vaulted roof of the image house, however, no longer exists but a fragment of it still visible at the south of the shrine.

The image house is about 133 ft. long and the ground plan mainly consists of four parts, viz: the Garbhagrha (the sanctum), the Antarala (the vestibule), the Mandapa and the entrance porch (Prematilleke, 1990). The main entrance of the shrine is facing the east and a flight of steps associated with two Korawak Gal (balustrades) and two Muragal (guard stones) can be seen at the beginning of the entrance. A subsidiary entrance/exit is found on the north wall of the Mandapa (Prematilleke, 1990).

The standing Buddha statue
A giant headless standing Buddha statue with broken hands is found in the Garbhagrha. The statue is standing on a lotus base in a relaxed posture and is considered a unique piece of work belongs to the Polonnaruwa Period. The statue is bent at three places, namely the shoulder, the waist, and the knee and therefore called as a Thivanka/Tribhanga (meaning three bends) statue. The image house is today called as Thivanka Pilimage due to this large bent Buddha statue.

The Buddha statue has been built attached to a screen wall. Between the screen wall and the inner side of the rear wall of the image house is a narrow ambulatory (Ray 1960). The ambulatory is 4 ft. 6 in. in breadth and the two walls (the screen wall and the rear wall) are joined together at a height of 19 ft. 8 in. (Ray 1960). Besides the ambulatory at the ground floor level, it is said that there was another ambulatory around the statue on the upper level. 

The exterior walls of the image house have been adorned with decorative sculptures depicting miniature edifices (Vimana) together with Bodhisattvas, deities, lions, swans and the dwarf figures in various postures.

Paintings
The Thivanka image house is most noteworthy for its paintings of the Polonnaruwa Period. It is the only image house in the ancient Polonnaruwa city that retains most of the original paintings that decorated the monument (Prematilleke, 1990).

The inner walls of the image house are adorned with paintings depicting certain incidents from the life of the Buddha and Jataka stories (stories of past births of the Buddha). The walls of the entrance porch and Mandapa are filled with murals showing Jataka stories such as Sasa, Vessanthara, Guttila, Sama, etc. (Wikramagamage, 2004).  Several incidents from the Buddha's life such as Devaradhana (the Gods'request), and the Buddha's decent from heaven to the City of Sankassa etc. are found drawn on the inner walls of the Garbhagrha (Prematilleke, 1990).

A Thivanka Pilimage painting (replica: Colombo National Museum)Buddha in a rowing boat 
(Thivanka Pilimage, 12th century A.D.)

This is a replica of the original painting extracted from Thivanka Pilimage and presently on the display at the National Museum of Colombo. The location of this painting can not be identified as it is completely faded away from the image house.

The painting depicts a life incident of the Buddha but the exact scene is not identified yet. The Buddha in the painting is sitting on a boat with several other human figures. The left hand of the Buddha is resting on his left knee while the right hand is placed on the lap. Two figures (apparently a royal couple) is standing on the boat to the left of the Buddha and another figure is standing at the other side. Two boatmen at either end are rowing the boat.

Stucco decorative sculptures
Stucco decorative sculptures from Lankatilaka & Tivanka image houses
Several head fragments of stucco sculptures recovered from Lankatilaka and Tivanka image houses in Polonnaruwa have been presently preserved in the National Museum of Colombo. These clay-made figures that formed decorative friezes of the plinths of the aforesaid two image houses have a humorous and dwarfish countenance. The hairstyles, broad lips, teeth, and large open eyes have also intensified the amusing appearance of these figures.

These decorative sculptures belong to the 12th century A.D. and are examples of the primitive clay figurines of the ancient folk art tradition.

Ancient paintings Ancient paintings Korawak Gala The decorated outer wall
.
References
1) Prematilleke, L., 1990. The architecture of the Polonnaruwa Period B.C.800-1200 A.D. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.51-52.
2) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part II). Ceylon University Press. pp.597-598.
3) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.225-226.

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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Kayts Island Fort

Kayts Island Fort
The Kayts Island Fort is an old Portuguese fort located on the island of Kayts, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

History
According to the account by Rev. Philippus Baldaeus (1632-1671 A.D.), a Dutch minister who was in Jaffna during the Dutch Period of Ceylon, the fort was in a state of ruins at the time the Dutch conquered Jaffna in 1658 (Pearson, 1923). However, a fort named Oude Fort is mentioned near Kayts, in the maps of Jaffna islands drawned by Baldaeus (Pearson, 1923).

However, the villagers used to call this fort as Urindi-kotte (Pearson, 1923). According to the opinion of some, the name Uruindi-kotte may give the meaning as "the round fort" (Pearson, 1923). Penn, a visitor who wrote an account about this fort in the Colombo Journal of 8th February 1832, has mentioned this fort as the Fort Eyrie (Pearson, 1923).

Fort
The fort which is in horse-shoe shape has been built of coral stones. Presently, several remnants of the ramparts of the fort are visible at the site. Evidence is there to show that this fort had been constructed to be in alignment with the near by Hammenhiel Fort (Dias et al., 2016).

Attribution
1) Kayts Island Fort by AntanO is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna Peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. p.205.
2) Pearson, J., 1923. Notes on the forts of the Jaffna islands. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 29(76), pp.186-193.

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Ibbagala Raja Maha Viharaya

Ibbagala Viharaya
Ibbagala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist cave temple located near to the Kurunegala ancient palace site in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
It is believed that Ibbagala Viharaya was the temple responsible for the services of the sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha during the Kurunegala Period (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

Temple
A natural cave located north of the Viharaya has been utilized as the main image house of the temple. A fragment of an ancient line painting that looks similar to the line paintings of the Anuradhapura period can be seen in the cave. To the west of the monks' dwelling is a natural pond. A Siri Pathula (the footprint of the Buddha) is found carved on the rock surface located northwest of the modern Stupa.

A protected site
The ancient drip-ledged cave temple of Ibbagala Raja Maha Vihara situated in the Kurunegala Divisional Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005.

The Bodh-tree and the Stupa The Siri Pathula (the foot print of the Buddha)
.
Attribution
1) This image (Ibbagala Rock Temple1) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Kurun.
2) This image (Bo Tree Ibbagala) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Kurun.
3) This image (Footprint Buddha Ibbagala Viharaya1) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Kurun.

References
1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. pp.8-9
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1401. 8 July 2005.

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