Buddhism and Sri Lanka

According to Sri Lankan chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE 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 BCE had been discovered in the excavations of 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 belives.

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 fascinating variety of attractons which have made the country an ideal destination for the tourism.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Ampara

Ampara Peace Pagoda
The Peace Pagoda (also known as Japan Sama Cetiya) is a Japanese Stupa situated in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along the Inginiyagala - Ampara road, about 3.5 km distance from Ampara town.

History
The Stupa with a retinue of 99 small pagodas was constructed with the objective of commemorating the 99th birth day of  Ven. Nichidatsu Fugii Maha Thera of Nipponzan-Myōhōji of Japan. The completed Stupa was declared open on 28 February 1988, by the then Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayawardene.

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This page was last updated on 18 August 2019

Thonigala Rock Inscriptions, Anamaduwa

Tonigala Rock Inscription - I
Two inscriptions known as Thonigala Rock Inscriptions are found inscribed on a low rock called Tonigala situated in Anamaduwa in Puttalam District, Sri Lanka. 

Inscriptions
There are two long rock inscriptions at the site. The letters of both inscriptions are about a foot long and have been cut an inch deep in the rock, forming triangular grooves (Muller, 1883; Parker, 1909).

The second inscription is located about 100 m distance from the first inscription. Some parts of the second inscription had been destroyed by an attempt made to blast the rock by some officers of the Public Work Department in search of imaginary treasures (Paranavitana, 1970). Those parts are said to be there until 1936 (Paranavitana, 1970).

Tonigala Rock Inscription - I
Reign & period : Gamini Abhaya; 1st century A.D.
Language & script  :
Old Sinhala; Early Brahmi
Transcript: Parumaka Abaya puta parumaka 
Tisaha vapi Acagirika-Tisa pavatahi agata.....>>
Content :  The tank of the chief Tissa, son of the
chief Abhaya was  donated to the Sangha of the
four    quarters    present    and   absent,   in   the
monastery  of  Acchagirika  Tissa  Pabbata. The
great      King      Gamini      Abhaya     dedicated
Acchanagaraka  and  Tavirikiya - nagaraka  (two
villages) to the monastery. These  donations, the
chief Abhaya, caused to  be dedicated by the king
to  the Sangha  of the four  quarters, present  and
absent.
Tonigala Rock Inscription - I
Tonigala Rock Inscription - II Tonigala Rock Inscription - II
Reign & period   : Gamini Abhaya; 1st century A.D.
Language   : Old Sinhala
Script          : Early Brahmi
Transcript: Parumaka Abaya puta parumaka Tise niyate 
ima vapi Acagirika Tisa Pavatahi agata anagata catu.....>>
Content :  This tank has been donated by chief  Tissa, the
son  of chief  Abhaya to  the Sangha  of  the  four quarters
present and absent, in the monastery of Acchagirika Tissa
Pabbata.   Two   places   named   Accha  -  nagaraka   and
Tavirikiya  -  nagaraka    have   also   been   donated.   The
monastery  was  dedicated  (to  the  Sangha)  by  the chief
Tissa, son of the chief Abhaya.
Reference : Paranavitana, 1970.; The information board at
the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry
of National Heritage.
The name: Gamini Abhaya
Muller, the author of "Ancient Inscriptions in Ceylon", believes that the name Gamini Abaya which is mentioned in both inscriptions, to be either Duttagamini (King Dutugemunu: 161-137 B.C.) or Vattagamini [(King Valagamba: 88-76 B.C) Muller, 1883].
The persons mentioned in the inscription are two: Tisa, son of Abhaya and Gamini Abhaya. On account of the form of the character, which is the oldest we meet in Ceylon, I take this Gamini Abhaya to be either Dutthagamini, 161-137 B.C., or Wattagamini, 88-76 B.C.; but the title Dewanapiya, beloved of the gods, rather points to the latter; he was the youngest of three sons of King Saddhatissa, the brother and successor of Dutthagamini.
Citation: Muller, 1883. p.25.
According to the opinion of Parker (1909), these inscriptions have been cut by King Duttha-Gamini, who reigned from 161-137 B.C. (Parker, 1909). However, Paranavitana (1970) suggest that the name Gamani Abhaya in these inscriptions may represent King Vattagamani Abhaya who is recorded to have granted lands to Buddhist temples (Paranavitana, 1970). 

A protected site
The Thonigala rock inscriptions situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Thonigala in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Anamaduwa are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 January 2009.
Thonigala Wewa

References
1) Muller, E., 1883. Ancient Inscriptions in Ceylon. London. p.25.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.lxii, 82.
3) Parker, H., 1909. Ancient Ceylon: An account of the aborigines and of part of the early civilisation. Luzac & Co. London. pp.438-440.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: No: 1586. 23 January 2009. p.107
 
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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Siriwardhanarama Viharaya, Kottegoda

The old image house, Kottegoda Viharaya
Siriwardhanarama Viharaya (also known as Kottegoda Temple) is a Buddhist temple situated in the village of Kottegoda in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

Folklore
According to the villagers, the history of Kottegoda is dated back to the period of Kotte Kingdom. It is said that King Parakramabahu VI (1411-1466 A.D.) had sailed through a river (probably the Uruwal Oya) from Kotte to a place today known as Orutota (the port of canoes) and had landed at Kottegoda.

Locals also believed that Kottegoda was used as a look out and messaging point for Kotte Kingdom and a place involved in wars against the Portuguese.

Veediya Bandara, the commander-in-chief of the Kingdom of Kotte during the reign of Bhuvanaikabahu VII (1521–1551) is also mentioned with the history of Kottegoda. It is said that he had planted Bodhi-trees at several places located between Kottegoda in Gampaha and Aluthgama in Kalutara. Kottegoda villagers believe that the first Bodhi-tree by the Veediya Bandara was planted in the land where the Kottegoda temple stands today. After that, this place had become a religious site for the local Buddhist devotees.

Image house
The seated Buddha statue
The image house is the main aspect of this temple with an archaeological significance. It has been constructed or renovated, according to the date mentioned above the entrance of the image house, in 1903 (2447 Buddhist era).

The image house consists of an inner shrine and a small ambulatory around it. The inside as well as the outer walls of the inner shrine is adorned with the paintings and sculptures belonging to a period between 19-20th centuries. Inside the image house is a seated Buddha statue accompanied by two images of Sariputta and Moggallana, the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. Two standing statues of Vishnu and Kataragama are found facing each other at both left and right walls. An image of God Ganesha can be seen on the inner side of the entrance wall.

A protected site
The image house situated in Kottegoda Siriwardhanarama Vihara premises in Pahala Yagoda Grama Niladhari Wasama of the Gampaha Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.
The Makara Thorana at the entrance of image house Kottegoda paintings
The Stupa, Kottegoda temple The Bodhi-tree at Kottegoda temple
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

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Colombo Lotus Tower

Colombo Lotus Tower
The Lotus Tower (also known as Nelum Kuluna) is a 350-meter high multi-functional iconic communication tower currently being built at D.R. Wijewardana Mawatha, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka. Once completed, the tower will be among the tallest structures in the world.

Construction
The project contract to build the Lotus Tower was signed in 2012, between the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (SLTRC), China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC) and Aerospace Long - March International Trade Corporation Limited (ALIT).

The construction was commenced in the same year, at a total cost of $ 104.3 million. The project was mainly funded by Export - Import (EXIM) Bank of Peoples’ Republic of China.

Structure
The design of the tower is inspired by the lotus flower, which has symbolic ties to the Sri Lankan culture. The tower includes a slender concrete and steel antenna mast, approximately 88 m tall, extending from a level of approximately 262 m to 350 m above ground level (Mendis et al., 2018).

The tower base inspired by the lotus throne is formed by two inverted trapezoidal and comprised of four floors. The tower house is said to be composed of eight floors. 

Facilities
When completed, the tower will be spanning over 30,600 square meters of floor area. The tower will be mainly used for telecommunication purposes. Also, it will house a revolving restaurant, an observation gallery, a banquet hall, luxury hotel rooms, conference halls, food courts, supermarkets and a telecommunication museum.
View from Lotus Tower View from Lotus Tower
References
1) Mendis, P., Fernando, S., Holmes, J.D., Gunawardena, T., Abu-Zidan, Y. and Dias, P., 2018. Wind induced fatigue analysis of Lotus Tower Mast. 19th Australasian Wind Engineering Workshop, April 4-6 , 2018, Torquay, Victoria.

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kossinna Ambalama

Kossinna Ambalama
The Kossinna Ambalama is an old wayside rest in the village of Kossinna in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

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

Structure
The Ambalama lies in the middle of a paddy field. The structure is square in shape and made out of brick and mortar. The four-sided roof which is held by six brick pillars, has been paved with semi-cylindrical clay tiles (Sinhala Ulu).

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Alakeshwara Archaeological Site

Alakeshwara Archaeological Site
Alakeshwara Archaeological Site is situated in Ethul Kotte in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
This ruined site is believed to be either of the palace or mausoleum of Gallant lord King Nishshanka Alakeshwara. Architectural construction of the ruins and the domestic artifacts (such as grinding stones, water filters etc.) discovered from the exploratory excavations suggest that this site was probably the palace of King Alakeshwara.

However, there are no conclusive evidences to recognize the true identity of this place.

Ruins
At present, the site contains two building foundations made out of cut "Kabok" (laterite) stones (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The foundations are unequal in size and has been built close to each other. 

The larger foundation which has a rectangular shape, is 41 ft. long and 18.5 ft. wide. The smaller foundation is square in shape and has a length and width of 21.5 ft. The middle portion of both structures are completely filled with the earth (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Presently, the foundations have been conserved up to a height of about 50 cm (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Excavations
The site was taken over as an archaeological reserve by the government in years of 1937-1938 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

From an excavation done in 2010, it was identified that this site may had been used as a place related with religious activities (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A Kabok foundation, parts of clay lamps, flat clay tiles and iron nails were unearthed during an excavation done in 2013 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The findings were identified as the building materials used during the Kotte period [(1412–1597 A.D.) Rajapakshe et al., 2018].

A protected site
The ruins of Alakeshvara of Ethul Kotte in the Grama Niladhari Division of Ethul Kotte (GND No. 521) in Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.

Attribution
1) Alakeshwara Archaeological Site by L Manju is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

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.3.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.5A

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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Dedigama Slab Inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI

Dedigama Slab Inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI
Dedigama Slab Inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI is found erected near the Bodhi-tree in the Buddhist temple, Dedigama Raja Maha Viharaya in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. It contains a grant of amnesty given to the inhabitants of Hatara Koralaya (Four Koralas), who had recently rebelled against the authority of King Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1477 A.D.).

Inscription
The inscription has been engraved on both sides of a stone slab of about 5 ft. tall and 1 ft. 7 in. broad (Paranavitana, 1933). It had been broken into two pieces which are now joined together. The first side of the inscription contains twenty-seven lines and second side contains twenty-one lines (Paranavitana, 1933). Written in Sinhalese language, the epigraph is dated in the ninth year of King Bhuvanekabahu (the sixth).

Content
The inscription has been indited on a stone by Vikramasingha Adhikara on the orders of his majesty, King Bhuvanekabahu VI, to allay the suspicion of fear from the minds of the people of the Satara Korale who were subdued after an insurrection against the authority of King Bhuvanekabahu VI. According to the inscription, an amnesty was granted to the inhabitants of the Satara Koralaya, by the king.

The insurrection
Details on the insurrection against King Bhuvanekabahu VI is found in some chronicles such as Rajavaliya and lithic inscriptions including Dedigama slab inscription and Pegu-Kalyani inscription of Burma [(Myanmar) Khui, 1892; Paranavitana, 1933; Suraweera, 1997].

During the reign of King Parakramabahu VI (1410/1412/1415 - 1467), Sapumal Kumaraya, an adopted son of King Parakramabahu VI, attacked Jaffna (Yapa Patuna) and brought it under the control of Kotte Kingdom. After the demise of King Parakramabahu VI, the throne of the Kotte Kingdom was given to Prince Jayabahu [coronation name: Vira Parakramabahu (1467-1468)], the son of Ulakudaya Deviya [(the daughter of King Parakramabahu VI) Suraweera, 1997]. By hearing this coronation, Sapumal Kumaraya who was at the time at Yapa Patuna came to Kotte and usurped the throne and became the king of Kotte under the name Bhuvanekabahu VI (Suraweera, 1997). However, this incident caused to make an insurrection among Sinhalese people in the kingdom

Simhala Peraliya (the Sinhalese insurrection)
The coronation of King Bhuvanekabahu VI was not supported by several Sinhalese territories in the country. A serious insurrection against the authority of Bhuvanekabahu VI was occurred among the people of the Pasyodun Koralaya located between the Kalu Ganga river and Walawe Ganga river under the leadership of Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Thera (Suraweera, 1997). This insurrection was also spread to Satara Koralaya, Udarata and southern part of the country (Paranavitana, 1933).

Meanwhile, King Bhuvanekabahu VI dispatched Prince Ambulugala, the ruler of Satara Koralaya, to subdue this insurrection (Paranavitana, 1933). Prince Ambulugala captured both Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Thera and brought them before King Bhuvanekabahu VI (Suraweera, 1997). The captives were then imprisoned by the king (Suraweera, 1997).
Dedigama Slab Inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI

Reign    : 9th regnal year of Bhuvanekabahu VI
Period   : 15th century A.D.
Language   : Modern Sinhala
Script          : Modern Sinhala
Transcript: (1)   Svast(i)  Sri  Mahasa   (2)  mmata 
paramparanu (3) yata Suryya vamso  (4) tbhuta Sri 
Parakra (5)  mabahu maharajadhiraja (6) nandana 
Tri-Simhaladhisva.....>>
Translation :  Hail. On  the  thirteenth  day  of  the
waxing  moon   in  (the  month  of)  Poson  in  the
year after the eighth of his majesty the illustrious
emperor .....>>

Citation : Paranavitana, 1933
Dedigama Slab Inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI
References
1) Khui, T.C., 1892. The Kalyānī Inscriptions Erected by King Dhammacetī at Pegu in 1476 AD: Text and Translation. superintendent, government printing, Burma.p.77.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Dadigama slab-inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon :Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.278-286.
3) Suraweera, A. V., 1997. Rajavaliya: A critical edition with an introduction (In Sinhala). Educational Publications Department. pp.85-86, 90, 219-220.
 
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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya

Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
Kekunadola/ Kekulandola Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Prathiraja Pirivena) is a Buddhist temple situated near to Agalawatta town in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of Kekunadola temple can be compared with the account on Kekulandola Sri Vardhana Pathiraja, a rebel leader who is mentioned in the Sinhalese chronicle, Rajavaliya (Suraweera, 1997).

During the reign of King Parakramabahu VI (1410/1412/1415 - 1467), Sapumal Kumaraya, an adopted son of King Parakramabahu VI, attacked Jaffna (Yapa Patuna) and brought it under the control of Kotte Kingdom. After the demise of King Parakramabahu VI, the throne of the Kotte Kingdom was given to Prince Jayabahu [coronation name: Vira Parakramabahu (1467-1468)], the son of Ulakudaya Deviya [(the daughter of King Parakramabahu VI) Suraweera, 1997]. By hearing this coronation, Sapumal Kumaraya who was at the time at Yapa Patuna came to Kotte and usurped the throne and became the king of Kotte under the name Bhuvanekabahu VI [(1468-1475) Suraweera, 1997]. However, this incident caused to make an insurrection among Sinhalese people in the kingdom

Simhala Peraliya (the Sinhalese insurrection)
The coronation of King Bhuvanekabahu VI was not supported by several Sinhalese territories in the country. A serious insurrection against the authority of Bhuvanekabahu VI was occurred among the people of the Pasyodun Koralaya located between the Kalu Ganga river and Walawe Ganga river under the leadership of Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Thera (Suraweera, 1997). This insurrection was also spread to Satara Koralaya, Udarata and southern part of the country (Paranavitana, 1933). The slab-inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI in Dedigama Raja Maha Viharaya and the Pegu-Kalyani inscription of Burma (Myanmar) reveal some details about this insurrection occurred in Satara Koralas as well as southern part of the country (Khui, 1892; Paranavitana, 1933; Suraweera, 1997).

Meanwhile, King Bhuvanekabahu VI dispatched Prince Ambulugala, the ruler of Satara Koralaya, to subdue this insurrection (Paranavitana, 1933). Prince Ambulugala captured both Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Thera and brought them before King Bhuvanekabahu VI (Suraweera, 1997). The captives were then imprisoned by the king (Suraweera, 1997).

However, due to some reason, the king released both Sri Vardhana Pathiraja and Kurugama Himi later and placed his adopted son and hair under their protection (Suraweera, 1997; Paranavitana, 1933).

Kekulandola Viharaya to Prathiraja Pirivena
In order to commemorate this regional leader Sri Vardhana Pathiraja, the Kekulandola temple was later started to known by the locals as Prathiraja Pirivena (Fernando, 2003).

The Bodhi-tree of the temple is said to be planted in 1876 (Fernando, 2003).

Tempita Viharaya
Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
Tempita Viharaya (the temple on pillars) was a popular aspect of many Buddhist temples during the Kandyan period. Construction of these buildings were started in the 17th century and lasted till the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

The Tempita Viharaya building in Kekunadola temple is considered as the only such kind of structure found in Kalutara District (Wijayawardhana, 2010).  It is also the main aspect of the temple with an archaeological significance. It has been built upon 9 granite pillars of about 3 feet tall. The four sided roof with elevated middle portion is paved with flat clay tiles. Several renovations have been done to the building on 6 July 1980.

The inside walls of the image chamber is adorned with the paintings belonging to the Kandyan style. The main sculpture is a seated Buddha statue accompanied by two images of Sariputta and Moggallana, the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. Figures of Kuragama Thera (left side) and minister Sri Vardhana Prathiraja (right side) can be seen on the inner side of the entrance wall.

A protected site
The Tempita Viharaya situated in Prathiraja Piriven Vihara premises in Agalawatta village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Agalawatta is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.
Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya Kekunadola Raja Maha Viharaya
References
1) Fernando, M., 2003. Kalutara (In Sinhala). Thejani Publishers. ISBN: 955-8818-00-3. pp.47-49.
2) Khui, T.C., 1892. The Kalyānī Inscriptions Erected by King Dhammacetī at Pegu in 1476 AD: Text and Translation. superintendent, government printing, Burma.p.77.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Dadigama slab-inscription of Bhuvanekabahu VI. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon :Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.278-286.
4) Suraweera, A. V., 1997. Rajavaliya: A critical edition with an introduction (In Sinhala). Educational Publications Department. pp.85-86, 90, 219-220.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.
6) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. pp. 12, 44.


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