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.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Gamini Kularatna Memorial

Gamini Kularatna Memorial
Gamini Kularatna Memorial (also known as Hasalaka Gamini Ranaviru Smarakaya) has been erected to commemorate S/34553 Corporal Gamini Kularatna YG PWV, a soldier of Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment who sacrifices his life to save his camp and the comrades from a deadly bulldozer attack carried out by LTTE rebels (LTTE is a rebel group designated as a terrorist organization by 32 countries). The memorial has been set up on the wayside of the Kandy-Jaffna highway (A9), near to the Elephant Pass Railway Station in Kilinochchi District, Sri Lanka.

The war hero Gamini Kularatna is popularly known among the people as Hasalaka Gamini.

The incident
Elephant Pass
Elephant Pass is referred to as the Gateway to Jaffna as it connects the Jaffna Peninsula to the Sri Lankan mainland and therefore considered strategically important location. The Elephant Pass army camp which belonged to the 6th Battalion Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment was also a crucial point to hold in war, so LTTE rebels tried to attack it in 1991.

The attack
On 13 July 1991, an armor-plated bulldozer heavily filled with explosives was launched towards the Elephant Pass camp by the LTTE to destroy the camp as well as the many soldiers who were there. However, the effort by the LTTE became unsuccessful when a soldier who had realized the gravity of the imminent threat that was advancing towards the camp decided voluntarily to destroy the bulldozer in order to save the camp as well as his comrades. That soldier, Gamini Kularatna went forward with hand grenades and blasted the deadly vehicle while losing his own life in the process.

This bravery sacrifice by Gamini Kularatne was highly appreciated at the time across the country. In recognition of his sacrifice, the Sri Lankan president awarded the Parama Weera Vibushana Medal (Posthumously), the highest decoration a soldier can earn, to Gamini making him the first recipient of that gallant award.

The memorial
The Sri Lanka Civil War finally came to the end when LTTE rebels were defeated by the government forces in 2009. After the war was over, a memorial for Gamini was set up in 2014, in Elephant Pass with the remains of the bulldozer he destroyed. The memorial can be seen on the A9 road on the way to Jaffna.

The deadly bulldozer Gamini Kularatna statue
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Location Map

This page was last updated on 16 February 2020
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Ranamune Pihilla and Ambalama

The Ranamune Pihilla & Ambalama
The Ranamune Pihilla (the Ranamune water spout) and the Ambalama are situated in Kothmale in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

Ranamune Pihilla
Folklore
According to folklore, the history of this place is related to Prince Dutugemunu [(reign 161-137 B.C.) Abeywardana, 2004]. It is said that the sward of the prince had been hidden for protection when he comes from Ruhuna to Maya Rata seeking shelter. After the death of King Kavantissa (the farther of Prince Dutugemunu), the prince had to leave for war having taken the sward from this spot (Abeywardana, 2004). The same folklore is found associated with Dehadu Kadulla, an ancient monument located near to Kothmale Maha Seya.

Presently, many people come to this place for washing and bathing purposes.

Ranamune Ambalama 
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were traveling to distant places. The Ambalama at Ranamune is believed to be one such resting place built with granite blocks. The building is relatively small and contains an open space surrounded by a short wall. The four-sided roof which is held by four pillars has been tiled with clay tiles.

A protected site
The Mawela Ranamune Ambalama and water pipe situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Mawela West, in Kotmale Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

References
1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  pp.233-234.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.526.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 16 February 2020
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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Pallama Standing Buddha Statue, Colombo National Museum

Pallama Standing Buddha
The Pallama Standing Buddha Statue was discovered from Pallama in Puttalam District, Sri Lanka and is currently on display at the entrance lobby of the Colombo National Museum. This statue is considered important as it is the tallest metal Buddha statue found in Sri Lanka (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018).

Statue
This hollow cast bronze statue of Buddha is 165 cm (5.41 ft) height and in the standing position. The right hand of the statue depicts the Vitarka Mudra and the left hand is in the pose of Katakahastha (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018). The robe is closely touching the full body of Buddha but leaves the right shoulder bare. The pleats of the robe are denoted by clear lines. The ears are long but do not touch the shoulders.

The statue has been dated to the 9-11th centuries A.D. (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018). It is said that the statue had been broken into several pieces at the time of its discovery (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018).

References
1) Prematilaka, L., Hewage, R., 2018. A guide to the National Museum, Colombo: Department of National Museum. ISBN: 978-955-578-035-3. p.6.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 15 February 2020
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Mayakkai Vivaparimalai Prehistoric Site

Mayakkai Vivaparimalai Prehistoric Site is situated in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

The Mayakkai site with limestone-caves located near to Point Pedro is said to be observed for the first time in 1979 by Prof. Sellaiah Krishnarajah, an academic from the University of Jaffna (Dias et al., 2016). Krishnarajah along with Prof. P. Pushparatnam and several others explored the site again in 1984 and found a number of stone implements related to human settlement (Dias et al., 2016; Wijebandara, 2014). From the overall evidence found, they suggested the cave site as a prehistoric habitation site but that opinion was refuted by another academic from the University of Jaffna, Prof. P. Ragupathy who believed the site is not a prehistoric habitation site but a stone quarry site (Dias et al., 2016).

The stone implements collected by Krishnarajah were not extensively investigated by other academics due to several reasons such as the Sri Lankan Civil War that longed nearly three decades across the North-Eastern region of the country. However, in 2011, the samples were taken to Colombo and further studied by several scholars including Siran Deraniyagala and Nimal Perera (Dias et al., 2016). The studies identified the stone implements as the tools belonging to the ancient Stone Age (Dias et al., 2016).

The early evidence about the humans in Sri Lanka are found in several places in the country such as in Ratnapura Beds and in Iranamadu Formation (Perera, 2014). A large bifacially flaked quartz point which was found from a basal gravel exposure of the Iranamadu Formation at Minihagal-Kanda (a place located in Southern Sri Lanka) has been categorized as Middle Palaeolithic (broadly spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years) by P. E. P. Deraniyagala (Perera, 2014). However, according to some, the age of the stone implements of Mayakkai site is extending to about 600,000 years back (Dias et al., 2016). Some Chert-made stone implements found from the site are believed as the Acheulean tools used by Homo erectus in the Lower Palaeolithic Period [(around 3 million to 300,000 years) Dias et al., 2016; Wijebandara, 2014].

However, no reliable evidence has yet been documented with regard to the Lower Palaeolithic Period of Sri Lanka (Perera, 2014). Therefore, carrying out a scientific excavation is important to obtain a proper understanding about the stone implements found from the Mayakkai Vivaparimalai site.

References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.162, 200-201.
2) Perera, H.N., 2014. Prehistoric Sri Lanka. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, pp.23-41.
3) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.2-3.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 15 February 2020
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Sennarugama Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV

Sennarugama Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IVSennarugama Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV is a pillar inscription found in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. The inscription is presently on the display at the stone gallery of the Colombo National Museum.

Discovery
This inscription was discovered from somewhere (the exact place is unknown) in Anuradhapura (Ranawella, 2005). However, according to its content, this record had been originally set up at a place called Sennarugama, a village probably situated near to Anuradhapura (Ranawella, 2005).

The pillar had been broken into two fragments at the time its discovery and therefore, they were treated as two different inscriptions by the museum (Ranawella, 2005). However, presently, the two fragments have been joined together and numbered as a single inscription.

Inscription
The inscription has been inscribed on all four sides of a rectangular stone pillar of about 6 ft 8 in. in height (Ranawella, 2005).

Content
The pillar had been used in a later period as a riser in a flight of steps and in which process some of the letters have been chiseled off. The first side of the pillar has 20 lines of writings, second and third sides have 30 lines of writings and the forth side contains 25 lines of writings (Ranawella, 2005). The figures of a crow and a dog are also found on the forth side of the inscription (Ranawella, 2005).

The inscription mentions its inscribe date as the sixth regnal year of a king styled Abha Salamevan (Ranawella, 2005). Depending on the details found in the chronicles and other epigraphs, scholars have identified this king as Kassapa IV [(898-914 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005].

Sennarugama Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV
Reign  : King Kassapa IV (898-914 A.D.)
Period : 10th century A.D.
Script  : Sinhala of the early 10th century
Language  : Sinhala of the early 10th century
Transcript  : (1)Svasti (2)Siri Lak(di)- (3)-vhi pihi(ti) (4)yasa isi...>>
Content: This inscription records about some immunities granted in respect of a village named Sennarugama, the revenue of which had been enjoyed by a person called Besatpanam, a warden of the royal household. Certain officers were forbidden to enter the village.  
Reference  : Ranawella, 2005.

References
1) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.29-36.

Location Map

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Kal Munai Old Survey Tower

Kal Munai Old Survey Tower is a colonial period survey tower located in Kilinochchi District, Sri Lanka. 

Kal Munai Old Survey Tower
The tower which is square in shape has been built with cubic shape cut limestone rocks. At the bottom of the tower, an arch shaped passage can be seen.  The tower is getting smaller as it rises from the bottom to the top.

A protected monument
The old survey post belonging to Kalmunei village situated in Grama Niladhari Division No. KN 68, Kavutharimunei in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Poonaryn is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 24 March 2016.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1960. 30 December 2011. p.229.

Location Map

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Bolana Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa V

Bolana Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa V
Bolana Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa V is a pillar inscription found from Bolana village, Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. 

Discovery
The inscription was discovered in 1934, in Bolana, a village situated near to Ambalantota in Hambantota District (Ranawella, 2005). It was damaged at the time of discovery and a small part with a few lines of writings at the bottom is missing today (Ranawella, 2005). The inscription is presently on the display at the stone gallery of the Colombo National Museum.

Inscription
The writings have been engraved on the two sides of a stone pillar slab which is 4 ft 8 in height (Ranawella, 2005). The obverse side of the slab contains 15 lines of writings and a carved figure of auspicious jar. The reverse side contains 7 lines of writings and the figures of a monk's fan, a crow and a dog.

Content
The inscription reveals its inscribe date as the seventh regnal year of a king styled Abha Salamevan. According to details given in the inscription, it has been set up by the son of King Abha Salamevan but his name is not found in the preserved portion. However, depending on the available historical and epigraphical evidence, the king mentioned in this inscription has been identified by the scholars as King Kassapa V [(914-923 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005].

Bolana Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa V
A close view
Reign  : King Kassapa V (914-923 A.D.)
Period : 10th century A.D.
Script  : Sinhala of the early 10th century
Language  : Sinhala of the early 10th century
Transcript  : (1) Navaparamuwa de- (2)senava Mahaga-...>>
Content: The inscription records about two chena lands at Navaparamuwa those gifted to the hospital at Mahagama on the orders of King Abha Salamevan. It also mentions that even the children and grandchildren of the king have been debarred from entering the gifted lands
Reference  : Ranawella, 2005.

References
1) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.59-63.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 4 February 2020
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Ramboda Falls

Ramboda Falls are located in Ramboda area in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. Originated by the same water stream, three waterfalls namely Upper Ramboda falls, Middle Ramboda Falls and Lower Ramboda Falls are found there located near to each other. The waters of the stream finally enter into Kotmale Oya in the Mahaweli catchment area (Abeywardhana, 2004).

Upper Ramboda Falls 
The Upper Ramboda falls is the first cascade of the three waterfalls. The fall is 100.92 m (331.10 ft) high (Abeywardhana, 2004) and its observation point can be reached by walking approximately 500 m distance along the narrow foot path that starts from the middle Ramboda Falls.

Middle/Center Ramboda Falls 
This is the smallest waterfall among the three cascades and is located very close to the road. The fall is 3.38 m (11.08 ft) high (Abeywardhana, 2004).

Lower Ramboda Falls 
The Lower Ramboda Falls is located near the Ramboda Falls Hotel which is located just after the Ramboda tunnel. The fall is 110.15 m (361.38 ft) high (Abeywardhana, 2004) and can be reached by walking nearly 200 m distance along the foot path that is fallen throgh the hotel .

Attribution
1) PSX 20190610 174106 by Chadpics is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, Above Ramboda Falls 01 by Cherubino is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, and LK-Ramboda-falls-02 by Balou46 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

References
1) Abeywardhana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.236.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 4 February 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map