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, March 7, 2021

Katuwana Fort

Katuwana Fort
Katuwana Fort is an inland Dutch fort situated in Katuwana town in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

The site where the present fort is situated is said to have been used King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) as a security zone during the Polonnaruwa Period. However, solid evidence about the existence of fortifications at Katuwana before the period of the Dutch (Dutch Ceylon: 1640-1796 A.D.) is absent (Jayasena, 2006). The Dutch built the fort at Katuwana to provide security to the route that stretched between Kandy and Matara and to render protection to the commercial activities undertaken by them.

Before the Dutch
After Prince Dharmapala (1550-1597 A.D.), the Kingdom of Kotte fell into the hands of the Portuguese (Portuguese Ceylon: 1597-1658 A.D.) and the Sinhalese crown went to the king of Kandy (Jayasena, 2006). King Vimaladharmasuriya I (1592-1604 A.D.) of Kandy sent an army south to claim the former kingdom but the army was held back at Katuwana by the pro-Portuguese military commander Samarakon (Jayasena, 2006). In 1617 and again in 1649 Katuwana was in the middle of battles (Jayasena, 2006).

The presence of the Dutch
Two military campaigns (1638–1640 A.D. and 1655–1658 A.D.) by the Dutch ended Portuguese power in Sri Lanka and they, for various reasons, kept the Portuguese-built forts for themselves and started to built new fortifications at various part of the country where they had military power (Jayasena, 2006). Inland fortifications were made by them at places such as Pitigala, Mapalagama, Akuressa, Hakmana, and Katuwana (Jayasena, 2006). The instructions to the Governor-General of Dutch Ceylon from the Governor-General and Council of India for the years 1656-1665 had pointed out that the field fortification at Katuwana should be garrisoned with trustworthy officers and soldiers (Jayasena, 2006).

The field fortification at Katuwana, as the earliest record, dates from 1661 and that structure stood there until about 1680 when the stone fort which still exists today was completed (Jayasena, 2006; Jayasena & Floore, 2010). The construction of the stone fort was begun in 1679 at the site (Jayasena, 2006).

In 1761, the fort along with the outpost at Hanwella and the fort at Matara was besieged and attacked by the army of the Kandyan Kingdom (Jayasena, 2006; Jayasena & Floore, 2010; Mandawala, 2012).

The British occupation
The Dutch were succeeded by the British in 1796. The fort was then under the control of the British during the period between 1796 and 1805 (Jayasena, 2006). The Kandyan army who attacked the British in 1805, captured the fort but subsequently abandoned it (Jayasena, 2006).

The fort
The fort has been constructed on a hill on the eastern bank of Urubokka Oya (Jayasena, 2006). It is a square fort with two diagonally opposed bastions (Jayasena, 2006; Jayasena & Floore, 2010). It was known as "Catoene" during the 17th and 18th centuries A.D. (Jayasena & Floore, 2010).

At present, the fort can be entered through a gap cut in the western curtain wall (Jayasena & Floore, 2010). However, a map belonging to about 1700 A.D. reveals that it had two gates but another map of 1717 A.D. by Dutch Governor I. Rumpf shows one gate in the northern curtain (Jayasena & Floore, 2010). A 1734 map by J.W. Heydt indicates the gateway at the present location and further mentions that it had only one entrance (Jayasena & Floore, 2010).

The height of the fort 16 cubits from outside and 11 cubits from inside. The inner area of the fort is 756 square meters (Jayasena & Floore, 2010). A plan of the fort, dating to c.1700 A.D., reveals that its main internal structures consisted of long ranges of rooms backing on to the south, east, and north defences (Jayasena, 2006). However, no internal structures are found in the fort today but a foundation of an old building and a large well are found in the south-eats corner and in the north-west corner of the fort respectively (Jayasena, 2006).

In 2000, an excavation was carried out at Katuwana fort by PGIAR (The Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology) of the University of Kelaniya and AAC (Amsterdam Archaeological Centre) of the University of Amsterdam (Jayasena & Floore, 2010). Evidence of porcelain and pottery usage was found during their investigations (Jayasena, 2006; Schenk, 2013).

Katuwana Fort
1) Jayasena, R.M., 2006. The historical archaeology of Katuwana, a Dutch East India Company fort in Sri Lanka. Post-Medieval Archaeology, 40(1), pp.111-128.
2) Jayasena, R. and Floore, P., 2010. Dutch forts of seventeenth century Ceylon and Mauritius: an historical archaeological perspective. In First Forts (pp. 235-260). Brill.
3)  Mandawala, P.B., 2012. Sri Lanka: Defending the military heritage; legal, administrative and financial challenges. Defending the military heritage; legal, financial, and administrative issues. Reports from the Seminar 16 – 17 May, 2011, in Karlskrona, Sweden, organised by ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues (ICLAFI) and the Swedish Fortifications Agency of Sweden. p.103.
4) Schenk, H., 2013. Porcelain from the East and earthenware from the neighbourhood–Remarks on the pottery from Dutch Fort Katuwana. Zeitschrift für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen, 5, pp.241-260.

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Vilbawa Raja Maha Viharaya

Vilbawa Raja Maha Viharayais a Buddhist temple situated in Vilbawa village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

As the presence of an early-Brahmi cave inscription, the history of this temple can be dated back to the period between the 3rd Century B.C. - 1st century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1970). This inscription records the donation of a cave to Buddhist monks by a merchant (Paranavitana, 1970).

Script: Early Brahmi                                   Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Vanica-Tisaha lene shagasha
Translation: The cave of the merchant Tissa, [is given] to the Sangha.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.

Locals link the history of this temple to Kuveni, a Yakshini queen who is mentioned in Pali chronicles such as Mahavamsa (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A Sannasa (a record of grant) which was given to the temple during the reign of King Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739 A.D.) also reveals the relation of Kuveni to this temple (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). According to another tradition, this region had been under the rule of a king called Veerabahu and the present name Vilbawa has been evolved from his name (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

The temple
Two image houses, a shrine of goddess Pattini, and a Stupa belonging to the Kandyan Period are found in the temple premises (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

A protected site
The Stupa, ancient Stupa mound, Vihara-geya, and the drip-ledged cave with Brahmi inscription in the Vilbawa Rajamaha Vihara premises situated in the No. 822, Vilbawa Grama Niladhari Division in the Kurunegala Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by three government Gazette notifications published on 16 December 1949, 27 July 2001, and 22 November 2002.

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.4-5.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.70.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1195. 27 July 2001.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1264. 22 November 2002.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1749.

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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Udawalawe Reservoir

Elephants passing Udawalawe reservoir
Udawalawe Reservoir is a reservoir situated on the border of Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts, Sri Lanka. Located within the Udawalawe National Park, the reservoir has been built by constructing a long earthen embankment across the Walawe Ganga river (Arumugam, 1969; Silva & Gamlath, 2000).

The reservoir commenced operations in 1967 (Nandalal & Sakthivadivel, 2002). It was built mainly to supply water for the Walawe irrigation scheme (Nandalal & Sakthivadivel, 2002). The downstream lands located on both banks of the river are supplied irrigation water through the right and left bank canals (Nandalal & Sakthivadivel, 2002). This water passes through two small hydro-power plants built at the Udawalawe dam (Nandalal & Sakthivadivel, 2002).

The bund of the reservoir is about 2.5 miles long and the water is extending in an area of about 8400 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). The reservoir has 2 sluices and the two power plants installed each of the sluices generate 1.8 MW and 3.6 MW, totalling in all 5.4 MW (Arumugam, 1969).

Tree stumps at the edge of Udawalawe reservoir

1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.105.
2) Nandalal, K.D.W. and Sakthivadivel, R., 2002. Planning and management of a complex water resource system: case of Samanalawewa and Udawalawe reservoirs in the Walawe river, Sri Lanka. Agricultural water management, 57(3), pp.207-221.
3) Silva, E.I.L. and Gamlath, G.A.R.K., 2000. Catchment characteristics and water quality of three reservoirs (Victoria, Minneriya and Udawalawe) in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka J. Aquat. Sci, 5, pp.55-73.

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Brief Garden of Bevis Bawa

Brief Garden of Bevis Bawa
The Brief Garden is a landscape garden and former home of the landscape architect Bevis Bawa. It is located in Beruwala in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

Bevis Bawa (1909-1992) was the son of Benjamin Bawa (1865-1923), a rich Colombo lawyer. He was also the brother of renowned architecture Geoffrey Bawa [(1919-2003) Cooper, 2009]. After the death of Benjamin, the mother of Bevis gifted him a rubber state named "Brief" in 1928. That estate was known by that name because it had been acquired in lieu of payment of a legal brief (Cooper, 2009). It is said that Bevis's mother who was spending her final years at the Brief during the 1940s, encouraged Bevis to create a garden (Cooper, 2009). Bewis created the garden later, as he had enough time to do so because, by then, the rubber estate was making loses and his duties as equerry to the Governor-General were light (Cooper, 2009).

Donald Friend mural
Bevis's home also had space for his guests/friends such as Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), Laurence Oliver (1907-1989) and Agatha Christie (1980-1976), as well as artists including Barbara Sansoni and Donald Friend [(1915-1989) Gilber & Gollings, 2018]. The "bottle wall" at the Brief garden is said to be a creation of Sansoni and the mural on the wall inside the entrance to the house is a work by Friend (Gilber & Gollings, 2018). The entrance gate posts, many of the concrete and stone statues including the table tennis table on the lowest terrace are the works of both Bevis and Friend (Gilber & Gollings, 2018).

Brief Garden of Bevis Bawa
1) Cooper, D.E., 2009. Reviewed Work: Bawa: The Sri Lanka Gardens by David Robson, Dominic Sansoni. Garden History. Vol. 37, No. 1 (Summer 2009), http://www.jstor.org/stable/40649675. pp. 126-128
2) Gilbert, J. and Gollings, J., 2018. Brief garden. Landscape Architecture Australia, (159), pp.49-54.

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Pitawala Pathana

Pitawala Pathana
Pitawala Pathana is a unique grassland located in the Knuckles conservation forest, in Matale District, Sri Lanka. It is situated close to the Reverston and edge of Knuckles Mountain which is on the way of Matale - Illukkubura road (Siriwardana, 2019).

The grassland extends over an area of about 26 hectares of a gently sloping rock terrain covered with a thin soil layer (Senanayake et al., 2019; Siriwardana, 2019). The terrain in some areas is rocky, with a patchy grass cover (Senanayake et al., 2019). Several isolated short trees and shrubs are found scattered through the grassland. The landscape of Pitawala Pathana somewhat resembles that of Horton Plains National Park and as its precipice to Mini World’s End (Siriwardana, 2019).

1) Senanayake, U.I., Siriwardana, S., Weerakoon, D.K. and Wijesinghe, M.R., 2019. Combating Extreme tropical Seasonality: Use of rock Crevices by the Critically Endangered frog Nannophrys marmorata in Sri Lanka. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 14(1). pp.261–268.
2) Siriwardana, S.H.S.M., 2019. Potentials for promoting ecotourism in Knuckles mountain range, Sri Lanka: as a sustainable solution for environment degradation. KALAM - International Research Journal Faculty of Arts and Culture, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka

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Friday, March 5, 2021

Veheragala Standing Buddha Statue

Veheragala Standing Buddha Statue
The Veheragala Standing Buddha statue is presently on the display in the Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. It is considered a unique product among the galaxy of Buddha statues in the country.

This gilt bronze was discovered along with a magnificent Bodhisattva statue from Veheragala monastery in Anuradhapura District (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). It was later brought to the present location for conservation.

The statue is 66 cm in height and depicted in the Samabhanga position (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The right-hand shows Abhaya-mudra while the bent left-hand carry the robe falling over the forearm (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The transparent robe touches the body of the Buddha smoothly and its pleats are shown by regular linear ridges. The eyes of the statue are embedded with crystal eye-balls. This statue is believed to be an object of worship displayed in a shrine (Chutiwongs et al., 2007).

The statue has been dated by scholars to the 9th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al., 2007).

1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2007. Sri Lanka Murthi: Buddha (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Buddha). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. pp.54-55.

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Thuwakkugalawatta Purana Viharaya

Thuwakkugalawatta Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Weliwatta village in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

Although there is no certain evidence about its establishment, it is suggested that this temple was built before the Portuguese Period [(1505-1658 A.D.) Ranchagoda, 2015]. The temple is believed to had been under the influence of the Portuguese as it was later used as a guardroom of them (Ranchagoda, 2015). However, the temple saw a revival again in about 1816 (Ranchagoda, 2015).

There is a gun (Sinhala: Thuwakkuwa) shape mark on the rock of this temple and therefore, this site is presently called Thuwakkugala Viharaya [(the gun-rock temple) Ranchagoda, 2015]. A cannon which is believed to had been used during the Portuguese period was in the posses of the temple and presently it is housed in the National Museum of Galle (Ranchagoda, 2015).

A protected site
The ancient image house in the Thuwakkugala Watta Purana Vihara premises belonging to the Weliwatta Village in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. 97A, Weliwatta of the Galle Four Gravets Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 30 December 2011.

1) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.61-62.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1739. 30 December 2011.p.1092.

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Ambalangoda Dutch Stable

Ambalangoda Dutch Stable
Ambalangoda Dutch Stable is an old Dutch building situated in Ambalangoda in Galle District, Sri Lanka. Presently it stands adjacent to the land where the old Ambalangoda rest-house was located.

Evidence is there to show that this building is a work of the 18th century. A plaque fixed on the front wall of the building reveals that this was constructed in 1750 by a Dutch named Adriaan Ootdyk (De Vos, 1989; Lewis, 1913; Ranchagoda, 2015).
Translation: Built by Adriaan Oostdyk, onder-koopman, Superintendent of the Galle Corle, 1750.
Citation: Lewis, 1913. p.204.

Adriaan Oostdyk was a high official in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) at the time when the church was built (De Vos, 1989; Lewis, 1913). For his duties, he had to visit places in Ambalangoda, Kosgoda, and Bentota and he used the old rest house in Ambalangoda as his temporary residence (Lewis, 1913)

Initially, the building was used as a village church and the services were regularly held in Sinhala by the schoolmaster proponents and in Dutch during their church and school visitations by the clergymen from Galle (Lewis, 1913). It is said that the floor of the church was paved with several tombstones but none of these are now to be seen as the floor had been filled with earth later (Lewis, 1913)

Later, the building was used as a stable and as a court-house (Ranchagoda, 2015).

Ambalangoda Dutch Stable

1) De Vos, F. H., 1898. Monumental remains of the Dutch East India Company in Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume: XV. 1897-1898. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). pp.271-272. 
2) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. p.204.
3) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.26-27.

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Dodanduwa Shailabimbaramaya

Dodanduwa Shailabimbaramaya
Shailabimbarama Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Dodanduwa in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

In the past, this temple was known by two names; Udugalpitiya Viharaya or Degalle Viharaya (Ranchagoda, 2015). It came to be known as Shailabimbaramaya when a stone made Buddha statue was placed in the temple on a day between 1786-1854 A.D. (Ranchagoda, 2015). That Buddha statue is said to have been brought here from Kaveripattinam in India and presently it is placed in the image house of the temple (Ranchagoda, 2015). However, the original appearance of it can not be seen as the statue was covered by a clay layer (Ranchagoda, 2015). 

The temple flourished as a highly recognized institute since the early period of its establishment (Ranchagoda, 2015). Evidence is there to show that it maintained relations with the king of Burma (present Myanmar) during the 16-17 centuries A.D. (Ranchagoda, 2015). The image house of the temple is said to have been constructed during the same time period (Ranchagoda, 2015). 

The temple is famous for its murals that have certain features characteristic of the low country style of the Kandyan Art tradition (Ranchagoda, 2015).

1) IMG_8592, IMG_8602, and IMG_8588 by Dhammika Heenpella are licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

1) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.42-43.

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Sri Pada

Sri Pada mountain
Sri Pada (fondly known to the west as Adam's Peak), is a mountain and a sacred pilgrimage site situated in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka. It is highly venerated by the Buddhist as one of the sixteen sacred places (Solosmastana) in the country where the Buddha is supposed to have visited (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Visitors from all parts of the world visit this sacred mountain. Buddhists firmly believe that the left footprint of the Buddha is preserved on the summit of the Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958; Wickramasinghe, 2005). However, Christians and Muslims refer to Sri Pada mountain Adam's Peak as they believe the Footprint on the mountain to be that of Adam [(according to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the first parent of the human race is Adam) Abeyawardana, 2002; Paranavitana, 1958]. Muslims believe that Adam stood on the peak of this mountain on one foot for a thousand years when he was cast out of paradise and some Christians think that it is the footprint of Saint Thomas, who is said to have brought Christianity to Sri Lanka (Wickramasinghe, 2005). Meanwhile, Hindus think the Footprint to be that of God Siva, left after his world-creative dance (Abeyawardana, 2002; Wickramasinghe, 2005).

The mountain
Sri Pada entrance
Sri Pada is the fifth highest mountain in Sri Lanka with a height of 2243 m [(7360 ft.) Abeyawardana, 2002; Wickramasinghe, 2005] and its summit which has a shape of a cone can be seen from many points in the country, as well as from the sea. It is an important determiner of climate and a water source for four of Sri Lanka’s major rivers (Paranavitana, 1958; Wickramasinghe, 2005). Four of the principal rivers of the island Mahaweli, Kelani, Kalu, and Walawe have their origins at Sri Pada (Abeyawardana, 2002; Paranavitana, 1958). Local Buddhists believe that the mountain is the abode of a god named Saman (Sumana in Pali), one of the four deities who have taken upon themselves the task of protecting the Sri Lanka island and the religion of the Buddha (Paranavitana, 1958).

Pilgrim season to the mountain is commenced on the full-moon day of Unduwap (December) and ended on the day of full-moon in Vesak (May) each year (Wickramasinghe, 2005). Tens of thousands of devotees ascend the mountain every year through three main routes; Ratnapura- Palabedda road to Gilimale (the ancient route known as Raja Mawatha), Maskeliya, Kuruwita-Eratna road, and Wewelwatta (Abeyawardana, 2002; Wickramasinghe, 2005). A small shrine with a granite replica of a footprint is found at the top of the mountain and pilgrims venerate it as they believe that the original Footprint of their relevant master is covered by this granite footprint (Abeyawardana, 2002).
Sri Pada (the Illustrious Footprint) [or Samanala-Kanda (the Peak of the god Saman)] mountain is referred to in many ancient texts and epigraphs by various names. Sri Lankan, Indian, and Chinese Buddhist writings refer to it as Sri Pada, Sumanakuta mountain, Samantakuta mountain, peak Samanta, peak Samanoli, Mount Lanka, etc. (Paranavitana, 1958). Indian Sanskrit writings refer to it as Rohana mountain while Muslims and Christian writings refer to it as Al-Rohoun and Adam's Peak (Paranavitana, 1958). Hindus called the mountain Sivan-oli-paatha-malai.
The footprint of the Buddha
Sri Lankan accounts
Mahavamsa (5th century A.D.) : The chronicle Mahavamsa records that at the 9th month of his Buddhahood, on a Duruthu (January) full moon Poya day, the Buddha visited the island of Sri Lanka in order to subdue Yakkhas, who had assembled at the site of the modern Mahiyangana Stupa. After appearing at the site, the Buddha dispersed the Yakkhas to an island named Giri Divaina and preached the Dhamma to Devas (the gods) who had gathered there. On this occasion, a prominent Deva named Mahasumana of the Sumanakuta mountain (Sri Pada mountain) asked Buddha for something to worship. The Buddha gave him a handful of his hairs which Mahasumana enshrined in the place where the present Mahiyangana Stupa stands [(Mahavamsa, Chap: I, vv: 20-43) Geiger, 1986]. Later, the Buddha in the 8th year after his enlightenment visited Kelaniya in Sri Lanka with his followers on the full moon day of Vesak (May) and this visit was done upon the invitation of a Naga king named Maniakkhika. After receiving the homage from the Nagas at Kelaniya, the Buddha left an impression of his foot on the summit of Sumanakuta mountain, at the invitation of Mahasumana, before his departure to India [(Mahavamsa, Chap: I, vv: 71-84) Abeyawardana, 2002; Geiger, 1986; Paranavitana, 1958].

However, some of the chronicles such as the Dipavamsa, the oldest historical record (4th century A.D.) of the country and Buddhagosa's historical introduction to the Samantapasadika, have no reference to the Sumanakuta mountain or the god Sumana, in their account of the Buddha's visits to Sri Lanka (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1958).
As revealed by the Mahavamsa, the two children of Vijaya and Kuweni, after the separation of their parents, are said to have fled to Sumanakuta and settle in that region [(Mahavamsa, Chap: VII, vv: 66-68) Geiger, 1986; Nicholas, 1963]. It is said that there were 900 monks close to the mountain summit during the reign of King Dutugemunu [(161-137 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2002; Nicholas, 1963].
Ambagamuwa rock inscription of King Vijayabahu I (11th century A.D.): The chronicle Culavamsa (the latter part of the Mahavamsa) records that King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) involved in making the facilities for the pilgrims who were travelling to worship the footprint of the Buddha on the summit of Sri Pada mountain [(Culavamsa, Chap: LX, vv: 64-67) Geiger, 1998 (I); Paranavitana, 1958; Wickremasinghe, 1928). This fact given in the chronicle was confirmed by the Ambagamuwa rock inscription established by the same king in the 38th year after his coronation (Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1928).  It is recorded in the inscription that the king who saw the difficulties undergone by pilgrims on their way to worship the footprint of the Buddha that is on the summit of Samantakuta mountain dedicated a village named Gilimalaya (present Gilimale) to provide food for them (Paranavitana, 1958; Wickremasinghe, 1928). Also, he built resting places on two other routes [Kadaligama (modern Kehelgamuwa in Kandy District) and Huva (modern Uva)] to the mountain and gave lands unto each one of them separately (Abeyawardana, 2002; Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1928). The inscription reveals that the king himself ascended the mountain and worshipped the Footprint (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Bhagavalena inscription of King Nissankamalla (12th century A.D.): As recorded in the Culavamsa, King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) went on pilgrimage to the Sri Pada mountain and worshipped the Footprint of the Buddha with great devotion [(Culavamsa, Chap: LXXX, vv: 24-25) Geiger, 1998 (II); Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1958]. His visit is confirmed by a long inscription left by him on the rock wall in the cave known as Bhagavalena located about a hundred feet below the mountain peak (Paranavitana, 1958). The inscription states that Nissankamalla re-granted the village of Ambagamuwa that was already donated by King Vijayabahu I (Paranavitana, 1958). A short record with an outline drawing of a man which is supposed to be the figure of Nissankamalla is also found by the side of this inscription. The short record states that "it is the manner in which King Nissankamalla stood worshipping the Footprint" (Paranavitana, 1958).
Samantakutavannana (13th century A.D.): Samantakutavannana is a Pali poem on Sri Pada mountain composed by a Buddhist monk named Vedeha Thera (Paranavitana, 1958). It contains detail about the career of the Buddha and his three visits to Sri Lanka.
Royal patronage (13-18th centuries A.D.): As revealed by the chronicles and other ancient texts, many royals have gone on pilgrimage to this sacred mountain. King Parakramabahu II (1236-1271 A.D.) worshipped the Footprint and granted certain lands for the benefit of it (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1958). During the regnal years of the same king, minister Devapathiraja improved the road leading to the Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958). Prince Vihayabahu, the son of Parakramabahu II, went on pilgrimage to the Footprint before becoming the king of the country (Paranavitana, 1958). In the 15th century, Vikramabahu, the ruler of Kandy went to the sacred mountain and conducted festivities and made offerings to the Footprint (Paranavitana, 1958). King Rajasinghe I (1581-1593 A.D.) of Sitawaka who embraced Hinduism by renouncing Buddhism, entrusted the custody of the mountain to the priests of Saivites (Abeyawardana, 2002; Paranavitana, 1958). King Vimaladharmasuriya (1687-1707 A.D.) visit the sacred mountain and installed a silver umbrella over the Footprint (Paranavitana, 1958). King Narendrasinghe (1707-1730 A.D.) went on pilgrimage to the sacred mountain twice during his reign and King Sri Vijaya Rajasinghe (1739-1746 A.D.) also worshipped the Footprint (Paranavitana, 1958). King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1780 A.D.) restored to the Buddhists the incomes from villages which formerly dedicated to the Footprint, but had been given to Saivites by King Rajasinghe I (Paranavitana, 1958). A copper-plate charter by Kirti Sri Rajasinghe reveals that he donated Kuttapitiya village to the Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958).
Indian accounts
Manimekalai (6th century A.D.) : Manimekalai, a great epic of the Indian Tamil literature, mentions that the footprint of the Buddha on the summit of Sri Pada mountain in Sri Lanka was worshipped by the devotees (Rasanayagam, 1917). 
Manimekalai canto XI: "Adjacent to this (Manipallavam) is Ratnadipa. In it stands the lofty peak Samanta on whose summit are the feet of Buddha, a ship of righteousness to cross the ocean of birth. Them have I worshiped and returned hither."
Manimekalai canto XXVIII: "The preachers of Dharma who were returning after worshipping the peak Samanoli in Lankadipa".
The names Samanta and Samanoli ("Samanoli" is the Sinhalese "Samanola", equivalent to "Samantakuta" in Pali) both refer to Sri Pada mountain and Lankadipa and Ratnadipa were old names used to identify Sri Lanka (Rasanayagam, 1917).
Bodh-Gaya inscription of Mahanaman (6th century A.D.): A Sanskrit inscription discovered from Bodh-Gaya premises in India records that the early members of the school to which Mahanaman belonged had their abode in the holy country at the foot of Mount Lanka (Fleet, 1888; Paranavitana, 1958). Mount Lanka is another named used to denote the Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958).
Chinese accounts
Fa-Hien (5th century A.D.): Fa-Hien, a Chinese monk who stayed at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka for around two years at the beginning of the 5th century A.D. has recorded about a mountain which, according to scholars, is the Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958). 
Hieun Tsiang (7th century A.D.): Hieun Tsiang, another Chinese pilgrim who however did not come to Sri Lanka, but gathered information about the island from South India when he visits there in the 7th century, has recorded about a mountain named Mount Lanka (another name used to identify the Sri Pada mountain) in the south-east of Sri Lanka and which, according to his accounts, is the place where the Buddha delivered the "Lankavatara Sutra" (Paranavitana, 1958). 

Mahayana Buddhists in India and China are said to have believed in the 7th century that a discourse was delivered by the Buddha to Ravana (a mythical figure found in the Ramayanaya) on Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958).
Vajrabodhi (7th century A.D.): Vajrabodhi who stayed at Abhayagiri Viharaya for six months travelled towards the south-east to climb Lanka-Parvata. After long waiting, he could climb the mountain and contemplate the impression of the Buddha's foot (Paranavitana, 1958). The Lanka-Parvata, according to scholars, is the Sri Pada mountain (Paranavitana, 1958).
Marco Polo/Kublai Khan (13th century A.D.): By the 13th century, the fame of Sri Pada as a religious place in Sri Lanka was known in China and as revealed by the notes of Marco Polo, the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan (1260-1294 A.D.) had sent a mission to Sri Lanka to obtain some holy object preserved there (Paranavitana, 1958). He, in his travel notes in about 1285, mentions the chains on the pilgrim route to the mountain (Nicholas, 1963).
Trilingual Slab Inscription (15th century A.D.): The Chinese inscription in the famous Trilingual Slab Inscription that was discovered from Galle, records the blessings to the Lord Buddha and a list of offering alms bestowed in 1410 by Cheng Ho, Wang Chin Lien, and others at the shrine of the Buddhist temple on the Mountain of Lanka (Paranavitana, 1933; Paranavitana, 1958).
South-East Asian accounts
South-East Asian Buddhist missions (15th century A.D.): In 1425, a group of Thai and Cambodian Buddhist monks received ordination at Kelaniya in Sri Lanka (Paranavitana, 1958). Medhankara Thera, one of the leaders of this mission, set up a shrine at Sukhodaya in Thailand after returning to the country and which, according to an inscription there, is a representation of the Buddha's foot which is manifested on the summit of Sri Pada mountain in Sri Lanka (Paranavitana, 1958).
Japanese peace pagoda
During the reign of King Buvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.), the ruler of Burma (present Myanmar) King Dhammazedi (1471-1492 A.D.) sought the assistance of the Sinhala kings to re-institute the Theravada ordination in his country. In 1476, a group of Burma monks and their disciples were sent to Sri Lanka, where they were re-ordained at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara (Ko, 1892). Before leaving for their country again, these monks went on a pilgrimage to the sacred mountain (Paranavitana, 1958).
The appearance of the Rohana mountain
Balaramayanaya (c.9th century A.D.): Sri Pada is referred to as Rohana in some Sanskrit writings (Paranavitana, 1958). In the Balaramayanaya, a Sanskrit drama by Rajashekara, it is mentioned the Rohana mountain as a ground in Sri Lanka (Paranavitana, 1958). 

Anargha Raghava (c. 9th century A.D.): The Anargha Raghava, a Sanskrit drama by Murali refers to a shrine of Agastya related to the Rohana mountain in Sri Lanka (Paranavitana, 1958). 
Rajatarangani (12th century A.D.): The Rajatarangani (the chronicle of the kings of Kashmir, India) by Kalhana described Mount Rohana as a source of precious gems (Paranavitana, 1958).  

Anargha Raghava (c 13-14 century A.D.): The Anargha Raghava, a Sanskrit drama by Murali  (Paranavitana, 1958). 
Al-Rohoun mountain and Muslim beliefs
The footstep of Adam is mentioned in a Gnostic work of the 4th century A.D., but this doesn't localize it in Sri Lanka (Paranavitana, 1958).

Soleyman (9th century A.D.): The first Arab writer who mentioned the Footprint on this sacred mountain as that of Adam was Soleyman/Suleiman (Abeyawardana, 2002; Paranavitana, 1958). The records written by him in 851 A.D. during his voyages refer to this mountain by the name "Al-Rohoun" which is an adopted name of "Rohana" of Rajashekara who flourished about the same time (Paranavitana, 1958).

Bhagavalena Arabic inscription (probably 12-13th centuries A.D.): A short fragmentary Arabic inscription has been found in the Bhagavalena cave by the side of the drawing representing King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) worshipping the footprint of the Buddha (Paranavitana, 1958). The inscription reads "Muhammad, may God bless him (the farther of Man....)".

Ibn Batuta (14th century A.D.): Ibn Batuta, a traveller who visited Sri Lanka in about 1340 records that Imam Abu-Abdl-Allah (died 942 A.D.) was the one who taught him the way to Serendib (Sri Lanka) and thus to the footprint on Adam's Peak (Paranavitana, 1958). According to his travel notes, Ibn Batuta has gone on pilgrimage to the sacred mountain (Paranavitana, 1958).
Ma Huan (15th century): Ma Huan, a Chinese Muslim has also recorded the sacred mountain in Sri Lankan and the Footprint on the summit of it (Abeyawardana, 2002). According to him, it is the impress of the foot of the first ancestor of mankind named A-tan [(or Pan-kau) Abeyawardana, 2002; Paranavitana, 1958].

God Siva's footprint and Hindu tradition
Ibn Batuta (14th century A.D.):  From the accounts of Ibn Batuta, it can be shown that Hindus were in the habit of going on pilgrimage to the mountain in the 14th century (Paranavitana, 1958).

Rajasinghe I (16th century A.D.): There is no concrete evidence to prove that there was any Saivite worship of the footprint on Sri Pada mountain before King Rajasinghe I (1581-1593 A.D.) of Sitawaka (Paranavitana, 1958). Rajasinghe I who embraced Hinduism by renouncing Buddhism had entrusted the custody of the mountain to the priests of Saivites in the 16th century A.D. (Abeyawardana, 2002; Paranavitana, 1958). 

In Tamil, Sri Pada is called "Sivan-oli" which is probably an adopted name of "Samanoli" that is mentioned in the Manimekalai of the 6th century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1958).
European accounts and Adam's Peak

In many of the European notes, this sacred mountain is referred to as Adam's Peak, the most popular name used by the western world today.

Portuguese accounts (Portuguese Ceylon 1505-1687 A.D.): Portuguese historians such as Joao Ribeiro (17th century), and Fernao de Queyroz (17th century) have given accounts of Adam's Peak (Paranavitana, 1958). 

Dutch accounts (Dutch Ceylon 1687-1896 A.D.): Daniel Pathey, who climbed the mountain in 1684 and has mentioned it in his book (Paranavitana, 1958). However, the Dutch confused Adam’s Peak with other rock (hill) temples in the country, particularly the ancient Mulkirigala Viharaya in Hambantota District (De Silva, 2014). This rock temple was identified by the Dutch as "Adam’s Berg" (De Silva, 2014).

British accounts (British Ceylon 1896- 1948 A.D.): Most books written about Sri Lanka during the British colonial rule over the Island contain a description of  Adam's Peak (Paranavitana, 1958).

Adam's Peak
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.13-14,125-126.
2) De Silva, P., 2014. Colonialism and religion: colonial knowledge productions on Sri Pada as ‘Adam’s Peak’. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences 2014 37 (1 & 2): pp.19-32.
3) Fleet, J.F., 1888. Inscriptions of the early Gupta kings and their successors (Vol. 3). Superintendent of Government Printing, India. pp.274-279
4) Geiger, W., 1986. The Mahāvaṃsa, or, The Great Chronicle of Ceylon. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi. pp.3-5,8-9,60. 
5) Geiger, W., 1998 (I). The Culavamsa: Being the more recent part of the Mahavamsa. Part: I. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi. pp.220-221. 
6) Geiger, W., 1998 (II). The Culavamsa: Being the more recent part of the Mahavamsa. Part: II. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi. p.128. 
7) Ko, T.S., 1892. The Kalyānī inscriptions erected by King Dhammacetī at Pegu in 1476 AD: Text and translation. Superintendent, government printing, Burma. pp.the "Contents" page, i-vi.
8) 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.125.
9) Paranavitana, S., 1933. The Tamil inscription on the Galle Trilingual Slab. Epigraphia Zeylanica (Vol. III). pp.331-341.
10) Paranavitana, S., 1958. The god of Adam's Peak. Artibus Asiae. Supplementum, 18, pp.11-22.
11) Rasanayagam, M.C., 1917. Nagadipa in the Tamil Classics. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, (Vol. 26). pp.31-35.
12) Wickramasinghe, A., 2005. 15. Adam’s Peak Sacred Mountain Forest. The Importance of Sacred Natural Sites for Biodiversity Conservation, pp.109-118.
13) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon (Vol, II). Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. pp.202-218. 

Location Map
This page was last updated on 7 March 2021
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