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, October 18, 2020

Dadagamuwa Viharaya

Dadagamuwa Viharaya
Dadagamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Dadagamuwa village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The history of the Dadagamuwa temple goes back to the time of the Anuradhapura period as well as to the 19th century.

The temple
The temple mainly consists of an image house, a Stupa, a Bodhi-tree, monks' dwellings, and a Vatadage. The ruins of ancient structures such as Nidan-galaPadalas-gala, and stone pillars indicate the antiquity of the temple. Out of the monuments situated at the temple premises, the Vatadageya and the image house are archaeologically important. 

Dadagamuwa Vatadage 
Dadagamuwa Vatadage
The Vatadage at Dadagamuwa Viharaya is a quadrangular house enclosing a small Stupa. The roof of it consists of two decks (upper & lower) sloping in four directions and the top of the roof is ended with a pinnacle. The upper roof is borne by four pillars erected around the Stupa. The lower roof is supported on the walls as well as the circular pillars of the outer corridor. 

The inner side of the walls of the Vatadage is adorned with murals of Buddhist themes. Two rows of paintings depicting Jataka tales such as Sambula, Themiya, Dahamsoda, etc. are found among them. These paintings are said to have been done during the period between the latter part of the 19th century and the begging of the 20th century. There are some paintings on the back wall which are incomplete. However, some traces of ancient paintings are found on the walls where the modern paintings peeled off.

Image house & the Bodhi-tree
The image house, according to the date denoted above the entrance door, has been built on 2 September 1905. The Bodhi-tree is considered to be one of the saplings of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya at Anuradhapura. 

A protected site 
The ancient Vatadageya and the image house in the premises of the Dadagamuwa Raja Maha Vihara in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Attanagalla are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005. 

Dadagamuwa Viharaya Dadagamuwa Viharaya Dadagamuwa Viharaya .
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1401. 8 July 2005.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 18 October 2020
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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Sera Ella Falls

Sera Ella Falls
Sera Ella Falls is a waterfall situated near the Knuckles Conservation Forest in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

The falls is formed by the Puwakpitiya Oya that originates from the Batadandu Kanda mountain and flows towards the Thelgamu Oya, a main water resource for the Moragahakanda Reservoir. The falls is about 15 m tall and cascades from the rockface as two separate sections. There is a cave hidden behind the waterfall where travelers can watch the water flowing from inside. 

Sera Ella Falls .
Attribution
1) Sera Ella waterfalls by Abishek Palraj is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Location Map
This page was last updated on 17 October 2020
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Kadiyanlena Falls

Kadiyanlena Falls
Kadiyanlena Ella Falls (also known as Kataboola Ella Falls) is a waterfall in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. Located in Kadiyanlena village near the regional boundary between Nuwara Eliya and Kandy Districts the falls can be reached by traveling along the Nawalapitiya-Kotmale road about 11 km distance from Nawalapitiya town. The fall is also called Kataboola Ella due to the tea estate nearby with the same name.

The fall is located by the side of Nawalapitiya-Kotmale road and can be observed from the road. Formed by the Kadiyanlena Oya the falls has three segments and several pools underneath each part. The first two segments of the falls is divided from the third segment by the road that crosses the falls via an old arch-bridge. A view of the full waterfall can be obtained at the bend which is located just before the waterfall bridge.

Kadiyanlena Falls .
Attribution
1) Kadiyanlena Falls by Lahiru9837 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Location Map
This page was last updated on 17 October 2020
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Mabodala Kshestrarama Viharaya

Mabodala Kshestrarama Viharaya
Mabodala Kshestrarama Purana Viharaya (also known as Wele Pansala) situated in Mabodala village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
The construction dates denoted on the Seema Malakaya, image house and the belfry confirm that this temple has a history running back to the early part of the 20th century. However, according to Wellewe Chandrananda Thera, the caretaker of the temple, this Viharaya has been established in 1762 (a fact yet to be confirmed). 

The temple
The temple consists of a Stupa, an image house, a small Devalaya, a Bodhi-tree, a Seema-Malakaya building, a belfry, a preaching hall, and monks' dwellings. The Seema-Malakaya where the monks gather and perform their Vinaya-karma is an old two-storied building. According to the date denoted on its one of the pillars, this building has been constructed in 1925. It was conserved by the Department of Archaeology on 14 June 2013.

The image house and the belfry, as the dates denoted on the respective structures, have been built in 2452 B.E. (1908 A.D.) and 2457 B.E. (1913 A.D.). A stone flower altar that is placed near the Bodhi-tree contains a short inscription and it reveals that the altar was made by a person named Nemis Appuhami in 2468 B.E. (1924 A.D.).

Mabodala Kshestrarama Viharaya Mabodala Kshestrarama Viharaya .
Location Map
This page was last updated on 17 October 2020
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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Ellewala Falls

Ellewala Falls
Ellewala Falls is a waterfall situated in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. It can be reached by traveling about 4.6 km distance along Alikote Ara reservoir road at Rathmal Vehera junction located on Ella - Wellawaya road about 3 km distance from Wellawaya town. Formed by Alikote Ara River, the waterfall is surrounded by a forest area and the natural pool at the bottom of the fall is popular among the locals as a safe place for bathing.

Attribution
1) Ellawala waterfall by DSWeerasekara, and Ellawala Falls by Yasithakasthuri are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Location Map
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Bambarakiri Ella Falls

Bambarakiri Ella Falls
Bambarakiri Ella is a waterfall situated in Matale District, Sri Lanka. The fall is located about 5 mins distance from the Bambarakiri-ella bend on the Rattota - Riverston road. The falls cascades in two segments and at the bottom of the final cascade is a circular pool. The old-type suspension bridge that spans over the falls provides a safe and attractive view of the falls for the visitors.

Attribution
1) Bambarakiiella by Dulmini Balasooriya, and Bambarakiri ella, Srilanka & Bambarakiri Ella , Sri Lanka by Thilanka Kasunjith are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 October 2020
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Ganewatta Tempita Viharaya, Divulapitiya

Ganewatta Tempita Viharaya
Ganewatta Tempita Viharaya (also known as Ganewaththa Purana Bodhimalu Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Divulapitiya in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. 

History
According to the folklore, Ganinnanselas who are considered as persons with the appearance of Buddhist monks have lived in this temple at the beginning of its establishment. The Tempita Viharaya shrine of this temple is said to have been built during the latter part of the Kandyan Kingdom (1469-1815 A.D.), most probably in the 19th century.

Tempita Viharaya
Tempita Viharas (the temples on pillars) were a popular aspect of many Buddhist temples during the Kandyan period. These structures were usually built on a wooden platform resting on bare stone pillars or stumps which are about 1-4 feet tall. The roof is generally made of timber and held by wooden stumps. The walls are usually made of wattle and daub and they form the main enclosed shrine room containing the Buddhist sculptures and murals belonging to the Kandyan style. Some Tempita Viharas have narrow verandas and ambulatories circulating the main enclosed space. Construction of these buildings was started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Ganewatta Tempita Viharaya
Ganewatta Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the main aspect of this temple with archaeological value. It is a rectangular building and has been built upon 9 granite pillars of about 3 ft. 2 inches tall (Chandrasoma, 2013). The four-sided roof with a short ridge at the top is borne by supportive wooden pillars as well as by the wattle walls. The roof has been paved with flat clay tiles (Maliga Ulu). 

The building is 15 ft. 8 inches long and 9 ft. 3 inches wide and can be accessed through a wooden flight of steps (Chandrasoma, 2013). Inside the shrine is a seated statue of Buddha accompanied by two images of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. Two standing statues, probably the statues of God Visnu and Kataragama, are found facing each other at both left and right walls. On the inner side of the entrance wall, two figures of Buddhist monks named Kelewitimulle Hamuduruwo and Pasyale Hamuduruwo are found (Chandrasoma, 2013). 

The inner walls of the shrine have been decorated with paintings depicting the Buddhist themes. The Solosmasthana (the 16 most sacred shrines in Sri Lanka), and Jataka tales (stories that tell about the previous 550 lives of the Buddha) such as Daham Sonda, Kihiranga are found among them. According to the view of academicians, these paintings belong to the period between the latter part of the Kandyan era and the beginning of the modern period (Chandrasoma, 2013).

A special feature of this Tempita Viharaya is that it does not have an outer ambulatory. Also, there are no paintings on the outer side of the shrine. However, some fragments of old paintings depicting the top part of two door-keepers are found emerged on the front wall where its outer lime plaster crumbled off (Chandrasoma, 2013). A small open-hall has been built in front of the Tempita shrine recently.

Ganewatta Tempita Viharaya Ganewatta temple .
References
1) Chandrasoma, S., 2013. Gampaha Distrikkaye Tempita Vihara (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-9159-85-8. pp.50-56.
2) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p. 12.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 October 2020
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Balagalla Saraswathi Pirivena

Balagalla Saraswathi Pirivena
Balagalla Saraswathi Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Divulapitiya in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
The belfry
Balagalla temple was established on 7 February 1897, with the donation of the temple land of about 2 acres to the Buddhist monks of Ramanna Nikaya by Don Migel Jayakody Ralahami, a wealthy person in the area, with the assistance of his wife S.A. Abilina Silva and others. After 6 years, a Piriviena (a monastic college) for the education of monks was commenced in the temple on 7 March 1903 under the main contribution of Don Migel Jayakody Ralahami. The construction works of the image house (opened: 21 April 1904), and the preaching hall (opened: 12 March 1922) that were started with the donations of Don Migel Jayakody Ralahami were finished before his death on 26 October 1924. However, he was unable to complete the library building that was also being built. 

The construction works of the unfinished library were completed by his son D.P Jayakody with the assistance of other donators. He bestowed the library and also a newly built belfry to the temple on 11 March 1928. 

A protected site
The old Vihara-geya of Sarasvathi Pirivena situated in Balagalla village in Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 June 1999. 

Balagalla Saraswathi Pirivena The preaching hall .
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 October 2020
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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Dumbara Ella Falls

Dumbara Ella Falls
Dumbara Ella Falls is a waterfall cascading in Knuckles Forest Reserve in Matale District, Sri Lanka. Originated by the Kalu Ganga River the fall is said to be about 20 m tall. 

The falls can be reached by a lengthy trail fallen through the Knuckles forest. The beauty of the site is further increased by the large circular pool at the foot of the falls. Presently, the site is a famous ground for camping. 

Dumbara Ella Falls .
Attribution
1) Dumbaraellatop by KingAlawaka is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) Angel in deep Knuckles-Dumbara ella falls by Gayanhere is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Location Map

This page was last updated on 10 October 2020
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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Ranawa Pillar Inscription of Dappula IV

Ranawa pillar inscription
The Ranawa Pillar Inscription is a stone pillar inscription discovered from Ranawa village in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. Presently, the pillar is located in the middle of the Madatugama-Andiyagala road in front of the Ranawa Devurada Ranrada Viharaya premises, a Buddhist temple site situated in close proximity to the Jathika Namal Uyana.

Pillar
The inscription has been engraved on all eight sides of an octagonal stone pillar. The pillar is about 5.5 feet tall and each side of it has a width ranging between 6-6.5 inches (Ranawella, 2004). The writing has been executed between parallel horizontal lines and as a whole, it contains 209 lines of writing with about 800 letters (Ranawella, 2004). In the lengthwise, this inscription is only second to the Badulla Pillar Inscription of King Udaya IV [(946-954 A.D.) Ranawella, 2004].

Content
The pillar contains a Sinhala inscription written in the Sinhala scripts of the first half of the 10th century (Ranawella, 2004). It has been dated in the twelfth regnal year of a king styled Abha Salamevan who has been identified by scholars as King Dappula IV [(923-935 A.D.) Ranawella, 2004]. The inscription has been erected to record about a decree of granting certain immunities in respect of twelve Payalas of lands in a village name Rana (modern Ranava village), attached to a religious establishment named Demetvala Pirivena situated in Palanbima, which was attached to the Tisaram Rad-mahavehera of the Mahamevna Park (Ranawella, 2004). According to the inscription, certain activities such as cutting down the trees (such as Palmyra-palms and Mi) and arresting those who may come into this village after having committed murder in somewhere in outside have been prevented within the area designated by the inscription (Ranawella, 2004). 
 
Some identify this inscription as a record that mentions about a kind of sanctuary that existed in the 10th century A.D. As it is located very close to the Jathika Namal Uyana, some believe that this sanctuary may have had a connection with it in the past.

The interpretations for the Ranava pillar inscription by G. S. Ranawella (2004) are given below,

  • Ranawa pillar inscription
    Reign          : Dappula IV (923-935 A.D.)
    Period        : 10th century A.D.
    Script         : Medieval Sinhala
    Language  : Medieval Sinhala


    Transcript: Side A: (1)Arogya (2)siddhi Kiri (3)muhundne- (4)n uda kala (5)somi nima- ....>>
    Translation: Let there be good health! on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of....>>
.
References
1) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.98-103.

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