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, May 16, 2021

Sankhapala Viharaya

Sankhapala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Pallebedda village in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
As the presence of a few early-Brahmi cave inscriptions, the history of this temple can be dated back to the period of the pre-Christian era (Paranavitana, 1970). According to popular beliefs, Phussadeva, one of the paladins of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) had entered the order of monks after the conclusion of the Elara war and attained Arhantship at this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

A Tudapatha granted to the temple by King Rajadhi Rajasinghe (1782-1798 A.D.) in Saka year 1708 (1786 A.D.) reveals an offering (a land grant) made to a Buddhist monk named Karatota Dhammarama Thera in appreciation of his unique poetic composition known as Barasakavya (Abeyawardana, 2002; Collins, 1932).

Inscriptions
Three early-Brahmi cave inscriptions belonging to the period between 2nd-1st century B.C. have been found from the Sankhapala temple premises (Collins, 1932; Paranavitana, 1970).

Script: Early-Brahmi                                          Language: Old Sinhala 
Transcript: ..........[pu]ta-Pussadevasha lene shagasha
Translation: The cave of Phussadeva, son of ..........[is given] to the Sangha
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970. p.58.

Two of the three inscriptions found in this temple contains the name "Phussadeva" who is popularly identified by many with Phussadeva, one of the paladins of King Dutugemunu [(161-137 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2002; Collins, 1932]. As mentioned in the chronicle Mahavamsa, Phussadeva is a warrior who skilled in chank-blowing and in archery (Collins, 1932). His main symbols were the Chank and the Arrow (Collins, 1932). The name "Sankha" in the Sinhala language means the "Chank" and therefore, the name of the present temple "Sankhapala" indicates some link between this place and the warrior Phussadeva (Collins, 1932). Also, some marks appear to be a chank and an arrow have been found on a rock near the entrance to the temple (Collins, 1932).

The temple
This monastic complex contains a cave temple, Stupa, stone pillars, flight of steps erected on a rocky platform (Abeyawardana, 2002). On one of the pillars, there is an engraving said to be of a Watapatha (a monk's fan), the Sun and the Moon, a crow and a dog and an ear of corn (Collins, 1932). A Stupa shaped mound known as the Phussadeva tomb is found on a rock near the entrance of the temple.
 
A protected site
The tomb of Phussadeva and its nearby drip-ledged cave, and 15 drip-ledged caves with inscriptions situated in the premises of Sankhapala Vihara in Pallebedda village the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Embilipitiya, are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 22 November 2002.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  p.32.
2) Collins, C.H., 1932. The archaeology of the Sabaragamuwa Bintenna. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. XXXII, No 85. p.173-175.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.58.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 16 May 2021
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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Bogahawatta Ambalama

Bogahawatta Ambalama
Photo credit: Google street view

The Bogahawatta Ambalama is an old wayside rest situated in Kirindiwela in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

Ambalama
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. The Ambalama at Bogahawatta is one such building that is believed to be more than one hundred years old.

The rectangular-shaped Ambalama is relatively small and consists of a single open space surrounded by a short wall. The four-sided roof which is held by ten stone pillars has been tiled with calicut clay tiles (Rata Ulu).

A protected monument
The pilgrims rest situated in the village of Bogahawatta in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 385 Kirindiwela, in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Dompe-weke, is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 6 February 2009.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1588. 6 February 2009. p.182.

Location Map
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Archaeological Museum of Kandy

The Archaeological Museum of Kandy, Sri Lanka is one of the Regional Museums Administered by the Department of Archaeology. The museum has been established in a section of the ancient Royal Palace building located in the sacred premises of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The Memorial Museum of Tusker Raja is also located vicinity of this museum.

History
The museum was started in 1967 (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museum
The museum preserves a collection of items discovered from archaeological sites in Kandy (Rambukwella, 2014). Artifacts include Buddhist and Hindu statues, wooden items, metal objects, stone objects, wood carvings, paintings and other monumental remains (Rambukwella, 2014).

References
1) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). p.411.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 May 2021
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Padaviya Wewa and Inscription

Padaviya Wewa
Padaviya Wewa is a shallow man-made reservoir situated in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This reservoir has been identified as the ancient Ratmalkanda Vapi of King Mahasena (277-304 A.D.) and Dhanavapi of King Moggallana II [(535-555 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969]. It was later known as Padivapi and King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) restored it (Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963). King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) decreed Padivapi a sanctuary for animals (Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963).

The restoration works of the present tank were carried out in 1954-1958 (Arumugam, 1969). The tank and its surrounding area were designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1963.
 
Inscription
Pillar inscription at the sluice of Padaviya tank
A pillar inscription of King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) has been discovered near the sluice of the Padaviya reservoir. Although, this inscription records that this tank was built by Parakramabahu, scholars have identified him as a restorer of the tank and not the builder.

Pillar inscription at the sluice of Padaviya tank
Reign: Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.)                  
Period: 12th century A.D.
Script: Medieval Sinhala                                                
Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: This was caused to be constructed for the benefit of the whole world by the Lord of Lanka, His Majesty King Sri Parakramabahu, who intensely busied himself with fervent activity.
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

Reservoir
The reservoir has been constructed by damming the Mora Oya and Mukunu Oya (Arumugam, 1969; Siriwardana et al., 2019). The bund of the reservoir is about 2.75 miles long and the water is extending in an area of about 5,800 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has one spill and one sluice with three openings (Arumugam, 1969). 

Attribution
1) Padaviya tanka by Shasikapws is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 
2) This painting (King Parakramabahu's pillar at Padaviya) which is presently housed in the British Museum under the no.1941,0419,0.1 has been released under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.276.
2) 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). pp.87,168.
3) Siriwardana, C., Cooray, A.T., Liyanage, S.S. and Koliyabandara, S.M.P.A., 2019. Seasonal and spatial variation of dissolved oxygen and nutrients in Padaviya Reservoir, Sri Lanka. Journal of Chemistry, 2019. pp.1-11.

Location Map
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Friday, May 14, 2021

Museums in Sri Lanka

National Museum of Colombo
Museums in Sri Lanka began with the establishment of the first museum in the country, the Colombo Museum, on 1 January 1877 (Embuldeniya & Karunarathna, 2019; Rambukwella, 2014). After that, as a result of the National Museums Ordinance, passed in 1942, several other museums were established such as at Kandy (1942), Jaffna (1943), Ratnapura (1946), Anuradhapura (1947) etc. (Rambukwella, 2014). These museums were further developed or expanded with time and in addition to them, museums with different themes such as history, archaeology, heritage were gradually established all over the country by three main government institutes; namely the Department of National Museums, Department of Archaeological Survey, and the Central Cultural Fund (Rambukwella, 2014). Besides the main museums administered by these institutes, several small museums and private collections are also maintained by different authorities, such as universities, companies, government institutions, provincial councils, district authorities and private owners (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museums under the Department of National Museums
Including the five main designated national museums, nine museums are administered by the Department of National Museums today (Rambukwella, 2014). Moreover, several school museums are also managed by them (Rambukwella, 2014).



.
Museums under the Department of Archaeological Survey
The Department of Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka manages twenty-seven archaeological museums (Rambukwella, 2014).

North Central Province

North Western Province
    1) Panduwasnuwara Museum (Regional)
    2) Puttalam Museum (Site)
    3) Yapahuwa Museum (Site)

Southern Province

Eastern Province

Central Province

Northern Province
    2) Vavunia Museum (Regional)


Uva Province
    2) Maligavila Museum (Site)


Sabaragamuwa Province



Western Province
    .
    Museums under the Central Cultural Fund
    Seven museums are presently administered by the Central Cultural Fund (Rambukwella, 2014).

    .
    Other Museums

      6) International Buddhist Museum, Kandy
      7) Tusker Raja Memorial Museum, Kandy
      8) Temple of the Tooth Relic Museum, Kandy
      9) Ceylon Tea Museum, Hantana
      10) Agriculture Museum, Gannoruwa

    .
    References
    1) Embuldeniya, P., Karunarathna, K.G.M., 2019. Significance of developing museums in Sri Lanka as tourist attractions: with special reference to national museums. EPRA International Journal of Research and Development. Vol. IV. Issue 2. pp.14-21.
    2) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). pp.130-140,401-423.
    This page was last updated on 16 May 2021
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    Gelanigama Ambalama

    Gelanigama Ambalama
    Photo credit: Google street view

    The Gelanigama Ambalama is an old wayside rest located near Gelanigama expressway exit in Bandaragama in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

    Ambalama
    Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. The Gelanigama Ambalama is believed to be one such building constructed more than one hundred years ago. An inscribed stone slab that is fixed onto the inner-rear wall of the Ambalama mentions the year 1851.

    The Ambalama is square in shape and has been made of brick and mortar. The pitched roof is held by 4 pillars at the corners. By connecting these pillars, a short wall runs around the building.

    Location Map
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    Lenawara Raja Maha Viharaya, Haltota

    Lenawara Raja Maha Viharaya
    Photo credit: Udaya Gunathilaka, Google street view

    Lenawara Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Haltota in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

    History
    According to local beliefs, the history of this temple runs back to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.). It is said that a Brahmin who came over to the country during the days of this king, had taken up residence close to this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002). Locals further believe that he handed down a traditional method to treat catarrh and presently, Lenawara temple is famous among the people as a place of treating catarrh (Abeyawardana, 2002). 
     
    During the reign of King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 A.D.) this temple had become a prominent religious place (Abeyawardana, 2002). The Pepiliyana Sunetradevi Pirivena slab inscription of Parakramabahu VI records grants made to Lenavara cave temple of Raigama (Abeyawardana, 2002; Rohanadeera, 2007).

    The temple
    The temple consists of a Stupa, a cave temple, a Visnu Devalaya, a Bodhi-tree and other monastic buildings. The cave temple, Stupa and the Bodhi-tree are located at different levels. A large reclining statue of the Buddha is found inside the cave temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).
     
    References
    1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  p.115.
    2) Rohanadeera, M., 2007. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon. (Vol. VIII). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-64-3. pp.40-42.

    Location Map
    This page was last updated on 16 May 2021
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    Pokunuwita Raja Maha Viharaya

    Pokunuwita Raja Maha Viharaya
    Photo credit: Google street view

    Pokunuwita Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Pokunuwita Kitsirimewan Viharaya or Gale Pansala) is a Buddhist temple situated in Pokunuvita village in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

    History
    Although there is no firm evidence about the establishment of this temple, the Pokunuwita rock inscription of the reign of Kitsirimewan (see below "Inscriptions" section) reveals that it was a Buddhist place of worship during the 4th century A.D. (Chandrakumari, 2018). During the days of Raigam Bandara (16th century), this temple became a prominent religious place (Abeyawardana, 2002).

    Inscriptions
    A rock inscription belonging to the 10th regnal year of King Kitsirimewan (301-328 A.D.) has been found from the temple premises (Hettiarachchi, 1990).

    Pokunuwita Kondagngnarama rock inscription
    Reign: Kitsirimewan (301-328 A.D.)               Period: 4th century A.D.
    Script: Later-Brahmi                                          Language: Old Sinhala 
    Content: In the 10th regnal year of King Kitsirimewan (311 A.D.), Deva the son of Siva donated the rents of his father and himself which were deposited at the marketplace to provide for the monks of Pachariya Vihara.
    Reference: The information board at the site by the Director-General of Archaeology.

    Image houses
    There are mainly three image houses in the temple namely, Purana Viharaya, Shailamaya Viharaya, and Jetavana Viharaya. Of them, the Purana Viharaya image house has been built of Kabok (laterite) stone and clay. It consists of a Gharbha-gruha (a sanctum) and an outer ambulatory. Inside the sanctum, a seated and two standing statues of the Buddha, standing statues of God Vishnu and Saman and paintings of Buddhist monks, God Gambhara and Katharagama are found (Chandrakumari, 2018; Embuldeniya, 2013). The outer walls of the sanctum has been decorated with paintings depicting Suvisi-vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas), and Jataka-tales such as Thelapaththa (Embuldeniya, 2013). These paintings and sculptures belong to the latter part of the Kandyan Period (Chandrakumari, 2018; Embuldeniya, 2013).
     
    A protected site
    The rock with the inscription within the premises of the Pokunuwita Rajamaha Vihara (F.S.L. 7/37 A,45A) in Pokunuwita village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Horana, is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 27 May 1960.

    References
    1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  p.115.
    2) Chandrakumari, R.A.D.N., 2018. Pokunuwita, Kithsirimewan Rajamaha Viharaye Sithuwam ha prathima pilibanda kalathmaka adyanayak (In Sinhala). URSARU - 2018 / Department of Archaeology & Heritage Management. pp.168-170.
    3) Embuldeniya, P., 2013. A study on paintings at Pokunuwita Kithsirimewan Rajamaha Viharaya, In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences, University of Kelaniya, p 11.
    4) Hettiarachchi, A.S., 1990. Investigation of 2nd,3rd and 4th century inscriptions[Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)]. Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume II: Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.64.
    5) The Government gazette notification. No: 12136. 27 May 1960.

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    Thursday, May 13, 2021

    Horana Raja Maha Viharaya

    Horana Raja Maha Viharaya
    Photo credit: Google street view

    Horana Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Horana town in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. 

    History
    The history of Horana temple runs back to the early Anuradhapura Period (Abeyawardana, 2002). It is believed that a princess from Andra Pradesh in India established this temple after planting a Bodhi-tree sapling at the site (Abeyawardana, 2002). During the 13th century, the temple was popular as a prominent education centre and has been referred to as Prathiraja Pirivena in the Kelaniya Vihara inscription (Abeyawardana, 2002). The temple is said to have been destroyed later by the Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka in the 16th century (Abeyawardana, 2002). The author of Mayura Sandeshaya is believed to be hailed from this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

    Recent history
    The temple went through a major restoration in 1824 under the direction of Sri Soratha Thera of Veediyagoda (Abeyawardana, 2002). In 1929, the Vidyaratne Pirivena, an educational centre for Buddhist monks was established at the temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

    A protected site
    Ancient stone carvings found within the premises of the Horana Rajamaha Vihara (Pimburu No. 59416) in Horana village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Horana, are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 16 February 1968.

    References
    1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  p.113.
    2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 14789. 16 February 1968.

    Location Map
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    Makeli Ella Falls

    Makeli Ella Falls
    Makeli Ella Falls is a waterfall situated in Kelinkada village in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. The Kukule Ganga river, a tributary of Kalu Ganga creates this falls. It is 21.33 m (70 ft.) in height (Abeyawardana, 2002).

    Attribution
    1) Makeli falls by Hafiz Issadeen is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

    References
    1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  p.111.
     
    Location Map
    This page was last updated on 16 May 2021
    For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map