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.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Museums in Sri Lanka

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



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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
    1) Kandy Museum (Regional)
    2) Nalanda Museum (Site)

Northern Province
    2) Vavunia Museum (Regional)


Uva Province
    2) Maligavila Museum (Site)


Sabaragamuwa Province



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

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    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

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    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 14 May 2021
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    Gelanigama Ambalama

    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 about more than one hundred year ago. An inscribed stone slab which is fixed on to 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

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

    History
    According to the local belief, the history of this 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 prominant 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
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    Pokunuwita Raja Maha Viharaya

    Pokunuwita Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Pokunuwita Kitsirimewan Viharaya or Gale Pansala) is a Buddhist temple situated in Pokunuvita 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 functioning during the 4th century A.D. (Chandrakumari, 2018). During the days of Raigam Bandara (16th century), this temple became a prominence 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 farther and himself which were deposited at the market place 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) and clay. It consists of a Gharbha-gruha (a sanctum) and an 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 Divsion 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 Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 12136. 27 May 1960.

    Location Map
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    Thursday, May 13, 2021

    Horana Raja Maha Viharaya

    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 center and has been referred 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 center 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 Divsion 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.
    3) 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 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
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    Galboda Ella Falls

    Galboda Ella Falls is a waterfall situated in Pasbage Korale in Galboda tea estate in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The Mahaweli Ganga river creates this falls. It is 30 m (98.42 ft.) in height and 18 m (59.05 ft.) in width (Abeyawardana, 2004).

    Attribution

    References
    1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.71.
     
    Location Map
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    Udumahana Ambalama

    The Udumahana Ambalama is an old wayside rest in Udumahana village in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. The site is situated 0.4 km on the Mawanella-Thalagolla road leading from the Randiwela junction located on the Mawanella-Rambukkana road.

    Ambalama
    Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. The Udumahana Ambalama is said to have erected by a villager about 150 years ago for people who were on the pilgrimage to Aluthnuwara Devalaya and the Temple of the Tooth Relic (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

    The Ambalama is square in shape. The pitched roof is held by 4 pillars, square at the bottom and cylindrical at the top (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). By connecting these pillars, a short wall runs around the building.

    References
    1) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.161.

    Location Map
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    Daladawatta Maha Viharaya

    Daladawatta Purana Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Talpitiya village in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. This Viharaya is famous among the devotees due to its annual procession which is held for a few days immediately after the conclusion of the Kandy Esala Perahera (Abeyawardana, 2002).

    History
    This temple is said to have been established in 1879 by the villagers (Abeyawardana, 2002). 

    A protected site
    The ancient image house and preaching hall (Darmashalawa) situated within the premises of the Daladawaththa Purana Viharaya in the village of Talpitiya in the Grama Niladari Division of Talpitiya-South (GND No. 697) in the Divisional Secretary’s Divsion of Panadura, are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 27 December 2013.

    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.  pp.100-101.
    3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1843. 27 December 2013. p.1160.

    Location Map
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    Wakirigala Ambalama

    The Wakirigala Ambalama is an old wayside rest situated in Wakirigala village in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. 

    Ambalama
    Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. The Wakirigala Ambalama is believed to be one such structure built in ancient times.

    This Ambalama is primarily made out of fourteen granite pillars fixed in two tiers of squares (ten pillars in the outer square and four in the inner square). The four pillars in the inner square are about 20 ft. in height and some of them have carvings such as the sun and the moon (Abeyawardana, 2002). The roof of the building is designed in 2 layers; the top roof and the lower roof. The top roof is held by the inner four pillars while the lower roof is supported by the ten pillars in the outer square. By connecting the ten pillars of the outer square, a short wall runs around the building. The top part of the roof is covered by flat clay tiles (Pethi Ulu) while the lower part is covered with semi-cylindrical clay tiles (Sinhala Ulu). The floor of the building is paved with dressed stones (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.  pp.75-76.

    Location Map
    This page was last updated on 13 May 2021
    For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map