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. have 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, September 22, 2019

Gadaladeniya Viharaya

Vijayothpaya at Gadaladeniya Viharaya
Gadaladeniya Viharaya (also known as Sri Saddharmathilaka Raja Maha Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Gadaladeniya village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of Gadaladeniya temple goes back to the 14th century. According to epigraphic sources, the Buddha shrine and Devalaya at Gadaladeniya was erected by the great monk Dharmakirti Sthavira during the reign of King Bhuwanekabahu IV [(1341-1351 A.D.) Abeywardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 1934].

The temple was repaired by King Parakramabahu VI [(1412-1467 A.D.) Seneviratna & Polk, 1992].

Several celebrated scholarly monks who have contributed to the literary development of the country, such as Dharmakirti II and Vimalakirti I, are said to be resided at Gadaladeniya temple (Seneviratna & Polk, 1992). Presently, the temple is looked after by the pupillary succession of Ven. Weliwita Sri Saranankara Sangharaja Thera [(1698 - 1778 A.D.) Abeywardana, 2004].

Inscriptions
Several inscriptions have been found from the temple premises. Among them, two inscriptions are found inscribed on a slab-pillar erected near the entrance of the Budha shrine. Another two is on the rock near the Bodhi-tree and five inscriptions are found on the rock plain near the steps of the south entrance gate of the temple (Paranavitana, 1934).

Gadaladeniya Slab-Pillar Inscription
This slab-pillar with inscriptions was found inside of the temple by Mr. H. C. P. Bell, the then Archaeological Commissioner (Codrington, 1934). It contains two inscriptions inscribed on its for surfaces. The first of the two, is a record of the fifth year of King Siri Sangabo Sri Jayavira Parakrama Bahu granting amnesty to Menawara Tunayan, nephew of the Apa Parakramabahu of Dodamwela and the people of the five countries (Codrington, 1934). The second inscription records that Menawara Tunayan, nephew of the Apa Parakramabahu of Dodamwela and all others were given the amnesty by King Siri Sangabo Sri Jayavira Parakrama Bahu (Codrington, 1934).

Five Rock Inscriptions near the South Entrance
Rock inscriptions at Gadaladeniya
I) This is a 15th century Sinhala inscription containing four lines. It mentions a king styled Sirisangabo Sri Parakramabahu Vikramabahu (Paranavitana, 1934).

II) This is also a 15th century Sinhala inscription containing five lines. It has been inscribed in the third year of Sirisangabo Sri Parakramabahu (Paranavitana, 1934).

III)  Gadaladeniya Inscription of Dharmakirti Sthavira  This is the earliest and lengthiest inscription (45 lines) at the site. Inscribed in the 3rd year of King Bhuwanekabahu IV, this inscription is considered important as it contains details about the history of Gadaladeniya Viharaya.

The inscription which has been written in modern Sinhala scripts is dated to 1344 A.D. It records about the construction of the Buddha shrine at Gadaladeniya by the great Thera Dharmakirti Sthavira of the Ganavasi school and a list of lands dedicated to it by various personages.

It further reveals that Sthavira Dharmakirti had constructed or repaired a two-storied image house at Sri Dhanyakataka (i.e. Amaravati) in India, before the construction of Gadaladeniya temple (Paranavitana, 1934). Senarath Paranavithana points out this fact as an example which showing the efforts made by Sri Lankan Buddhists of the fourteenth century to revive the Buddhism in South India (Paranavitana, 1934).

IV) Gadaladeniya Inscription of Senasammata Vikramabahu
This inscription has been inscribed in the eighth regnal year of King Senasammata Vikramabahu. It records a proclamation made by King Senasammata Vikramabahu, his son Yapa Bandara and other important persons to effect that no loss of life shall be happened in certain territories of the Kandyan Kingdom.

V)  This weathered inscription has been dated to 2054 of the Buddhist era (1511 A.D.). The name of the king mentioned in this epigraph is Jayavira (Codrington, 1934).

Architecture
The architecture of Gadaladeniya temple is similar to the contemporary Hindu shrines of South India in the early Vijayanagar style (Abeywardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 1934). According to the Gadaladeniya inscription of Dharmakirti Sthavira, the architecture of this temple was designed by a person named Ganeshvarachari who is believed to be an architect came from South India (Paranavitana, 1934).

Buddha shrine
The Gadaladeniya Buddha
The Buddha shrine is built entirely of sculptured granite, except at the Shikharas where the top is built of bricks (Seneviratna & Polk, 1992). The shrine consists of a Garbha-gruha (a sanctum), an Antharalaya (a vestibule), a Devalaya and a porch. The Garbha-gruha is the most inner part of the shrine and it accommodates a large statue of seated Buddha who is in a pose of meditation under a Makara Thorana (a dragon arch). The Makara Thorana is decorated with images of gods such as Sakra, Brahma, Suyama, Santusita, Natha and Maitri (Seneviratna & Polk, 1992). 

The Devalaya is in a separate chamber which projects from the Antharalaya part. According to the inscription of Dharamakirti Sthavira, the Devalaya has been built for the protection of the Viharaya (Abeywardana, 2004). The deity who is being worshiped at the Devalaya is God Vishnu.

Vijayothpaya
The structure which consists of a central main Stupa surrounded by four other small-size Stupas is called as Vijayothpaya (or Vijayantha Prasada). As the Buddha shrine, the Vijayothpaya at Gadaladeniya temple is also believed to be constructed by Dharmakirti Sthavira (Rajapakse, 2016). 

The central Stupa has been built on a square-shaped elevated platform built of stone. It is covered by a four-sided roof supported by four pillars. The roof is built of timber and belonging to the Kandyan style. It is said to be added to the Vijayothpaya by King Parakramabahu V [(1344/1345 - 1359 A.D.) Rajapakse, 2016]. On the four sides of the central Stupa are four small Stupas built on platforms containing shrine rooms (de Thabrew, 2013). 

The chapter house, the Vahalkada, the Sinhasana Mandapaya, and the Dig-geya are among the other significant structures of Gadaladeniya temple (Rajapakse, 2016).

A protected site
The ancient Buddha shrine, Devalaya and rock inscriptions situated in Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara premises in Udunuwara Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 11 May 1956.

Rock inscriptions near the Bodhi-tree, Gadaladeniya A Buddha statue in one of shrine rooms, Vijayothpaya The Buddha shrine under renovation, Gadaladeniya Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya
References
1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.74-75.
2) Codrington, H. W., 1934. The Gadaladeniya Inscription of Senasammata Vikrama Bahu. and The Gadaladeniya Slab-pillar inscriptions. Epigraphia Zeylanica being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon. Vol. IV. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. London. pp.8-15,16-27.
3) de Thabrew, W. V., 2013. Monuments and Temples of Orthodox Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka. Author House. p. 66.
4) Paranavitana, S., 1934. Gadaladeniya Rock Inscription of Dharmakirti Sthavira. Epigraphia Zeylanica being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon. Vol. IV. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. London. pp.90-110.
5) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp. 58-60.
6) Seneviratna, A. and Polk, B., 1992. Buddhist monastic architecture in Sri Lanka: the woodland shrines. Abhinav Publications. p.82.
7) The government gazette notification. No: 10928. 11 May 1956.

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kadurugoda Pillar Inscription

Kadurugoda fragmentary pillar inscription
The Kadurugoda (or Kandarodai) Pillar Inscription is a fragmentary stone pillar inscription discovered at the archaeological reserve at Kadurugoda in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. Presently, the pillar is on the display at the Archaeological Museum of Jaffna.

Discovery
The pillar was unearthed from the premises of Kadurugoda archaeological site in 1981, and was later taken to the Archaeological Museum at Jaffna (Ranawella, 2004).

Pillar
The pillar is about 2 feet 7 inches in height and contains an inscription written in the Sinhalese scripts of the 10th century. Three out of the four sides of the pillar have been used for inscribing the text of the inscription and each side contains eight lines of writings preserved (Ranawella, 2004). The forth side has been reserved for an outline drawing of Dhamma Chakraya or the sun (Dias et al., 2016; Ranawella, 2004). The upper part of the pillar is end with a pot of special shape (Godakumbura, 1968).

Content
A regal proclamation of the bequest of gifts and benefits to a Buddhist place of worship is recorded in the pillar. The preserved fragment does not contain the name of the king or the date of its issue (Ranawella, 2004). However, the donor here is mentioned as the king of the lineage Okavak and the ruler of Ruhuna. Depending on the morphology of the language used, some scholars had dated this proclamation to King Kassapa IV [(898-904 A.D.) Dias et al., 2016; Godakumbura, 1968; Wijebandara, 2014]. However, presently, scholars such as Prof. Sirimal Ranawella have dated this inscription to the reign of King Dappula IV [(Dappula IV (923-935 A.D.) Ranawella, 2004].

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

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

    Citation : Ranawella, 2004. pp.103-104.

    Transcript: (Svasti) siribara (Kat)kula kot O(ka)vas parapu(re)n himi vu Ruhun danavu Malamandulu......>>
    Translation: Hail!....who secured for himself the Malamandalas of the province of Ruhuna, which he......>>


The inscription reveals about certain immunities granted in respect of some lands belonging to Abhayagiri Viharaya at Anuradhapura, which were situated in the Jaffna Peninsula (Ranawella, 2004). This information, according to Prof. Sirimal Ranawella,  is historically important as it indicates that the northern part of the country, including Jaffna Penninsula, was under the control of Sinhala Kings at Anuradhapura during the 10th century (Ranawella, 2004).

References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. p.223.
2) Godakumbura, C.E., 1968. Kantarodai. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 12, pp.67-85.
3) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon: Containing pillar inscriptions and slab inscriptions from 924 AD to 1017. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.103-104.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Maritime and Naval History Museum, Trincomalee

Maritime and Naval History Museum, Trincomalee
The Maritime and Naval History Museum is situated in Trincomalee town, Sri Lanka.

History
The museum has been established in an old building used as the official residence of the Dutch Naval Commissioner in Trincomalee.

Official residence of the Dutch Naval Commissioner
During the period between 1640 – 1796, most of the coastal areas in Sri Lanka were controlled by the Dutch. The Dutch constructed this two storey building following their traditional architectural practices, in Trincomalee during this period to be used as the official residence of the Naval Commissioner. After the British assumed the control over the all island (1795-1948 A.D.), they used this building as the official residence of a civil service official designated as a commissioner.

Subsequently, the building has been unused and the government of Sri Lanka renovated the building to be used as the Trincomalee British Center (the Kachcheri). However, the Kachcheri was brought to two buildings located inside the Fort Fredrick and as a result of that this building once again became a deserted place. When Ranasinghe Premadasa became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (1977-1986), he tried to renovate this building but the efforts carried out during this period were not successful.

Later, this building and the land was handed over to Eastern University to be used as a university property. The university used this building as a canteen and started to build a new lecture hall on the premises. However, the war between LTTE (a rebel group designated as a terrorist organization) and the government forces in the area resulted the end of the university activities and therefore, this building and the land again became an uninhabited place. During this war season, the building was swallowed and ruined by the wild.

Once again, in 2008, with financial assistance from the government of the Netherlands, the Sri Lanka Navy under the guidance of the Archaeological Department started the restoration work of the building. The conserved building was finally converted to a museum and declared open to the public on 3 February 2013, by the then Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksha.

Museum
The museum preserves a collection of items that explaining the country's maritime history, marine biodiversity and the history of the local Naval affairs.

References
1) Information boards at the Maritime and Naval History Museum, Trincomalee.

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This page was last updated on 22 September 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019

Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda

Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda
Sri Sugathanandanarama Purana Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in the village of Pahala Yagoda in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

Image house
Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda
The image house is the main attraction of this temple with an archaeological significance. It consists of an inner shrine and a narrow ambulatory around it. The inside walls of the inner shrine is adorned with the Buddhist sculptures and murals belonging to the Kandyan style. Inside the image house is a seated Buddha statue accompanied by two images of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. Two standing statues of Vishnu and Kataragama with Makara Thoranas (dragon arches) are found facing each other at both left and right walls. The Sath Sathiya (Seven weeks after the enlightenment) has been drawn on the upper section of the inner side of the entrance wall. The outer walls of the inner shrine contain no sculptures or murals.

The image house has been conserved by the Archaeological Department on 3 August 2011.

A protected site
The image house situated in Pahalayagoda Sugathanandanarama Vihara premises in Pahala Yagoda Grama Niladhari Wasama of the Gampaha Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.

Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda Sri Sugathanandanarama Viharaya, Pahala Yagoda
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

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Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala

Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala
Kaballelena Purana Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist cave temple situated in the village of Wellagala in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

Folklore
Locals connect the history of this temple with King Valagamba (103 B.C., 89-77 B.C.). They believe that the caves of this place had been used by the king when he was in hiding, seeking refuge from the threats by Cola invaders who were at the time ruling the Anuradhapura Kingdom (103-89 B.C.).

Etymology
The name of this temple, Kaballelena is thought to have been evolved from the name of God Suniyam (Suniyam Deviyo), the main deity of Kaballelena Viharaya. Suniyam Deviyo is considered as a powerful deity who is capable of placing curses on other people. The god is also called as Kaballe Devi by the locals and hence it is believed that the current name of this temple has come into the parlance through the local name of Suniyam Deviyo.

Cave temple
Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala
The main cave which shelters the Len Viharaya (cave temple) is located at the middle of the rocky mountain. A Bodhi-tree, the Suniya Devalaya and several other rock caves with drip-ledges are also found on the same terrace.

The cave temple is the main attraction of this temple with an archaeological significance. It is divided into two shrines, viz: the Stupa cave and the cave of reclining Buddha. The two shrines have been divided from each other and can be entered separately through a small antechamber. The Stupa cave is at the left corner of the main cave and it contains a small size Stupa and murals & sculptures belonging to a modern period. A large reclining Buddha statue along with other sculptures and paintings are found in the cave of reclining Buddha. The reclining Buddha statue is approximately 50 feet long and said to be one of the longest statues in the country. The inner surface of this cave is covered with an interesting collection of murals belonging to the Kandyan tradition. The paintings chiefly depict various Jathaka stories and life events related to the Lord Buddha. A decayed statue of Buddha made out of timber is also found placed in the cave temple.

A protected site
The cave temple (and paintings) of Kabellelena Vihara situated in Wellagala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Wariyapola is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 March 1974.

Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala Kaballelena Raja Maha Viharaya, Wellagala
References
1) The Gazette notification. No: 102. 8 March 1974.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nainativu Tamil Slab Inscription of Parakramabahu I

Nainativu Inscription of Parakramabahu I A Tamil slab inscription containing an edict by King Parakramabahu I (1123-1186 A.D.) has been discovered from the island of Nainativu (or present Nagadeepa/Nagadipa) in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The epigraph is considered as an important archaeological heritage found from Jaffna Peninsula as it reveals about the commercial activities that existed in the time of King Parakramabahu I (Dias et al., 2016; Indrapala, 1963).

Discovery
The slab was found at the entrance of the famous Hindu shrine, Nagapooshani Amman Temple in Nainativu island (Indrapala, 1963). At the time of its discovery, a portion of the slab had been broken off and built into the wall of the Hindu temple (Indrapala, 1963).

Presently, the inscription is placed in the museum of Nagapooshani Amman temple.

Inscription
The inscription has been engraved on both sides of a stone slab of about 4 feet tall and 2 feet 5 inches wide. The obverse side which contains the first part of the record has been completely mutilated and obliterated by the sharpening of metal implements on it by the temple laborers (Indrapala, 1963). However, the reverse side is free from mutilations and contains details about the purpose of the edict and the name of the ruler who issued it (Indrapala, 1963). Without the portion of the obverse side and the last few lines of the reverse side, the inscription has 23 lines survived (Indrapala, 1963).

The inscription has been written in Tamil scripts interspersed with Grantha belonging to about the 12 century A.D. (Indrapala, 1963). The last two lines as well as the main portion on the obverse side of the inscription, according to Indrapala, are in Grantha characters (Indrapala, 1963). The main language used in the inscription is medieval Tamil but contains few lines written in Sanskrit language (Indrapala, 1963).

Content
As mentioned in the inscription itself, it has been indited by Deva Parakramabhujo, Sakala Simhala Cakravartti, which means, King Parakramabahu, the overlord of all Sinhalas (Dias et al., 2016). According to Indrapala, this is the only known Tamil inscription erected by this great Sinhalese monarch (Indrapala, 1963).

The interpretations for the Nainativu inscription by K. Indrapala (1963) are given below,

  • Nainativu Tamil slab inscription

    Reign : Parakramabahu I (1123-1186 A.D.)
    Period : 12th century A.D.
    Script  : Tamil & Grantha
    Language : Medieval Tamil & Sanskrit

    Reference : Indrapala, 1963. p.68-70.


    Transcript: ..nankal..c..uratturai (yil) paratecikal vantu irukka venumenrum avakkal raksaippata .....>>
    Translation: ..we..that foreigners should come and stay in Uratturai, that they should be protected .....>>


The inscription contains certain trade regulations enacted by the king. It proclaims that the foreigners who disembark from their ships at Uratturai port (present Kayts) will be remained under the security of the state. It further says that the foreigners who disembark from any other port should be assembled in the Uratturai port premises and the ships those suffer wreckage in transit through the waters of port will be charged based on the type of the cargo [wrecked vessels which carrying elephants and horses for the king will be charged a forth share of their cargo but the vessels carrying ordinary merchandise will have to pay a half share to the state treasury  (Dias et al., 2016; Indrapala, 1963)].

It is further revealed by this inscription that, this decree was written on a granite slab as well as on a copper plate.

Uratturai
Uratturai is the Tamil name used to identify the island of Kayts. The earliest literary references to this place is found in several Sri Lankan chronicles such as Pujavaliya, Rajavaliya and Culawamsa (Indrapala, 1963). Karthigesu Indrapala, a Sri Lankan Tamil scholar, has described how the Tamil name Uratturai was evolved from its early names;
In Pali it was known as Sukaratittha while the Sinhalese form was Huratota or Uratota. With the settlement of the Tamils in this area it became Tamilised. In Tamil while the first element of the Sinhalese name was retained, the second element came to be replaced by a Tamil synonym. Thus, it became Uratturai (turai=tota). It appears in this hybrid form in the inscription of Rajadhiraja II and in our record. This form has come down to modern times and is still used in popular parlance. But scholars have distorted its form and given it a pure Tamil look in its written form. This is how it has come to be written ar Ur-kavar-rurai. The Hollanders gave it a Dutch name, Kayts, by which it is still known in English.
Citation : Indrapala, 1963. p. 68.
A protected monument
The Nagadeepa inscription situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Nainathiw bearing No. J-34 in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Velenai Northern Island is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.175-177,202.
2) Indrapala, K., 1963. The Nainativu Tamil Inscription of Parakramabahu I. University of Ceylon Review. Vol. XXI; No, I. University of Ceylon. Peradeniya. pp.63-70.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.129.

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Nagapooshani Amman Temple, Nainativu

Nagapooshani Amman Temple, Nainativu
Nagapooshani Amman Temple/ Kovil is a famous Hindu shrine situated on the island of Nainativu (or Nagadeepa/ Nagadipa) in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Parvathi who is known as Nagapooshani or Buwaneshwari and her consort, Shiva who is named as Rakshseshwar or Nayinar (Hewapaththuwa et al., 2018).

Presently, the temple is venerated by the people of all religions, mainly by the Hindu devotees.

History
Nagadeepa
Nagadeepa is referred to as Nainativu or Manipallavam or Maninaga island as well (Dias et al., 2016). The place is mentioned in several early Sri Lankan chronicles such as Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa and in ancient Tamil Sangam literature of Tamil Nadu (India) such as Manimekalai and Kundalakesi (Dias et al., 2016; Hewapaththuwa et al., 2018).

Literary mentions
The temple is mentioned in Shakthi Peetha Stotram written by Adi Shankarcharya, an 8th-century Hindu philosopher. Therefore, this temple is considered today as one of the prominent 64 Shakti Peethas (one of the 64 mighty places of the goddess Ambhal) in the Indian sub-continent (Hewapaththuwa et al., 2018).

Legends
Nagapooshani Amman TempleAccording to Hindu mythology, the Nagapooshani Amman temple is standing today on the site where the anklet of Mata Suti was fallen when her dead body was cut into 52 parts by Vishnu (Hewapaththuwa et al., 2018).

According to another legend, a merchant who was sailing through the sea had seen an eagle preventing the way of a cobra swimming across the sea towards Nainativu with a lotus flower in its mouth, for the worship of Bhuvaneswari Amman. The merchant asked the eagle to let the cobra go on its way without any harm. The eagle agreed on the merchant's request but asked him to build a beautiful temple for Sri Bhuvaneshwari Amman on the island of Nainathivu if he wanted to let the cobra go free. The merchant agreed on that request and built a beautiful temple accordingly (Dias et al., 2016; Hewapaththuwa et al., 2018).

Destruction
The temple was looted and destroyed in 1625, after the Portuguese assumed control over the Jaffna peninsula (Dias et al., 2016). Subsequently, a small temple was erected at the same site by a person named Ramalingam Ramachandranal of Pattar community (Dias et al., 2016). The temple confronted another threat of destruction by Dutch but it was prevented by Kadirithambi, a Pattar, by convincing them that the temple is not a Hindu shrine but a church of Mother Goddess (Dias et al., 2016). 

Modern temple
The temple was restored in 1778, and its East-Gopuram was constructed in 1951.

Nainativu Inscription of Parakramabahu I
A stone slab containing a Tamil inscription has been identified in the premises of the Nagapooshani Amman temple (Dias et al., 2016; Indrapala, 1963). This epigraph is considered as an important archaeological heritage found from Jaffna Peninsula as it reveals about the commercial activities that existed in the ancient times (Dias et al., 2016).

The slab is about 4 feet in height and 2 feet 5 inches in width. It has been written in Tamil scripts interspersed with Grantha (Indrapala, 1963). As mentioned in the inscription itself, it has been indited by King Parakramabahu I (1123-1186 A.D.) to proclaim that the foreigners who disembark from their ships at Uratturai port (present Kayts) will be remained under the security of the state. It further says that the foreigners who disembark from any other port should be assembled in the Uratturai port premises and the ships those suffer wreckage in transit through the waters of port will be charged based on the type of the cargo by the state treasury  (Dias et al., 2016; Indrapala, 1963).

Presently the slab is placed in the museum of Nagapooshani Amman temple with other artifacts and ancient coins discovered in the temple premises (Dias et al., 2016).

Nagapooshani Amman Temple, Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Temple, Nainativu
References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.163,201-202,209-210.
2) Hewapaththuwa, H.P.M., Rupasinghe, R.M.W.K.R. and Herath, H.M.A.S., 2018. Connection of Valluvar Community to Naaga and Shakthi Worship Related to Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Temple: A Historical Review. pp.85-87.
3) Indrapala, K., 1963. The Nainativu Tamil Inscription of Parakramabahu I. University of Ceylon Review. Vol. XXI; No, I. University of Ceylon. Peradeniya. pp.63-70.

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Archaeological Museum of Kotte

Archaeological Museum of Kotte
The Archaeological Museum of Kotte, Sri Lanka is one of the regional museums administered by the Department of Archaeology. It is located at Bungalow Junction at a distance of 5 km from the Borella bus stop. The museum contains artifacts mainly discovered from Kotte and the surrounding area. 

History
The museum has been established on the residence of the famous politician Mr. E. W. Perera (1875 - 1953). In 1992, the residence was converted to E. W. Perera Memorial Museum and declared open for the public in 1995.

Museum
Artifacts which are being exhibited include ancient monuments, photographs, various flags, swords, knives, guns, statues, coins, ceramic ware, clay vessels, as well as a number of antiquities discovered in excavations and during the construction of buildings in the Kotte and vicinity area. In addition to them, a collection of items used by Mr. E. W. Perera and items donated and purchased by Mr. Douglas Ranasinghe are also available in the museum.

Attribution
1) Kotte Museum by L Manju is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

References
1) Official website of Archaeological Department : Museums#Kotte

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This page was last updated on 8 September 2019