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, September 20, 2020

Veheragala Viharaya, Ampara

The flight of steps at the entrance
Veheragala Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Veheragala Sripa Aranya Senasanaya or Purana Deva Raja Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Dighavapi village in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. Located near to the sacred Dighavapi Viharaya, this Veheragala temple can be reached by traveling along Digavapi temple road about 7 km distance from the Varipathanchena junction.

According to the two rock inscriptions that have been found from the temple premises, the history of this temple can be dated back to the 1st century A.D. Of these two inscriptions, one reveals the ancient name of this temple as "Deva-raja Viharaya".

Inscriptions (see the note below)
Two inscriptions belonging to the 1st century A.D. are found engraved on the rock near the pond.  They have been indited near to each other and visible as one inscription comprising two lines. Some letters of the two inscriptions are in worn condition and are difficult to read.

Inscription I :Sidam..aka(na) gathahi....(de)varaja viharahi mahanaka dine
Context : According to this inscription, this place is known in ancient time as "Deva-raja Viharaya". The name mentioned as "mahanaka" is thought to be King Mahadatika Mahanaga who reigned from 9 to 21 A.D. Several inscriptions that mention the name "mahanaka" have been found from nearby areas. The Vehera-Uda-Male rock inscription of the Eravur Pattu of Batticaloa District is one of them (Paranavitana, 1983).

Inscription II :Sidam gu..(ra)vavika divarajavi(ha) raha bikasagahatavavi
Context : Some letters of this inscriptions can not be identified due to the worn condition. It is assumed that this inscription records about the bestowal of several tanks to the temple.

Other monuments
Ampara Veheragala
The flight of steps at the entrance
The temple complex, in ancient time, had been constructed on the plateau of the rock. To enter the temple, a rock-cut flight of steps extending from the north to the south has been provided. The length of the flight of steps is about 16 m and it consists of 39 steps. On the summit of the rock plateau is a Stupa constructed in the recent past.

The pond and the flight of steps
The rock plateau extends towards the west as well as to the south from the modern Stupa. On the rock plateau, a stone pond (Gal Kemiya) with a length of 4.2 m and 3.6 m width is found. Near to it is a 7 m long flight of steps that extending from south to east.

Ruined buildings
A few sites with the ruins of ancient buildings and structures is found on the rock plateau extending to the west. Remains of stone bases, urinal stones, and scattered brick pieces are also found.

Veheragala cave site
A site with drip-ledged caves is found extending from the area near Dighavapi Sinhala Vidyalaya up to the Veheragala Viharaya. Two caves with drip-ledges and one early-Brahmi inscription are found here.

A protected site
Veheragala Viharaya
Rock with rock inscriptions, ruins of buildings and flight of steps and the pond with stone rampart wall at the base of the said rock at the place called “Veheragala” belonging to Deegawapi Buddhist colony in Grama Niladari Division No. 1, Deegawapi in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Addalachchenei are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 10 October 2014.
Veheragala cave site
Drip ledged cave complex with Brahmi inscriptions extended from the area near Sinhala College up to archeological site “Veheragala” belonging to Deegawapi colony village in the Grama Niladari Division No. 1 Deegawapi in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Addalachchenei is an archaeological protected site, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 10 October 2014. 

Ampara Veheragala Ruined building .
This page contains information extracted from a Sinhala book which was in the possession of the chief monk of the Viharaya. Unluckily, the monk didn't have the initial pages of that book and therefore we were unable to find out the original author and the year of that publication.

1) Paranavitana, S., 1983. Inscriptions of Ceylon; Late Brahmi inscriptions 2 (part 1). Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka. pp.42-43.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1884. 10 October 2014. p.920.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 20 September 2020
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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Colombo Dutch Museum

Colombo Dutch Museum
The Dutch Museum (Museum Voor De Hollandes) is located in Pettah in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is one of the museums administered by the Department of National Museums. It preserves a collection of items belonging to the Dutch who ruled coastal areas of Sri Lanka from 1658 to 1796 (Mandawala, 2017).

The museum has been established in a two-storied colonial Dutch building. The building is thought to be at the present site since 1708 and it had been used as the house for the Dutch Seminary with an orphanage "Weeskamer" attached to it (Paranavitana, 1982). However, the inscription above the entrance door of the building indicates the year 1780 (Paranavitana, 1982). According to Paranavitana, the date of the establishment of this seminary can not be ascertained and historians are of opinion that the location of this seminary never had changed between 1708 and 1780 (Paranavitana, 1982).

The building later became the official residence of the Governor of Dutch Ceylon Thomas van Rhee (1634 - 1701 A.D.) during his term of office in 1692 to 1697 (Mandawala, 2017; Paranavitana, 1982). During the British Period, the building was used as a hospital for the causalities of the Kandyan military campaign of the British in 1803 (Paranavitana, 1982). It became the headquarters and armoury of the Ceylon Volunteer Corps. in the latter part of the 1800s (Paranavitana, 1982). Later, the building was used as a police training centre and finally as the Pettah post office and telecommunication centre (Mandawala, 2017; Paranavitana, 1982). It was abandoned in January 1973, when a rainstorm damaged the building (Paranavitana, 1982).

The building was then recommended for conversion into a museum to preserve the Dutch heritage of Sri Lanka and after four years of restoration, it was declared open to the public as the first Dutch museum of the country by the then President of Sri Lanka on 10 July 1982 (Paranavitana, 1982; Rambukwella, 2014). This process was supported by the different organizations in the Netherlands including the Netherlands-Sri Lanka foundation in Hague and Netherlands Alumni Association of Sri Lanka (Paranavitana, 1982; Rambukwella, 2014). Later on, the museum was handed over to the Department of National Museums for maintenance (Rambukwella, 2014).

Antiquities with archaeological and historical value such as old VOC ceramics, Dutch seals, flags, furniture, household items, photographs, coins, tombstones are exhibited in the museum (Rambukwella, 2014).

A protected building
The Dutch Museum located in Pettah in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Colombo is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 June 1999.

Colombo Dutch Museum
1) Mandawala, P.B., 2017. Heritage Management in Sri Lanka: In legal, administrative and financial perspective over 125 Years. Shared Global Experiences for Protection of Built Heritage, pp.56-68.
2) Paranavitana, K.D., 1982. Dutch Period Museum–Colombo. Itinerario, 6(2), pp.2-4.
3) 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.406. 
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

Location Map

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Vijithapura Viharaya

Vijithapura Stupa
Vijithapura Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Vijithapura village in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

Ancient Vijithapura
Vijithapura is mentioned in Sri Lankan chronicles as one of the earliest townships established in the country (Fernando, 1982). According to Mahavamsa, five townships named Upatissagama, Ujjeni, Uruwela, Anuradhagama, and Vijithapura were established in Sri Lanka after the arrival of Indian Prince Vijaya in the 6th century B.C. (Fernando, 1982; Geiger, 1986). It is said that these townships had been named after the chief generals of Prince Vijaya (Fernando, 1982).

Vijithapura is mentioned again in the chronicles nearly 300 years later as a fort where a major battle between the forces of Prince Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) and King Elara (205-161 B.C.) took place in the 2nd century B.C. (Fernando, 1982; Mandawala, 2012). After that, there is no more mention of Vijithapura in the ancient chronicles.

The exact location of this place or the ruins of the ancient fort has not been identified yet (Mandawala, 2012). However, a modern village with the same name exists in close proximity of Kala Wewa reservoir, which according to the view of some scholars such as Geiger, maybe the location of ancient Vijithapura (Basnayake, 1986; Geiger, 1986). However, some scholars believe that the ancient Vijithapura may possibly be Polonnaruwa or an area in close proximity to it (Basnayake, 1986; Parker, 1909).

Vijithapura Viharaya
It has been long believed by locals that ancient Vijithapura is located near Kala Wewa where the present Vijithapura Viharaya exists. However, some scholars such as Parker do not agree with that local belief;
"Where was the town Wijita, to which these minister proceed from Upatissa, a city north of Anuradhapura, in order to meet the distinguished traveler from Gonagama? It has been long believed that it was at Kala-waewa, in the North-central Province, where a small Buddhist temple, called Wijitapura wihara, exists to the present day. I have examined this place, and failed to find signs of any early works of importance. The best evidence, the dimensions of the bricks, is uncertain. Those accessible in the dagaba at the wihara are all more or less in pieces, and are of two sizes, averaging 2.71 inches in thickness, which it is possible may be pre-Christian, and 2.10 inches. There are also some worn fragments of inscriptions of the fifth or sixth century A.D., cut on the step leading to the temple enclosure. Nothing but this monastery is locally known to have been constructed at this spot"
Citation: Parker, 1909. pp.237-238.
Presently, a large number of ruins of ancient building and structures has been unearthed from the temple premises. Among them, there is a smooth granite stone called "Kadu-Ge-Gala" that, according to locals, have been used by Dutugemunu's soldiers to sharpen their swords before the Vijithapura battle.

A protected site
Vijithapura Viharaya located in Kala Wewa village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Kala Wewa is archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 31 March 1950.

A ruined building Ruined structures A ruined building .
1) Basnayake, H.T., 1986. Sri Lankan monastic architecture. Orient Book Distributors. p.1.
2) Geiger, W., 1986. The Mahāvaṃsa, or, The Great Chronicle of Ceylon. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi. pp.58-59,171-173. 
3) Fernando, A.D.N., 1982. The ancient hydraulic civilization of Sri Lanka in relation to its natural resources. Sri Lanka Branch, the Royal Asiatic Society. New Series Volume XXVII Special Number. pp.28-29.
4) 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.98.
5) Parker, H., 1909. Ancient Ceylon: An Account of the Aborigines and of Part of the Early Civilisation. Asian Educational Services, London. pp.237-239.
6) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 10089. 31 March 1950.

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This page was last updated on 6 September 2020
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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Ancient Kotte Fort

Old Kotte city
The Kotte Fortress is an ancient fort located in Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. 

Kotte was the capital of the Kingdom of Kotte during the 15-16 centuries A.D. Since it existed nearly 150 years as the capital of the country, a significant amount of preserved ruins of this kingdom could be expected. However, the rapid development and land occupation that were taken place in the recent history in this area has caused massive destruction of the ruins including the Kotte fortress. Presently, a few locations where the ruins of this ancient fortress exist has been protected by the government as archaeological sites under the 1940 Archaeological Act no.9.

Construction of Kotte Fortress
According to Nikaya Sangrahaya, the initial step to make the Kotte a fortified city was taken by Alagakkonara (Nissanka Alakesvara) during the reign of King Vikramabahu IV of Gampola [(1360-1373 A.D.) Fonseka, 2010; Somaratna, 1969]. It is said that this fort was built as a garrison town to resist the tax collectors who had been appointed by the rulers of Jaffna. The political instability and power struggle that occurred at the end of the 14th century resulted in the giving up of Gampola and the ruling body was then moved to Kotte, the newly established frontier fort. However, Kotte became an official kingdom after the anointing of King Parakramabahu VI (c.1412-1467 A.D.) as the King of Jayawardanapura (Wijewardana et al., 2011).

King Parakramabahu VI
King Parakramabahu VI developed this garrison town to a fortified capital city (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In addition to the fortification, the king built a three-storied Temple of Tooth, a five-storied palace for himself, but no a trace of these two edifices are found today (Fonseka, 2010; Wijewardana et al., 2011)

European invasions and colonial rule coupled with the uprising named Vijayaba Kollaya (happened in 1521) caused the destruction of most parts of the Kotte fort (Wijewardana et al., 2011). However, the fortification in Kabok stones (laterite blocks) is still visible at several places in the area.

The fort
The site that was selected for the Kotte fortress is surrounded on three sides by Diyawanna Oya, Kolonnawa Oya and, marshland which provided ideal natural defences for the fort. According to local chronicles such as Nikaya Sangrahaya, Saddharma Ratnakaraya, the Kotte fortress had been built on earth filled area of about one square mile and it consisted of thick peripheral walls, wells, water & mud moats, and observation turrets (Wijewardana et al., 2011). 

The fort citadel was bounded by a protective rampart. Two outer and inner moats were constructed to protect the south-western side of the citadel that was not surrounded by water or marshland. The royal palace, the Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Tooth Relic), the treasury, the mansion of Alakeswara, the royal pleasure gardens and other buildings were inside the fort walls. Also, the fort had four temples dedicated to four guardian deities on the four corners (Wijewardana et al., 2011).

The peripheral wall or the rampart of the fort, according to historical documents, is 8 ft tall and 30 ft wide. A stone-throwing machine named "Idangani" and high watchtowers are said to be on the top of the rampart for the protection of the fort. Entrances were located on all four sides of the rampart and the main entrance (a drawbridge across the moat) to the citadel was located on the south. The Perahera pageant carrying the Tooth Relic of Buddha is said to have been conducted around the periphery of the fort (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Peripheral wall
Siri Perakumba Pirivena
Alagakkonara built the Kotte fort with an outer peripheral wall for the safety of the fortress. The wall commences from the southern end of the inner moat and extends about 2376 ft (0.724 km) towards the eastern and then 4620 ft (1.40 km) to the northern direction (Wijewardana et al., 2011). It again stretches to the western direction about 1122 ft (0.341 km) and then 3630 ft (1.10 km) to the southern direction (Wijewardana et al., 2011). The wall comes back to its initial point by stretching about 1716 ft (0.523 km) distance parallel to the inner moat (Wijewardana et al., 2011).

The walls of the fortress have been constructed with Kabok stones of 40x20x20 cm dimensions (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Although it is said in the old texts that the peripheral wall of the Kotte fortress was originally 8 ft tall and 30 ft wide, the archaeological investigations have revealed that the wall was about 5 ft tall and 8 ft wide and the total length of it was about 3.5 km (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Also, a few ancient wells known as "Ura Keta Linda" were reported in outside but immediate vicinity of the peripheral wall of the fort (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). One such well is still can be seen in the premises of Siri Perakumba Pirivena in Kotte.

The government has protected the peripheral wall of the fort and 10 ft stretch on the outside and 5 ft on the inside as an archaeological monument.

The inner moat
The inner moat of the Kotte fortress is said to have been built alongside the ramparts for the protection of the southern side of the fortress that did not have natural protection from the rivers or marshlands. It is connected to the Kolonnawa Oya on the western side and on the eastern side to the Diyawanna Oya (Wijewardana et al., 2011). The top of the moat was 30 ft wide and the side walls were 20 ft high. The moat had a varying depth and width mainly due to the natural ground contour and prevailing topography.

The outer moat
In additions to the inner moat, Alagakkonara built the outer water moat for the protection of the fortress. Constructed about 1 km south of the inner moat (close to modern Pita Kotte), the outer moat also has a varying depth and width mainly due to the ground contour and topography. A perennial stream that flowed to the west across the Pita Kotte area had been connected to the moat. One of the six entrances to the citadel was built across this moat.

The site is presently located near to the Sirikota premises, the headquarters of United Nationa Party (UNP).

Kotte inner moat Kotte outer moat .
1) Fonseka, P., 2010. The Ancient City of Kōṭṭe and its Fortification. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 56, pp.57-117.
2) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. pp.1-2.
3) Somaratna, G.P.V., 1969. Political history of the Kingdom of Kotte (c. AD 1400-1521) (Doctoral dissertation, SOAS University of London). pp.79-85,147-188, 456-460.
4) Wijewardana, A., Thilakawardana, A. E. L., Priyangani, S., 2011. Aithihasika Kotte (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-9159-69-8. pp.1-5,9-14.

This page was last updated on 5 September 2020
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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Kumbukgete Standing Buddha Statue, Colombo National Museum

Kumbukgete Standing Buddha Colombo Museum
The Kumbukgete Standing Buddha Statue was discovered from the premises of Koombuwa Raja Maha Viharaya in Kumbukgete in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka and is currently on display at the entrance lobby of the Colombo National Museum. This statue is considered important as it is the tallest solid cast Buddha bronze found in Sri Lanka (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018).

This solid cast bronze statue of Buddha is 105 cm (3.44 ft) height and in the standing position. The right hand of the statue depicts the Abhaya Mudra and the left hand which is in the ring-hand attitude holds the edge of the robe (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018). The robe is closely touching the full body of Buddha but leaves the right shoulder bare. The robe is transparent and its pleats are denoted by clear lines. The head of the statue has curled hair and a hole is visible on the top of the head (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018). That hole indicates that the statue may once had a flame (a Siraspata) above the head. The ears of the statue are long but do not touch the shoulders.

The statue has been dated to the 9-10th centuries A.D. (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018).

1) Prematilaka, L., Hewage, R., 2018. A guide to the National Museum, Colombo: Department of National Museum. ISBN: 978-955-578-035-3. p.6.

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This page was last updated on 1 September 2020
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Naguleswaram Temple, Keerimalai

Old Naguleswaram temple
Naguleswaram Temple (also known as Nakuleswaram Kovil) is a Hindu shrine situated in Keerimalai in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The popular Keerimalai bathing pond is also located near to Naguleswaram temple.

It is believed by the Hindus that Naguleswaram is one of the five recognized Iswarams of Siva, that were in Sri Lanka, long before the arrival of Vijaya in the 6th century B.C. (Arumugam, 1991). The names Nagulaswaram and Keerimalai, have come into parlance as this place is said to be the residence of a Munivar (a sage) named Nakula Muni who lived his life of penance in a cave located at the foot of the Nakula-malai, a hill so called after him (Britto, 1879; Raghavan, 1971). Nakula/Nagula in Sanskrit and Keeri in Tamil mean "mongoose" and the Munivar was so named from the resemblance which his face bore to that of a mongoose (Britto, 1879). From these local names the place got its present names Naguleswaram and Keerimalai (Raghavan, 1971).

Literary mentions & folklore
The Yalpana Vaipava Malai (YVM), mentions Naguleswaram as one of the temples founded by Vijaya (6th century B.C.) in the North of the country (Britto, 1879). In the 15th century A.D., Sapumal Kumaraya [King Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.)], the builder of Nallur Kandaswami temple, is said to have visited Keerimalai and paid obeisance to the Naguleswaram temple (Arumugam, 1991; Raghavan, 1971). 

The temple is said to have been demolished as that of all Hindu temples in the North, by the hands of foreigners (Portuguese) in the 17th century A.D. (Arumugam, 1991; Wijebandara, 2014). 

Modern temple
The present Sivan temple for Naguleswaranathar and Naguleswari Ambal was established at the site in 1859, during the era of the revival of Hinduism spearheaded by Arumuga Navalar (Arumugam, 1991; Wijebandara, 2014).

A protected site
Naguleswaram Kovil and the old Sirapper Ambalama located close by in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. fma/226 Naguleswaram in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Tellipallai are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 30 December 2011.

Ruined structures Ruined structures Sirapper Ambalama .
1) Arumugam, S., 1991. More Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. London. pp.17-18
2) Britto, C., 1879. The Yalpana-Vaipava-Malai or The history of the Kingdom of Jaffna: Translated from the Tamil, with an appendix and a glossary by C. Britto. Colombo. pp.3-4.
3) Raghavan, M.D., 1971. Tamil culture in Ceylon. Kalai Nilayam. p.131.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1093.
5) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.127-130.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Kirinda Viharamahadevi Raja Maha Viharaya

Kirinda Viharaya
Kirinda Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Kirinda Viharamahadevi Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple on the sea-coast at Kirinda in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. It is located on the summit of a rocky outcrop situated about 120 m west of the present fisheries harbour of Kirinda.

It is popularly believed that this temple has been built at the spot where Viharamahadevi (Vihara-devi), the mother of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) and King Saddhatissa (137-119 B.C.) is supposed to have disembarked after she was sacrificed to the sea to appease the gods who were wrath with King Kelani Tissa for unreasonably suspecting and killing of an Arhant (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 2001). The chronicle Mahavamsa records that Vihara-devi landed ashore at Lanka Vihara on the coast near Mahagama [(the landing place is also known as Tolaka Vihara and Kottalata ) Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001]. King Kavan Tissa (205-161 B.C.) who espoused Vihara-devi constructed the Viharamahadevi Viharaya or Bisovalu Viharaya at this place to commemorate the event (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 2001). However the popular identification of present Kirinda Viharaya as Viharamahadevi's landing place has no historical authority and the inscriptions found at the site do not bear out this popular belief (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001).

There are two inscriptions in the present temple premises (Somadeva, 2006). Of them, the first one is a metrically composed rock inscription carved on a granite rock surface facing east. The second inscription is engraved on a rock surface situated slightly lower level than the first one (Somadeva, 2006). The first inscription has been dated by scholars such as Nicholas to the reign of King Mahadathika Mahanaga (Somadeva, 2006).

Kirinda rock inscription of Mahadathika Mahanaga
A metrically composed rock inscription was discovered engraved on the vertical face of a large boulder near the ruined Stupa (now restored) of Kirinda Viharaya (Paranavitana, 2001). The record contains four lines and the script closely resembles that of the Maharatmale rock inscription (Paranavitana, 2001). From the palaeographical point of view, this inscription has been dated to the reign of King Mahadathika Mahanaga [(9-21 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963].

Script : Later Brahmi
Language: Sinhala Prakrit
Transcript: Siddham. Aparimate lokahi Budha-same nati athana parama......>>
Content: This inscription records that at the Vihara at this spot, the viceroy named Naga abandoned false beliefs and was converted to Buddhism.
References: Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001.

An inscription containing similar text to the aforesaid inscription is also found engraved on an octagonal pillar erected on the urban mound at Akurugoda situated approximately 9 km north of Kirinda (Abeyawardana, 2004; Somadeva, 2006). According to the view of scholars, these two inscriptions are unique and bear a political significance (Abeyawardana, 2004; Somadeva, 2006). Nicholas has given a short description about its significance as follows;
"The chronicles give us to understand that from B.C. 246 onwards Buddhism was the firm and only faith of the Sinhalese monarchy and people, and the accuracy of that assertion is not impugned by this solitary instance of one dissident prince professing other beliefs and recanting them in favour of Buddhism. This singular event is not recorded in the Chronicles or Commentaries, but it was apparently of sufficient local importance for the recantation to be publicised by the engraving of two inscriptions, one at the Uvaraja's seat (Mahagama) and the other at the Vihara where the conversion occurred".
Citation: Nicholas, 1963. pp.62-63.
Kirinda beach

1) Kirinda temple by Chamal N is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
2) This image (Kirinda Pano) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Dennis Sylvester Hurd.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. pp.128,141.
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.62-63.
3) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.214-217.
4) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in archaeology at Uppsala University. pp.144,311.

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This page was last updated on 30 August 2020
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Adventure Sports in Kitulgala

White Water Rafting
Kitulgala is a small town located in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka and presently a popular tourist destination for adventure sports such as white-water rafting, canyoning, waterfall abseiling, jungle trekking, bird-watching and aerial rope activities.

Kitulgala is also the movie location of where David Lean’s 1957 adventure epic war film, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" was filmed.

White Water Rafting (WWR)
Kelani Ganga River that flows through the Kitulgala area has made the country's safest and attractive place for white-water rafting. The rapids named "Virgin breast", "Butter crunch", "Killer fall" and "White water" are ideal for the rafters of beginner to advanced level.

Canyoning (Trekking, sliding, & confidence jumps)
Canyoning is created in Kataran Ella Fall with trekking, sliding down inclined 7 m water fall into a rock pool. The 12 ft tall confidence jump is performed into a natural rock pool.

Water fall abseiling/rappelling
Water falls such as Sandun Ella are popular for abseiling.

Village trekking, Jungle trekking, Cycling
Trekking and cycling through hamlets, rain forests and mountains are also among the activities at Kitulgala. Exploration of pre-historic Belilena cave is also included.

Bird watching
Many bird species including endemic species such as Blue Magpie, Orange-billed Babbler, Chestnut-backed Owlet are found in Kitulgala area.

Aerial rope activity
Zip-lining activities are also available for the tourists.

Note: A number of adventure sports companies are currently operating in Kitulgala area and travelers are advised to contact any of them before go for an adventure type trip.

Broadlands Dam project 
Under the Broadlands Dam project a river hydroelectric complex is being constructed across the Kelani Ganga River in Kitulgala area. According to the view of local adventure sports companies, there is a risk of declining the water based sports in Kitulgala including the WWR due to this dam construction.


Location Map

This page was last updated on 31 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Selva Sannithi Murukan Temple

Selva Sannithi Murukan Temple
Selva Sannithi Murukan Temple (or Selva Sannidhi Kovil) is a Hindu shrine situated in Thondaimanaru in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to God Murukan (also known as Kartikeya or Kataragama), one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon. The temple is famously known among its devotees as the "Kataragama (or Sella Katirkamam) of the North".

The temple is located near the bank of Thondaimanaru stream. This stream is said to have been excavated under the supervision of Karunakara Thondaiman who had been sent here for procurement of salt supplies, by South Indian Chola King Kulottunga I [(1070-1122 A.D.) Krishnapillai, 1998]. The temple located by the side of this new cut waterway is believed to be the place of worship of the settlement that got founded in the locality (Krishnapillai, 1998). However, the temple was devastated by foreigners during the 16th century (Krishnapillai, 1998).

The present temple was established at the site later, during the era of the revival of Hinduism in Jaffna.

1) This image (Jaffna Trip 2017 Nov) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Samantha Weerasinghe.

1) Krishnapillai, V., 1998. Vel worship in Sri Lanka. The article is available at http://kataragama.org/research/krishnapillai.htm.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 29 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Kondagala, Loolkandura

Kondagala is a small mountain situated in Deltota in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. Located in the middle of Loolkandura Conservation Forest, the trail to the summit of the mountain is fallen through the first commercial tea estate of the country, Loolkandura Estate (or Loolecondera).

Presently, this site has become a popular place among the tourists for hiking. The journey usually takes about 20-40 mins to reach the top of the rock. A picturesque view of the central highlands can be obtained from the top of the rock.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 29 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map