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.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Tholuvila Monastery

Toluvila Archaeological Reserve is a ruined Buddhist monastery site situated to the east of Anuradhapura Railway Station in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
This site has been recognized as the place where Arahant Mahinda Thera had taken shelter on the way from Chetiya Pabbata to Maha Viharaya in the 3rd century B.C. Pubbarama may have been the original name of this monastery complex and it may have belonged to the Abhayagiri sect (Wikramagamage, 2004). A Guard Stone With An Inscription of the 9-10th century A.D. has been found from this site (Ranawella, 2005).
 
The ruins
The structures at the site indicate that there was a Pabbata Vihara complex erected during the period between the 7-9th centuries A.D. The world-renowned Toluvila Buddha Statue in the Samadhi posture which is presently preserved in the Colombo National Museum was unearthed from an image house of this site in 1890. The ruins of the monastic complex are scattered over a large extent of the area and are surrounded by a moat.

References
1) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. p.91.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.156.
 
Location Map

This page was last updated on 2 December 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Malwathu Oya Stone Bridge

Malwathu Oya Stone Bridge is an ancient bridge built over the Malwathu Oya river in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
This is believed to be one of the bridges in the ancient road network that connected Anuradhapura city to other suburbs since the beginning of the Anuradhapura Period. The highway that was running from Anuradhapura to the north of the country across the Malwathu Oya river would have lain over this bridge (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
The bridge
The bridge has been made by placing smoothened rock slabs longitudinally over the cross beams that are balanced on stone columns planted across the river. The high flood level of the river has been taken into consideration during the construction of the bridge. According to dimensions, it had been constructed even to serve vehicular traffic (Wikramagamage, 2004). 

References
1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.113.
 
Location Map

This page was last updated on 1 December 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Mahakanadarawa Stone Bridge

Mahakanadarawa Stone Bridge is an ancient bridge located near Mahakanadarawa Wewa in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
This bridge is believed to have been erected at the same time as Mahakanadarawa Wewa built by King Mahasena (276-303 A.D.). The ancient road that was running from Anuradhapura to the north of the country would have lain over this bridge.
 
The bridge
The bridge is 78 ft. long and 8.5 ft. wide and made of smoothened rock slabs.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 30 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Monday, November 29, 2021

Ancient City of Dambadeniya

Ancient City of Dambadeniya
The Ruins of the Ancient City of Dambadeniya are found scattered in and around the Dambadeniya Maliga Gala area in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
Polonnaruwa Kingdom (1056-1236 A.D.), the second kingdom of Sri Lanka was abandoned in the 13th century mainly due to its susceptibility to invasions from South India. Also, the struggles to grab the power of the throne among the rulers who came after King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) had already put the country's political environment into an unstable state (Dias et al., 2016). Magha (1215–1236 A.D.) of Kalinga (India) who came with a large army from Malabar (Kerala) easily invaded Sri Lanka during this period and as a result of that, Polonnaruwa was collapsed and Dambadeniya became the new and the third kingdom of the country (Dias et al., 2016; Sudharmawathie, 2008).

King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.) was the first king who chose Dambadeniya as the new capital. 

Monuments
Dambadeniya Maliga Gala Palace ruins
Maliga Gala mountain (or Jambudoni mountain) is considered the site where the royal palace of Dambadeniya erected by King Vijayabahu III was located. According to chronicles such as Culavamsa, the king built a new city on the summit of the Jambudoni mountain consisted of fine walls and gate towers (de Silva, 1990). The details given in the Dambadeni Asna reveal that there were two parts in the capital: the inner city and the outer city (de Silva, 1990). The inner city where the main buildings of the kingdom were located such as the Palace complex and the Temple of the Tooth is said to be protected with an 18 cubit tall wall (de Silva, 1990). The outer city had three boundary walls built of stone, clay, and timber (de Silva, 1990). The remains of the clay (earth) wall are still visible at the site.

Dambadeniya three ponds
The ruins of the palace building are seen on the western part of the Maliga Gala rock summit (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). It has been identified as a building with an inner compound and the remains of old channels that had been used to remove the accumulating rainwater in the compound are still visible (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). 
 
Three ponds named Ura Pokuna, Mavee Pokuna and Ratmal Pokuna are found on the summit of the rock.
 
Sri Vijayasundararama Viharaya
King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.) built Vijayasundararama Viharaya as the main temple of the kingdom and started an academy similar to Maha Viharaya and Abhayagiriya in Anuradhapura. The next ruler, King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 A.D.) had constructed two temples for the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha on the summit of the Maliga Gala and on the premises of Vijayasundararama temple. The temple built at the Maliga Gala was the permanent house for the Tooth Relic and the other at Vijayasundararamaya was used mainly for the relic expositions (Seneviratna, 1987).
 
Waduwa Ketu Gala
The mountain known as Waduwa Ketu Gala (or Mapa Gedara Gala) is said to be the site where the abodes of the people of Adhikarana Senevirath Mapa were located (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). According to another view, this site has been used during the Dambadeniya period to detain prisoners. Ruins of some buildings, ponds, and a rock-cut flight of steps can be seen scattered over the mountain.

Ancient tank
Part of an old bund of a breached tank has been found on a site located between the Maliga Gala and Mapa Gedara Gala mountains (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). This tank is believed to have been used by King Parakramabahu II for his war and defence activities (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

Ancient City of Dambadeniya Ancient City of Dambadeniya .
References
1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. pp.22-23,27-29.
2) de Silva, N., 1990. Sri Lankan architecture during the period 1200-1500 A.D.. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.76-77.
3) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. p.178.
4) Seneviratna, A., 1987. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic: An Architectural History of the Daḷadā Māligāwa, the Symbol of Buddhist Faith and Sovereignty in Sri Lanka. Government of Sri Lanka. p.59.
5) Sudharmawathie, J.M., 2008. Historical significance of the kingdom of Dambadeniya, Proceedings of the Annual Research Symposium 2008, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Kelaniya. p.105.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 28 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Weligama Sri Sumangala Thera

Ven Weligama Sri Sumangala Thera (1825-1905) was a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk and an oriental scholar.

Life events
He was born in 1825 to a respectful family at Weligama in Matara District (Carus, 1905; Paranavitana, 1983). At the twelve years of age he entered the Buddhist order and completed his education from Ven. Bentara Attadassi Thera, one of the the most famous Sanskrit scholars at the time (Carus, 1905; Paranavitana, 1983).

Sumangala Thera, in a short period, became a recognized Sanskrit scholar. He wrote several commentaries on Sanskrit grammar and his work Mugdhabodha Vyakhana comprising 700 pages was printed by the Government of Ceylon in 1897 (Paranavitana, 1983). He has been consulted as an authority in Sinhala, Pali, and Sanskrit by scholars from the West as well as from the East (Carus, 1905). He also pioneered in establishing the Saugathodaya Vidyalaya at Rankoth Viharaya (Paranavitana, 1983). Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) the author of the famous work "Light of Asia" and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907), an American who played a major role in the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka were among his close associates (Paranavitana, 1983). 
 
Sumangala Thera belonged to the Amarapura sect of Buddhist monks. In 1894 he was elected as its Maha Nayaka Thera (the Chief High Priest) and further honored by the conferment of the title "Sasana Vamsalankara"

Sumangala Thera passed away on 13 March 1905 (Carus, 1905).

Publications
# Hitopadesa Padartha Vyakhyanaya
# Upadesa Vinischaya
# Siddhanta Sekharaya (Mugdhabodha Vyakhana) (1897)

References
1) Carus, P., 1905. The Open Court, Volume 19. Open Court Publishing Company. p.510.
2) Paranavitana, K.D., 1983. Scholar monks of the nineteenth century and the tragic transformation of the high priest Ven. Kapugama Dhammakkhanda Thero. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Sri Lanka Branch, 28, pp.123-164.


Disclaimer
By accessing this website, we hope that you are accepting the following disclaimer notice.
The information published in this biography has been extracted from reliable sources but we, Lanka Pradeepa (lankapradeepa.com) assumes no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate or outdated content in this page.
This page was last updated on 28 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Torawa Mailewa Viharaya

Torawa Mailewa Viharaya (ancient Tisssa Pabbata Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Thorava village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this temple dates back to the 2nd century B.C., as evidenced by the drip-ledged caves with early-Brahmi inscriptions (Nicholas, 1963). Also, a rock inscription belonging to the reign of King Gajabahu I (114-136 A.D.) have been discovered from this site (Paranavitana, 2001). This inscription reveals the ancient name of this site as Tisa-pavata Viharaya [(Tissa Pabbata Viharaya) Paranavitana, 2001].
 
Ruins and inscriptions
There are several inscribed caves, ruins of two Stupas, a few ponds and some ancient stone works at the site (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001).
 
Brahmi inscriptions
A number of Brahmi cave inscriptions dating from 2nd century B.C. to 1st century A.D. have been discovered from the temple premises. Of them, Prof. Senarath Paranavitana has published about 8 early-Brahmi and 6 later-Brahmi inscriptions in his book issued in 1970 (Paranavitana, 1970).
 
Script: Early Brahmi                                                         Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Maharajaha panita-badagarika parumaka Shumanaha
Translation: [The cave] of the chief Sumana, officer in charge of the store-house of goods in deposits, of the great king.
Notes: It is possible that the name of the king was given at the begining of the record, but has now become illegible.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970. p.81.

Rock inscription of Gajabahu
An inscription dated in the 4th regnal year of a king styled Gamani Abaya has been found indited on a rock near the modern temple. This monarch, according to scholars, is non other than King Gajabahu I (Paranavitana, 2001). The inscription records certain grants made to the old monastery that existed at this place (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001). 
 
Reign: Gajabahu I        Period: 2nd century A.D.        Script: Later Brahmi        Language: Old Sinhala 
Content: The inscription records certain donations made in the 4th regnal year of Gajabahu I by a person named Nakayi. He donated the tanks named Tisaviya, Ranaviya, and Dalamaviya with paddy fields yielding 8 karisas (32 amunas) and 1,000 pieces of money obtained from Minister Maha Anulayi to the monastery named Tisapavata. One (half) share of that donation to the Stupa and one (half) to the community of monks were given.
Reference: Paranavitana, 2001.

References
1) 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). p.93.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.81,99.
3)  Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. p.210.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Friday, November 26, 2021

Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya

Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya (also known as Sri Bodhirukkharama Purana Tempita Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Kempitikanda village in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
The temple is said to have been established in the 1740s (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

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

Kempitikanda Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the main monument of this temple with an archaeological value. It is an image house measures 6.1 m by 4.2 m and has been built upon 8 stone pillars about 0.9 m tall (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Wijayawardhana, 2010). The image house can be accessed through a flight of steps and a narrow ambulatory with a wooden railing runs around it. The roof rests on the wall as well as 11 wooden columns (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). 

Two guards carrying swards can be seen on either side of the entrance of the front wall. The main sculpture in the image house is a seated Buddha statue accompanied by two standing Buddha statues facing each other at both left and right walls. The inner walls and ceiling of the shrine have been decorated with paintings depicting Buddhist themes. However, the paintings have lost their original form due to later renovations

A protected site
The Tampita image house (image house on stone piles) in the Kempitikanda Bodhirukkarama Purana Vihara Premises situated in the Digana Kanda Grama Niladhari Division in the Rambukkana Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 24 July 2009.

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.24.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1612. 24 July 2009. p.1021.
3) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12,95-98.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thalpe Beach Pools

Thalpe Beach
Thalpe Beach is a popular shoreline in Talpe in Galle District, Sri Lanka. 

The beach is popular among the locals as well as foreigners for its large natural swimming pool and other small rectangular-shaped artificial pools. As per the details of locals, these artificial pools have been cut out of the corals to be used to soak coconut husks in order to separate the coconut coir. However, presently they are used as bathing ponds.

Common bathing, recreational, and parking facilities are available in the vicinity area. As it is enclosed by a reef, the surrounding sea is shallow.
Thalpe Beach .
Location Map
This page was last updated on 28 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Koggala Beach Park

Koggala Beach Park
Koggala Beach Park is a popular shoreline in Koggala in Galle District, Sri Lanka. Opened to the public in 2007, the site is presently maintained by the Habaraduwa Divisional Secretariat.

The beach is popular among the locals as well as foreigners as a place to relax by feeling the sea breeze or watching the sunset. Common bathing, eating, playing, and parking facilities are available in the vicinity area. As it is enclosed by a small reef, the surrounding sea is shallow. The beach is also one of the few places in the country to watch stilt fishing.

Koggala Beach Park Koggala Beach Park .
Location Map
This page was last updated on 28 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya

Not to be confused with Kathaluwa Ranwella and Giniwella Vihara

Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya
Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kathaluwa village in Galle District, Sri Lanka. 

History
Locals link the history of this temple to the Anuradhapura Period (Ranchagoda, 2015). It is believed that one of the 32 saplings of Sri Maha Bodhi Tree have been planted here (Ranchagoda, 2015). However, available evidence suggest that this temple was constructed in 1840 by Kathaluwe Gunarathana Thera (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The temple
The temple consists of two terraces; the upper terrace and the lower terrace. The Stupa, image house, Bodhi tree, belfry and library is located on the upper terrace while the monks' dwelling is built on the lower terrace. 

The image house
Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya
The Poorwarama temple is popular among visitors for its valuable murals housed in the image house (Ranchagoda, 2015). Although the year 1886 A.D. is mentioned above the entrance door to the image house, the technique and the details in the paintings inside indicate that they have been executed much earlier than 1886 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The image house has been constructed on an elevated platform of about 1 m high. It consists of an inner chamber, a middle chamber and an outer chamber. Seven doorways, two each on three walls and one on the front wall provide access to the outer chamber. The British crest with a portrait of Queen Victoria (1837-1901 A.D.) and the year 1886 A.D. is found painted over the main entrance to the image house. This year may indicate the date of an addition or alteration made to the original image house (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya
A large reclining Buddha displaying the features of the Kandyan style is found inside the inner chamber. On the sidewalls of this statue are two Buddha statues in the standing and seated positions, facing each other. The figures of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha, are not found beside the Buddha statues of this image house. The figures of Arahants carrying flowers have been drawn across the back walls of these statues. The two entrances that provide access to the inner chamber have the British crest painted above and are set within the traditional Makara Thorana (the dragon arch). The walls of the middle chamber are adorned with paintings depicting the life events of the Buddha (Abeyawardana, 2004). Paintings and sculptures showing the Suvisi Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas), Jataka stories are found on the walls of the outer chamber. The statues of 24 Buddhas have been mounted in line and are enclosed within a large glazed polished timber cabinet spanning three sidewalls (except the front wall)  of the outer chamber.

Foreign elements are largely found in the paintings of this image house when compared with the other temple paintings in the region. Colonial style dresses, shoes, sunglasses, lamps, bottles, wine in stemmed glasses, horse carriages, jewellery, guns, and British flags are noticeable among the details of the paintings depicting traditional Sri Lankan Buddhist themes. Some are of the opinion that the paintings of this image house display two distinctive styles (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, according to others, such as Abeyawardana, the style is the same but may have been executed by two artists who belonged to the same guild of painters known as Kadolgalla Sittara [(descendants of Kadolgalla painters) Abeyawardana, 2004; Ranchagoda, 2015].

Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya Kathaluwa Poorwarama Viharaya
.
References
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.35-36.
2) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.30-32.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map