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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Kota Vehera, Lahugala

Kota Vehera (also known as Kotavehera Raja Maha Viharaya) is a Buddhist monastery complex situated in Lahugala in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. The temple has been erected on a small hillock situated near to the Magul Maha Viharaya and contains a large Stupa built in accordance to the Kota Vehera style.

The history of this temple is dated back to the early Anuradhapura period (Anuradhapura era ranges from 377 B.C.to 1017 A.D.). A large number of stone inscriptions as well as carved Sri Pathul Gal (foot prints of Buddha) and stone pillars are found in the temple premises. The Chatra and the Yupa stone, discovered in the temple indicate that the temple Stupa was built in the form of the early Stupa tradition of the country. It has been found in inscriptions that this site was called in early times as Deegalaka Maha Vehera.

Reliquaries of Kota Vehera (left)

Period : 1st - 2nd century AD
Height : 7.8 cm
Description : The reliquary is made of gold
sheets arranged in flower fashion and was
sheltered by a series of Chatras  which are 
now missing.
  • Kotavehera Inscriptions No. 01

    Reign : Bhathikabhaya (19 B.C.-9 A.D.)
    Period : 1st Century A.D.
    Script : Later Brahmi
    Language : Old Sinhala
    Transcript : Siddam! Devanapiyatisa rajaha marumakanakaha kutakana rajahaputa Gamini Abaya...
    Translation : Hail! Gamini Abaya, son of Kutakanna Tissa, grandson of king Devanampiya Tissa...
    Reference : The information board by the Department of Archaeology and the State Ministry of Cultural Affairs
  • Kotavehera Inscriptions No. 02

    Reign : Gajabahu I (112-134 A.D.)
    Period : 2nd Century A.D.
    Script : Later Brahmi
    Language : Old Sinhala
    Content : Sabaya, the minister of king Gamini Abhaya (Gajaba) having exempted from taxes the hundred karises (400 amunas) of paddy land under Digalaka tank, donated it to Digalaka Vihara. Furthermore ten karises (40 amunas) of paddy land were offered for the activities of the Cetiya and one karisa (4 amunas) has been donated for lighiting lamp at the Stupa
    Reference : The information board by the Department of Archaeology and the State Ministry of Cultural Affairs


The ancient Dagoba, building sites with stone pillars, flight of steps carved on natural rock plain and drip ledged caves located in the Kotavehera monastery complex are protected archaeological monuments, declared by a Gazette notification published on 10 October 2014.

Attribution
1) Lahugala Kota Vehera 2 by L Manju is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Vithanachchi, C. R., 2013. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Ampara Distrikkaya (In Sinhalese): Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka), pp. 27-28.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1884. 10 October 2014, p. 917.

Location Map

Keragala Padmavathi Pirivena

Keragala Padmavathi Pirivena, Sri Lanka
Keragala Padmavathi Pirivena (also known as Keragala Padmavathi Raja Maha Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Keragala village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling about 6 km distance from Weliveriya town. Keragala Viharaya is the destination of the messenger of Hamsa Sandeshaya (Manukulasooriya, 1978), a Sinhalese poetry written during the reign of King Parakramabahu VIII [(1490-1509 A.D.) Rohanadeera, 2007].

Inscriptions
Two separate inscriptions are found in the temple premises (Rohanadeera, 2007). They have been inscribed on the both sides of same slab and are cut in Sinhalese characters in vogue at the time (De Silva, 1912). Both inscriptions are Gal Sannas which give details about the grants awarded to the Keragala temple.

Keragala slab inscription of Vijayabahu V
This record has been dated to the reign of King Vijayabahu V [(1335-1341 A.D.) Ranawella, 2014]. It reveals that the lands in certain villages including Paragoda, Ambulgama, Kusalangama are the properties belonging to the pupillary lineage of the chief monk Nagasena Thera of Keragala Vihara since the Dambadeniya period. It further emphasizes that this ownership is to be continued in the future in the same manner.

It also mentions that the temple was erected by Artthanayaka of Dalasengamuwa (modern Dalugama) for the devotional purposes of Padmavathi, the sister of Alagakkonara (Ranawella, 2014). The Alagakkonara in the inscription was the one who became the prime minister of King Vikramabahu III [(1356-1371 A.D.) De Silva, 1912]. But according to the details given in the inscription, Alagakkonara was at the time staying with Atthanayaka and therefore it is assumed that the Keragala temple was erected sometime before Alagakkonara became Prabu Raja [(before the commencement of Vikramabahu's reign) De Silva, 1912].

Keragala Padmavathi Pirivena, Sri Lanka Reign  : King Vijayabahu V (1335-1341 A.D.)
Script & Language : Modern Sinhala
Transcript : <<.. Arthanayaka Dalasengamu Miga(ga)ntaru e taman langa siti Alagakkonara p(a)dayage sahodara buhunaniyan Patmavati venda puda ganna lesata karavu Keragala Vihara santaka Paragoda..>>
Translation : <<..Keragala Vihara, erected by  Artthanayaka Dalasengamu Mi(g)gantaru for the devotions of the lady Padmavati, own sister of his Highness Alagakkonara who was staying with him..>>
Reference : Ranawella, 2014.
 
Keragala slab inscription of Parakramabahu VIII, 1501 A.D.
This inscription has been dated to the 11th regnal year of King Parakramabahu VIII [(1490-1509 A.D.) Rohanadeera, 2007]. It records a grant executed by Sanhas Tiruvarangam Perumal upon order issued from the palace at Jayawardhana Kotte in the 11th year of Parakramabahu VIII (Rohanadeera, 2007). The grant describes the boundaries and lands of Keragala Viharaya to be inherited in pupillary lineage from Rajaguru Wanaratana Maha Swamin Vahanse of Keragala (De Silva, 1912). The name of the Keragala Parivenadhipathi (the chief incumbent) Wanarathana Thera is also mentioned in Hamsa Sandeshaya (Wimalasena, 2016).

A protected site
The Keragala temple is an archaeological protected site, declared by a government gazette notification published on 14 August 1964.

The Pinthaliya at Keragala temple The preaching hall of Keragala temple A unique moonstone at Keragala temple A view of the Keragala temple
.
References
1) De S. Manukulasooriya, R.C., 1978. Transport in Sri Lanka in Ancient and Medieval times. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 24 (1978–79). pp.49-85.
2) De Silva, S., 1912. Inscription at Keragala: Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (Vol. XXII). pp. 404-410.
3) Ranawella, S., 2014. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-62-9. pp.19-21.
4) Rohanadeera, M., 2007. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VIII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-64-3. pp.88-91.
5) The Gazette notification, no. 14092, 14 August 1964.
6) Wimalasena, N.A., 2016. Elite Groups, as a factor of Social Change in Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Liberal Arts and Social Science. Vol. 4 No. 3. pp.18-30.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 14 April 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map


A short note for local school students
කෑරගල පද්මාවතී පිරිවෙන

කෑරගල පද්මාවතී පිරිවෙන හෝ කෑරගල පද්මාවතී රජමහා විහාරය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ගම්පහ දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ කෑරගල පිහිටි බෞද්ධ සිද්ධස්ථානයකි. 8වන පරාක්‍රමබාහු රජු (ක්‍රි.ව. 1490-1509) සමයේ රචනා වූ හංස සන්දේශයෙහි ගමනාන්තය ලෙස දැක්වෙන්නේ මෙම විහාරස්ථානය වේ.

ශිලා ලේඛන
එකම ගල් පුවරුවක දෙපැත්තෙහි කොටවන ලද ශිලා ලේඛන ද්විත්වයක් විහාර පරිශ්‍රයේදී දැකගත හැකිවේ. සිංහල අක්ෂරයන්ගෙන් සමන්විතවන මෙම ශිලා ලේඛන මගින් කෑරගල විහාරයට සිදුකරන ලද ප්‍රධානයන් පිළිබඳ තොරතුරු හෙළිදරව් කෙරේ.

5වන විජයබාහු රජුගේ කෑරගල පුවරු ලිපිය
මෙම ශිලා ලේඛනය 5වන විජයබාහු රාජ්‍ය සමයට (ක්‍රි.ව. 1335-1341) කාල නිර්ණය කොට තිබේ. කෑරගල විහාරය සතු පරගොඩ, ඇඹුල්ගම, කුසලාන්ගම ඇතුළු අනෙකුත් ඉඩම්වල අයිතිය දඹදෙණි යුගයේ සිට පැවත එන බවත් ඒවා නාගසේන මහා ස්වාමින් වහන්සේගේ සංඝ පරම්පරාවට අයත් බවත් මෙහි සඳහන් වේ.

කෑරගල විහාරය කරවන ලද්දේ දලසෙන්ගමුව අත්තනායක විසින් අලගක්කෝනාරගේ සහෝදරිය වූ පද්මාවතීන්ට වැදපුදා ගැනීමට බව සෙල්ලිපියෙහි වැඩිදුරටත් සඳහන් වේ.

8වන පරාක්‍රමබාහු රජුගේ කෑරගල පුවරු ලිපිය
මෙම ශිලා ලේඛනය 8වන පරාක්‍රමබාහු රජුගේ (ක්‍රි.ව. 1490-1509) 11වන රාජ්‍ය වර්ෂයට (ක්‍රි.ව. 1501) කාල නිර්ණය කොට තිබේ. රජුගේ නියෝග පරිදි සන්හස් තිරුවරඟම් පෙරුමාළු විසින් ප්‍රකාශිත දේපල ප්‍රධානයක විස්තර මෙම ලේඛනයෙහි අන්තර්ගත කොට ඇත.

පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරක ස්ථානය
කෑරගල පිහිටි පැරණි පද්මාවතී විහාරය, 1964 අගෝස්තු 14 දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත් රජයේ ගැසට් නිවේදනය මගින් ආරක්ෂිත පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරක ස්ථානයක් ලෙස නම් කොට ඇත.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dehadu Kadulla

The old entrance
Dehadu Kadulla is an ancient monument located in the village of Kadadora in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

History
In the ancient times, there were four main entrances named Gal Dora, Kada Dora, Wata Dora, and Niyamgam Dora, to enter the Maya Rata (Performance Report, 2011). Of them, the Kada Dora (also called Dehadu Kadulla) is the only entrance which can be seen today. According to folklore, Kada Dora entrance was the place where Prince Dutugemunu had hidden his sward (Magul Kaduwa) when he was coming from Ruhuna to Maya Rata seeking a shelter.

The entrance
The entrance is about 2.17 meters tall and 1.85 meters wide and has been constructed using the rubble and rock boulders (Abeywardana, 2004).

A protected monument
The Kadadora Dehadu Kadulla situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Kadadora, in Kotmale Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

Colour paintings on wooden planks, Kandy National Museum Standing Buddha image, Kandy National Museum
.
References
1) Performance Report, 2011: Colombo. Planning and Monitoring Section, Department of Archaeology, p.289.
2) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  p.239.
3) The Gazette of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no 1553, 6 June 2008. p.526.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 23 February 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Protohistory of Sri Lanka

The transitional era between the end of Pre-historic period and the beginning of the Historic Period of Sri Lanka is known as the Proto-historic Period of Sri Lanka.

The sites with proto-historic evidences in Sri Lanka are given below.

This page was last updated on 28 July 2019

Prehistory of Sri Lanka

Human skeleton from Potana (near Sigiriya)
Prehistory of Sri Lanka ranges from ca 250,000 BP to 1,000 BC. The distribution, physical characteristics and way of life of Sri Lankan man in this prehistoric period have been determined and suggested by various archaeological evidence discovered so far in the country. Stone and bone implements, food residues such as mollusc shells and animal bones and human skeletal remains provide some idea about the natural and social environment that prevailed during the prehistoric period.

The sites with pre-historic evidences in Sri Lanka are given below.
  • Minihagalkanda in Hambantota             
  • Fahiyanlena and Bulathsinhala in Kalutara  
  • Batadombalena and Kuruvita in Ratnapura  
  • Bundala in Hambantota                                
  • Alulena and Athanagoda in Kegalle
  • Belilena and Kithulgala in Kegalle
  • Bellanbendipelessa in Ratnapura
  • Manthei in Mannar

Menik Vehera

Menik Vehera, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Menik Vehera (lit: The gem temple) is a Buddhist monastic complex located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this complex is not known. But according to the architectural features it has, the complex is dated back to the 8-9 centuries A.D. The structures indicate at least two stages of development belonging to the 8-9 century A.D. and the 12-13 century A.D.

Temple
The temple is situated outside the Northern gate of the city and has been built on a terraced layout (Wikramagamage, 2004). The top-most terrace includes the Stupa, the Bodhi-tree shrine (Bodhighara), the image house, and the "Uposathagharaya". The remains are located in the lower terrace.

Built on a high terrace surrounded by a high wall, the Stupa of this complex is considered as a rare piece of work. The terraced design of this Stupa shows similarities to the design of Indikatuseya Stupa at Mihintale. The carved stone door-frame at the entrance and the terracotta tablets of squatting lions at the plinth are also considered as special features. 

Near to the Stupa is a Gandhakuti type image shrine. It has a square shaped chamber with a porch in front. The three standing Buddha statues in the image shrine perhaps represent the Buddhas of the past, present and future. This shrine possibly have been built following the design of the Medirigiriya image house.

Squatting lion figures The image house

References
1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka, p. 213.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 October 2019

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Kiri Vehera, Polonnaruwa

Kiri Vehera, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Kiri Vehera (lit: Milk Stupa) is a Stupa located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Situated north to the Lankathilaka Pilima Geya, this is the second tallest Stupa in the city after the Rankoth Vehera.

History
The ancient name or the builder of this Stupa is not known yet. But it is speculated that this Stupa was either built by  King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D.) in memory of his consort Queen Subhadra or it was built by Queen Subhadra herself (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Stupa
The 28.5 meters tall Stupa is considered the best preserved Stupa among the others found in the ancient city (Ray, 1960; Wikramagamage, 2004). It has a diameter of about 88 ft at the base at the ground level and is surrounded by four frontispieces at the cardinal points (Ray, 1960). Either side of the front pieces are small rectangular Buddha shrines with brick roofs (Ray, 1960). The bubble-shaped dome rises upward from a base of three receding terraces and the original lime plaster is still visible on the dome. The present name probably derives from the fact that its well preserved lime plaster.

Inscription
Kiri Vehera Slab Inscription
A quadrangular slab with an inscription lies on the Stupa terrace.

  • Kiri Vehera Slab Inscription

    Reign : Nissanka Malla (1187-1196 A.D.)
    Period : 12th century A.D.
    Script  : Medieval Sinhala
    Language : Medieval Sinhala
    Transcript  : Sri Vira-raja  Nissanka Malla Aprati-Malla Kalinga Lamkeswara .......>>
    Translation : His    majesty   Sri  Vira-raja Nissanka   Malla    Aprati- Malla   Kalinga Lankeswara ........>>


    Content : The inscription records that the king (Nissanka Malla) was pleased to exact tribute from the Cola, Pandya and other countries. It also says that he had pillars of victory set up at Rameswara (India) and a temple (Devalaya) built bearing the name 'Nissankeswara'. On his return after the victories, a pavilion with this inscription was built for worshiping the relics of Buddha.
    Reference : Wickremasinghe,1928

The slab is about 10 feet long and 5 feet 3 in. wide (Wickremasinghe, 1928). The letters are about 1-2 in. in size and represent the alphabet belonging to the latter half of the 12th century A.D. (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

References
1) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part II). Ceylon University Press. pp.593-594.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p. 215.
3) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon (Vol, II). Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. pp.148-152.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 5 October 2019

Rankoth Vehera

Rankoth Vehera, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Rankoth Vehera (also known as Rankoth Vihara, Ruwanweli Dagoba of Polonnaruwa) is a Stupa located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Built by King Nissanka Malla (1187-1196 A.D.), it is the tallest Stupa found in this ancient city (Wikramagamage, 2004).

History
According to the account given in Pujavaliya, this Stupa is one of edifices done by King Nissanka Malla. The great chronicle Mahawamsa also states that Nissanka Malla built the Ratnavali-cetiya (Ruwanweli in Sinhala) to a great height and adorned it with a golden pinnacle. In the Sinhalese language, the name Rankoth Vehera means gold pinnacled Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004). The word Ran (pronounce as run) means gold and Kotha means pinnacle while Vehera means either Stupa or temple.

Rankoth Vehera is considered as the last mega Stupa built by a Sri Lankan king (Ranaweera, 2004).

Stupa
The Rankoth Vehera Stupa and its monastery complex have been built between the Gopalapabbatha (Southern boundary of Alahana Pirivena) and Menik Vehera complex. The Pabbata Vihara type monastery, which is located at the southern boundary of Rankoth Vehera Stupa was also a part of this 12th-century temple complex.

The Stupa repletes with four Ayakas (frontispieces), the stone terrace at the base, the square sand terrace, and the surrounding sand path. All these features follow the Anuradhapura Stupa type of the Ruwanveliseya. The construction method of the Stupa dome with a central solid brick cube is considered important. The upper part of the Stupa is supported by the solid brick cube and the space between the brick mantle dome and the solid brick cube is filled with brickbats and earth. The Stupas in Andra Pradesh in India are said to follow a similar device in dome construction but on a wheel design.

Presently, the Stupa has a base diameter of 56.7 m (dome diameter at the platform) and a height of 61 m [(height from the platform) Ranaweera, 2004]. The image houses those surrounding the Rankoth Vehera Stupa indicate the influence of the Mahasanghika sect (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Inscriptions
Rankoth Vehara Stupa is mentioned in the following inscriptions.
Rankoth-Dagoba pillar inscriptions (left)
Period : 12th-century A.D.
Reign : Nissanka Malla (1187-1196 A.D.)
Script : Medieval Sinhala
Language : Medieval Sinhala
Transcript : ...Sri Vira  Kalinga  Lamkeshwara
Aprati-Malla Nissmka Malla Parakrama-Bahu
Cakravartti     svamin  -  vahanse    da    venda 
vadara(na kuda)mayi
Translation : This is the pavilion, from which
his majesty is  pleased  to warship  the relics
(enshrined in the Ruwanweli Dagoba)
Reference : Wikramasinghe, 1928
  • Gal-Potha inscription

    Reign : Nissanka Malla (1187-1196 AD)
    Transcript : <<...rajageta uturu-diga asu at Ruwanmeli dagob vahanse karava...>>
    Translation : <<..... Ruwanweli  Dagoba,  eighty  cubits  on  the  north side  of the royal residence...>>
    Reference : Wikramasinghe, 1928
  • Rankoth-Dagoba Gal-Asana inscription

    Reign : Nissanka Malla (1187-1196 AD)
    Transcript : ...Ruvanweli  dagoba   karava  vadarana  kala  karmmanta  bala  vadara  vada hun mulu galin kala asanayayi
    Translation : The seat,  curved  out of a single stone, which occupied (by his majesty) whilst watching the construction of the Ruwanweli dagoba
    Reference : Wikramasinghe, 1928

Tamil Inscriptions
Rankot Vihara Velaikkaran inscription of Jayabahu I
A Tamil inscription was found in a ruined building located between the north gate of the city and the Rankoth Vihara (Veluppillai, 1971)  

Rankoth Vehera Velaikkaran Matevan Tamil Inscription
A Tamil pillar inscription was found from Rankoth Vihara temple premises during an archaeological survey conducted by the Cultural Triangle in 1981 (Pathmanathan, 2004). The inscription is engraved in 10 lines on each side of a square stone pillar (Pathmanathan, 2004). It contains no regnal year of any king but on paleographical considerations the inscription is assigned to the early 13th century (Pathmanathan, 2004).

A protected monument
The Rankoth Vehera located in the Sri Nissankamallapura village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Thamankaduwa is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 4 June 2004.
 
Ruins of an image house, Polonnaruwa Rankoth Vehera One of Vahalkadas, Polonnaruwa Rankoth Vehera
.
References
1) Pathmanathan, S., 2004. New Light on the Decline of Polonnaruwa (1196-1215): The Tamil Pillar Inscription From Rankot Vihara. Proceedings of the Peradeniya University Research Sessions. Sri Lanka. Vol. 9. November 10. 2004 . p.31.
2) Ranaweera, M.P., 2004. Ancient stupas in Sri Lanka–Largest brick structures in the world. CHS Newsletter, 70. London. Construction History Society.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1344. 4 June 2004. p.15.
4) Veluppillai, A., 1971. Ceylon Tamil Inscriptions: Part 1. Published by the author. pp.24-26.

5) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon Vol II: London. Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford, pp. 98-123, 134-142.
6) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka, p. 214.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Palace of Parakramabahu I

A front caption of the palace
The Palace of Parakramabahu I (also known as Vaijayantha Prasada or Vijayotpaya) is the royal palace built by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D.) within the citadel of Polonnaruwa (Wickramagamage, 2004). 

History
Parakramabahu built the palace and named it Vaijayantha Prasada after the abode of the vedic god Indra [(king of gods, Sakra) Seneviratna, 1998]. Adoption of this name indicate that there was a need to secure the concept that the king and god were equal. According to the description given in Culavamsa, this palace was a seven storied edifice furnished with one thousand chambers (Seneviratna, 1998). Also it was adorned with many hundreds of pillars painted in different colors. 

Building
Remaining lime plaster on the wall
At present, remains of three stories of supposed seven stories are identified. Inside the palace on the right is a stone stairway showing the evidence of past access to the upper floors. On the ground floor, a hall, a lavatory, rooms and ruins of the flight of the stairs are identified. Surrounding the center palace building are minor buildings which may have been used for the places for rituals, entertainment, and as rooms for the palace aids and storage.

The palace building is 45 m in length and breadth (Wickramagamage, 2004). The basic ground plan shows similarity to that of 12th century Vijayabahu Palace at Anuradhapura and the palaces at Panduwasnuwara and Yapahuwa. The Panduwasnuwara Palace of ancient Parakramapura was also built by Parakramabahu I when he was a sub-king of the Southern Principality. The remaining brick walls of the palace show the crevices and sockets of the vertical timber columns and the beginning of the third floor, suggesting the upper floors could have been made out of timber (Gunaratne, 2000). The thickness of the walls varies from center to outer. The center walls are 160 cm thick and 9 m tall while the walls of the surrounding rooms are 80 cm thick (Wickramagamage, 2004). The old plaster on the walls of some parts of the palace is still in a good state of preservation. The remnants of melted bricks found on the palace ground testify that this palace may have been destroyed by fire.

Remaining lime plaster on the wall Back side of the palace
Attribution

References
1) Seneviratna, A, 1998. Polonnaruwa, medieval capital of Sri Lanka: An illustrated survey of ancient monuments: Archaeological Survey Dept, p. 116.
2) Gunaratne, R., 2000. Sri Lanka: Florence. Casa Editrice Bonechi. ISBN: 978-88-8029-239-5, p. 47.
3) Wickramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major Natural, Cultural and Historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka, p. 206.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 20 January 2020
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Monday, March 26, 2018

Panakaduwa Copper Plate Grant

Panakaduwa Copper Plate Grant, Colombo Museum, Sri LankaPanakaduwa Copper Plate Grant (also known as Panakaduwa Thamba Sannasa) is a copper inscription discovered in the village of Panakaduwa in the Morawak Korale of Matara District, Sri Lanka. It consists of three copper plates and has been written on both sides of the plates. This inscription is significant as it is the earliest copper plate grant made by a Sri Lankan king (Fernando, 1975). The plates are now exhibited in the National Museum of  Colombo.

Discovery
The inscription was discovered in 1948 by a farmer of Panakaduwa, S. Carolis Appuhami, while digging in a crown land for some turf for his field (Fernando, 1990). He found that the plates are not gold and put them aside. Later when he began to fall ill too often, Appuhami thought that it was due to some kind of misfortune of these plates. He handed over them to one of his relatives, a Buddhist monk and about one year later the plates were reached to the hands of Senarath Paranavitana (Fernando, 1990).

Panakaduwa Copper Grant 

Period         : 11 century A.D.
Reign           : Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.)
Language   : Medieval Sinhala
Script          : Medieval Sinhala
Number of plates : 3 Copper plates
Length & Width     : 38 cm & 7 cm
Discovered : 1948
From a paddy field of Panakaduwa village.
Discovered by       : S. Carolis Appuhami

Reference  : National Museum of Colombo
Content
The inscription records about a special grant pronounced by King Vijayabahu I [(1055-1110 A.D.) Fernando, 1975] in council from the palace at the Anuradhapura. The grant had been made to the chieftain  Budal of Sitnaru-bim, Dandanayake (constable) of Ruhuna for the protection afforded to the king, his father and the other members of the royal family when they were in hiding during the Cola invasion (Paranavitana, 1955; Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018).

References
1) Fernando, M., 1990. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)] Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series (Vol. I). History of the Department of Archaeology: Commissioner of Archaeology, pp.87-88.
2) Fernando, P.E., 1975. A Note on the Panakaduva Copper-Plate Charter of Vijayabahu I. The Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities (Vol. 1) no. 1. pp.57-60.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1955. Epigraphia Zeylanica: being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. 5, Part I). Government Press, Ceylon, for the Archaeological Department. pp.1-34.
4) Prematilaka, L., Hewage, R., 2018. A guide to the National Museum, Colombo: Department of National Museum. ISBN: 978-955-578-035-3. p.23.

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A short note for local school students
පනාකඩුව තඹ සන්නස

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මාතර දිස්ත්‍රික්කයෙහි පිහිටි පනාකඩුව නම් ග්‍රාමයෙන් හමුවූ තඹ තහඩු කිහිපයක සළකුණු කොට ඇති ලිපිය වර්තමානයේදී පනාකඩුව තඹ සන්නස යනුවෙන් ප්‍රසිද්ධවී ඇත. සන්නස තඹ තහඩු ත්‍රිත්වයක දෙපැත්තෙහිම ලියවා තිබෙයි. ශ්‍රී ලාංකික රජෙකු විසින් නිකුත් කර තිබෙන මෙරට පැරණිම සන්නස වීම හේතුවෙන් මෙය ඉතා වැදගත් පුරාවස්තුවක් සේ සැළකෙයි. වර්තමානයේදී මෙම තඹපත් කොළඹ ජාතික කෞතුකාගාරයෙහි ප්‍රදර්ශනයට තබා ඇත.

සොයාගැනීම
1948 වර්ෂයේදී මෙම තඹපත් පනාකඩුවෙහි ගොවියෙකු වූ එස්. කරෝලිස් අප්පුහාමි විසින් රජයේ ඉඩමක පිඩලි කපන අවස්ථාවකදී සොයාගනු ලැබ තිබුණි. රන් නොවූ මෙම තඹ තහඩු අප්පුහාමි විසින් සිය නිවසේ පසෙකට දමා තිබුනත් පසුව ඒවා හඳුනන භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේ නමකට ලබා දී තිබුනේ පසුකාලීනව ඔහු නිතරම අසනීප වීමට පටන් ගැනීමත් ඊට හේතුව මෙම තඹපත්‍රයන්හී ගැබ්වූ කිසියම් අවාසනාවක් නිසා යැයි ඔහු විශ්වාස කිරීමත් හේතුවෙනි. ඉන් වසරකට පමණ පසුව මෙම තඹපත් පරණවිතාන මහතාගේ අතට පත්විය.

අන්තර්ගතය
1වන විජයබාහු රජු (ක්‍රි.ව. 1055-1110) විසින් අනුරාධපුරයේ සිට සිදුකරන ලද විශේෂ ප්‍රධානයක තොරතුරු මෙහි අන්තර්ගතය. චෝල ආක්‍රමණය එල්ලව තිබූ සමයේ තමාට, තමාගේ පියාට සහ පවුලේ සාමාජිකයින්ට රැකවරණය සැළසීම හේතුවෙන් රජු විසින් මෙම ප්‍රධානය රුහුණේ ප්‍රධානියෙකු වූ බුදල් සින්නරුබිමි දණ්ඩනායක වෙත සිදුකර තිබේ.

Unawatuna Raja Maha Viharaya, Buttala

Unawatuna Raja Maha Viharaya, Buttala, Sri Lanka
Unāwatuna Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. The temple is situated in Unãwatuna village belonging to the Buttala Divisional Secretary's Division.

Etymology
The name Unāwatuna is said to be evolved from Unāvæṭuna. In Sinhalese language, the word Una (උනා) means loosed while væṭuna (වැටුන) means fallen. This etymology is explained through few folklore among the locals. According to one story, there was a period that king Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) had a battle with his brother, prince Saddha Tissa. When the king Dutugemunu was on his way to Yudaganawa to battle with Saddha Tissa, a casket he was bringing to the field was loosed and fallen to the ground where it is thought to be the present temple premises. According to the folklore king didn't take the casket back but made a small Stupa covering it.

A protected site
The anicent Dagoba, places with ruins of buildings and ancient wall at the premises of Unawatuna Raja Maha Vihara belonging to Unawatuna village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Buttala are protected archaeological monuments declared by a Gazette notification, published on 9 March 2016.
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary, no: 1957/18. 9 March 2016. p.3A.

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This page was last updated on 2 June 2019

Dunhinda Falls

Dunhinda Falls, Sri Lanka
Dunhinda Falls is a waterfall located in Badulla District, Sri lanka. The fall is formed by Badulu Oya, a tributary of Mahaweli Ganga. Located on Badulla-Mahiyangana road about 5 km distance from the Badulla town, the fall can be reached by walking further along a footpath stretching 1.25 km. The fall plunges from a height of 210 feet (64 m) into a large circular pool, generating considerable smoky dew drops spray. In Sinhalese language, the name Dunhinda means-the fall of spray or vapour fall. The word Dun (දුන්) means-that gave or was given while Hinda (හිඳ) means evaporate.

Several myths and legends are found among the locals associated with the fall. According to one legend, a beautiful fish wearing a golden earring swims over the buried treasure of Kumarasinghe, the prince of Uva, in the pool of the waterfall and comes to the surface once a year. The treasure is guarded by men armed with golden swards and the people those who swim in the pool must beware from the guards, as they are looking for a human sacrifice every year.

Another story associated with the fall tells of a princess related to the royal blood of the Gampola king (14th century) who eloped from the wrath of her farther with her commoner lover. However the couple was finally tracked down to Kosgalla, a village near the falls. Determined not to be separated from each other, the couple fled from the village to the highest ledge of the falls and hurled themselves down into the abyss below. At the same night a fierce storm is said to had struck the surrounding area.

References
1) Kautzsch, E., 1983. A guide to waterfalls of Sri Lanka: Tisara Prakasakayo. pp.40-41.
2) Briggs, P., 2018. Bradt Travel Guide. Sri Lanka Bradt Travel Guides, p. 454.
3) Wanasundera, N. P., 2002. Sri Lanka. Cultures of the world:  Marshall Cavendish, p. 9.
4) Ceylon Today, Volume 6, 1957: Sri Lanka Pravrutti Departamenthuva, pp. 2-3.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Uththara Jayamaha Viharaya

The Stupa of Uththara Jayamaha Viharaya, Ampara, Sri Lanka
Uththara Jayamaha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple in Ampara District Sri Lanka. The temple is situated in Hingurana town approximately 500 meters away from the Gal Oya Plantations sugar factory.

History
The history of Uththara Jayamaha Viharaya can be dated back to the early Anuradhapura period (Anuradhapura period - 377 B.C. to 1017 A.D.). Several ancient structures and monuments belonging to the Anuradhapura period are still visible at the site.

Inscription
An early Brahmi inscription belonging to the 2nd century B.C. has been found from the site. It was copied by the Archaeological Department on 6 March 1971 (Dias, 1991).
The cave inscription of Hingurana (left)

Period : 2nd century B.C.
Script : Early Brahmi
Language : Old Sinhalese
Transcript :"Mahamata-Utara-jhita-Racitaya lene"
Translation : "The cave of Racita, the daughter 
of  the great minister Uttara"
Notes : If  the  stroke  after  the  word  jhita  is
considered a  punctuation  mark, the  name of
the cave donor should be Cita (Citra).
Citation : Dias, 1991
A protected site
Caves with drip ledges and inscriptions belonging to the premises of Uththara Jayamaha Vihara situated in Hingurana village in Grama Niladhari Division No. W/27/F, Karalewa in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Damana are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification, published on 26 December 2014.

Ancient Korawak Gala An inscription
.
References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. p. 4.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, No: 1895, 26 December 2014, p.1148.

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This page was last updated on 10 January 2020
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Baker's Falls

Baker's Falls, Sri Lanka
Baker's Falls is a waterfall located in Horton Plains National Park in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri lanka. The fall is 20.31 metre-tall and formed by Belihul Oya, a tributary of Walawa Ganga.

References
1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.243.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 21 September 2019

Warakagoda Gallen Raja Maha Viharaya

Warakagoda Raja Maha Viharaya, Kalutara, Sri Lanka
Warakagoda Gallen Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Gallena Purana Raja Maha Viharaya) is a historic cave temple in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this temple is connected with the chronicles with the details about the fortress of Pasyodun Rata. It is believed that this temple was erected by the three brothers Manabharana, Keerthi Sri Megha and Sri Wallabha when they were occupying the fortress at Pasyodun Rata. The Pancayojana-Rattha or Pasyodun-vaga (present Pasdun Korale) was a part of Rohana principality before the Parakramabahu’s ruleship of Dhakkhinadesa in the 12th century.

The Galapatha inscription of King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 A.D.) had helped in the identification of this temple. Where it refers this place as “Pasyodun Maha Vihara” (Abeyawardana, 2002). The 18 cubit reclining Buddha image which is accommodated in the main cave is attributed to Manabharana. The image was originally made of clay and later (in 1800 A.D.) had been repaired using a lime mortar.

The cave shrine is divided in two parts; inner shrine and outer shrine. The inner shrine is the older of the two (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The rock cut drip-ledges on the brow of the cave prevent the rain water drip inside the cave. The walls of the cave have been plastered with a layer of clay.

A protected site
The ancient cave and the Devalaya chamber in the temple premises and the drip-ledged cave situated in the land adjoins Warakagoda Gallena Purana Rajamaha Vihara belonging to Warakagoda situated in Grama Niladhari Division, No. 816B, Warakagoda North in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Madurawala are archaeological protected monuments, declared by the government Gazette notifications published on 22 November 2002 and 9 March 2016.
Warakagoda Raja Maha Viharaya, Kalutara, Sri Lanka Warakagoda Raja Maha Viharaya, Kalutara, Sri Lanka
Warakagoda Raja Maha Viharaya, Kalutara, Sri Lanka Warakagoda Raja Maha Viharaya, Kalutara, Sri Lanka
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.112.
2) 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.77.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1264, 22 November 2002.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1957/18. 9 March 2016. p.5A.

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This page was last updated on 24 July 2019

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ganeuda Purana Raja Maha Viharaya, Warakagoda

Warakagoda Ganeuda Purana Viharaya, Sri Lanka
Ganeuda Purana Raja Maha Viharaya at Warakagoda in Kalutara District is a Buddhist temple and an archaeological site with a history belonging to the Polonnaruwa period (1056-1236 A.D.).

History
In the 12th century AD, Manabharana is credited with the construction of a palace on this area (Abeywardana, 2002). The remaining ruins of the building with carved stone pillars in the present Ganeuda temple premises is considered to be that palace. Near to the palace is an another building with stone pillars, believed to be an old Temple of the Tooth used to shelter the Tooth Relic of Buddha.

A protected site
The ancient stone pillars, access road with flight of steps in the temple territory and the rocks with ancient letters and other archaeological signs found by both side of the road within the land called Ganeudawatta adjoining the the premises of Warakagoda Ganeuda Purana Rajamaha Vihara belonging to the Grama Niladhari Division No. 816, Warakagoda East in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Madurawala are archaeological protected monuments, declared by the government Gazette notifications published on 16 June 1944, 17 May 2013 and 7 July 2016.  
Warakagoda Ganeuda Purana Viharaya, Sri Lanka Warakagoda Ganeuda Purana Viharaya, Sri Lanka
Warakagoda Ganeuda Purana Viharaya, Sri Lanka Warakagoda Ganeuda Purana Viharaya, Sri Lanka
References
1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa - Major Natural, Cultural and Historic Sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, pp.111-112. 
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 9282, 16 June 1944. 
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1811, 17 May 2013, p.423. 
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1974/16. 7 July 2016. p.5A.

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This page was last updated on 2 June 2019