Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Piyangala Aranya Senasanaya

Not to be confused with Kotasara Piyangala Viharaya

Piyangala Aranya Senasanaya
Piyangala Aranya Senasanaya (also known as Piyangala Raja Maha Viharaya) is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Piyangala in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. The site is located about 18 km far from Uhana town.

The temple is a forest hermitage and is situated in the eastern part of Rajagala Mountain (Withanachchi, 2013). The modern Viharaya and the hermitage have been established at the site in 1963 (Medhananda, 1984).

A large number of caves that were used as dwellings for the monks are found on the temple premises. Some of the caves contain early Brahmi inscriptions inscribed just below their drip-ledges. Among them, several inscriptions are considered very important as they give details about the royalties connected to King Dutugemunu/Gamini Abhaya [(161-137 B.C.) Medhananda, 1984]. According to the view of Medhananda, these inscriptions reveal the names of King Dutugemunu's wife (Rajitha), his daughter (Abitissa), his mother-in-law (Abitissa), his son-in-law (Sumana) and his grandson [(Abhaya) Medhananda, 1984].

Piyangala early-Brahmi Inscriptions
Transcript: Devanapiya Maharakjhaha Gamini Abaha kjaya Rakjithaya mathaya Abithishaya lene
Translation: The cave of Abitissa, the mother of Rajitha, the wife of King Gamini Abhaya
Citation: Medhananda, 1984. p.11.

A drip ledged cave at Piyangala Aranya A drip ledged cave at Piyangala Aranya
  • Piyangala cave inscription of Uttaragutta (above photograph)

    Transcript: Utharagutha theraha lene
    Translation: The cave of Uththara Guththa Thera.
    Citation: Medhananda, 1984. p.10.
  • Piyangala cave inscription of Chunda Tissa

    Transcript: Batha Chudi Thishaha lene dashahagama ....shagasha
    Translation: The cave of chief Chunda Thissa/Chula Thissa (is given) to the Sangha.

Ruins of several Stupas as well as fragments of clay tiles and bricks have been found on the hermitage premises. Near the temple is a cave with frescoes of Adiwasi people (Vedda). 

A protected site
The site of the ruins of buildings with stone pillars belonging to Piyangala Viharaya situated in Grama Niladhari Division No. 104/5W, Piyangala in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Uhana is an archaeological protected site, declared by a government gazette notification published on 26 December 2014.

A drip ledged cave at Piyangala Aranya Caves at Piyangala Aranya
1) Piyangala Rajamaha Vihara 2 by L Manju is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

1) Medhananda, E. 1984. Aprakata Brahmi Sellipi Ha Puravastu (In Sinhala). Sri Lanka Society of Archaeology. pp.4-5,9-12.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1895. 26 December 2014. p.1150.
3) Withanachchi, C. R., 2013. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Ampara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p. 37.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 8 August 2022


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