Buddhism and Sri Lanka

According to Sri Lankan chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE 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 BCE had been discovered in the excavations of 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 belives.

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 fascinating variety of attractons which have made the country an ideal destination for the tourism.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (also known as Rathu Palliya, lit: Red Mosque or Red Musjid) is a mosque in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is located on 2nd Cross Street, off Main Street in Pettah (Colombo 11).

The mosque was designed in 1908 by H.L. Saibo Lebbe as a place of worship for the Bohra Muslim community of Indian origin living in the island (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The construction work of the mosque was ended in 1909 (Rajapakshe, 2018).

At the beginning, the mosque had a capacity for a congregation of about 1,500 devotees (Rajapakshe, 2018). In 1975, it was expanded allowing a congregation of about 10,000 devotees to pray at the mosque at any given time (Rajapakshe, 2018).

The two storied mosque building is the main attraction with an aesthetic value. It has been ornate with red and white colored strips, chequers and spirals giving a vivid appearance to the building. The towers which rise to the skyward bear the pomegranate fruit shaped domes and have adorned with Islamic symbols. The total design of the mosque is seemed to be influenced by the Indo-Islamic  architecture (Rajapakshe, 2018). Altering its original appearance, some parts have been added to the mosque building later.

The Jamek Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia (built in 1910) is said to has features similar to Red mosque in Pettah (Rajapakshe, 2018).

1) Sri Lanka - 014 - brilliantly-painted Mosque by McKay Savage is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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.133.
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. p.42.

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This page was last updated on 8 June 2019

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sri Dharmendrarama Viharaya, Mayadunna

Sri Dharmendrarama Viharaya, Mayadunna, Sri Lanka
Sri Dharmendrarama Viharaya (also known as Sri Dharmendrarama Purana Raja Maha Viharaya or Mayadunna Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Ampara District Sri Lanka. It is located in the Grama Niladhari Division no. W/04A/055 of Mayadunna village in Uhana Divisional Secretary’s Division. The temple can be reached by travelling 1.5 km distance from the Mayadunna junction which is on the Ampara - Mahiyangana road about 17.5 km far from the Ampara town.

The exact history of Mayadunna temple is not known. According to the local believes this temple has a history related to the ancient Digamadulla principality (a provincial principality), but a proper archaeological exploration has been not done yet to verify this claim. However, a number of archaeological sites which are belonged to the old Digamadulla principality have been found in the surrounding area.

The temple was not known until it was found out by the locals. Villagers cleared the temple site and developed it to the present state. Today, many of the buildings erected at the temple are recent constructions but several ancient structures and artifacts still can be identified.

A protected site
The rock inscription, places with ruins of buildings and other archaeological evidences in the premises belonging to the Sri Dharmendrarama Rajamaha Vihara in Mayadunne Village (latitude 07º 25' 32.1'' N and longitude 081º 37' 58.3''E) are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 11 October 2014.
A base stone The rock inscription of Mayadunna temple
The Bodhi tree The pond and the image house
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1884. 11 October 2014. p. 922.

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This page was last updated on 29 June 2019

Monday, September 17, 2018

Gal Potha

Gal Potha (Stone Book), Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Gal Potha (lit: Stone book) is a giant stone slab inscription in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. It has been established between the eastern outer wall of the Hetadage and Satmahal Prasada

This inscription is a work of King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa and is the longest inscription indite by him. It is about 26 ft. 8 in. in length, 4 ft. 7 in. in breadth and 1 ft. 9 in. (average) in depth making the inscription as the largest stone inscription so far discovered. The writings are on the smoothed upper surface of the slab and has been divided in to three partitions. The total lines it consists are seventy two, containing more than 4300 letters (Wickremasinghe, 1928). Indications show that the inscription had been raised on a brick podium underpinned with short pillars (the weight of the rock slab is approximately 15 ton) and sheltered by a canopy supported by ten stone pillars. It is also believed that the letters may had been gilted with molten iron.

On the both end side face of the stone is decorated with a woman holding flowers to whom a pair of elephants are sprinkling water. This figure has been identified as Gajalakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity. Two lines of Hamsas (goose) decorate the both sides and ends of the slab. The inscription it self says that this large granite block was transported from Segiriya (present Mihintale in Anuradhapura - located about 70 km from Polonnaruwa) by the strong men of King Nissankamalla under the leadership of Adhikara Totadanavu Mand-navan (Wickremasinghe, 1928). However it is suggested by some scholars, such as Muller and also Wickremasinghe, that the original location of this slab may not be the Segiriya but Sigiriya which is about 28 km far from Polonnaruwa (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

The inscription doesn't bear a date, but from the information it has given, scholars have dated it to the ninth year of the reign of King Nissankamalla (Wickremasinghe, 1928). It outlines about the genealogy, some policies, duties, responsibilities and altruistic deeds of the king.

Galpota slab Inscription of Nissankamalla

Reign       : Nissankamalla (1187 - 1196 A.D.)
Period      : 12th century A.D.
Language: Medieval Sinhala mixed with Sanskrit
Script       : Medieval Sinhala
Transcript : Sri Dhrmas soyam sarbba lok-aika-
manyas - sreyo - dayi   sarbba -  da  raksaniyah
bhupalendran yacate kirtti .....>>
Translation : Hail!  This  Dharma,  which  gives
happiness  and  which  alone  deserves  to  be
honored by the whole world......>>
Citation : Wickremasinghe, 1928
Gal Potha (Stone Book), Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
1) Gal Potha 03 by Cherubino is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
2) Gal Potha 05 by Cherubino is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

1) 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.98-123, 134-142.
2) The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tamil Pillar Inscription of the reign of Vijayabahu VII, Colombo National Museum

Tamil Pillar Inscription of the reign of Vijayabahu VII, Colombo National Museum
Tamil Pillar Inscription of the reign of Vijayabahu VII is one of Tamil inscriptions in Sri Lanka. It was discovered at a location on the 13th mile post on the Colombo-Kandy road {No further information available regarding the exact location of the inscription. Some sources claim that it was found from the 7th mile post of the Colombo-Kandy road (Pathmanathan, 2005)}. The inscription is now exhibited at the out side passage that leads to the Stone Gallery of the National Museum of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The inscription is engraved on the capital of a stone pillar which could be a pillar that was used to support a hall of a temple. It consists of eight lines and has been written in Tamil language with the Tamil scripts of about late 15th or early 16th centuries AD (Pathmanathan, 2005).

Depending on the palaeographical considerations, this inscription is assigned to the reign of King Vijayabahu VII (1513-1521 AD), the ruler of Kingdom of Kotte. The inscription says that it was recorded in the fourth year of the king, suggesting the written year as 1517 AD. According to S. Pathmanathan who edit this inscription for the first time, this record gives details about the construction of a temple of Kantacuwami (Kandaswami) by a person called Accutan [Kumaran] Nayan (Pathmanathan, 2005).

Tamil Pillar Inscription, reign of Vijayabahu VII

Reign       : Vijayabahu VI (1513 - 1521)
Period      : Late 15th or early 16th centuries AD
Language & Script  : Tamil
Transcript : Sri  vicayavaku  tevarku 3 itanukku
etiravatu vaikaci 20.....>>
Translation : The 20th  (day)  of  Vaikaci ( May-
June), in the year opposite three of his Majesty
Vicayavacu tevar......>>
Citation : Pathmanathan, S. (2005)
Tamil Pillar Inscription of the reign of Vijayabahu VII
1) Pathmanathan, S., 2005. Tamil inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 47. (2010). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka, pp. 75-78. 

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This page was last updated on 28 June 2019

Saturday, September 15, 2018


The ruined monastery of Rajagala, Ampara, Sri Lanka.
Rajagala (lit: The monarch rock) or Rassahela is an ancient Buddhist monastery complex situated in Uhana Divisional Secretary's Division in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling about 1.5 km distance from the Bakkiella junction which is on the Ampara - Mahaoya main road located about 26 km far from the Ampara town. The ruins of the ancient monastery have extended in an area about 1025 acres in the Rajagalakanda Mountain.

Rajagala and Rassahela, the present names of the monastery are believed to be come in to the parlance recently. During the past period, a number of names had been used to identify this location. Girikumbila Viharaya, Kumbheelathispaw Viharaya, Ariyakara Viharaya, Ariyakoti Viharaya, Ariththara Vehera are some of such names mentioned in several chronicles and inscriptions. These names were using in the Anuradhapura era (377 B.C.–1017 A.D.) but may have been forgotten from the memories with the time.

Rajagala rock inscriptions

Period        : 8-10 centuries A.D.
Transcript : Svasti Senhu vajanin  A(ritta)ra
vehera vasi vat-himiyanat satarpasa vayutu
karana kot.....>>
Translation : Hail! By  the  order  of Sen.  In
order to provide the four requisites for their
lordships residing in the Arittara monastery
Notes       : This  inscription  (right)  records
about  a  grant  by  a  local  ruler of  Rohana,
to the  monastery called Arittara Vehera.
Citation : Paranavitana, 1934
Rajagala promenade before the conservation Rajagala promenade during the conservation
Beside the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, Rajagala is considered as the place which has the highest number of archaeological monuments and ruins concentrated. It is also the only place where an inscription confirms about the enshrinement of the relics of Arhant Mahinda Thera, the Buddhist monk who brought the Buddhism to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (307 - 267 B.C.). 

All the structures and buildings found in Rajagala are belonged to the Anuradhapura era. Ruins ranging from the 2 century B.C. to the 10 century A.D. have been identified (De Silva, 1990). As today, more than 700 monuments have been discovered from the site. 
Flight of steps near the tank before the conservation Flight of steps near the tank after the conservation
According to the information reveal by the chronicles and inscriptions in-situ, Rajagala was founded by Prince Lanjatissa (reigned 119-109 B.C.) , the eldest son of King Saddhatissa (137- 119 B.C.). The great chronicle Mahawamsa and Deepawamsa describe that Prince Lanjatissa built the Girikumbila Viharaya when he was in Digamadulla region during the reign of his farther. Mahawamsa further gives detail about the inauguration ceremony of the Girikumbhila Viharaya. It states that king donated robes (thunsivuru) for a sixty thousands of Buddhist monks who attended to the ceremony. Several inscriptions which have been found in the site record about further donations made to the monastery by Lanjatissa and his wives such as Buddhadatta, Shamika, Yahasini etc. (Nicholas, 1963; Sirisoma, 1990). 

  • Rajagala cave inscription of Buddhadatta

    Period  : 2nd - 1st centuries B.C.
    Script   : Early Brahmi
    Language   : Old Sinhalese
    Transcript  : Devanapiya maharajhasa Gamini Tisaha Puta Maha[yasajhaya upasi]ka Butadataya lene aga[ta ana]ga[ta catu] di[sa] sagasa
    Translation : The cave of the female lay devotee Buddhadatta, wife of Mahaya, son of the great king Gamani Tissa, the friend of the Gods, [is given] to the Sangha of the four quarters, present and absent.
    Notes : Lanjatissa is denoted by Maha aya
    Reference : The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.
  • Rajagala cave inscription of Shamika

    Period : 2nd - 1st centuries B.C.
    Script  : Early Brahmi
    Language   : Old Sinhalese
    Transcript  : Devanapiya maharajhaha Gamini Tisaha Putaha Tisa ayaha jhaya upasika Samikaya lene
    Translation : The cave of the female lay devotee Samika, wife of prince Tissa, son of the great king Gamani Tissa, the friend of the Gods.
    Notes : Lanjatissa is denoted by Prince Tissa 
    Reference : The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

After founded by Prince Lanjatissa, Girikumbila Viharaya received the royal patronage of kings of Anuradhapura, especially from the viceroys of Ruhuna territory. Local elites and general people also had involved in the development of the temple.

After its beginning, there is no any reference in Mahawamsa regarding the temple until seven centuries. However the information available in other literary resources as well as in the inscriptions in-situ and nearby areas are important in bridging this gap. Literature sources such as Seehalavattupakaranaya, Rasavahini, Attakatha and Saddharmalankaraya contain several stories related with Girikumbila Viharaya. The tale of Mahadatta Thera, Ariyakara Vihara Vasthu and the story of Dhamma (in Rasavahini) give some information connected with the monastery. 
A ruined monastery building at Rajagala, Sri Lanka
About one hundred of inscriptions have been discovered so far in Rajagala. Among them, the rock inscription regarding the Arhant Mahinda Thera [(also called Mahendra (Sanskrit) or Mihindu] is historically important and considered as the most valued inscription of archaeological interest found in the monastery. It mentions about Mahinda and Itthiya, names of the two of seven missionaries who brought the Buddhism to Sri Lanka as described in the ancient chronicles.
The stone inscription that states about Arahath Mahinda Thero Rajagala rock inscription of Saint Mahinda

Period        : Circa 200 B.C.
Script         : Early Brahmi
Language  : Old Sinhalese
Transcript  :Ye ima dipa paṭamaya idiya
agatana Iḍika-[tera-Ma] hida-teraha tube
Translation : This is the Stupa of elder Ittiya
and the  elder Mahinda,  who came  to this
island by its foremost good fortune.

Citation : Paranavitana, 1962
Mihindu Seya at Rajagala
This inscription marks the spot where the Stupa  (Mihindu Seya) was erected over a portion of the relics of Arhant Mahinda Thera. Senarath Paranavithana who edit this inscription presume that the Stupa located adjacent to this inscription (right picture) may have been built soon after the demise of the Arhant Mahinda. The Mahawamsa says that after the cremation of Arhant Mahinda, the relics were enshrined in Stupas throughout the country. The aforesaid inscription confirms this fact given in the Mahavamsa. 

1) De Silva, R., 1990. Painting (Early period 247 B.C. to 800 A.D.). Nandadeva W. (Editor in chief), Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series (Vol. V). Painting. p. 31.
2) Nicholas, C.W., 1963. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol. VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch), p.27.
3) Paranavitana,  S., 1934. Three rock inscriptions at Rassahela. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being  lithic  and  other  inscriptions  of  Ceylon (Vol. IV).  Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.169-176.
4) Paranavitana, S., 1962. An inscription of circa 200 B.C. at Rajagala commemorating saint Mahinda. University of Ceylon review by Ceylon University Press. pp.159–162.
5) Sirisoma, M. H., 1990. Brahmi inscriptions of Sri Lanka from 3rd century B.C. to 65 A.D. Nandadeva W. (Editor in chief), Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series (Vol. II). Inscriptions. p. 23.

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This page was last updated on 23 June 2019

Friday, September 14, 2018

Maha Oya Thermal Springs

Mahaoya Thermal Springs, Sri Lanka
Maha Oya Thermal Springs (also called Maha Oya hot water springs or thermal cluster) are in Ampara District, Sri Lanka. The site is located about 2.5 km distance from the Maha Oya town.

Hot water springs
BubblesCommonly, thermal springs in the world are associated with volcanic terrain but the hot springs located in Sri Lanka are said to be not related to volcanic activities as the island is not in an active volcanic or tectonic region (Premasiri et al., 2006). The waters can get heat either from subsurface heat sources such as large bodies of hot rocks or through deep percolation under the geochemical gradient of the earth (Adikaram & Dharmagunawardhane, 2013). If these water find weak structural discontinuities leading upward it rises to the surface and emerge as naturally discharging hot water springs.

Maha Oya springs
The Maha Oya springs occur in the boundary between Highland Complex (HC) and Vijayan Complex (VC). The boundary is a sub-horizontal ductile thrust zone where a number of geologic features are identified. They include major mineralization occurrences such as magnetite, serpentinite, gold, corundum and calcite as well as formations of hot water springs (Widanagamage, 2011). There are seven out flowing hot water wells at the Maha Oya springs site. The average temperature of the hottest well is about 58 °C while the lowest is 38 °C (Adikaram & Dharmagunawardhane, 2013).
Hot water wells, Mahaoya, Sri Lanka Hot water wells, Mahaoya, Sri Lanka
1) Adikaram, A.M.N.M., Dharmagunawardhane, H.A., 2013. Diurnal temperature variations in thermal water springs: A case study at Mahaoya thermal spring cluster, Sri Lanka.
2) Premasiri, H.M.R., Wijeyesekera, D.S., Weerawarnakula, S. and Puswewala, U.G.A., 2006. Formation of Hot Water Springs in Sri Lanka. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka. p.7.
3) Widanagamage, I.H., 2011. EMPA dating of monazite from high grade metamorphic rocks along the Highland-Vijayan boundary zone, Sri Lanka. MSc thesis, Kent State University. pp.17-18

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Jetavanarama Gold Plates, Colombo National Museum

Jetavanarama Gold Plates, Colombo Museum, Sri Lanka
Jetavanarama Gold Plates (or Jetavanarama golden manuscript) were found in Jetavanarama Vihara complex in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It consists of seven gold plates and contains an epigraph written in Sanskrit language. The plates are now exhibited in the National Museum of Colombo.

Jetavanaramaya is a Buddhist temple built by King Mahasen (278-303 AD). According to the historical sources, the temple at its beginning was serving as an institute of Mahayana Buddhism. Several epigraphs belonging to the Mahayana tradition have been found in this site.

These golden plates were discovered during archaeological excavations done under the UNESCO-Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Project (Wikramagamage, 2004). It was found deposited in a clay pot (Dhammaratana, 2000). The epigraph on the plates contains a portion but exact copy of the Mahayana Buddhist text Pancavimsati-sahasrika – Prajnaparamitasutra, one of earliest texts written about the 2nd century AC. Venerating the Dharma books is a common ritual in Mahayana tradition. Such veneration to the books especially which are belonging to the Prajnaparamita group (ex:  Pancavimsati-sahasrika, Astasahasrika) was considered as an act of merit. Therefore, plates or leaves written with these stanzas were enshrined in relic chambers as a both of sacred object and relic.

Jetavanarama Golden Manuscript 

Period       : 9-10th Century AD
Language : Sanskrit
Scripts        : Sinhalese
Location   : Jetavanarama Vihara Complex, Anuradhapura
Number of plates : 7 gold plates
Length & Width     : 62.7 cm & 2.9 cm
Reference : National Museum of Colombo

It is also supposed that this text may be a copy of the Dharmadhatu (Dhamma relic) introduced by the Mahayanists in the 6th century AD which was held in great veneration by the monks of Jetavana Vihara.

This inscription is the lengthiest Sanskrit inscription (considering the number of scripts) discovered so far in Sri Lanka (Dhammaratana, 2000). It has been written in Sinhalese scripts of the Pallava Grantha type (Dhammaratana, 2000). If the inscription has it complete text, it would have had more than 35 gold plates.

1) Dhammaratana, I., 2000. Sanskrit Inscriptions in Sri Lanka: A thesis submitted to the University of Pune in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sanskrit. Department of Sanskrit & Prakrit Languages, University of Pune, India. pp.230-299.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major Natural, Cultural and Historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.139.

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This page was last updated on 28 June 2019

Friday, September 7, 2018


Pujãvaliya is a Sinhalese classic written in the 13th century. It was compiled by Buddhaputra Sthavira (commonly known as Mayurapãda Thera) of Mayurapãda Pirivena after accepting the invitation by Deva Prathiraja. 

Pujavaliya was compiled by Buddhaputra Sthavira when he was living in Prathiraja Piriven Viharaya at Palabathgala during the period between 1266-1275 AD . It is the first book written by the Sthavira (Rev. Gnanawimala, 1997). The major intention of compiling the book was to extol the Araham, a one of nine epithets of Buddha. It contains a collection of  tales related to the Buddha and many of his followers as well as some accounts on the history of Sri Lanka.  The tales have been chronologically arranged in 34 chapters.

  • Chapters of Pujavaliya 

    1) Pǔjãsangraha Kathã
    2) Abhinîhãra Magul Pǔjã Kathã
    3) Vivarana Magul Pǔjã Kathã
    4) Bodhisambhãra Pǔjã Kathã
    5) Jãthibheda Pǔjã Kathã
    6) Dwithîya Jãthibheda Pǔjã Kathã
    7) Sãdhunãda Pǔjã Kathã
    8) Prathisandhi Pǔjã Kathã
    9) Prasava Mangala Pǔjã Kathã
    10) Mahãbhinikman Pǔjã Kathã
    11) Bõdhimandala Pǔjã Kathã
    12) Sãdhunãda or Ayãchana Pǔjã Kathã
    13) Isipathanãrãma Pǔjã Kathã
    14) Vēluvanãrãma Pǔjã Kathã
    15) Nigrõdharãma Pǔjã Kathã
    16) Bhikshãtanãdi Adbhǔtha Pǔjã Kathã
    17) Jēthavanãrãma Pǔjã Kathã

    18) Pǔrvãrãma Pǔjã Kathã
    19) Namaskãrãdi Pǔjã Kathã
    20) Asadrisha Mahãdãna Pǔjã Kathã
    21) Gangã Rõhana Pǔjã Kathã
    22) Divya Rãja Pǔjã Kathã
    23) Yamaka Prãthihãrya Pǔjã Kathã
    24) Pãndukambalãsana Pǔjã Kathã
    25) Dēvõrõhana Pǔjã Kathã
    26) Bhikshunî Sãsana Utpatti Pratipatti Pǔjã Kathã
    27) Adãhana Pǔjã Kathã
    28) Jivakãrãma Pǔjã Kathã
    29) Samameth Noyek Jãthibheda Pǔjã Kathã
    30) Jîvithadî Pǔjã Kathã
    31) Prãtihãryadî Pratipatti Pǔjã Kathã
    32) Uddēsika Pǔjã Kathã
    33) Samyak Pratipatti Pǔjã Kathã
    34) Lankadvipa Uddēsika Pǔjã Kathã

1) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1900. Catalogue of the Sinhalese Manuscripts in the British Museum: London. pp.31-35.
2) Gnanawimala, Rev. Kirielle, 1997. Pujavaliya. Colombo. M. D. Gunasena. pp.iii-xxiii

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sinha Pokuna, Mihintale

Sinha Pokuna, Mihintale, Sri Lanka
Sinha Pokuna (also known as Singha Pokuna or Lion Pond and spout) is one of ponds in the ancient Buddhist monastery complex of Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

The pond has been given its name since there is a statue of lion standing with two legs. The lion figure has been made on the outer wall of the lower terrace of the pond. The water is discharged through the mouth of the lion making a spout. This was used to collect water for the use of Buddhist monks. The water for the pond had been supplied from the Naga Pokuna through a tunnel.

The pond is believed to be belonged to the 7th century AD (Wikramagamage, 2004).

1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major Natural, Cultural and Historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.165-166.
2) The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

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Naga Pokuna, Mihintale

The Naga Pokuna at Mihintale, Sri Lanka
Naga Pokuna (lit. The cobra pond) is one of ponds in the ancient Buddhist monastery complex of Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

The cobra head of Naga Pokuna, Mihintale, Sri Lanka
The history of Naga Pokuna is traced back to the time of the arrival of Arhat Mahinda Thera (or Mihindu Thera) in Sri Lanka who brought the Buddhism to island in the 3rd century B.C. The great chronicle Mahawamsa mentions about a pond named Nagacatuska (Nagachathushka) with the information relating to the Arhat Mahinda Thera. The chronicle later records about another pond named Nagasondi which was built by King Aggabodhi I (575-608 AD). It is believed that these two names refer the same pond and the pond Nagasondi of King Aggabodhi I is a further development of the natural pond named Nagacatuska.

The pond is about 39 meters in length. A rock curved figure of cobra with five hoods can be seen at a point close to the central of the pond. It is filled by the rain water and supply water to the Sinha Pokuna (the lion Pond) and alms hall.

1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp. 168-169.
2) The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Pitakotte Gal Ambalama

Pitakotte Gal Ambalama, Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte, Sri Lanka
Pitakotte Gal Ambalama is a stone doss-house in Pitakotte in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

The Ambalama is said to be built during the period of kingdom of Kotte (1412 - 1597 AD). At the time it served as a resting or waiting place for the outside visitors who came to the capital or to the famous Buddhist temple, Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya.

The structure is today standing aside of the Kotte road at the Pitakotte junction. It is about 20 feet in length and 15 feet in breadth. The roof is seemed to be completely renovated and is borne by 12 stone pillars. Recently, due to a road widening program by the Road Development Authority, the Ambalama was dismantled from its original place and re-positioned in the current location. 

A protected monument
The rock doss house (Pita Kotte Gal Ambalama) in the Pita Kotte Grama Niladari Division (GND No. 522 B) is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.

1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Extraordinary. no: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p. 5A.
2) The notice board at the site by Directer General of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology and Ministry of National Heritage.

Location Map

Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela

Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka
Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya (Bingoda Forest Hermitage) is an ancient Buddhist cave temple in Siyambalanduwa Divisional Secretary's Division in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. The temple is located in Bowela village near to the famous rock mountain Govinda Hela.

A large number of drip-ledged caves prepared as dwellings for the Sangha (Buddhist monks) are found at the site. Many of them contain inscriptions (written in Brahmi letters) inscribed just below the drip-ledges (Kataram).
Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka
As today, many of the caves have been abandoned but few of them are still being used by the temple monks. Several caves are totally in collapsed condition due to the results of natural and human activities. Remnants of original mud plaster and structures such as rubble walls can be seen in some caves.

A protected site
All the caves with drip-ledges and all the caves with Brahmi letters, all ruins of buildings and flight of rock steps in the territory of Bingoda Forest Hermitage are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.
Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka
Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka Bingoda Aranya Senasanaya, Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Extraordinary. no: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p. 5A.

Location Map