Saturday, 24 November 2018

Embekke Ambalama

Embekke Ambalama
Embekke Ambalama is an old wayside rest in the village of Embekke in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. It is built on a flat rock plain located in a paddy field near the famous shrine, Embekke Devalaya

Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. They were also used as a place for people to gather, hold meetings and serve as a public place in society. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Ambalamas were spread all over the country. 
Embekke Ambalama
The Embekke Ambalama is said to be established prior to the Embekke Devalaya (Godakumbura, 2011; Seneviratna, 1983). It had been constructed during the reign of King Bhuvanekabahu IV (1341-1351 A.D.) to serve as a resting place for the people who engaged in the construction of Gadaladeniya and Lankatilaka Vihara (Abeywardana, 2004). However, due to the closer similarities in the carvings of both Ambalama and the Embekke Devalaya, these two establishments are believed to belong to the same era (Rajapakse, 2016). Later, the Ambalama was used as a resting place for the pilgrims who came from Gampola to visit Lankathilaka Viharaya (Rajapakse, 2016).

The structure
The building has been built on a platform of about 8.3 m long and 6.7 m wide (Abeywardana, 2004). As of today, only the stone pillars of the building are remaining at the site. The pillars contain stone carvings such as twin swans, the face of lions, the trunk of elephants, etc. (Abeywardana, 2004). The carvings are similar to those on the wooden pillars in Embekke Devalaya (Godakumbura, 2011).

A protected monument
The Embekke Dewale together with the building complex of the same era Gale Ambalama situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Embekke in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Udunuwara are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 January 2009.

Stone carvings of Embekke Ambalama Stone carvings of Embekke Ambalama Stone carvings of Embekke Ambalama Stone carvings of Embekke Ambalama .
1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  p.78.
2) Godakumbura, C. E., 2011. Embekke (Chapter seven). International Scientific Committee: Wood. ICOMOS International Committee on Wood. pp. 52-53.
3) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp. 57-58.
4) Seneviratna, A, 1983. Kandy: An Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments, with Historical, Archaeological, and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. pp.127-128.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1586. 23 January 2009. p. 109.

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This page was last updated on 7 November 2022


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