Saturday, December 1, 2018

Udugampola Ancient Pond

Udugampola Ancient Pond, Gampaha
Udugampola Ancient Pond (also known as Udugampola Pathaha/ Pokuna) is a bathing pond located in Udugampola in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by walking about 450 m along the jogging track which starts from the Udugampola roundabout or by traveling along the Pokuna road which is on Udugampola - Divulapitiya road located about 400 m distance from the Udugampola roundabout.

History
According to the available historical and archaeological evidences, Udugampola was a Upa-Rajadhani (sub-kingdom) which was ruled by deputies under the guidance of the king during the Kotte period [(1412–1597 A.D.) Wijesuriya, 2015]. Several historical sources such as Rajavaliya and Alakeshwara Yuddhaya (The battale of Alakeshwara) reveal that the King Sakalakala Wallabha (or Sakalakala Wallakabahu), one of sons of King Vira Parakramabahu VIII (1484-1505 A.C.) had ruled this region (Suraweera, 1997). The others, Dharma Parakramabahu (1508/09–1528 A.D.), the eldest son of  Vira Parakramabahu VIII became the king of Kotte and Prince Taniya Wallabha reigned the principality of Madampe. The palace of the king of Udugampola was built at the premises today known as Maliga-godella (the mound of palace) where the Uththararama Viharaya is situated. Remains of the royal pond and its protective moat are still being identified at the site (Wijesuriya, 2015). Also, the names of several villages surrounding the Udugampola, bear similar pronunciations of various task and services attached to the royal palace (Wijesuriya, 2015).
The laterite wall at the southern bank, Udugampola pond A toilet base from Maliga-godella, Uththararama Purana Viharaya, Udugampola pond
The pond
This royal pond is considered as an excellent construction belonging to the Udugampola principality and believed to be the largest pond used by a Sri Lankan king (Wijesuriya, 2015). It has been built in the shape of the English letter "L" extending in an area about 25,805 sq. meters. The walls of the pond is made of laterite blocks of various sizes. The blocks are nicely fitted with short juts protruding outwards from the bottom to the top. The bunds around the east and south banks of the pond are made of systematically fitted laterite blocks. However, the portion of the bank extending about 122 meters to the north-south direction has not been built with laterites. The water for the pond had been brought from the near by Aswana Oya through an underground canal (Wijesuriya, 2015). 
The eastern laterite wall, Udugampola pond A photograph of the eastern laterite wall, Udugampola pond
Folklore
According to a folklore, two sons of King Sakalakala Wallabha had tried to kill their farther by setting up pointed wooden stick under this bathing pond (Wijesuriya, 2015). However, king saved his life. A pointed wood fragment which is said to be found during the conservation of the pond has been placed today in the premises of Udugampola Pradeshiya Sabha.
The king's resting stone for bathing, Udugampola A pointed wood fragment found during the conservation of the pond has been placed in the premises of Udugampola Pradeshiya Sabha
A protected site
The pond known as Pathaha and remains of its protective moat near to Uththararama Purana Viharaya, situated in Udugampola village in the Grama Niladari Division of Pahala Udugampola (North) in Divisional Secretary’s Division of Minuwangoda are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005. 

Attribution
1) Pathaha Pokuna 1 by L Manju is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) Udugampola Kingdom by L Manju is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Suraweera, A. V., 1997. Rajavaliya: A critical edition with an introduction (In Sinhala). Educational Publications Department. pp.91-92.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1401. 8 July 2005.
3) The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology.
4) Wijesuriya, D., 2015. Administration of Udugampola, sub kingdom: A historical and archaeological legacy. 3rd Biennial Conference of the International Association for Asian Heritage, 27th - 28th December 2015, Centre for Asian Studies, University of Kelaniya & International Association for Asian Heritage (IAAH).

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