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. have 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.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christ Church, Galkissa

Christ Church, Galkissa
Christ Church is an Anglican church situated in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. The church is located on the wayside of the Colombo-Galle main road approximately 12.3 km distance from Colombo Fort Station.

History
The history of the Galkissa Christ Church is running back to the 19th century. On 16 February 1843, the church was consecrated by Bishop Trevor Spencer, the second bishop of Madras.

A protected site
The ancient four tombs engravings in the Christian cemetery in the Grama Niladhari Division of Dehiwela South, in the Ratmalana Divisional Secretary’s Division, are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.  

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.533.

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This page was last updated on 11 December 2019

Uththararama Purana Viharaya, Udugampola

Uththararama Purana Viharaya, Udugampola
Uththararama Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in the village of Udugampola in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
A toilet base from Maliga-godella Uththararama ViharayaAccording 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.D.) 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).

References
1) Suraweera, A. V., 1997. Rajavaliya: A critical edition with an introduction (In Sinhala). Educational Publications Department. pp.91-92.
2) 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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This page was last updated on 11 December 2019

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Isurumuniya Viharaya

Isurumuniya ViharayaIsurumuniya Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated by the side of the Tissa Wewa in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. The temple is widely popular for its remarkable stone carvings such as Isurumuniya Lovers, Elephant Pond, the Royal Family, and the Man and Horsehead.

History
The sacred Bodhi-tree, IsurumuniyaAncient Meghagiri or Meygiri Viharaya in Mahameghavana is presently called as Isurumuniya (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1953). Situated between Dakkhina Stupa and the eastern gate of Magul Uyana (Royal Pleasure Garden), this temple is said to be the first repository of the Tooth Relic of Buddha (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1953).

Some information found in the Sinhalese glossary Mahabodhivamsa has helped in the identification of this site. It mentions that there is a bathing-pond belonging to a Met-giri-vehera between the Dakkhina Thupa and a path leading from the eastern gate of the Royal Pleasure Garden. The name Met-giri, according to Paranavitana (1953), has been incorrectly written in this text and the probable correct reading is May-giri, the Pali equivalent of Megha-giri [(the cloud rock) Paranavitana, 1953]. A temple named Megha-giri Vihara is mentioned in the "Dathavamsa" and it was the place where the Tooth Relic of Buddha found refuge before it received the royal recognition (Paranavitana, 1953). The 14th-century text "Dalada-sirita" also mentions that Megha-giri Vihara was the first resting place of the Tooth Relic of Buddha in Sri Lanka. According to the details given in the "Dathavamsa", "Dalada-sirita" and a 10th-century pillar inscription from Kiribath Vehera, the site presently called as Isurumuniya is believed to be the ancient Meghagiri temple (Paranavitana, 1953).

Ancient Issarasamana Viharaya
Isurumuniya (Pali: Issarasamana; Old Sinhala: Isiramana), according to the opinion of some scholars (Gamage, 1987; Perera, 1970), is the ancient Issarasamana Viharaya (or part of it) founded by King Devanampiya Tissa (307-267 B.C.) in the 3rd century B.C. (Nicholas, 1963). It has received its name from the 500 disciples of Prince Arittha who dwelt there, after they had been ordained by Mahinda Thera (Gamage, 1987). According to chronicles, one of eight saplings of the Sri Maha Bodhi-tree has been planted in this site (Gamage, 1987). 

Issarasamana Viharaya, throughout history, has received the patronage of kings. King Chandra-Mukhasiva (43-52 A.D.) built a tank in Manikaragama and bestowed it for the usage of this temple (Gamage, 1987). During the reign of King Vasabha (67-111 A.D.) an Uposatha house was added to this temple and a wall had been also added to it by King Voharika Tissa [(209-231 A.D.) Gamage, 1987; Nicholas, 1963]. The temple was repaired and enlarged in the 5th century A.D. by King Kassapa I [(473-491 A.D.) Gamage, 1987; Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1953]. 

The name Isiramana (the old Sinhala form of the name of Isurumuniya) is found in several first or second-century inscriptions located in the Vessagiriya monastic site (Paranavitana, 1953). According to Mahawamsa, King Kassapa I renovated the Issarasamana temple and renamed it as Bo-Upulvan Kasubgiri Viharaya, giving it his own name and the names of his daughters Bodhi and Uppalavanna (Gamage, 1987). This fact given in the Mahawamsa is also confirmed by the inscriptions found in the Vessagiriya Vihara premises (Nicholas, 1963). Therefore, the old Issarasamana Viharaya which is mentioned in the chronicles is presently identified with the site now called Vessagiriya (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1953).

Sculptures
The temple is popular among the locals as well as foreigners due to its magnificent collection of stone sculptures. These sculptures are found carved in the living rocks and separate stone slabs.

Elephant Pond
Elephant carvings, IsurumuniyaA herd of elephants (four figures) at water sports are found carved on the rock face of two adjoining boulders. These low-relief figures sculpted just above the water level of the pond have been carved in a very naturalistic manner. The presence of leaves and buds of lotus indicates that elephants are bathing in a pool.

These elephant figures are said to be similar to the figures that are found in Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in India (Jayasuriya, 2016).

The Man & Horsehead (Minisa saha Ashwa-hisa)
The Man & Horsehead, Isurumuniya
The figures of a seated man and the head of a horse behind him are found carved in a cavity on a rock situated in the temple premises. The man figure is about 2 feet 7½ inches tall (from the waist to the crown of the head) and in a seated position (Gamage, 1987; Paranavitana, 1953). The left leg is horizontally placed on the ground and folded therefore, the left foot touches the right thigh. The knee of the right leg is raised and the right hand is resting on it. The left-hand stretches vertically down and touches the base. The upper body of the figure is naked and ornamented with a necklace, bracelet, and heavy ear-rings. The lower half of the body is covered by a thin cloth.

The horse head is emerging out behind the right hand of the seated figure. The snout of the horse has been damaged due to some reason and has been recently restored in cement (Gamage, 1987).

There are several opinions regarding the identity of this sculpture. Ananda Coomaraswamy believes this sculpture illustrates Kapila Muni, a sage from the Indian myth of the Descent of the Ganges from heaven (Chakrabarti, 2017; Paranavitana, 1953; Perera). However, due to the powerful military and forceful countenance of the man, some scholars such as Prof. Vogel, Dr. William Cohn have dismissed this opinion (Chakrabarti, 2017; Gamage, 1987; Paranavitana, 1953). Prof. Senarath Paranavithana believes that this man figure represents "Parjanya" or"Varuna", the rain god and the horse represents "Agni", the fire (Chakrabarti, 2017; Gamage, 1987; Jayasuriya, 2016; Paranavitana, 1953). The Dutch scholar Prof. Van Lohuizen de Leeuw thinks that this man figure symbolizes Aiyanar, a guardian deity who protects crops, cattle and irrigation tanks (Gamage, 1987; Jayasuriya, 2016).

Buddha shrine
Near to the sculpture of the Man and the horse is a small rock-cut shrine containing a seated Buddha (Gamage, 1987). The shrine is the main attraction to the pilgrims today and can be accessed through a flight of steps. The "Makara Thorana" at the entrance of the shrine shows artistic features belonging to the 10th century or later (Paranavitana, 1953).

Isurumuni Lovers (Isurumuni Pem Yuwala)
Isurumuni Lovers
This is a world-famous couple sculpted on a slab of granite, presently living in the Archaeological Museum of Isurumuniya. It is said to be doubtful whether this sculpture was actually found from the Isurumuniya temple premises or from the adjoining Royal Pleasure Garden (Wijesekera, 1990).

The slab contains two figures: a man and a woman. The man figure is apparently lustful and embracing the woman who is sitting on his left thigh. He bears a shield-shaped halo and a sward around his neck. The woman who has an erotic look on her eyes is sitting on the thigh of the man in a passionate posture. Both figures have been ornamented with jewelry such as necklaces, bangles, etc.

Scholars have given many interpretations for the two figures. A famous opinion says that this couple represents Mahayana Bodhisatva Sthira-cakra Manjusri and his consort (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wijesekera, 1990). Another opinion suggests that this sculpture depicts King Dutugemunu's (161-137 B.C.) son Prince Saliya and the low-cast girl Asokamala to whom he loved (Jayasuriya, 2016). It is popularly known that Prince Saliya gave up the throne for Asokamala.

This sculpture with Gupta characteristics belongs to the 4-5th centuries A.D. (Wijesekera, 1990).

The Royal Family (Raja Paula)
The Royal family, Isurumuniya
An irregular-shaped stone slab containing five human figures is found placed in the Archaeological Museum of Isurumuniya Viharaya. The maximum length of this slab is 3 ft 3.5 in and the breadth is 2 ft 2.25 in (Paranavitana, 1956). According to the opinion of Paranavitana (1956), this sculpture represents a scene of a royal family, probably the family of King Dutugemunu (Paranavitana, 1956). 

The total sculpture is dominated by the center male figure with a noble appearance who is seated in an unconventional pose. The figure is apparently sitting on a raised platform and fanned by someone (probably a servant) at his right side. His left leg, bent at the knee, rests on the seat. The knee of the right leg is raised and the foot, pointing downward, touches the platform before the left thigh. The right arm which is bent at the elbow stretches towards his shoulder while his left arm rests on the lap of a female who is sitting next to him on the left side. The upper body of the figure is naked and the lower part is covered by a thin cloth. The figure ornamented with a crown, bangles, ear-rings, and necklaces. It is suggested that this figure represents a king (Paranavitana, 1956).

The lady figure at the left side is also sitting on a platform but a little lower than the center male figure. Slightly incline towards the right side, she holds the left arm of the center male figure by her both hands. She is also ornamented with jewelry. If the central figure is a king, this lady may represent his queen (Paranavitana, 1956).

At the most right corner from the center figure is a seated youth with hands folded across the chest. The figure is sitting on a lower level and wears jewelry. This figure may represent a prince of the royal family (Paranavitana, 1956). Another lady figure who is sitting on her haunches with raised knees to the waist is found at the most right corner of the sculpture carved behind the main female figure (Paranavitana, 1956).

Stylistically, this sculpture has been ascribed to the Gupta period (Paranavitana, 1956).

Attribution

References
1) Chakrabarti, M., 2017. Man and Horse Sculpture at Isurumuniya Anuradhapura A New Interpretation. Buddhism and Jainism in Early Historic Asia. pp.73-79.
2) Gamage, D., 1987. ඉසුරුමුණි විහාරයේ මිනිසා සහ අශ්ව හිස පිළිබද නව සංකල්පයක් (In Sinhala). Vidyodaya J., Soc., Sc. Vol. 1. No.1. pp.47-58.
3) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.53-54.
4) 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.148
5) Paranavitana, S., 1953. The Sculpture of Man and Horse near Tisāväva at Anurādhapura, Ceylon. Artibus Asiae, pp.167-190.
6) Paranavitana, S., 1956. A Bas-Relief at" Isurumuṇi" Anurādhapura. Artibus Asiae, 19(3/4), pp.335-341.
7) Perera, A.D.T.E., 1970. A Possible Identification of a Significant Sculpture at Isurumuniya Temple, Anurādhapura A Man and a Horse's Head. East and West, 20(1/2), pp.122-143.
8) Wijesekera, N. (Editor-in-chief), 1990. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Sculpture (Vol. 4). Commissioner of Archaeology. pp.34-35, 70.

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This page was last updated on 8 December 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Lankaramaya, Anuradhapura

Lankaramaya
Lankaramaya (ancient names: Manisomaramaya, Manithuparamaya, Silasobbhakandaka) is a Buddhist temple situated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is also one of eight sacred places in the country known as Atamasthana.

History
According to historical sources, King Valagamba (89-77 B.C.) built a Stupa named "Silasobbhakandaka" on an elevated ground to the north of Ruwanveliseya and the Stupa presently known as Lankarama is believed to be that Stupa built by the king (Jayasuriya, 2016). The ruins around the Lankarama Stupa have been identified as the Manisomaramaya established by King Valagamba (Wikramagamage, 2004). Later, a circular Stupa-house (Vatadageya) was added to this Stupa by King Kanittatissa (164-192 A.D.)

Stupa
Lankarama temple
Initially, there were a square on the dome and a parasol to this Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004), but its original shape has been altered due to the later renovation works (Jayasuriya, 2016). The present Stupa is 15.24 m (50 ft) in height, 45.72 m (150 ft) in circumference and has a diameter of 11.54 m (38 ft). The shape of the Stupa is Amlakara (the shape of myrobalan fruit).

The Stupa has been built on an elevated circular platform measuring 3.1 m in height (Wikramagamage, 2004) and is surrounded by three concentric circles of stone pillars: 20 pillars in the first row, 28 pillars in the second row and 40 pillars in the third row. The inner circle of pillars has been fixed on the raised floor immediately around the Stupa and the outer circle stands just outside the enclosure wall. Four flight of steps has been built to access the Stupa ground. Remaining evidence indicates that Buddha statues had been placed around the Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004).

The relic of the Buddha (part of the belt) and the jewels of Queen Somadevi are believed to be enshrined in this Stupa.

Lankarama complex
Presence of Vatadageya, Bodhi-tree shrine, chapter house, image house, residential units, pond and the boundary wall in the Lankarama complex indicate that it may have existed as an independent institution within the Abhayagiri Monastery. Another opinion suggests that this temple complex could be a monastery reserved for the Buddhist nuns of Abhayagiri Viharaya (Jayasuriya, 2016). 

Attribution
2) This image (Anuradhapura Lankarama 1927) has been released into the public domain

References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.25.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.106-107.

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This page was last updated on 1 December 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Kossinna Yatawatta Raja Maha Viharaya

Kossinna Yatawatta Viharaya
Kossinna Yatawatta Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple located in the village of Kossinna in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
A ruined building at Kossinna temple
During the reign of King Parakramabahu VIII (1490-1509 A.D.), many Buddhist temples were built around the country. Jayapala Deva Pathiraja, one of the ministers of the king also engaged in establishing Buddhist temples in several places on the island. The Kossinna Raja Maha Viharaya in Gampaha District is believed to be one such temple established by Jayapala Deva Pathiraja (Chandananda Thera, 2009). 

"Kossinna" is the village where the present temple is situated. The name, Kossinna is thought to have been evolved from "Koswinna" meaning a grove of Jack trees (Gunasekara, 1887). According to popular beliefs, Jayapala Deva Pathiraja had removed a Madel forest that existed in the present temple area and grown a grove of Jack trees there (Chandananda Thera, 2009). He constructed a complete Buddhist temple (present Kossinna Viharaya) at a high ground within this grove and invited King Parakramabahu VIII to bestow it to Buddhist monks. The king who came for the bestowal ceremony ("Vihara Puja") planted a Bodhi-tree at the place where the present Kudumirissa Viharaya stands (Chandananda Thera, 2009) and established a rock inscription at the same site to declare a royal decree.

Image house
The seated Buddha, Kossinna temple
The image house of Kossinna temple is archaeologically important. It is about 273ft long, 14.8ft wide and has been built on an elevated rectangular-shaped platform (Lakmali et al., 2017). 

A seated Buddha statue accompanied by two figures of Sariputta (left) and Moggallana (right), the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha, are found inside the image house. Two standing statues of Buddha are also found facing each other at both left and right walls (Lakmali et al., 2017). The inner walls of the shrine contain no empty spaces and are filled with the paintings of various decorative motifs. A "Makara Thorana"(a dragon arch) with the images of deities and doorkeepers adorn the front of the entrance wall. The outer walls, except the entrance wall, are not decorated with any sculptures or murals. The existing paintings and sculptures, according to their artistic features, are belonging to the Kandyan period [(1469-1815 A.D.) Lakmali et al., 2017].

A protected site
The ancient image house, Devalaya and the Stupa located on the premises of Kossinna Raja Maha Vihara in the Grama Niladari Division of Kossinna in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Gampaha are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.

The bell tower Kossinna temple image house Kossinna Viharaya Kossinna temple
References
1) Chandananda Thera, R., 2009. Siyanepuren Siyaratata Abhimanayak Vu Yatawathu Vehera Ha Kossini Sanga Parapura (In Sinhala). Abhisthava. pp.XLIII-LI.
2) Gunasekara, M. B., 1887. Three Sinhalese Inscriptions: Text, transliteration, translation and notes#Inscription at Kudumirisa. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Vol. X. No. 34. pp. 95-102.
3) Lakmali, A.S., Priyamali, A.S., Madhushani, E.P. and Chandrasiri, T.M.J., 2017. කොස්සින්න යටවත්ත රජමහ විහාරයෙහි ඇති ඉපැරණි විහාර මන්දිරය පිළිබඳව විමර්ශනයක්. 2nd Undergraduates' Research Conference 2017 (URACT). p.13.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Archaeological Ruins at Kotte Ananda Sastralaya

Ruins at Kotte Ananda Sastralaya
Ruins of several ancient monuments (probably the ruins of an old Buddhist shrine) made of "Kabok" (laterite) have been unearthed from the school premises of Ananda Sastralaya in Pita Kotte village in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. Without certain identification. these ruins are popularly called by the locals as an ancient tunnel that belongs to the Kingdom of Kotte (1412-1597 A.D.).

History
Folklore says that Prince Veediya Bandara who had been held inside the fort of Colombo by  Portuguese was rescued by his wife by having a tunnel dug underneath the walls of the fort (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The tunnel entrance, according to folklore, was somewhere in Kotte and the rest was extending towards the Colombo Fort and Borella area (Manathunga, 2016). The ruined structure with a door-shape cavity exposed within the premises of Kotte Ananda Sastralaya is believed by the locals as the tunnel entrance that is mentioned in the folklore (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

However, an excavation which was carried out at the premises by the Archaeological Department in 2014, revealed no single evidence of a tunnel but the ruins of a small Stupa and a chamber built of laterite rock (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Also, a fragment of plaque with the carvings of miniature Buddha figures has been recovered from the site and that artifact is presently on the display at the Archaeological Museum of Kotte.

Ruins
The site contains two large structures, viz; a Stupa and a tall rectangular chamber. They have been built by digging the living laterite rock and hence located about 3 m below the ground level (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The rectangular chamber, according to the local beliefs is the tunnel entrance/exit but its true identity is yet to be found. A portico is extending outwards from this rectangular chamber and its front face has been decorated with a "Makara Thorana" (a dragon arch). The floor of the ruins can be reached through a flight of steps starting from the ground level. The steps have also been cut out of living laterite rock and end with a shape similar to a "Sandakada Pahana" [(a moonstone) Rajapakshe et al., 2018]. 

A protected site
The ancient ruins (the gazette mentions them as the ruins of an ancient tunnel) located in the school premises of Ananda Sastralaya in the Grama Niladari Division of Pitakotte (No. 522 B) in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 27 June 1952.

Attribution
1) A Tunnel Which Supposedly Led To Colombo Fort by Indi Samarajiva is licensed under CC BY 2.0

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.86-87.
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.4.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 10418. 27 June 1952.

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This page was last updated on 2 December 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Demalamaha Seya

Demalamaha Seya
Demalamaha Seya (also known as Damila Thupa) is a gigantic brick-built Stupa situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

History
The smaller Stupa with a square-shaped platform
Demalamaha Seya, according to the description in Mahawamsa, was a Stupa with a size of approximately 1300 cubit. It is believed that this Stupa was built by King Parakramabahu I (1153–1186 A.D.) in the 12th century with a workforce of 12,000 Dravidians (Pandyan prisoners) who brought from South India.

According to scholars, this Stupa built by King Parakramabahu I was intended to surpass all other monuments of the type in the country (Ray, 1960). However, due to some reason, the king has not completed the dome of Stupa and stopped its construction at a height of about 50 feet from the ground, forming an extensive circular plateau at the top (Ray, 1960). In the middle of that plateau, a smaller Stupa with a square-shaped platform has been built.

Carbon dating
Four charcoal samples discovered from Demalamaha Seya during the conservation process were sent to Beta Analytic Institute in U.S.A. by authorities for dating and the results revealed the carbon date as 1155 A.D.

Stupa
The present Stupa has a perimeter of 600 m and a height of 25.65 m. It is said to have been built enveloping an existing quartzite (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Conservation
The Stupa which was remained like a small hill covered with vegetation for a long period was started to conserve several times by the authorities, but the attempts had been abandoned due to the massive expenses required for the project. However, in 2014, the excavation and the conservation works of the Stupa was started by the Central Cultural Fund under the supervision of Dr. Nimal Perera.

A massive brick structure Excavation pits
References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.86.
2) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part II). Ceylon University Press. pp.594-595.

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This page was last updated on 23 November 2019

St. Andrew's Church, Haputale

St. Andrew's Church, Haputale
St. Andrew's Church is an old Church situated in Haputale in Badulla District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of St. Andrew's Church runs back to the 19th century. The British people who migrated to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) as planters during the period of British Ceylon (1815-1948 A.D.) found their settlements at several places in the country such as Haputale, Bandarawela, Nuwara Elita, etc. (Wijesundara, 2019). Most of these settlers were Catholic devotees and therefore, churches were built near to their settlements as the places of religious activities. The St. Andrew's Church in Haputale is one such church built on 19 September 1869 (Wijesundara, 2019).

A protected site
The St. Andrew's Church situated in the village of Kadurugamuwa in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Haputale is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002

Attribution
1) Church, Sri Lanka - panoramio by Gonzo Gooner is licensed under CC BY 3.0

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: No: 1264. 22 November 2002.
2) Wijesundara, R., 2019. Nilla pirunu kandu getaye deviyange nivahana (In Sinhala). Dayada newsletter. Vol.13. July 2019. Department of Archaeology. p.19.

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This page was last updated on 23 November 2019

Friday, November 22, 2019

Devon Ella Falls

Devon Ella Falls is a waterfall cascading in Talawakele village in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. A view point of this waterfall is located the Hatton-Nuwara Eliya road (A7) about 6 km distance from Talawakele town.

The waterfall is 95.4 m high and occurs 1169.23 meters above the mean sea level (Abeywardhana, 2004). Cascading in 3 segments, the waters of this fall finally enter into Kotmale Oya, a tributary of Mahaweli Ganga river (Abeywardhana, 2004).











Attribution
1) DevonFalls-Srilanka-May2015 (1) by Rehman is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Abeywardhana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka.  p.223.

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This page was last updated on 22 November 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Kanniya Thermal Springs and Archaeological Ruins

Kanniya hot water wells
Kanniya Thermal Springs (or Kanniya hot water wells) are located in Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka.

Hot water springs
Commonly, 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). Therefore, 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 waters find weak structural discontinuities leading upward they rise to the surface and emerge as naturally discharging hot water springs.

Kanniya springs
The Kanniya hot springs are located close to the boundary between Highland-Vijayan lithologic complexes (Premasiri et al., 2006). This 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). Seven out flowing hot water wells, each with varying temperature, are situated close to each other at the site. The average temperature of Kanniya springs is said to be 42 °C (Premasiri et al., 2006).

Archaeological significance
The Kanniya hot water wells are situated in the premises of an ancient Buddhist monastery complex functioned during the Anuradhapura Period (377 B.C.-1017 A.D.). Structural ruins of an ancient Stupa and an image house which are belonging to the 2-3 centuries A.D. have been found from the site (Jayasinghe, 2019). Also, many Buddhist ruins including "Siri Pathul Gal" (Buddha's foot prints), "Yupa Gal", broken images and pottery pieces have been discovered by exploratory excavations done at the site (Jayasinghe, 2019)

Kanniya hot water spring fragmentary inscription
A broken slab containing a later-Brahmi inscription was found by archaeologists from the Kanniya hot water wells premises.
Period: 2-3 centuries A.D.
Scripts: Later Brahmi
Transcript: "(1)...Maharaja Kujaviya...(2)...Marudaviya ha Bojiya(pathi)...(3)...Bojiyapathi ha cha pala...(4)...????...(5)...Me Ethaka Thanahi...(6)...Sagahaya Dini"
Content: The water tax received from near by tanks (such as) Kuruviya, Marudaviya, Palaweva was given to Sangha (Buddhist monks) by the king (the name is not in the preserved portion).
Reference: Jayasinghe, 2019.
A protected site
Seven hot water wells located in the vicinity of Chaithya mound and other building ruins in Kanniya village situated in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 243/P, Kanniya in the Kadawath Sathara Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 9 September 2011.  

Controversy
The Kanniya hot water wells site, according to local Hindus, is a sacred Saiva site and its history is connected with King Ravana, a mythical figure found in the Indian epic Ramayana. However, the identification of this site as a Buddhist monastery complex by the Archaeological Department triggered a religious tension between the local Hindu and Buddhist devotees.

Attribution
1) Sri Lankan Hot Bath by Annette 777 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

References
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) Jayasinghe, P., 2019. Kanniya unuwathura lin parishraye puravidyathmaka smaraka sanrakshanayata piyawara gene (In Sinhala). Dayada newsletter. Vol.13. July 2019. Department of Archaeology.  p.2.
3) 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.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1723. 9 September 2011. p.683.
5) 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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This page was last updated on 25 November 2019

Sri Parakramabahu Raja Maha Viharaya

The Bodhi-tree at Kudumirissa Viharaya
Sri Parakramabahu Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Kudumirissa Viharaya or Amunugoda Raja Maha Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple located in the village of Amunugoda in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
During the reign of King Parakramabahu VIII (1490-1509 A.D.), many Buddhist temples were built around the country. Jayapala Deva Pathiraja, one of ministers of the king also engaged in establishing Buddhist temples in several places on the island. The Kossinna Raja Maha Viharaya in Gampaha District is believed to be one such temple established by Jayapala Deva Pathiraja (Chandananda Thera, 2009). 

"Kossinna" is a nearby village of the present Kudumirissa temple. The name, Kossinna is thought to have been evolved from "Koswinna" meaning a grove of Jack trees (Gunasekara, 1887). According to popular beliefs, Jayapala Deva Pathiraja had removed a Madel forest that existed in the present temple area and grown a grove of Jack trees there (Chandananda Thera, 2009). He constructed a complete Buddhist temple (present Kossinna Viharaya) at a high ground within this grove and invited King Parakramabahu VIII to bestow it to Buddhist monks. The king who came for the bestowal ceremony ("Vihara Puja") planted a Bodhi-tree at the place where the present Kudumirissa Viharaya stands (Chandananda Thera, 2009) and established a rock inscription at the same site to declare a royal decree.

Kudumirissa Inscription of Vira Parakramabahu VIII
The inscription which containing 42 lines has been inscribed on a natural rock lies near the temple image house. It records the confirmation by Siri Sangabo Sri Parakramabahu of Kotte of an endowment of certain lands granted by his royal father for the benefit of certain Brahmins (Gunasekara, 1887).

Kudumirissa Inscription
Reign : Parakramabahu VIII (1490–1509 A.D.)
Language & Script : Sinhala
Transcript :   Sri    Lankadhipath    Parakrama-
-bhujassuryanvayalankratirya             cheham
bhavato      wachassrinuta      mebhumiswara
bhavinah......>>
Translation : I,   Parakrama   Bahu,   supreme 
lord of  the  illustrious  Lanka,  the  ornament 
of  the  Solar  race,  make  my  request to you,
princes, who will......>>
Reference : Rohanadeera, 2007
Kudumirissa rock inscription
Near to the Kudumirissa inscription is another epigraph written with modern Sinhala scripts. It records about a grant made to the temple by a lady devotee named "Kapu Upasaka Amma".
Transcript: "Me Viharayata Kapu Upasaka Amma Ru. 40k Dunna"
Translation: Rs.40 was given to this temple by Kapu Upaska Amma

An inscription at Kudumirissa temple The Stupa at Kudumirissa temple
References
1) Chandananda Thera, R., 2009. Siyanepuren Siyaratata Abhimanayak Vu Yatawathu Vehera Ha Kossini Sanga Parapura (In Sinhala). Abhisthava. pp.XLIII-LI.
2) Gunasekara, M. B., 1887. Three Sinhalese Inscriptions: Text, transliteration, translation and notes#Inscription at Kudumirisa. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Vol. X. No. 34. pp. 95-102.
3) Rohanadeera, M., 2007. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon. Vol. VIII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-64-3. pp.79-88.

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This page was last updated on 30 November 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Nelum Pokuna, Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa Lotus Pond
The Nelum Pokuna (lit: the Lotus Pond/Lotus Bath) is an old pond situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

History
The pond which is referred to in chronicles by the name "Paduma-nahana-kotthaka" (Ray, 1960; Wikramagamage, 2004) is located within the Jetavanarama monastery premises built by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D.). The chronicle Mahawamsa states that King Parakramabahu built eight ponds of stone to "cleanse the outward impurity of the monks" (Jayasuriya, 2016). Ruins of several ponds similar in structure to Nelum Pokuna (a smaller lotus-bath and the remains of a bath designated "Guha-nahana-kotthaka") have been found within the limits of Jetavanarama monastery (Ray, 1960).

Pond
 The circular stepped Nelum Pokuna pond has been built in the form of a full-blown lotus flower (Wikramagamage, 2004). The tiers indicating the petals of the lotus gradually became small as they go down of the pond. The filling method of the pond is not known (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Attribution
1) Lotosbad polonnaruwa 2017-10-17 (2) by Z thomas is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.85.
2) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part II). Ceylon University Press. p.600.
3) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.225.

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This page was last updated on 16 November 2019

Eth Pokuna

Eth Pokuna
The Eth Pokuna (lit: the Elephant Pond) is an old pond situated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Located to the south-west of the Abhayagiri Stupa in close proximity of Lankarama Viharaya, the pond is considered as one of the largest man-made ponds in the island (Jayasuriya, 2016).

History
The pond which is believed to be the ancient Maspotha Pokuna (1st-century B.C.-11 century A.D.) is presently called "Eth Pokuna" (the Elephant Pond) because of its gigantic size. It is said to have been built to store water for the usage of Buddhist monks who were living in the monastic complex of Abhayagiriya.

Pond
The rectangular-shaped pond is 159 m long, 53 m wide and 10 m deep. The size is said to be six times larger than the size of the Olympic swimming pool. Several flight of steps at all four sides provide access to the bottom of the pond.

The water to this pond had been supplied from nearby reservoirs through underground conduits and one of which functions even today (Jayasuriya, 2016). The Gamani Wewa (Perumiyankulam tank) located to the north supplies water to the pond through a conduit when it is over-flowing (Wikramagamage, 2004). The water which comes through conduits first flows into a cistern sluice ("Bisokotuwa") located in the southwest corner of the pond and after slowing the speed, the water then flows to the pond along a stone-made drain. The existing sluice suggests that the water of Eth Pokuna may have been distributed to other ponds in the vicinity (Jayasuriya, 2016). A channel taking the water out of the pond has also been discovered to the south of the pond at the bottom to the east (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Attribution
1) Eth Pokuna in Anuradhapuraya by Kurun is licensed under CC BY SA 3.0

References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.25.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.105.

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This page was last updated on 1 December 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Surathali Ella Falls

Surathali Ella Fall
Surathali Ella Falls is a waterfall cascading in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka. The fall is situated on the roadside of the Balangoda-Beragala road (A4 road) approximately 9.5 km distance from the Belihuloya town.

The fall is about 50 m tall and mainly has two segments. It is named as “Surathali Ella” after the film that was shot in that area.   












Attribution
1) Walhaputenna, Sri Lanka - panoramio by sanjana.sudam is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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This page was last updated on 14 November 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Kirindi Ella Falls

Kirindi Ella Falls
Kirindi Ella Falls is a waterfall cascading in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka. Situated in Kuttapitiya village, the fall can be reached by traveling along the Pelmadulla-Kuttapitiya road about 7.8 km distance from the Pelmadulla bus stand.

The fall
The waterfall originates from Kirindi Ela, a stream flowing from the Kuttapitiya Kanda mountain (940 m). The fall is considered to be the 7th tallest waterfalls in Sri Lanka with a drop of 116 m (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Kirindi Ella Falls Kirindi Ella Falls
Attribution
1) Kirindi Ella Water fall- Rathnapura District, Sri Lanka 08 by WMKKalhara is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) Kirindi Ella Water fall- Rathnapura District, Sri Lanka 07 by WMKKalhara is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
3) Kirindi Ella Water fall- Rathnapura District, Sri Lanka 03 by WMKKalhara is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
 
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7. p.24.

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This page was last updated on 12 November 2019

Brahmana Ella Falls, Lankagama

Brahmana Ella Falls
Brahmana Ella Falls is a waterfall situated near the border of the Sinharaja Forest in Galle District, Sri Lanka. The fall can be reached via Sinharaja Lankagama entrance.  

The fall
The fall is 31 m tall and originates from Hariyawa stream (හැරියාව දොල), a tributary of Gin Ganga river. It occurs 237 meters above the sea level.












Attribution
1) Brahmana Ella by Kalindu ashirwada is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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This page was last updated on 12 November 2019

Udawattakele Forest Reserve, Kandy

Udawattakele Forest Reserve
Udawattakele Forest Reserve (also known as Udawattakele Royal Forest Park) is a historic forest located behind the premises of the sacred Temple of Tooth, Kandy, Sri Lanka. During the Kandyan Kingdom, the Udawattakele forest was considered as a part of the palace premises and the ruling kings and their royal families used this forest as a pleasure garden. Presently, the forest is protected under the authority of the Forest Department (Weerakoon, 2015).

History
During the reign of King Gajabahu I (114-136 A.D.), there was no human settlements in Kandy and was covered by thick forest. The king ordered his nephew Siriwardana Seneviratna to change a part of the existing land use in Kandy and to build a village there. More than 1000 years later, King Panditha Parakramabahu (1302-1326 A.D.) who reigned in Kurunegala took measures to settle people in the area. During the mid-14th century, King Wikramabahu III who ruled from 1357 to 1374, established his kingdom in Kandy and named it "Senkadagala" in remembrance of the Brahmin named "Senkanda" who lived in a rock cave in Udawattakele forest during the reign of King Gajabahu I at Anuradhapura.

The Kingdom of Kandy (1469-1815 A.D.) was the last independent monarchy of Sri Lanka. King Senasammata Vikramabahu (1469-1511 A.D.), the first king of the Kandy Kingdom, built his palace within this forest and named it as Uda-wasala-watta. After that, the forest was exclusively utilized by the members of the royal family for aesthetic purposes. As a result of that, the rulers declared the forest area as a restricted zone for the general public. During the royal era, the forest was the main source of firewood to the palace.

Later on, the condition of the forest became deteriorate due to the felling down of Kitul-trees and other edible foliage for the elephants of Kandy Perahera pageant. It was further intensified during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when a large amount of timber was extracted to supply firewood for the adjoining British Governor's residence (Nyanatusita & Dissanayake, 2013).

In 1856, the then government declared the Udawattakele as a forest reserve and in 1938, it was declared again as a sanctuary (Nyanatusita & Dissanayake, 2013; Weerakoon, 2015). In 1940, several valuable trees such as Jack and Mahogani were planted in this site by the Department of Forest (Weerakoon, 2015).

Forest
Udawatta Kele belongs to the mid-country wet zone and is situated about 635 m above the mean sea level (Abeysekara et al., 2018; Weerakoon, 2015). Located behind the sacred Temple of Tooth premises, the forest stretches in an area about 113 hectares [(279.229 acres) Abeysekara et al., 2018]. The forest receives an annual mean rainfall of more than 2000 mm (Abeysekara et al., 2018).

A large number of endemic flora [(about 460 plant species including 135 tree species, 11 liana species) Wedathanthri & Hitinayake, 1999] and fauna species are found in the forest reserve. Three vegetation strata namely the canopy (dominant), sub-canopy and underground layers are identified in the forest reserve.

The Udawattakele forest is surrounded by a highly urbanized area. Therefore, the forest is considered very important in controlling the pollution of Kandy city. It also acts as the catchment area for the supply of water to the Kandy city. 

Important locations within the forest
The Maithree Lena, Udawattakele
The Senkanda cave
A rock cave which is said to be used by an ascetic named Senkanda is found in the Udawattakele forest. According to "Asigiri Upatha", this Brahmin was practicing asceticism in a cave in Maya rata during the reign of King Gajabahu I at Anuradhapura (Karunaratna, 1986). Besides the Senkanda cave, two rock caves (named Chitta Visuddhi Lena and Maithree Lena) used by Buddhist monks are also found in the forest.

The Senkanda cave has been designated as an archaeological protected monument by the government gazette notification no.23 on 1 October 1972.

Lady Horton street
This is the first street constructed within the forest. It was built in 1834 by Horton, the then Governor of Ceylon (1831-1837), in memory of his beloved wife (Karunaratna, 1986). 

Kodimale Kanda mountain
This is the highest point (1800 feet from the mean sea level) situated within the forest. This spot is believed to be used to hoist the national flag and religious flags during ancient times. A giant endemic liana called "Pus Wela" (Entada pusaetha) which is said to be about 200-300 years old can be seen near Kodimale Kanda.

Garrison Cemetery
The Garrison Cemetery
The dead bodies of soldiers and generals in the British army who died in Sri Lanka have been buried in this cemetery. 
 
The Marble seat
A flat marble rock which had been used as a resting place was in the forest (Karunaratna, 1986), but today is at the Sri Dalada Sylvan as an altar for offering flowers.

The pond
The pond which is found in the forest, during the royal era, was used by the queen and other members of the royal family (Karunaratna, 1986). The earliest reference to the pond is found with regard to an expenditure incurred in August 1824 (Karunaratna, 1986). It is presently encircled by a narrow lane known as Lover's Walk.

Ironwood forest
A patch of forest consisting of Na-trees (ironwood: Mesua ferrea) is found within the Udawattakele forest. These trees are believed to be planted in 1926.

Attribution
1) This image (Dalada Maligawa Sri Lanka B) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Wouterhagens.
2) Maitri Lena by Nyanatusita is licensed under CC BY SA 3.0
3) Garrison Cemetery by Nyanatusita is licensed under CC BY SA 3.0

References
1) Abeysekara, A.M.S.K., Yatigammana, S.K. and Premakantha, K.T., 2018. Biomass and Carbon Stock Estimation of Udawattakele Forest Reserve in Kandy District of Sri Lanka. Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment, 8(2). pp.13-28.
2) Karunaratna N., 1986. Udavattakälē: The Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy, Colombo: Department of National Archives. pp.1,91,97,103.
3)  Nyanatusita, B. and Dissanayake, R., 2013. Udawattakele:“A Sanctuary Destroyed From Within”. Loris, Journal of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, 26(5), pp.39-40.
4) Wedathanthri, H.P. and Hitinayake, H.M.G.S.B., 1999. Invasive behaviour of Myroxylon balsamum at Udawattakele forest reserve. In Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium. p.14.
5) Weerakoon, W.M.B.M.B., 2015. Avifaunal diversity of Udawattakele, an urban forest reserve in the Kandy District. Sciscitator 2015 / Volume 2. pp. 19-21.

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This page was last updated on 12 November 2019