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. has 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.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, Mannar

Madhu Church
The Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu is a Roman Catholic shrine situated in Maradamadu in Mannar District, Sri Lanka. The site is considered one of the holiest Catholic shrines in the country (Hyndman, 2003).

History
The locals in Mannar island who converted to Catholicism are said to have fled to the Madhu area in 1544, following the massacre of some 600 Catholics by the Hindu king of Jaffna (Hyndman, 2003). Around 1670, the church built for the Lady of Madhu was standing in Mantai junction but, due to the persecution of the Dutch, the Catholics there left Mantai along with the statue of Lady of Madhu in the church (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). They also reached the Madhu area and established a small Catholic shrine and began the religious activities (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018).

With the advent of the British, the site gradually became a sacred site of pilgrimage of Catholics. On 8 August 1872, the construction of the new church building was commenced (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). Thereafter, many development works were carried out at the site by its devotees, finally making it one of the most sacred Catholic shrines in the country.

Sri Lankan civil war
Madhu Church
Madhu was a sanctuary for those displaced from the civil war that staged in Sri Lanka from the 1980s to 2009 (Hyndman, 2003). In November 1999, when the fighting between the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: a rebel group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries including Sri Lanka, India, the USA, and the EU) and the government forces in the area heightened, more than 3,500 people sought refuge in Madhu (Hyndman, 2003). However, it became the target of both LTTE and army shelling, which killed more than 35 civilians inside the church grounds (Hyndman, 2003).

Madhu Church
.
References
1) Asanga, M. V. G. K.; Nishantha, I. P. S., 2018. Mannarama Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-10-9. pp.143-144.
2) Hyndman, J., 2003. Preventive, Palliative, or Punitive? Safe Spaces in Bosnia‐Herzegovina, Somalia, and Sri Lanka. Journal of Refugee Studies, 16(2), pp.167-185.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Abhayagiriya Alms-Hall

Abhayagiriya Alms-Hall
Abhayagiriya Main Alms-Hall (or The Main Refectory of Abhayagiriya) is a ruined building located in the ancient monastery premises of Abhayagiriya in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. It was the place where the daily alms were provided for the monks who lived in the monastery.

History
Remains of four phases of constructions from the 1st century B.C. have been identified from the building premises. The Chinese monk Fa-Hsien who came to Sri Lanka in the 5th century A.D. (probably in 411-413 A.D.) records that there were 5000 monks resided in the Abhayagiri monastery during his time (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). The large stone trough (Bat-Oruwa) which is found to the east of the refectory exceeds the capacity of 5000 alms bowls and therefore, it could hold sufficient rise for such a number of monks (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). Stone troughs similar to this have also been found from the alms halls at Inner City, Jetavanaramaya, Maha Viharaya, and Mihintale.

The Anuradhapura slab inscription of King Kassapa V (914-923 A.D.) has mentioned this refectory (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912). The smaller stone boat found here has an inscription of the late 8th or early 9th century A.D. (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1934).

The building
A large rice trough, kitchen, a sun-dial, courtyard, dining area, storerooms, stone canoe, and underground water conduits are found within the building premises. The rice trough is 19 m long and is believed to be used to cater about 5000 monks who lived at Abhayagiriya at the time. There is another small though alongside which is probably for water (Jayasuriya, 2016).

A sun-dial used to measure the time has been discovered from the eastern section of the refectory building (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). It is presently on the display in the Abhayagiri Museum (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004).

Abhayagiriya Alms-Hall .
References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.28.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.142.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1934. Seven Sinhalese inscriptions of the seventh and eighth centuries. Epigraphia Zeylanica being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. IV). Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. London. pp.149-150.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.101-102.
5) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. p.55.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 28 May 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Saint Stephen's Church, Negombo

Saint Stephen's Church, Negombo
Saint Stephen's Church is an Anglican church situated in Negombo in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. It has been built on the top of a hill by the side of the Negombo Lagoon.

History
Following the collapse of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815, Sri Lanka fell under the rule of the British. In 1863, J. David was posted by the British administration as an Anglican clergyman to the Negombo area (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). When the Anglican community wanted to establish a place for their religious activities, a church was started to construct within the Dutch Fort of Negombo.  By 1877, the chancel of the church was ready and the place was opened for worship before its formal consecration (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). On 31 July 1879, the church was consecrated by Rev. Bishop Reginald Stephen Copleston (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

The church building
The exterior of the church building is apparently simple (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The roof of the church building is covered with flat clay-tiles and a small stone cross is fixed at the top of each end of the ridge-tiles (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The interior space in the church measures 20 m by 7.3 m including the passage (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). Although the walls are tall and thick, the interior of the church building is well lit by a number of windows.

A protected monument
The St. Stephan Christian Church in the Courts Road, Negombo in the Grama Niladari Wasama No. 156A North Munnakkaraya in the Negombo Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 30 December 2011. 
 

References
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.74.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1093.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Anuradhapura Stone Seat Inscription, Colombo Museum

Anuradhapura Stone Seat Inscription
A stone seat carved in the shape of a lotus flower with its stalk (a flower altar) is currently preserved in Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. It was discovered from somewhere in Anuradhapura District and later brought to the present location for conservation (Ranawella, 2005). It contains a short Sinhala inscription engraved on the peripheral part of the lotus.

The inscription was copied by the Department of Archaeology in 1972 (Dias, 1991). It does not contain any name or a regnal year of a king. On palaeographical grounds, the record has been dated by scholars to the 8-9th centuries A.D. (Dias, 1991; Ranawella, 2005).
Transcript: Rankemi Kit Asna
Translation: The (stone) seat of Kit (Kirti), the goldsmith
Reference: Dias, 1991.
References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.37-38.
2) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. p.9.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 27 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Iron Ore Deposits in Sri Lanka

The iron ore deposit at Buttala
The high-grade basement of Sri Lanka is composed of several iron ore deposits (Cooray, 1984). These are grouped as; i) magnetite deposits, ii) copper-magnetite deposits, and hydrated iron oxide deposits (Cooray, 1984, Herath, 1995). 

Magnetite iron ore deposits
Two magnetite deposits were recorded at Wilagedara in the Sandalankawa area in 1959 and at Panirendawa in the Chilaw area in 1962 (Jayawardena, 1984). Another similar deposit was recorded at Kukurampola in the Buttala area in 2001 (Senaratne et al., 2001). In addition to that, small occurrences of magnetite deposits are found in Mooloya Estate, Hewaheta, and Karametiya (Herath, 1995). 

The Wilagedara deposit is the first bedded magnetite deposit discovered in Sri Lanka (Fernando, 1986). Although the deposit is small to have any commercial significance, it is of geological interest due to its association with the mineral baryte (Fernando, 1986). The Panirendawa deposit occurs at depths ranging from 30 m to over 120 m below ground level and because of that, the open cast mining is impossible (Herath, 1995). The estimated ore reserve of the Panirendawa deposit is around 5.6 million tons (Jayawardena, 1984). Due to the small tonnage, grade, depth, and discontinuous nature, both Panirendawa and Wilagedara deposits are considered uneconomical (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007).

Copper-magnetite iron ore deposits
A deposit of this type was discovered in 1971 by the Geological Survey Department of Sri Lanka in Seruwila in Trincomalee District. This deposit is composed of magnetite, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, and pyrite with several other gangue minerals (Herath, 1995). Investigations have revealed that the deposit composed of an ore reserve of 4 million tons with 1-2% copper and 40% metallic iron (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007). The ore occurs up to a depth of about 100 m, which limits the open cast mining as in the case of the Panirendawa deposit (Fernando, 1986).

Hydrated iron ore deposits
Hydrated iron ore deposits are mainly concentrated in the south-west part of the country, particularly in Ratnapura District, and lesser in Galle and Matara Districts (Jayawardana et al., 2014; The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007). They occur at or near the surface, as in the form of small boulders and hill cappings, or sometimes as embedded lenses or pockets (Fernando, 1986; Herath, 1995). The cappings are not continuous and have a less underground extension of up to 12 feet (Jayawardena, 1984). About 50 deposits with around 2.2 million tonnages of ores have been found. 
 
The ores are highly ferruginous laterite deposits, rich in iron hydroxides mainly of goethite and limonite (Cooray, 1984; The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007). Among the hydrated iron ore deposits found in the country, Dela, Noragolla, Opata, and Poronuwa in Ratnapura District and Wilpita in Galle District are important (Fernando, 1986; Herath, 1995; Jayawardena, 1984). However, due to the small tonnage, scattered nature, and high phosphorous content, these deposits are not considered in the local steel industry (Fernando, 1986; Jayawardena, 1984).

Iron industry in Sri Lanka
Evidence to prove the iron ore utilization activities in the 1st Millenium A.D. have been found in the Samanalawewa area in Ratnapura District (Juleff, 1996). The Ceylon Steel Corporation is the main steel manufacturer in Sri Lanka today. It was established in 1961, for the purpose of implementing a steel project which included the setting up of a rolling mill and a wire mill under the first phase (Jayawardena, 1984). The mills were commissioned in 1967and started to convert the imported steel billets to standard shapes to meet the requirements of the building industry. Under the second phase, a continuous casting electro-smelting plant which is capable of utilizing the local scrap iron was built (Jayawardena, 1984).

Presently, a few companies have engaged in the production of iron and steel from scrap iron, but no iron ore deposits in the country are being used for any local industry (Jayatileke, 2013).

References
1) Cooray, P.G., 1984. An introduction to geology of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). 2nd revised ed. Colombo. National Museum Department. pp.81-83,211-212.
2) Fernando, L.J.D., 1986. Mineral resources of Sri Lanka. Science education series; No. 17. Natural Resources, Energy and Science Authority. Colombo. pp.51-62.
3) Herath, M.M.J.W., 1995. Economic geology Sri Lanka. 5th ed. Ministry of Industrial Development. Colombo. pp.60-70.
4) Jayatileke, S., 2013. Geology and mineral resources in Sri Lanka. Vidurava [vol.30(1)]. National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka. p.13.
5) Jayawardana, D.T., Balasooriya N.W.B., Weerakoon, W.A.P., 2014. Geochemical characteristics of hydrated iron-ore deposit in Dela, Sri Lanka. Journal of Geological Society of Sri Lanka (vol. 16). pp.43-52.
6) Jayawardena, D., 1984. The present state of the development of mineral resources in Sri Lanka. Geological Survey Department. Journal of the National Science Council of Sri Lanka (vol.12). pp.62-63.
7) Jullef, G., 1996. An ancient wind-powered iron smelting technology in Sri Lanka. Nature, 379(6560). p.60.
8) Senaratne, A., Dharmagunawardene, H.A., Fernando, W.A.R., 2001. Discovery of a new primary magnetite deposit in Wellawaya. Annual research sessions, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (vol.6).
9) The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007. 2nd ed. Survey Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-9059-04-1. p.44.


This page was last updated on 24 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Abhayagiriya Pillar Inscription of Kassapa IV

Abhayagiriya Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV
Abhayagiriya Pillar Inscription of King Kassapa IV is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. 

Discovery
The inscription is said to have been found from a place near Abhayagiriya Stupa (Ranawella, 2005). It was published for the first time by H.C.P. Bell, the then Commissioner of Archaeology in 1918 (Ranawella, 2005). 

The pillar
The pillar is 11 feet tall and the width of each side is 10.5 inches (Ranawella, 2005). The upper part of it is ended with a Kalasa-shaped vase head. The bottom is not dressed, possibly to bury it underground.

The inscription has been engraved on three sides of the pillar. The first side contains 24 lines of writing and 25 lines each on the second and third faces (Ranawella, 2005). The fourth side contains the figure of a cobra, a monk's fan, a crow, and a dog from up to down (Ranawella, 2005). 

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 9-10th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It is dated in the 6th regnal year of a king styled Sirisambo Abaha who, according to scholars, is King Kassapa IV [(898-914 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the record was to register certain immunities granted by the king in respect of land named Mihindaratan-vatta (Ranawella, 2005). The income of that had been set aside to meet the cost of the medical treatments given to the monks of the Mangul-Piriven of Abhayagiri Viharaya (Ranawella, 2005).

References
1) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.70-76.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 9 January 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Nallur Kandaswamy temple

Nallur Kandaswamy temple
Nallur Kandaswamy temple is a Hindu Kovil situated in Nallur in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan (or God Kataragama), the War God of the Hindu pantheon.

History
Ancient Nallur
The chronicle Mahavamsa identifies this place as Beejagama (Dias et al., 2016). According to S. Paranavitana, a substantial amount of Buddhist activities had taken place here (Dias et al., 2016).

The author of Yalpana Vaipava Malai (a text of 18-19th centuries) mentions that a Chola prince named Vijaya Kulangai (or Kulang-kay-ariyan or Singka-ariyan) accepted the regency of Sri Lanka on a request made by Malavan of Vellala lineage from the Pandya state of India (Britto, 1879; Dias et al., 2016). It is said in the text that they set out to build the Nallur city by constructing parapets, mansions etc. (Britto, 1879; Dias et al., 2016). Ponds were also constructed and the water of them is said to have been purified by mixing it with the water brought from Yamuna River in India [(see Yamuna Eri) Britto, 1879; Dias et al., 2016].

Old Kandaswamy temple
In the middle of the 15th century, Sapumal Kumaraya (Sempahapperumal in Tamil), the adopted son of King Parakramabahu VI (c.1412–1467 A.D.) of the Kotte Kingdom, reigned in Jaffna as the viceroy under his father (Sabanathan, 1971). He, before ascended the throne of the country under the royal title King Buvanekabahu VI (1469-1480 A.D.), built a temple in Jaffna and dedicated it to God Kataragama (Sabanathan, 1971). That temple is believed to be the most ancient temple of the present Kandasamy temple in Nallur (Wijebandara, 2014). The name of Buvanekabahu is presently included in the Kattiyam or the invocation of blessings on the founder of the Kandasamy temple (Sabanathan, 1971).

The Jaffna kings or Arya Chakravartis who came from South India are said to have built four temples around the main Kandaswamy temple, namely, Veilugantha Pillaiyar temple (east), Veeramakali Amman temple (west), Sattanathar temple (north), and Kailaya Nathar temple [(south) Sabanathan, 1971]. 
 
Destruction
The temple, however, confronted the threat of destruction by the Portuguese who occupied Jaffna for the first time in 1560. In 1621, the Portuguese general Filipe de Oliveira destroyed the temple and built a Catholic church there (Navaratnam, 1964; Sabanathan, 1971; Wijebandara, 2014). The church located near the present Sangilian Thoppu is believed to be that church built by the Portuguese (Wijebandara, 2014).

Modern Kandaswamy temple
In 1658, the Jaffna fell under the rule of the Dutch (Wijebandara, 2014). The modern Kandasamy temple was built at the present location by Don Juan Ragunatha Mappana Mudaliyar (an officer of the Jaffna Kachcheri under the Dutch Government) in 1734 (Sabanathan, 1971; Wijebandara, 2014). It was later developed to the present state by Kumaradasa Mappana Mudaliyar (Wijebandara, 2014).

Nallur Kandaswamy temple .
Attribution
 
References
1) Britto, C., 1879. The Yalpana-Vaipava-Malai or The history of the Kingdom of Jaffna: Translated from the Tamil, with an appendix and a glossary by C. Britto. Colombo. p.14.
2) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.195-197. 
3) Navaratnam, C.S., 1964. A short history of Hinduism in Ceylon; And three essays on the Tamils. Sri Sanmuganatha Press. p.79.
4) Sabanathan, M.K., 1971. Nallur Kandaswamy Temple. Inthusathanam (The Hindu Organ). 23 July 1971. pp.5,7.
5) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.122-125.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Welmilla Slab Inscription of Sena III

Welmilla Slab Inscription of Sena III
A slab inscription popularly known as Welmilla Slab Inscription of King Sena III is presently on the display at the Inscription Gallery of Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka.

Discovery
The slab was discovered in 1931, in Batathumbagaha-watta garden in Welmilla village in Kalutara District (Paranavitana, 1933). According to local tradition, the villagers, many years ago, had dug a pit near the place where this slab was found in search of imaginary treasures (Paranavitana, 1933). After finding none, they had thrown it into the pit, where it remained buried until it was brought to the surface in the 1920s (Paranavitana, 1933). It was brought to the present location in order to preserve it from further damage (Paranavitana, 1933).

The slab
The inscription has been engraved on an irregularly shaped stone slab (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005). The obverse and reverse faces as well as the two sides formed by the slab's thickness contain the writing of the record. However, some parts of the record are missing today due to the natural weathering and fragmented state of the slab (Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005).

There are 18 and 26 lines of writing on the obverse and reverse sides of the slab (Ranawella, 2005). Drawings of a crow and a dog are found at the base of the obverse side. The other two sides contain 30 and 27 lines of writing (Ranawella, 2005).

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the 10th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2005). It is dated in the 8th regnal year of a king styled Mahasen Abha who, according to scholars, is King Sena III [(938-946 A.D.) Paranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2005]. The purport of the inscription was to register certain immunities granted in respect of a rent payable on Pamunu land which had been assigned to a person named Kitalna (Ranawella, 2005).

References
1) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Velmilla slab-inscription of Sena III. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. pp.294-302.
2) Ranawella, S. (Ed.), 2005. Sinhala inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum: Spolia Zeylanica. Vol 42. (2005). Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka. pp.70-76.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 27 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Ekgaloya Reservoir and Archaeological Ruins

Ekgaloya Reservoir
Ekgaloya Wewa is a reservoir situated east of Senanayaka Samudraya in Ampara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The present reservoir was constructed by the Gal Oya Development Board in 1955-1957 (Arumugam, 1969).

Reservoir
The reservoir has been built by impounding the water of Ekgal-oya [(or Ekgal Aru in Tamil) Arumugam, 1969]. The bund of the reservoir is about 3700 feet long and the water is extending in an area of about 1000 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). The reservoir has 1 sluice and 1 spill (Arumugam, 1969).

Archaeological ruins
Sites with some ruined buildings have been discovered in the middle of Ekgaloya reservoir as well as from the vicinity of the tank. An early-Brahmi inscription found in a cave near the youth camp to the east of Ekgaloya reservoir was copied by the Department of Archaeology on 5 March 1971 (Dias, 1991).

A protected area
Sites of the ruins of buildings with stone pillars in the middle of Ekgal oya tank belonging to Ekgaloya in Grama Niladari Division No. W/24/B Ekgaloya in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Damana (latitude 07º 15801' N and longitude 081º 61287' E) are archaeological protected sites, declared by a government gazette notification published on 10 October 2014.

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.175.
2) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. p.4.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1884. 10 October 2014, p. 919.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Molligoda Copper Plate Charter

Molligoda Copper Plate Charter
Molligoda Copper Plate Charter is a copper plate grant issued by the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Vikrama Rajasingha. The plate is presently on the display at the National Museum of Kandy. It is said to have been donated to the museum by Nissanka Panabokke.

The plate
The copper plate is 19.125 inches long and 3.75 inches wide (Ranawella, 2015). A scalloped border in Silver runs around the plate (Ranawella, 2015). The front side contains 11 lines of writing and each line is started with a Kundali mark (Ranawella, 2015). The reverse side also has 11 lines of writing. A square frame (2.6875 inches) of Gold with the "Sri" letter in Sinhala is found at the left corner of the front side of the copper plate (Ranawella, 2015).

The content
The copper plate records that King Sri Vikrama Rajasingha (1798-1815 A.D.) appointed Molligoda as a 2nd Adigar and as the Maha Disawa of Four Korales and Pallegampaha Adigar, because of his contribution in suppressing the rebellion lead by Ahalepola Adigar at Sabaragamuwa. The grant has been dated on Thursday, the 6th day of Vesak, in the year Bhava, 1736 of the Saka era (Ranawella, 2015). This date is equivalent to May 1814 A.D. (Ranawella, 2015). According to Ranawella, this copper plate grant is probably the last Sannasa (grant) obtained from a king of the Kandy Kingdom (Ranawella, 2015).

Molligoda Copper Plate Charter Molligoda Copper Plate Charter .
References
1) Ranawella, S., 2015. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. IX. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-98-8. pp.72-77.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 24 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Negombo Fort

Negombo Fort Negombo Fort is an old fort situated in Negombo in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
The fort was built by the Portuguese to defend Colombo (Mandawala, 2012). It was captured and destroyed by the Dutch in 1640. It was rebuilt by them, not on the usual square plan, but on a pentagonal one, though it had only four bulwarks (Mandawala, 2012). However, with the advent of the British,  the fort was lost to the Dutch in 1796 (Mandawala, 2012).
 
The site
The fort had been built near the Negombo Lagoon. At present only part of the walls and an arched gateway of the fort remain at the site (Mandawala, 2012). Above the gateway, a slab of granite depicting the date 1678 can be seen. The site is used as a prison by the Department of Prisons.
 
A protected site
The approach Gate and the Ramparts of the Dutch Fort situated in the Negombo Court approach road in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. 156A, Uturmunnakkaraya in the Negombo Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 July 2011. 

References
1) Mandawala, P.B., 2012. Sri Lanka: Defending the military heritage; legal, administrative and financial challenges. Defending the military heritage; legal, financial, and administrative issues. Reports from the Seminar 16 – 17 May, 2011, in Karlskrona, Sweden, organised by ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues (ICLAFI) and the Swedish Fortifications Agency of Sweden. p.101.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1716. 22 July 2011.p.512.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Batticaloa Fort

Batticaloa Fort Batticaloa Fort is an old fort situated in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of the Batticaloa fort runs back to the 17th century. Built by the Portuguese in 1628, the fort was captured by the Dutch on 18 May 1638 (De Silva, 1988; Mandawala, 2012). However, with the advent of the British,  the fort was lost to the Dutch.
 
The site
The fort has been built near the Batticaloa lagoon. It is nearly square in shape with four bastions on each corner. Two sides of the fort are surrounded by the Batticaloa lagoon and the other two are surrounded by a canal. It is still in a good state of preservation and some government buildings are located inside the fort. The Portuguese had another small fort at Tanavare near Batticaloa but no remains of that fort are found today (Mandawala, 2012). A Buddhist Stupa of the 1st century A.D. is said to be found inside the present fort (Mandawala, 2012).
 
Attribution

References
1) De Silva, R.R.K., 1988. Illustrations and Views of Dutch Ceylon 1602-1796: A Comprehensive Work of Pictorial Reference with Selected Eye-Witness Accounts. Brill Archive. pp.138-141.
2) Mandawala, P.B., 2012. Sri Lanka: Defending the military heritage; legal, administrative and financial challenges. Defending the military heritage; legal, financial and administrative issues. Reports from the Seminar 16 – 17 May, 2011, in Karlskrona, Sweden, organised by ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues (ICLAFI) and the Swedish Fortifications Agency of Sweden. pp.100-101.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 19 June 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Pothgul Vihara Statue, Polonnaruwa

Potgul Vihara Statue
A colossal stone statue called as Pothgul Vihara Statue (also known as the Statue of Parakramabahu I, the Statue of Pulasti) is located near the Pothgul Vehera in the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. The statue is regarded as a superb example of Asian Art.

The statue
The statue is 10 feet 12 inches high and has been carved in high-relief on the southern face of a rock boulder located near the Pothgul Vehera and Parakrama Samudra (Basnayake, 1990). The sculptor is unknown (Paranavitana, 1952). The statue is tall as the height of the rock boulder. The head of this individual is dressed with a Makuta (Paranavitana, 1952) He has long ears and his eyes are half-closed. His beard is long and the mustache is drooping. The shoulders are round and the chest and the belly indicate the features of a man of advanced years (Paranavitana, 1952). The naked upper body has no ornaments except for a single thread worn over the left shoulder. He holds some object (probably a yoke or an Ola-leaf book) in his hands (Paranavitana, 1952; Wikramagamage, 2004).

The body at the hip has inclined somewhat to the left. The weight of the body rests on the left leg while the right leg keeps at ease. The knee of the right leg slightly projects forward. The lower body is covered by a thin cloth ornamented with flower patterns at regular intervals (Paranavitana, 1952). The cloth is held in position at the waist by a belt with an ornamental knot (Paranavitana, 1952).

Statue of a king or a sage?
The identity of the statue is uncertain (Basnayake, 1990; Jayasuriya, 2016; Paranavitana, 1952; Wikramagamage, 2004). Some believe that this is the statue of King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.), while others think that it is the statue of Sage Pulasti or Agastya or Kapila (Basnayake, 1990; Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004).

Sage Pulasti
According to the view of L. Prematileke and Wikramagamage, this statue may represent Sage Pulasti, after whom Polonnaruwa was named Pulastipura (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). Wikramagamage says that this statue can not be considered a king due to the presence of a crown of matted hair, lack of royal attire, and long ears (Wikramagamage, 2004). Prematileke and Wikramagamage mention a defaced inscription on the summit of the rock boulder that possesses letters of the name Pulatasa or Pulasti (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004).

King Parakramabahu I
S. Paranavitana believes that this statue represents a man with strength, majesty, and dignity and not a usual individual (Jayasuriya, 2016; Paranavitana, 1952). According to him, the treatment of the drapery in this statue is the same as the statues at Gal Viharaya that are belonging to the reign of King Parakramabahu I [(1153-1186 A.D.) Paranavitana, 1952]. Therefore, this statue near the Pothgul Vehera is believed to be a work of the 12th century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1952). About thirty yards south-east of the statue, the remains of a Stupa built over the ashes of cremation has been found (Paranavitana, 1952). Paranavitana says that it is possible to be a Stupa shaped monument built over the ashes of a king of Polonnaruwa after his death, and the statue on the face of the nearby rock boulder could be a monument built to commemorate him (Paranavitana, 1952). A copper figure with a somewhat similar posture has been found from Panduwasnuwara, the old Parakramapura where Parakramabahu I lived before he becomes the king of the country (Paranavitana, 1952). With this evidence and theories, Paranavitana has concluded that this statue is that of a king possibly King Parakramabahu I (Jayasuriya, 2016; Paranavitana, 1952).
 
Attribution

References
1) Basnayake, H.T., 1990. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)]. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Vol. IV: Sculpture: Colombo. Commissioner of Archaeology. pp.105-106. 
2) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.71-72.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1952. The Statue near Potgul-Vehera at Poḷonnaruva, Ceylon. Artibus Asiae, pp.209-217.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.202-203.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 3 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Asokaramaya (Pankuliya)

Pankuliya Asokaramaya
Asokaramaya (also referred to as Pankuliya Viharaya) is a ruined Buddhist monastery situated in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. The site is famous for its seated Buddha statue popularly known as Pankuliya Buddha.

History
According to local tradition, this is probably the Asokaramaya monastery established by Prince Saliya, the son of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.), after his low-caste wife Ashokamala (Sandaruwan et al., 2017). According to Mahavamsa, King Mahasen (276-303 A.D.) built a monastery named Uttara Mehenawara for Buddhist nuns in about 276 A.D. and some identify the present Pankuliya as part of that monastery built by Mahasen (Sandaruwan et al., 2017). A pillar inscription by King Dappula IV (924-935 A.D.), that was discovered from Pankuliya contains details about an immunity grant made in respect of some land assigned to a Buddhist Nunnery named Kalahas-mehenawara founded by a high dignitary named Pirivahanu (Warden) Koda Kasbalna of Dhannavala (Ranawella, 2004). However, no information is known from any other source about this Nunnery yet (Ranawella, 2004).

Another inscription of Pallava-grantha characters has been found on the steps at the entrance to the image house (Wikramagamage, 1990). It indicates that the Pankuliya image house and the Buddha image may belong to the latter half of the 7th century A.D. or 8th century A.D.  (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 1990; Wikramagamage, 2004).

The monastery
Asokaramaya is a monastery of the Pabbatharama Vihara (rock monasteries or mountain temples) type (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). The site was first investigated by H.C.P. Bell in 1892 (Sandaruwan et al., 2017). Ruins of the image house with the Pankuliya Buddha and several other buildings are found in the site.

Pankuliya Buddha statue
The statue differs from the usual Samadhi Buddha statues in the country (Jayasuriya, 2016). The statue is 7 feet 6 inches tall and 6 feet wide. It is sitting in the Virasana posture, showing an attitude of preaching/teaching Dhamma. Both hands of the statue are raised. The right hand depicts Vitarka Mudra (argumentation gesture) while the left hand depicts the Kataka Mudra [(ring hand) Wikramagamage, 2004]. The statue popularly called "Devana Samadhi" at Abayagiriya monastery possibly had the same Mudra of the Pankuliya Buddha, of which hands are now destroyed (Jayasuriya, 2016). A similar gesture can be seen on the small bronze statue known as Badulla Preaching Buddha which is now in Colombo National Museum (Jayasuriya, 2016). On the crown of the head of the Pankuliya Buddha is found the Usnisha which is larger than the Usnishas found in the Buddha images of the 6th century A.D. (Wikramagamage, 1990). The perforation on the top of the Usnisha maybe had used to attache a Siraspatha [(the flame of knowledge) Wikramagamage, 2004]. The craftsmanship of the statue is said to be equal to the Samadhi Statue and Toluvila Statue (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Due to exposure to the environment for a long time period, the face, fingers of the Pankuliya statue have been badly washed off. There are several opinions regarding the date of the statue. S. Paranavitana believes that this statue belongs to the 6th century A.D. (Sandaruwan et al., 2017; Wikramagamage, 1990). According to D.T. Devendra, this is a work of 4th century A.D. (Sandaruwan et al., 2017). C. Wikramagamage in the opinion that this is a work of the 8th century A.D. while A. Seneviratna says it belongs to the 9-10th century A.D. (Sandaruwan et al., 2017; Wikramagamage, 2004).

Pankuliya Asokaramaya.
References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.56-57.
2) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-30-5. pp.15-17.
3) Sandaruwan, W.M., Jayasooriya, T.H.G.A.K. and Pathirana, R.G.S.S., 2017. මහායාන භික්ෂුණි ආරාමයක් ලෙස සැළකෙන පන්කුලිය හෙවත් අශෝකාරාමයේ පුරාවිද්‍යාත්මක වටිනාකම පිළිබඳ විමසුමක් (In Sinhala). pp.223-224.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 1990. Section II: 500-100 A.D. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Vol. IV: Sculpture. pp.50-51.
5) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.112.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 2 January 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Medirigiriya Vatadage

Medirigiriya Vatadage
Medirigiriya is a ruined Buddhist monastery located in Medirigiriya village in Polonnaruwa District, Sri Lanka. The site is famous among the visitors due to its magnificent circular relic house popularly known as Medirigiriya Vatadage.

History
Evidence is available to show that Medirigiriya was an important Buddhist place of worship since pre-Christian times up to about the 13th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016). Bricks from pre-Christian times have been found from the site (Fernando, 1990).

The ancient Mandalagiraka Vihara of the Tissa Vaddhamanaka District has been identified as the present Medirigiriya Viharaya (Wikramagamage, 2004). According to Mahavamsa, King Kanitthatissa (167-186 A.D.) constructed an Uposathaghara (a chapter house) there (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004; Wickremasinghe, 1928). Later a Cetiyaghara (a Stupa-house) was built around the Medirigiriya Stupa by the son of King Agrabodhi IV [(667-683 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004]. In the 9th century A.D., King Sena II (853-887 A.D.) donated several villages to the monastery (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). The site would have been flourishing in the 9th and 10th centuries A.D. when Medirigiriya monastery had a hospital attached to it (Fernando, 1990)

The monastery was destroyed during the 10th century A.D. by the South Indian invaders (Jayasuriya, 2016). However, King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) renovated the temple in the 11th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1928). The Culavamsa (the latter part of Mahavamsa) records an inscription of an agreement between Gajabahu II (reigned: 1132-1153 A.D.) and Parakramabahu I (reigned: 1153-1186 A.D.) that had engraved on a boulder at Mandalagiri (or Medirigiriya) Viharaya (Fernando, 1990; Geiger, 1998; Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004; Wickremasinghe, 1928). Although this inscription has not been found yet, a copy of it has been found at Sangamu Viharaya in Kurunegala District (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.), in his inscription at Polonnaruwa Siva Devalaya, refer to Medirigiraya as one repaired by him (Wickremasinghe, 1928).

Inscriptions
A few pillar and slab inscriptions belonging to the 10th century A.D. have been unearthed from the premises of Medirigiriya archaeological site and from the surrounding area. The inscriptions have been dated by scholars to the reigns of King Kassapa V (914-935 A.D.), King Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.), and a few unidentified kings of the 10th century A.D. (Ranawella, 2001; Ranawella, 2005). 
 
Medirigiriya pillar inscription of Kassapa V
This pillar was discovered in 1897 by H.C.P. Bell, the then Archaeological Commissioner (Wickremasinghe, 1928). This inscription has a decree issued by the king granting certain immunities in respect of a meditation hall attached to the Medirigiriya inner monastery (Ranawella, 2001). A duplicate copy of this record has been found from the same site (Ranawella, 2001).
 
Medirigiriya slab inscription of Mahinda IV
This slab inscription was discovered in 1907 by D.A.L. Perera, the Head Draughtsman of the Archaeological Survey (Wickremasinghe, 1928). This inscription is believed to be a Samvata pahan or an edictal slab containing rules for the management of the hospital attached to the monastery (Wickremasinghe, 1928). Scholars have assigned this record to the reign of King Mahinda IV [(956-972 A.D. Ranawella, 2005].

The site
Medirigiriya Vatadage
The monastery has been constructed on two slightly elevated boulders. Among the ancient structures and ruins found in the monastery, the circular relic house popularly known as Medirigiriya Vatadage is considered a magnificent work of art (Wikramagamage, 2004). Archaeologists believe that it has been constructed around an earlier Stupa in the 7th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). The Mahayana affiliation is clearly visible on this monument.

The Vatadage has three circles of octagonal pillars erected around the Stupa (Fernando, 1990). The inner row has 16 pillars and the middle and outer rows have 20 and 32 pillars respectively (Fernando, 1990). The pillars are similar to those found in Thuparama and Lankarama in Anuradhapura (Wickremasinghe, 1928). In the center of the Vatadage is the Stupa and four statues of Buddhas have been placed at the cardinal points of it. According to the view of some, this arrangement of the Stupa and the Buddha statues represents a Vajrasattva Mandala (Wikramagamage, 2004). A bronze statue of Vajrasattva is said to have been discovered near Vatadage (Wikramagamage, 2004).

The ruins of a few image houses with their original images of Buddha are found at the site. Besides the Stupa in the circular shrine (Vatadage), another Stupa is found built on the hillock located in front of the Vatadage. It is not recorded when it was built or by whom (Wikramagamage, 2004). The ruins of the ancient hospital has also been identified at the site (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004).

Conservation
The ruined site was recorded in 1897 by H.C.P. Bell who called it an "Architectural Gem" (Fernando, 1990; Jayasuriya, 2016). The forest that had swallowed the site for centuries was removed in 1941 and a major part of the conservation process of the Vatadageya was finished by 1945 (Fernando, 1990). The ruins of two image houses were unearthed by the excavations done in the same year (Fernando, 1990). In 1947, a thin gold foil with the Pali passage "Iti pi so," etc., written in the Sinhala scripts of the 7th or 8th century A.D., was discovered at the base of one of the octagonal pillar of the Vatadageya (Fernando, 1990).

Medirigiriya image house .
Attribution
1) Watadageya, Sri Lanka by MRuwan is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) Beautiful one by Ravindra8820 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
4) Ruins at Watadagaya by 98 Bunny is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Fernando, W. B. M., 1990. History of the Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka 1930-1950. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume I: History of the Department of Archaeology. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.105-106.
2) Geiger, W., 1998. The Culavamsa: Being the more recent part of the Mahavamsa. Part: I. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi. p.315. 
3) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.57.
4) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.183.
5) Ranawella, S., 2001. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part I. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-21-6. pp.285-295.
6) Ranawella, S., 2005. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part III. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-91-59-57-7. pp.36-39,65,77,81-82.
7) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.247-249.
8) 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.25-33.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 10 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Vijayarama Monastery, Anuradhapura

Vijayarama Stupa
Vijayarama is a ruined Buddhist monastery site situated in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
Vijayarama is considered as a monastery that had connections to Mahayana Buddhism (Jayasuriya, 2016; Prematilleke & Silva, 1968). Several copper plaques containing a portion of the Sutra called Prajna Paramita or invocations to Mahayana deities such as Avalokitesvara, Tara, and Akasagarbha have been found from the Stupa of this site (Prematilleke & Silva, 1968; Wikramagamage, 2004). These plaques have been dated to the 9th century A.D. (Dhammaratana, 2000).

Monastery complex
Ruined structures, Vijayarama
Vijayarama is a monastery of the Pabbatha Vihara (rock monasteries or mountain temples) type (Jayasuriya, 2016; Prematilleke & Silva, 1968). Asokaramaya, Pacinatissa-pabbata Vihara, Puliyankulama Purvarama, and Toluvila are several other monasteries that have features similar to Vijayarama monastery (Jayasuriya, 2016; Prematilleke & Silva, 1968).
 
A large central terrace (known as the sacred quadrangle) of about 288 feet long and 268 feet wide with the ruins of four edifices namely, the Stupa, Bodhighara (the Bodhi-tree shrine), Patimaghara (the image house), and Uposathaghara (the chapter house) are found at the site (Jayasuriya, 2016; Prematilleke & Silva, 1968). These four edifices, together with the Sabha building at the center of the terrace constitute the Pancavasa as described in the Silpa text Manjusri-Vastuvidya-Sastra (Jayasuriya, 2016).

The central terrace of Vijayarama can be approached through four porches facing the cardinal points. Each porch is said to be accompanied by the figures of four animals; elephant (the east porch), horse (the south porch), lion (the north porch) and bull (the west porch). The Muragal (the guard-stones) flanking the flights of steps of the southern and western entrances of the terrace are carved with the figure of a dwarf (Prematilleke & Silva, 1968). Several bronzes including the statues of directional deities (dikpala), viz., Indra (east), Yama (south), Varuna (west), Kuvera (north) were recovered from cellas underneath the four entrance porches of the terrace (Prematilleke & Silva, 1968). Besides that, more artifacts of the 9-10th centuries A.D. such as lamps, stone containers have also been discovered from the site (Ślączka, 2007).

A moat can be seen around this central terrace. The space between the central terrace and the moat is called the lower platform. The ruins of other ancient buildings such as Jantaghara (the monks' bath-house), refectory, and monks' cells have been discovered outside of the central terrace (Jayasuriya, 2016).

The human figures of the plinth of the projecting open terrace at the Vijayarama;
Human figures of the plinth of the projecting open terrace at the Vijayarama
The most attractive feature of this fine piece of work are the carved stones decorating the exterior wall of the platform. These are panels with figures differing from each other, some containing only a single male figure and others a male and female. They stand beneath a carved canopy of curious makara - pattern. These bloated dragon beasts face each other open-mouthed, each with a figure, sometimes human, sometimes animal, in their jaws. In the hollows of their backs are quaint dwarfs. The makaras, with their curved backs and fish-like tails, here much more resemble dolphins than crocodiles. Besides these there are striking gargoyles and bits of floral decoration falling vertically.
Citation: Mitton, 1917.pp.137-138.
Prematilleke and Silva believe that these human figures represent deities (Prematilleke & Silva, 1968). According to them, the single male figures may represent Naga kings while the couples (male and female) represent either Siva or Visnu with Sakti (Prematilleke & Silva, 1968).

Vijayarama copper plaques
Revealing the evidence for the Mahayana affiliation, thirteen copper plaques with epigraphs of invocations to Mahayana Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (such as Sikhi Buddha, Gagana Buddha, Akasa Garbha Bodhisattva, Tara etc.) were discovered from the Stupa of Vijayarama  (Dhammaratana, 2000). They were in the relic-chamber of the Stupa that, at the time of the discovery, had been ransacked by thieves (Dhammaratana, 2000).

The epigraphs have been composed in the Sinhala scripts of the 9th century, the period when Mahayana Buddhism had flourished around Sri Lanka (Dhammaratana, 2000). Except the first one which has a stanza written in the Pali language, the other plaques contain invocations in the Sanskrit language (Dhammaratana, 2000). These invocations may have been engraved on the copper plaques as a form of religious worship and for invoking blessings (Dhammaratana, 2000).

Ruined structures, Vijayarama Ruined structures, Vijayarama Ruined structures, Vijayarama .
References
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.364-373.
2) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.57.
3) Mitton, G.E., 1917. The lost cities of Ceylon. FA Stokes Company. pp.137-138.
4) Prematilleke, L. and Silva, R., 1968. A Buddhist Monastery Type of Ancient Ceylon Showing Mahāyānist Influence. Artibus Asiae, pp.61-84.
5) Ślączka, A.A., 2007. Temple consecration rituals in Ancient India: text and archaeology (Vol. 26). Brill. pp.370-371.
6) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.112.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 20 December 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map