Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Kota Vehera, Dedigama

Dedigama Kota Vehera
Kota Vehera (also known as Cuthighara/Suthighara Cetiya) is an ancient Stupa located in the village of Dedigama in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by traveling along the Nelundeniya - Galapitamada road (B540) about 3.2 km distance from the Nelundeniya junction.

History
Ruins of Dedigama
During the 12-14 centuries A.D., Dedigama served as the residence of provincial leaders of Dakkhinadesa (Abeyawardana, 2002). In several chronicles and inscriptions, Dedigama is called by different names such as Punkhagama (in Pali Mahawamsa), Dathigama (in Thisara Sandeshaya), Jatigama (in Uttamala Sandeshaya) and Gnathigama (In the inscription of King Parakramabahu IV).

The Stupa has been built at the site where King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) was born (Abeyawardana, 2002). According to Mahawamsa, King Manabharana, the father of King Parakramabahu I, used Punkhagama as the capital city of southern locality. It is mentioned that King Parakramabahu I was born there and afterward he had built the Cuthighara (Suthighara) Stupa of 120 cubits (180 ft) tall on the site of the house in which he was born (Nicholas, 1963). The ancient Punkhagama, according to Paranavitana, is the modern Dedigama and the ruined Stupa which is today known as Kota Vehera is the ancient Cuthighara Dagoba built by King Parakramabahu I (Nicholas, 1963).

According to the accounts given in Thisara Sandeshaya (a Sinhalese literary work), Dedigama was the capital of King Parakramabahu V [(1344-1359 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002].

Artifacts
The site was conserved in 1947 by the Archaeological Department after excavations. At present, the Stupa is 47 feet in height and has a diameter of about 804 feet.

During the excavations, a number of artifacts including a unique hanging lamp known as Eth Pahana (elephant lamp) were discovered from the Kotavehera Stupa. Most of antiquities are presently placed in the Dedigama Museum located nearby.

Reliquaries
These two reliquaries which are made of gold were discovered from the Kota Vehera Stupa. The larger reliquary is 8.7 cm in height and represents a miniature Stupa of Amalaka fruit shape. A small crystal reliquary containing the relics in a gold capsule was found enshrined within this large reliquary. The Hathares Kotuwa (the square enclosure) and the Koth Kerella over the dome part represent the Stupa form characteristic of the 12th century.

The small reliquary which also has a shape similar to the larger reliquary is representative of the early medieval Stupa form of Sri Lanka.
Reference: National Museum of Colombo

Meditating Buddha
A seated Buddha statue depicting meditation has been discovered from the Dedigama Kota Vehera Stupa and presently on the display at the National Museum of Colombo. This gold colour statue with an inner core of Sandalwood paste is about 16 cm in height and a work belonging to the 12th century A.D.

The statue depicts the Buddha in meditation (Samadhi) posture. The Buddha is sitting on a pedestal decorated with Vajra symbol which is considered as a common element found during the Polonnaruwa Period. Behind the Buddha is a decorated Makara Thorana (a dragon arch) adorned with gem stones. The dragon arch is held in position by two pillars and also by two rampant lions.
Reference: National Museum of Colombo

A stone-slab inscription of King Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.) is found set up in front of the Bodhi-tree in the Dedigama Raja Maha Viharaya premises situated near the Kota Vehera Stupa. 
Dedigama slab inscription
Reign : 9th regnal year of Bhuvanekabahu VI (1470-1478 A.D.)
Period  : 15th century A.D.
Script   : Modern Sinhala
Language : Modern Sinhala
Content :  The     inscription    was    indited    on    stone    by
Vikramasingha  Adhikara on the orders  of  his  majesty, King
Bhuvanekabahu  VI.   It   has  been  established  to   allay  the 
suspicion of fear from  the minds of the people of the Satara 
Korale    who   were    subdued   after    a    rebellion   against
King   Bhuvanekabahu VI.  According   to  the  inscription,  an
amnesty was granted to the inhabitants of the Satara Korale,
by the king.
Citation  : The information board at the site by the Department
of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.
Dedigama slab inscription
The larger Stupa has been built by covering a small Stupa The relic chamber of the small Stupa
.
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. pp.59-60.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.123.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 18 January 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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