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, May 31, 2020

Ranmasu Uyana

Ranmasu Uyana
Ranmasu Uyana (Gold fish park) or Magul Uyana is an ancient royal pleasure garden located below the eastern bund of Tisa Wewa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

In order to fulfill the essential necessity of a royal park, this was established on the right side of the Maha Vihara premises. The park has been used as a royal pleasure garden from the time of King Devanampiya Tissa (307-267 B.C.) up to the end of the Anuradhapura Kingdom (Jayasuriya, 2016). Some scholars such as S. Paranavitana considered this park as the place where Prince Saliya, the son of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) met his commoner-wife Ashokamala (Fernando, 1990).

Vessagiriya slab inscription of Mahinda IV
The Vessagiriya slab inscription of King Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.) mentions the name of this park as the "Ranmasu Uyana" meaning "the habitat of gold fish/gold fish park" (Ranawella, 2004). The main object of erecting this inscription was to provide a direction in supplying the water of Tisa Wewa to certain paddy fields surrounding the royal monastery Bo-Upulvan Kasubgiri of Isurumuniya (Isurumuniya Viharaya) as well as to the Ranmasu Uyana, the Kela-heya (the play house), the Uyan-keya (the garden pond), and the Mahanel-keya [(the water lily pond) Ranawella, 2004].

The site which had been swallowed by the jungle was discovered in 1901 by H.C.P. Bell. It was partially cleared by Bell and in 1940 S. Paranavitana carried out the excavation and conservation works at the site.

The royal park
Ranmasu Uyana
The park is extending in an elongated rectangular area of about 15 ha. [(35 acres) Bandaranayake, 1990]. It can be considered as a fine example of garden architecture in ancient Sri Lanka. Advanced and unique constructional techniques have been adopted in constructing the components of the park as well as in maintaining the natural beauty of the surrounding. Natural boulders have been used as caves and to build the components of the park such as the ponds, bathing spots, pavilions, boundary walls, terraces, open seats, etc..

The park is demarcated by a boundary wall to the north, east, and south with the eastern bund of the Tisa Wewa to the west (Bandaranayake, 1990). Two clusters of natural boulders are found in the southern half of the garden and three large elongated pools are in the eastern part. In the northern part of the garden, three octagonal buildings are identified (Bandaranayake, 1990; Jayasuriya, 2016). Some of the stone baths in the garden have been ornamented with relief sculptures such as sporting elephants and lotus plants (Bandaranayake, 1990; Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). These sculptures have been dated to the 7-8th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016).

The Universal chart
In the cave marked as no.34 at Ranmasu Uyana is a circular chart and is widely known among the people as the Sakwala-Chakraya (the universal-circle/ star-gate). The circle has a diameter of 1.8 m and contains various geometrical shapes and figures from aquatic life.

Aquatic animals such as fish, shell-fish, turtles, tortoises, crabs, sea lions, sea horses, and some kind of squid are depicted in swimming from right to left on the outer circle of the chart. In the center of it is a quadrangle in which seven concentric circles are marked. Several squares of various sizes are denoted around it and each of these squares has certain geometrical shapes. Small circles divided into four sections, symbols similar to an umbrella and unidentified shapes are found among these geometrical shapes. Also, an early-Brahmi inscription read as "Panati panasha" (fifty-three) is found inscribed on the rock above this chart (Wikramagamage, 2004). The total number of geometrical shapes and figures appearing in the diagram is fifty-three (twenty figures and thirty-three geometrical shapes). This indicates that there was a kind of relation between the inscription and the chart.

Some scholars have expressed their views regarding this chart. According to H.C.P. Bell, this could be an old-time cosmographical chart illustrating in naivest simplicity the Buddhistic notions of the universe (Bell, 1901). The seven concentric circles in the center indicate the seven seas while the middle dot represents the "Mahamera" (Bell, 1901). The sun and moon are represented by the other symbols and the aquatic world is denoted by the aquatic animals (Bell, 1901). This can be considered as one of the oldest maps of the world.

The renowned writer Martin Wikramasingha believed this as a talisman of Mahayana Tantric followers. According to the view of some scholars, this chart could have been inscribed for the purpose of meditation (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). A few rock carvings similar to seats are found in front of the chart.

However, many locals believe that this chart represents a star map or a star chart. According to them, the symbols carved on the chart represent a code that opens the star gate and it allows the opener to travel from this world to other parts of the universe.

1) Royal Water Gardens, Anuradhapura 085 by G41rn8 (Michael Gunther) is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) Royal Water Gardens, Anuradhapura 093 by G41rn8 (Michael Gunther) is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
3) Stargate in Anuradhapura by Kadkdesilva is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

1) Bandaranayake, S., 1990. The architecture of the Anuradhapura Period 543 B.C.-800 A.D. (Editor in chief: Wijesekara, N.). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.15-16.
2) Bell, H.C.P., 1901. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: North-Central and Central Provinces.  Annual Report: 1901. p.9.
3) Fernando, W.B.M., 1990. Section III: History of the Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka: 1930-1950. (Editor in chief: Wijesekara, N.) Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): History of the Department of Archaeology (Vol. 1). Commissioner of Archaeology. p.96.
4) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.55-56.
5) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon: Containing pillar inscriptions and slab inscriptions from 924 AD to 1017. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.258-261.
6) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.150-151.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 1 June 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

A short note for local school students
රන්මසු උයන

රන්මසු උයන හෝ මගුල් උයන ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අනුරාධපුර තිසා වැවේ නැගෙනහිර වැව් බැම්ම පාමුල පිහිටා තිබෙන පුරාණ රාජකීය උද්‍යානයකි.

රාජකීය උද්‍යානයක අනිවාර්ය අවශ්‍යතාවය පැන නැගුනුබැවින් මහා විහාරය පරිශ්‍රයට දකුණු දිග දෙසින් මෙම උද්‍යානය පිහිටුවන ලද අතර මෙහි ඉදිකිරීම් දේවානම්පිය තිස්ස රජු (ක්‍රි.පූ. 307-267) විසින් සිදුකරන්නට ඇතැයි සැළකෙයි. මෙම උද්‍යානය දුටුගැමුණු රජුගේ පුත්‍ර සාලිය කුමරුවන්ට අශෝකමාලා මුණගැසුණු ස්ථානය වශයෙන්ද සමහර විද්‍යාර්ථයින් (සෙනරත් පරණවිතාන වැනි) අදහස් පලකරනු ලැබ තිබේ.

සිව්වන මිහිදු රජුගේ වෙස්සගිරිය පුවරු ලිපිය
සිව්වන මිහිදු රජුගේ (ක්‍රි.ව. 956-972) වෙස්සගිරිය පුවරු ලිපියේ මෙම උද්‍යානය සඳහන් වන්නේ ස්වර්ණමය මතස්‍යයින් සිටින උද්‍යානය යන අරුතැති "රන්මසු උයන" ලෙසයි. මෙම ලිපිය පිහිටුවීමේ මූලික අරමුණ වී ඇත්තේ තිසා වැවෙහි ජලය ඉසුරුමුණිය බෝ-උපුල්වන් කසුබ්ගිරි රාජකීය විහාරය අවට වූ සමහර කුඹුරු හා එසේම රන්මසු උයන, කෙල-ගෙය, උයන්-ගෙය හා මහනෙල්-ගෙය වෙත ලබාදීම සම්බන්ධ වූ මාර්ගෝපදේශයක් ලබා දීමයි.

කැළය විසින් ගිලගෙන තිබූ මෙම උද්‍යානය එච්.සී.පී. බෙල් විසින් 1901 වර්ෂයේදී වාර්තා කරන ලදී. බෙල් විසින් අර්ධ වශයෙන් පිළිසකර කල උද්‍යානයේ කැණීම් හා සංරක්ෂණ කටයුතු පරණවිතාන විසින් 1940 වර්ෂය වන විට ආරම්භ කරන ලදී.

අක්කර 35ක පමණ භූමි ප්‍රමාණයක විහිදෙන උද්‍යානය පුරාණ ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ උද්‍යාන ගොඩනැංවීමේ නිර්මාණ ශිල්පය සඳහා වූ කදිම උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් සැළකිය හැක. භූමියෙහි පිහිටි ස්වභාවික සුන්දරත්වය රැකෙන ලෙස ගල් පර්වත යා කරමින් ගල් පුවරු යොදා ගොඩනැගිලි ඉදිකිරීමේ දියුණු තාක්ෂණයක් මෙහිදී දැකගත හැක. පොකුණු, ස්නානාගාර, විවෘත ආසන, මළු, හා සීමා ප්‍රාකාර බැමි වැනි උද්‍යානයක වූ අංගයන් සියල්ලම පාහේ මෙහිලා වූ බව වර්තමාන නටඹුන් සාක්ෂි දරයි.

සක්වල චක්‍රය
බොහොමයක් ජනයා විසින් සක්වල චක්‍රය වශයෙන් හඳුනාගන්නා වෘත්තාකාර සටහනක් රන්මසු උයනෙහි පිහිටි අංක 34 ලෙස සළකුණු කොට ඇති ගුහාවෙහි වේ. මීටර 1.8ක පමණ විශ්කම්භයකින් යුතු මෙම වෘත්තාකාර සටහන තුල විවිධ ජ්‍යාමිතික හැඩතල සහ ජලජ සත්ත්ව රූප දැකගත හැකිවේ.

ජලජ සත්ත්ව රූප අතර දකුණේ සිට වම් පස දෙසට පිහිනා යන මතස්‍යයින්, හක් බෙල්ලන්, කැස්බෑවන් හෝ ඉබ්බන්, කකුළුවන්, මුහුදු අශ්වයින්, මුහුදු සිංහයින් හා දැල්ලෙකු යැයි සිතිය හැකි ජලජ ජීවීන් වේ. සටහනේ මධ්‍යයෙහි සම හතරැස් කොටුවක් තුල ඒක කේන්ද්‍රීයව පිහිටන වෘත්ත හතක් ඇඳ තිබේ. ඒ වටා විවිධ පරිමාවෙන් යුතු කොටු දක්වා තිබෙන අතර ඒ සෑම කොටුවක් මැද කිසියම් ජ්‍යාමිතික හැඩතලයක් බැගින් සළකුණු කොට ඇත. මේ හැඩතල අතර කොටස් හතරකට බෙදූ කුඩු වෘත්ත, ජත්‍රයකට සමාන රූප හා නිශ්චිතව හැඳිනිය නොහැකි සංකේත වේ. මෙම වෘත්තාකාර සටහනෙහි ඉහළින් පූර්ව-බ්‍රාහ්මී අක්ෂරයෙන් සටහන් "පනති පනශ" යනුවෙන් පාඨයක් දක්වා ඇති අතර එහි අර්ථය වන්නේ පනස් තුන යන්නයි. වෘත්තාකාර සටහන තුල සත්ත්ව රූප විස්සක් හා ජ්‍යාමිතික හැඩතල තිස්තුනක් වන අතර එහි එකතුව පනස් තුනක් වෙයි. මේ අනූව සෙල්ලිපියෙහි අන්තර්ගතය හා වෘත්තාකාර සටහන අතර සම්බන්ධයක් තිබුණු බැව් විශ්වාස කල හැකිය.

රන්මසු උයනෙහි වෘත්තාකාර සටහන පිළිබදව සමහර විද්‍යාර්ථයින් සිය අදහස් ප්‍රකාශ කොට තිබේ. බෙල් මහතාගේ මතයට අනූව මෙම සටහන මගින් ලෝක ධර්මතාවය පිළිබඳ බෞද්ධ අර්ථයක් ඉස්මතු කරවයි. මෙහි මධ්‍යයෙහි වූ වෘත්ත හත මගින් සප්ත සාගරයත්, එහි මධ්‍ය තිත මගින් මහාමේරුවත්, අනෙකුත් සංකේත මගින් ඉර හා හඳත්, ජලජ සත්ත්වයින් මගින් ජලජ ලෝකය නිරූපණය වන බවත් බෙල් විශ්වාස කරයි. ඇතැම් විට මෙය ලොව පැරණිම සිතියමක්ද විය හැකිය.

කීර්තිමත් කතුවරයෙකු වූ මාටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ මහතාට අනූව මෙම සටහන මහායාන තන්ත්‍රයානිකයන්ගේ යන්ත්‍රයක් විය හැකිය. නමුත් සමහර විද්‍යාර්තයින්ගේ මතයට අනූව මෙම සටහන එක්තරා භාවනාවක් හා සම්බන්ධ දෙයක් විය හැක්කේ අදාල ලෙන ඉදිරිපිට ගල් තලයෙහි ආසන වැනි යමක් කොටා තිබෙන බැවිනි.

Saturday, May 30, 2020


Pidurangala temple
Pidurangala Viharaya (also known as Piduragala) is a Buddhist temple situated near to the ancient Sigiriya fortress in Matale District, Sri Lanka. 

According to the view of some, the name "Pidurangala" has been derived from the "Piduran mila nindan gala" (Abeywardana, 2004).

The history of Pidurangala is running back to the pre-Christian era. Several early-Brahmi inscriptions belonging to the 3rd century B.C - 1st century A.D. have been found inscribed on the brows of the rock caves located within the temple premises. The present Pidurangala temple complex is attributed to King Kashyapa of Sigiriya [(475-497 A.D.) Abeywardana, 2004].

A large number of inscriptions (cave, rock, Vaharala, and Attani) have been found from the Pidurangala Vihara premises (Wijebandara, 2011).

Pidurangala cave inscriptions
The cave of Tissadevi
Period: 3rd century B.C. - 1st century A.D.
Script : Early Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Content   : The cave of lord Pussa.
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage

Period: 2nd century B.C. - 1st century A.D.
Script : Early Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Content  : The cave of Tissadevi, daughter of Majjhima, son of Siva of Kolagama is given to the Sangha (Buddhist monks). The co-donor with Tissadevi is Mandana, wife of Vima-Naga of Garadidagama.
Reference: Paranavitana, 1970.

Period: 6th - 7th centuries A.D.
Script : Later Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Content   : Records about construction on top of the cave by Ven. Abhaya, the monk of Tatayaka.
Reference: Dias, 1991.

Pidurangala rock inscription
This inscription is found on the rock in front of the cave containing the large reclining Buddha image. It was copied in 1931 by the Department of Archaeology (Dias, 1991).

Period: 6th-7th centuries A.D.
Script : Transitional Brahmi
Language: Old Sinhala
Content   : Records about the donations of one Amuna of paddy fields and Kahavanu coins by a mason Dalaganayunaka.
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

Pidurangala Vaharala inscriptions
A number of inscriptions of the Vaharala type have been identified at the site. They record the freeing of slaves from their compulsory services, by donation of money and lands to the Vihara. Most of these inscriptions belong to the 6th7th centuries A.D. and have been written in Old Sinhala language using the Transitional-Brahmi scripts.

Pidurangala Attani inscription
An Attani inscription probably belongs to King Dappula IV (924-935 A.D.) has been found from Pidurangala temple (Wijebandara, 2011).

The temple complex
Lower Vihara complex
The Vihara complex at the lower terrace of the Pidurangala temple has been identified as a temple belonging to the Pabbatharama tradition (Wijebandara, 2011). As a part of that tradition, five main ritual buildings known as Panchavasa are found in the temple complex (Wijebandara, 2011). These five buildings include the Stupa, Bodhighara (Bodhi-tree shrine), Uposathaghara (chapter house), Patimaghara (image house), and Sabha [(or Mandapa) Wijebandara, 2011].

The Stupa which was in a dilapidated state was excavated in 1951 (Wijebandara, 2011). It has been built on an elevated square-shaped platform and can be accessed through four flight of steps constructed in each direction. The platform is about 6 ft tall and each side has a length of 80 ft (Wijebandara, 2011). The Stupa rises upward about 16 ft from the platform and the diameter of its base is about 50 ft (Wijebandara, 2011). 

The archaeological excavations revealed that the relic-chamber of the Stupa is a construction of the 8th century A.D. (Wijebandara, 2011). This was more confirmed by a brass-casket found from the chamber (Wijebandara, 2011). However, further excavations had exposed the evidence of an old relic chamber below the first chamber. According to the view of scholars, the present Stupa has been built over an ancient Stupa (the original Stupa) and the relics of it have been replaced to the new relic-chamber during the later renovation (Wijebandara, 2011). 

The deep excavation of the Stupa revealed fragments of charcoal and burnt soil at the ground-level (Wijebandara, 2011). Therefore, scholars thought that this Stupa has been built over a funeral pyre as the case of Dakkhina Thupa at Anuradhapura. Also, the bricks used to construct the original Pidurangala Stupa are similar in size to the bricks found in the ruins in Pramuda-vanaya located west to the Sigiriya rock (Wijebandara, 2011). Therefore, it is assumed that the original Piduangala Stupa has been built during the period of Sigiriya (Wijebandara, 2011). Paranavitana believed that this Stupa was probably built over the funeral pyre of King Kashyapa of Sigiriya (Nicholas, 1963). 

The excavated Stupa was conserved in 1953 (Wijebandara, 2011).

Bodhigharas are shrines constructed in Buddhist temples to venerate the Bodhi-tree. The ruined Bodhighara found in Pidurangala temple is a square-shaped building with four entrances at each side. The entrances are decorated with plain Sandakada Pahana (moonstones) and Mura-gala (guard stones). In the middle of the building is a circular-shaped podium which was once the ground for the Bodhi-tree. Although there is no Bodhi-tree today, it provides evidence for the presence of a Bodhi-tree in the past. The pieces of roof-tiles found during the excavations revealed that this shrine once had a roof around the Bodhi-tree (Wijebandara, 2011). A few stone pillars probably used to hold the roof is still found around the ruined shrine.

UposathagharaUposathaghara was the chapter house of this temple complex. The remaining building is 73 ft 6 inches in length and 43 ft 9 inches in width (Wijebandara, 2011). 

Several large stone pillars are found in the present building. The pillars about 10 ft tall and have been symmetrically fixed to the ground.

The ruined Patimaghara (or the image house) building was first excavated during 1989-1991 and again during 2000-2002 (Wijebandara, 2011). The building 107 ft 8 inches long and 69 ft wide (Wijebandara, 2011). A faded inscription has been found on the Sandakada Pahana (the moonstone) fixed at the entrance of the image house (Wijebandara, 2011). 

The Antaralaya part of the image house is 107 ft 8 inches in length and 67 ft in width (Wijebandara, 2011). Seven inscriptions known as Vaharala are found on a step of the Antaralaya part (Wijebandara, 2011). Of them, one inscription contains the ancient name of this temple as "Dala Vahara" [("Dala Vehera or Data Viharaya") Wijebandara, 2011].

This building was conserved during 2003-2004 (Wijebandara, 2011).

Mandapa, also known as Sabhawa is one of the buildings belonging to the Panchavasa complex. It has been constructed between the other four buildings; the Stupa, Bodhighara, Uposathaghara, and Patimaghara

This is a square-shaped building (54 ft x 54 ft) with four entrances at each side (Wijebandara, 2011). Plain Sandakada Pahana, Muragala, and Korawak Gala (balustrades) are found at each entrance. A few Vaharala inscriptions are also found engraved on the steps of one of the entrances. Evidence is there to prove that this building has been renovated on two occasions (Wijebandara, 2011).

Upper Vihara complex
A large number of Buddhist monuments are found on the summit as well as at the base of the Pidurangala rock (Wijebandara, 2011). 

Two dilapidated Stupa mounds
Stupas at the summit of the Pidurangala rock
Ruins of two Stupas built adjacent to each other are identified at the summit of the Pidurangala rock. Both Stupas are presently at a statue of ruins.

The reclining Buddha statue
A large reclining Buddha statue is found sculpted in a drip-ledged rock cave located on the eastern side of the Pidurangala rock. The brick-built statue is about 42 ft long and believed to be a work belonging to the 4th-5th century A.D. (Wijebandara, 2011). The construction of this statue is attributed to King Kashyapa of Sigiriya (Wijebandara, 2011). 

The statue had been destroyed by thieves who searched treasures inside it. However, it was restored to the present state by the Department of Archaeology during a conservation process carried out in 2001-2002 (Wijebandara, 2011).

The freshwater pond which is located close to this cave is believed to have been used by Buddhist monks.

The cave temple
The cave temple
The cave temple (Len Viharaya) which is situated at the shadow of the Pidurangala rock is said to be about 150 years old (Wijebandara, 2011). Two standing Buddha statues which are believed to have been brought from outside are found inside the cave temple. These two images according to some, are two limestone statues that had been unearthed from an excavation done at the Panchawasa complex [(lower temple complex) Wijebandara, 2011]. A reclining Buddha belongs to the Kandyan period is also found inside the cave temple.

As a famous location for photography
Pidurangala is an isolated rock with a height of 340 m (Wijebandara, 2011). As it is located adjacent to the ancient Sigiriya fortress, a picturesque view of Sigiriya can be captured from the summit of the Pidurangala rock.
Sigiriya from Pidurangala

1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.182-183.
2) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.33-34,85,.
3) 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.110.
4) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.67.
5) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2011. Aithihasika Pidurangala (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-65-0. pp.iii,5,14-35.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 25 July 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pooneryn Fort

Pooneryn Fort
Pooneryn Fort is a ruined fort located in Pooneryn (Tamil: Poonakary) in Kilinochchi District, Sri Lanka.

The fort is said to have been established by the Portuguese to dominate the Jaffna Peninsula after they get control of its coastal area from the 16th century up to the 17th century. In the 17th century, the Dutch took over the fort and controlled it until it was captured by the British.

A monument in a war ground
At the beginning of the Sri Lankan civil war in the 1980s, the Pooneryn area including the fort site was under the control of the Sri Lanka Army. In the 1990s, LTTE (a Tamil secessionist group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries) attacked the government forces and captured the area including the fort. As a result of this war, the fort was not accessible for the visitors for a long time of period. However, the fort was opened for the general public after the defeat of LTTE by the government forces in 2009.

The square-shaped fort has been constructed using bricks. There were two guard points at either side of the fort.

Presently, the fort is in a state of ruins.

A protected monument
Punarin Dutch fortress belonging to “Punarin city” village situated in Grama Niladhari Division No. 35, Mattuwilnadu South in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Punarin is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 24 March 2016.

1) Pooneryn fort by AntanO is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1960. 24 March 2016. p.229.

Location Map

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

A short note for local school students
පුනරින් බලකොටුව

පූනරින් බලකොටුව ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කිලිනොච්චි දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ පූනරින් ග්‍රාමයේ පිහිටි නටඹුන් වූ බලකොටුවකි.

16වන සියවසේ සිට 17වන සියවස් සමය තුල යාපනය අර්ධද්වීපයේ වෙරළබඩ කලාපයෙහි පාලනය සතුව සිටි පෘතුග්‍රීසින් විසින් මෙම බලකොටුව ඉදිකරන්නට ඇතැයි පැවසෙයි. 17වන සියවසේදී ලන්දේසීන් විසින් යටත් කොට ගනු ලැබූ මෙම බලකොටුව බ්‍රිතාන්‍යයන් විසින් පසුකාලීනව අත්පත් කරගන්නා තුරු ඔවුන්ගේ පාලනය යටතේ පැවතුණි.

යුධ කලාපයක පිහිටි ස්මාරකය
1980 දශකයේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා සිවිල් යුද්ධය ආරම්භ වූ සමයේදී බලකොටුව අයත් පුනරීන් ප්‍රදේශය ශ්‍රී ලංකා හමුදාව පාලනය යටතේ පැවතිණි. 1990 දශකයේදී දෙමළ කොටි සංවිධානය රජයේ හමුදාවන් වෙත පහර දී බලකොටුව සහිත ප්‍රදේශය අත්පත් කර ගත්තේය. මෙහි ප්‍රතිපලයක් ලෙස දීර්ඝ කාල පරිච්ඡේදයක් මුළුල්ලෙහි මෙම බලකොටුව කිසිදු සංචාරකයෙකු සඳහා විවෘත ස්ථානයක් නොවීය. කෙසේනමුදු, රජයේ හමුදාවන් විසින් දෙමළ කොටි සංවිධානය පරාජය කිරීමෙන් අනතුරුව බලකොටුව මහජනයා සඳහා විවෘත ස්ථානයක් බවට පත්කෙරිණි.

පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකය
පුනරින් ප්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයට අයත් පුනරින් සිටි ග්‍රාමයේ පිහිටි පැරණි බලකොටුව 2016 මාර්තු 24වන දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත් රජයේ ගැසට් නිවේදනය මගින් ආරක්ෂිත පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකයක් ලෙස නම් කොට ඇත.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Doric Bungalow

Doric Bungalow
The Doric Bungalow is a ruined building located about 1.5 km south of Arippu in Mannar District, Sri Lanka.

This building is the house of Frederick North (1766-1827), the first British Governor of Ceylon during 1798-1805 (Wisumperuma, 2005). According to information in the Ceylon Government Gazette dated 22 March 1802, Governor North had laid the first stone of the Government Lodge preparing for the residence of the Governor during the time of the pearl fishery on 18 March 1802 (Wisumperuma, 2005).

The building, according to popular belief, was planned by the Governor himself (Wisumperuma, 2005) to be built on a low cliff near the beach to revive and supervise the pearl fishery off Kondachchi bay, which was one of the sources of earning for the western rulers for centuries. Commenced in 1802, the construction of the building was finished in 1804 (Wisumperuma, 2005). Binham (1922) mentions that G. J. Nagel (an Assistant Civil Architect or Assistant Engineer of the district of Jaffna) was given a gratuity of 750 rix-dollars in 1802 for superintending the works at Arippu (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018; Binham, 1922; Wisumperuma, 2005). According to Binham, that gratuity may have been given for Nagel for the construction of Doric building (Binham, 1922).

The building was later started to call "The Doric" (Doric: one of the three-column types of ancient Greek architecture) due to its architectural features (Wisumperuma, 2005). Besides North, this mansion was used by a few successive governors, government agents, and other officials, including superintendents of pearl fishery (Wisumperuma, 2005).

Erroneous interpretations
Since the mid-20th century, a number of erroneous interpretations came into existence on the remnants of the Doric (Uragoda, 1975; Wisumperuma, 2005). These ruins have been misidentified by some writers and the general public with other edifices such as the Dutch fort at Arippu, a Portuguese building where princes Dona Catherina was kept under protection (Uragoda, 1975) and also as the "Alli Raani Kotte", the palace of a local mythical queen named Alli Raani whose existence is not proved by any historical or archaeological evidence (Wisumperuma, 2005). 

The building
The two-story building has been constructed using bricks and mortar (Wisumperuma, 2005). It had four small bedrooms on the ground floor but only two are identified today (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018).  A flight of steps leading to the first floor was at the center of the building. Also, a large dining hall and the bedroom of the Governor are said to be on the first floor (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). However, the first floor is completely demolished today.

A descriptive account about the building with a drawing of it can be found in the records by Cordiner (1807);
The Doric"The Governor's house at Arippu, on the western coast of Ceylon, is situated two miles north of the scene of the pearl fishery in 8 47' north latitude and 7 40' east longitude. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful building in the island, and almost the only one which is planned to any order of architecture. The design was purely Doric and was given by the Honorable Frederick North himself; but the house although of a splendid appearance is of small dimensions; the internal accommodation not entirely corresponding with the grandeur and elegance of the outward structure; but completely answering all the purposes for which they were intended. There are four small bed rooms on the ground floor, one at each corner; a spacious flight of stairs occupies the center; and two well proportioned rooms above extend from east to west of the building, ornamented on each side by graceful colonnades. One of these is used as a dining room, and calculated to contain a party of twenty persons. The other is his excellency's bedchamber. At one end of it a winding staircase is cut off, leading up to the terraced roof, from which there is a most extensive prospect of the level country in three directions, and in the forth of the open sea, and a fine view of the line of boats, when they are returning from the banks of oysters. The house is pleasantly situated on an elevated bank, about a stone's cast from the sea; apartments are delightfully cool being completely surrounded by Venetian doors, or windows reaching to the floor, and constantly fanned by a regular succession of land and sea breezes. Near it several sets of temporary rooms are constructed of wooden pillars and Palmyra leaves, affording accommodation for persons for whom the Doric building cannot contain."
Citation: Cordiner, 1807. pp.37-38.
The Doric beacon
A tower located near the Doric building is called as "the Doric beacon" (Wisumperuma, 2005). It is believed to be used as a navigational mark for the boats returning to shores off Kondachchi bay.

The Doric decayed overtime after it was abandoned. As it is located near the sea, the building has exposed to extreme weather/environmental conditions including sea erosion (Uragoda, 1975). The western portico of the building that was facing the sea was completely collapsed after 1980 mainly due to sea erosion (Wisumperuma, 2005). Some parts of the walls of the northern section of the building were collapsed after 2003 (Wisumperuma, 2005).

A protected monument
The Dorick building in Arippu village in the Grama Niladhari Division of Arippu East in Musali Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.

Doric beacon Doric ruins
1) Doric Bangalore by Gayan Perera is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) This painting by Cordiner (1807) has been drawn and published more than 100 years ago and therefore in the public domain.
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.47-50.
2) Binham, P.M., 1922. History of the Public Works Department, Ceylon, 1796 to 1913. Vol. 2. Government Printer Ceylon. p.107.
3) Cordiner, J., 1807. A description of Ceylon, containing an account of the country, inhabitants, and natural productions: with narratives of a tour round the island in 1800, the campaign in Candy in 1803, and a journey to Ramisseram in 1804 (Vol. II). pp.37-38.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.7A.
5) Uragoda, C.G., 1975. " The Doric" at Arippu. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 19, pp.26-32.
6) Wisumperuma, D., 2005. The Doric at Arippu: Its date and identification. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 51, pp.79-96.

Location Map

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

A short note for local school students
ඩොරික් බංගලාව

ඩොරික් බංගලාව ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මන්නාරම දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ අරිප්පු පිහිටි නටඹුන් ගොඩනැගිල්ලකි.

වර්ෂ 1798-1805 සමයේ ලංකාවෙහි ප්‍රථම බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය ආණ්ඩුකාරවරයා වශයෙන් කටයුතු කල ෆ්‍රෙඩ්රික් නෝර්ත් ගේ නිවස්නය ලෙස මෙය සැළකෙයි. 1802 මාර්තු 22 ලංකාණ්ඩු ගැසට් පත්‍රයේ සඳහන් තොරතුරු අනූව 1802 මාර්තු 18වන දින ආණ්ඩුකාරවරයාගේ නිවස්නය වශයෙන් සූදානම් කරමින් තිබූ රජයේ නවාතැන්පළට නෝර්ත් විසින් මුල්ගල තබා තිබෙයි.

බටහිර පාලකයින්ට වැදගත් ආදායම් මාර්ග අතුරින් එකක් වූ කොණ්ඩච්චි මුහුදු බොක්ක ආශ්‍රිත මුතු කැඩීම නගාසිටුවීම හා අධීක්ෂණය කිරීම උදෙසා වෙරළ ආසන්නව පහත් බෑවුමක මෙම ගොඩනැගිල්ල ඉදිකිරීමට බොහෝ දෙනාගේ විශ්වාසයට අනූව සැළසුම් කර ඇත්තේ නෝර්ත් ආණ්ඩුකාරවරයා විසිනි. 1802 වර්ෂයේදී ඉදිකිරීම් ආරම්භ වූ ගොඩනැගිල්ලෙහි කටයුතු 1804 වසර වනවිට නිමාවට පත්විය. බින්හැම්ට (1922) අනූව 1802 වර්ෂයේදී යාපනය දිස්ත්‍රික් සහකාර ඉංජිනේරුවෙකු හෝ සහකාර සිවිල් වාස්තු ශිල්පියෙකු වූ ජී. ජේ. නාජල් වෙත අරිප්පු හී අධීක්ෂණ කටයුතු වෙනුවෙන් රික්ස් ඩොලර් 750ක පාරිතෝෂික ගෙවීමක් සිදුකරන්නට ඇත්තේ ඩොරික් ගොඩනැගිල්ලෙහි ඉදිකිරීම් සඳහා විය හැකිය.

ප්‍රදර්ශිත ගෘහ නිර්මාණ ලක්ෂණ හේතුවෙන් මෙම ගොඩනැගිල්ල පසුකාලීනව "ඩොරික්" වශයෙන් හැඳින්වූ බව සඳහන් වේ. නෝර්ත් ට අමතරව, මෙම මන්දිරය අනුප්‍රාප්තික ආණ්ඩුකාරවරුන් කිහිපදෙනෙක්, රජයේ නියෝජිතයින් සහ මුතු මසුන් ඇල්ලීමේ අධිකාරීවරුන් ඇතුළු අනෙකුත් නිලධාරීන් විසින් භාවිතා කර තිබේ.

දෝශ සහගත අර්ථකථන
20වැනි ශත වර්ෂයේ මධ්‍ය භාගයේ සිට ඩොරික් ගොඩනැගිල්ලෙහි ඉතිරිවූ නටඹුන් සම්බන්ධව වැරදි අර්ථකථන කිහිපයක්ම ඉදිරිපත් විය. සමහරක් ලේඛකයන් හා පොදු ජනයා විසින් මෙම ගොඩනැගිල්ල වෙනත් ඉදිකිරීම් කිහිපයක් සමග වරදවා වටහා ගනු ලැබිණි. සමහරුන් විසින් මෙය අරිප්පු ලන්දේසි කොටුව ලෙසත් සමහරුන් විසින් දෝන කතරිනා කුමරිය ලැගුම් ගෙන සිටි පෘතුගීසි ගොඩනැගිල්ලක් ලෙසත් වරදවා හඳුනාගෙන තිබිණි. ඒ අතර තවත් සමහරුන් විශ්වාස කොට තිබුණේ මෙය අල්ලි රාණි නම් මිත්‍යා රැජිනකගේ මාළිගා නටඹුන් ලෙසයි.

පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකය
මුසලි ප්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයට අයත් අරිප්පු (නැගෙනහිර) ග්‍රාම නිළදාරී වසමෙහි පිහිටි ඩොරික් ගොඩනැගිල්ල 2013 අගෝස්තු 16වන දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත් රජයේ ගැසට් නිවේදනය මගින් ආරක්ෂිත පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකයක් ලෙස නම් කොට ඇත.

Foul Point Lighthouse

Foul Point Lighthouse
Foul Point Lighthouse or Sampur Lighthouse is one of lighthouses in Sri Lanka. It is located on the point (Foul/ Kevuliya Point) at the southern entrance to the Trincomalee harbor.

The lighthouse is said to be constructed in 1863. It is a round stone tower and 21 m tall. The tower was in a dilapidated state for many years and therefore, existed as an abandoned lighthouse until it was repaired/restored between 2018-2019.

Present State         : Active
Admiralty number : F0850
ARLHS number      : SLI-009

[Admiralty number is from Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals, U.S.
ARLHS number is from Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society.]

1) DSC 0135 wm by Harshana Kothalawala is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

Location Map

This page was last updated on 17 May 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

A short note for local school students
ෆවුල් තුඩුව ප්‍රදීපාගාරය

ෆවුල් තුඩුව ප්‍රදීපාගාරය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ප්‍රදීපාගාර අතුරින් එකකි. එය ත්‍රිකුණාමලය වරායේ දකුණුදිග පිවිසුම් තුඩුවෙහි (ෆවුල් හෝ කෙවුලියා තුඩුව) ඉදිකොට ඇත.

1863 වර්ෂයෙහි ඉදිකරන ලදැයි පැවසෙන සිලින්ඩරාකාර හැඩති ප්‍රදීපාගාර ස්ථම්භය මීටර 21ක් පමණ උසැති වේ. වර්ෂ ගණනාවක් මුළුල්ලේ විනාශ වීමට ලක්වෙමින් තිබූ හෙයින් මෙම ස්ථම්භය අත්හැර දමනලද ප්‍රදීපාගාරයක් වශයෙන් පැවතුණු නමුත් 2018-2019 කාලයේදී නැවත ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණය කිරීම නිසා වර්තමානයේදී සක්‍රීය ප්‍රදීපාගාරයක් වශයෙන් භාවිතයට ගැනේ.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Kovilan Point Lighthouse

Kovilan Point Lighthouse is one of lighthouses in the country. It is located in the northwestern coast of the island of Karaitivu in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

The lighthouse is said to be constructed in 1916. It is a round masonry tower and 30 m tall.

Admiralty number : F0874
NGA number          : 27212
ARLHS number     : SLI-013

[Admiralty number is from Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals, U.S. 
NGA number is from National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
ARLHS number is from Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society.]

A protected monument
The Lighthouse situated in the area called Kovilan in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. J/41, Karainagar of the Karainagar Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 July 2011.

1) Karainagar 2 by Paranikanth02 is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

1) 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 16 May 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

A short note for local school students
කෝවිලන් තුඩුව ප්‍රදීපාගාරය

කෝවිලන් තුඩුව ප්‍රදීපාගාරය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ප්‍රදීපාගාර අතුරින් එකකි. එය යාපනය දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ කරෙයිතිව් දිවයිනෙහි වයඹ දිශානුගතව පිහිටා ඇත.

1916 වර්ෂයෙහි ඉදිකරන ලදැයි පැවසෙන සිලින්ඩරාකාර හැඩති ප්‍රදීපාගාර ස්ථම්භය මීටර 30ක් පමණ උසැති වේ.

පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරක ස්ථානය
කරෙයිනගර් ප්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයේ J/41 කරෙයිනගර් ග්‍රාම නිළදාරී වසමට අයත් කෝවිලන් පිහිටි ප්‍රදීපාගාරය 2011 ජූලි 22වන දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත් රජයේ ගැසට් නිවේදනය මගින් ආරක්ෂිත පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකයක් ලෙස නම් කොට ඇත.

Ravana Ella Purana Viharaya

Ravana Ella Viharaya
Ravana Ella Purana Viharaya (also known as Ravana Ella Cave temple) is a Buddhist temple situated in the village of Ravana Ella in Badulla District, Sri Lanka.

Locals believe that this temple was established during the reign of King Valagamba (103 B.C. & 89-77 B.C.). The drip-ledged cave and the paintings and sculpture in the image house depict features belonging to the Kandyan period.

The image house
The image house of Ravana Ella temple is archaeologically important. The sculptures in the image house are apparently old but they have been colored with modern-day paints. The roof of the cave (the inner surface) is plastered using a thin layer of mortar on which the paintings of circular patterns of lotuses, creeper designs, and floral designs are found. The old inner walls and the tiled canopy of the cave have been recently restored.

Ravana Cave
The cave popularly known as Ravana-guhava is located close to the Ravana Ella cave temple. The excavations carried out in this cave by the Department of Archaeology on several occasions have revealed evidence of human habitation dating back to 25000 years.

As a place related to Ravana?
Without any archaeological or historical evidence, this cave is presently promoted by some locals and tourist agencies as a place related to Ravana and Seetha, two mythical figures presenting in the Indian epic Ramayanaya. According to them, Ravana had used this cave to imprison Sita before relocating her to a pleasure garden near Nuwara Eliya. However, the authenticity of Ramayanaya is controversial and hence it is today dismissed as a myth (Goonatilake, 2010).

A protected site
The image house with ancient paintings at Rawana Ella Viharaya located in the 69A Ravana Ella Grama Niladhari Division in the Ella District Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.  

Ravana Ella temple Ravana Ella temple

1) Goonatilake, S., 2010. Introduction: Inventing Archaeology: The Tourist Board's "Ramayana Trail".
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 16 May 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

A short note for local school students
රාවණා ඇල්ල පුරාණ විහාරය

රාවණා ඇල්ල පුරාණ විහාරය/ රාවණා ඇල්ල ලෙන් විහාරය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ බදුල්ල දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ රාවණා ඇල්ල පිහිටි බෞද්ධ සිද්ධස්ථානයකි.

ප්‍රාදේශීයයන්ගේ විශ්වාසයන්ට අනූව මෙම විහාරය වළගම්බා රජු දවස (ක්‍රි.පූ. 103 සහ 89-77) ඉදිකරන ලද්දකි. කටාරම් කෙටූ ලෙන හා විහාර මන්දිරයෙහි (ලෙන් විහාරය) දැකගත හැකි සිතුවම් හා මූර්ති නුවර යුගයෙහි කලා ලක්ෂණ පෙන්වයි.

ලෙන් විහාරය
රාවණා ඇල්ල විහාරස්ථානයෙහි ලෙන් විහාරය පුරාවිද්‍යාත්මකව වැදගත් වේ. එහි වූ මූර්ති පැරණි බැව් පෙනෙන්නට ඇති මුත් ඒවා වර්තමාන තීන්ත වලින් වර්ණ ගන්වා ඇත. ලෙනෙහි වියන් පෘෂ්ඨය තුනී බදාමයකින් කපරාරු කොට ඇති අතර එහි කවාකාර ‍නෙළුම් මල් ‍‍මෝස්තර, ලියවැල් හා මල්වැල් ‍මෝස්තර දැකගත හැකිය. පැරණි ඇතුල් බිත්ති හා උළු සෙවිලි කල පියස්ස මෑතකාලීනව නවීකරණය කර තිබේ.

රාවණා ගුහාව
රාවණා ගුහාව නමින් ප්‍රචලිත ගල් ගුහාව රාවණා ඇල්ල ලෙන් විහාරය ආසන්නයේම පිහිටා තිබේ. පුරාවිද්‍යා දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව විසින් මෙහි කිහිපවරක් සිදුකරන ලද කැණීම් වලදී වසර 25000 ක් පමණ පැරණි මානව සාධක හෙළි කරගෙන ඇත.

රාමායනයට සබැඳි ස්ථානයක්?
කිසිදු පුරාවිද්‍යා හෝ ඉතිහාසමය සාධකයක් රහිතව මෙම ගුහාව සමහර ප්‍රාදේශීයයන් හා සංචාරක ප්‍රවර්ධකයන් විසින් හඳුන්වනු ලබන්නේ ඉන්දියානු රාමායනයෙහි දැක්වෙන මිත්‍යා චරිත ද්විත්වයක් වූ රාවණා සහ සීතා හා සබැඳෙන ස්ථානයක් වශයෙනි. ඔවුන්ට අනූව, රාවණා විසින් සීතාව නුවර එළිය ආසන්නව පිහිටි උද්‍යානයකට ගෙන යාමට පෙර මෙහි රඳවා තබා තිබේ. කෙසේනමුදු, රාමායනයෙහි සත්‍යතාවය මතබේදාත්මක වන බැවින් වර්තමානයේදී එය මිත්‍යාවක් ලෙස බැහැර කෙරේ.

පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරක ස්ථානය
ඇල්ල ප්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයේ 69A රාවණා ඇල්ල ග්‍රාම නිළදාරී වසමට අයත් රාවණා ඇල්ල විහාරයෙහි පිහිටි පුරාණ ලෙන් විහාරය 1996 නොවැම්බර් 1වන දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත් රජයේ ගැසට් නිවේදනය මගින් ආරක්ෂිත පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකයක් ලෙස නම් කොට ඇත.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Methodist Church, Pettah

Pettah Methodist Church
The Methodist Church situated in Pettah, Colombo is the first Methodist church, established in Sri Lanka as well as Asia.

The history of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka is running back to the early 19th century (Melton & Baumann, 2010). The first Methodist Bishop Thomas Coke (9 September 1747 - 2 May 1814) hoped to open Methodist missions in the East Indies and at his own expense he set sail for Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) on 30 December 1813 with six other missionaries including William Ault, Benjamin Clough, George Erskine, Thomas Hall Squance, William Martin Harvard, and James Lynch. However, during the voyage, Coke died and was buried at sea (Melton & Baumann, 2010). The others except Harvard (he remained in Bombay, India due to family circumstances) arrived in Galle on 29 June 1814, six months after they started their journey and one year before the fall down of the Kingdom of Kandy.

After the arrival, the missionaries split up and traveled to different parts of the country. Lynch and Squance went to Jaffna, Ault to Batticaloa, Erskine to Matara, and Clough remained in Galle (Pritchard, 2016). Harvard who was in Bombay came to Sri Lanka and was based in Colombo. With the help of Andrew Armour, a former army officer, Harvard purchased a portion of land in Pettah and established the first Methodist church in the country which incidentally, is the first Methodist church in Asia as well (Pritchard, 2016). The church building called "The Wesleyan Mission House" was completed and opened for worship on 23 December 1816 (Lewis, 1913).

The first sermon at the opening of the church was conducted by Clough and the evening sermon was done by Harvard (Lewis, 1913). The service was attended by the Governor of Ceylon Robert Brownrigg, his wife, and nearly all the principal Europeans in Colombo (Lewis, 1913).

The building
The design of the church is said to be modeled on the Brunswick Chapel in Liverpool and Captain Gualterus Schneider was the master-builder (Lewis, 1913). The entire establishment consisted of a place of worship, a dwelling house for two families, a large school room, printing and book binding offices, a type foundry, and warehouses (Lewis, 1913). The church, as described in the "Government Gazette" was almost an amphitheater, with three rows of elevated seats nearly all around (Lewis, 1913). In 1863, under the direction of Mr. Bough, the arrangement of the seats was altered (Lewis, 1913).

The present building faces south and has a small pillared verandah. Three arch-shaped entrances provide access to the church. A plaque with a note: "The Wesleyan Mission House 1816" is found fixed on the frontal wall of the church. 

The hall of the church is 17 m in length and 13.9 m in width (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). A number of tombstones are found fixed on the floor as well as the walls of the church (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Monuments commemorating Thomas Coke, William Ault, Margaret Clough (the wife of Benjamin Clough) are found in the church premises (Lewis, 1913).

A protected monument
The ancient Church located in the territory of the Methodist Church, Wella Veediya in Pitakotuwa (Pettah) in the Grama Niladari Division of Pitakotuwa (Pettah) in Colombo Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 20 June 2014.

1) Melton, J.G. and Baumann, M. eds., 2010. Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, [6 volumes]. abc-clio. p.1868.
2) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. pp. 127-132.
3) Pritchard, J., 2016. Methodists and their Missionary Societies 1760-1900. Routledge. p.90.
4) 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.31.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1868. 20 June 2014. p.503.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 11 May 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

A short note for local school students
පිටකොටුව මෙතොදිස්ත පල්ලිය

පිටකොටුව මෙතොදිස්ත පල්ලිය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මෙන්ම ආසියාවේ ඉදිකල පළමු මෙතොදිස්ත පල්ලිය ලෙස සැළකේ.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මෙතොදිස්ත සභාවේ ඉතිහාසය 19වන සියවසේ මුල් සමය දක්වා දිවෙයි. පළමු මෙතොදිස්ත බිෂොප්වරයා ලෙස සැළකෙන තෝමස් කොක් (9 සැප්තැම්බර් 1747 - 2 මැයි 1814) පෙරදිග ඉන්දීය කලාපයෙහි මෙතොදිස්ත මෙහෙවර ක්‍රියාත්මක කරනු වස් සිය වියදමින් ශ්‍රී ලංකාව කරා යාත්‍රාකිරීම 1813 දෙසැම්බර් 30වන දින තවත් මිෂනාරීවරුන් හයදෙනෙකු (විලියම් ඔල්ට්, බෙන්ජමින් ක්ලෝ, ජෝර්ජ් අර්ස්කයින්, තෝමස් හෝල්, විලියම් මාටින් හාවර්ඩ් හා ජේම්ස් ලින්ච්) සමග ආරම්භ කරන ලදී. කෙසේනමුදු, මෙම නාවුක ගමන අතරතුර රෝගාතුර වූ කොක් මිය ගිය අතර ඔහුගේ දේහය මුහුදු පත්ලෙහි තැම්පත් කෙරුණි. අවසානයේදී හාවර්ඩ් හැරුණු විට (පවුලේ හේතුන් නිසා ඔහු ඉන්දියාවේ බොම්බේ හී නැවතුණි) අනෙකුත් මිෂනාරීවරු පස්දෙනා 1814 ජූනි 29වන දිනදී ගාල්ලට සේන්දු විය.

දිවයිනට සේන්දු වීමෙන් අනතුරුව ඔවුහූ රටෙහි වෙනස් ප්‍රදේශ කරා බෙදී යාමට තීරණය කරන ලදී. ඒ අනූව ලින්ච් හා හෝල් යාපනයටත්, ඔල්ට් මඩකලපුවටත්, අර්ස්කයින් මාතරටත් බෙදී ගිය අතර ක්ලෝ ගාල්ලෙහි නැවතුණි. මේ අතර බොම්බේ හී රැඳී සිටි හාවර්ඩ් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට පැමිණීමෙන් අනතුරුව කොළඹ සේවයට යෙදවිණි. හිටපු හමුදා නිළදාරියෙක් වූ ඇන්ඩෘ ආමර් ගේ සහයද ඇතිව හාවර්ඩ් විසින් පිටකොටුවේ ඉඩමක් මිලදී ගෙන එහි මෙතොදිස්ත දේවස්ථානයක් ඉදි කරන ලදී. එමගින් එම දේවස්ථානය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ හා එසේම (අහම්බෙන්) ආසියාවේ ඉදිකෙරූ පළමු මෙතොදිස්ත දේවස්ථානය බවට පත්විය. 1816 දෙසැම්බර් 23 දිනදී එහි "වෙස්ලියානු මිෂනාරි නිවස" නමින් දෙව් මැදුරක් නමස්කාරය සදහා විවෘත විය.

පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකය
කොළඹ ප්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයේ පිටකොටුව වේල්ල වීදිය පිහිටි පැරණි මෙතොදිස්ත පල්ලිය 2014 ජූනි 20වන දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත් රජයේ ගැසට් නිවේදනය මගින් ආරක්ෂිත පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්මාරකයක් ලෙස නම් කොට ඇත.

Sunday, May 10, 2020


Kastane (or Kastana, Kasthana) is a short single-edged Sri Lankan sword. They are not considered as a weapon used in war but a decorated sword used as a part of the ceremonial dress to indicate the status of officers. The swords with highly decorated gilt handles and sheaths usually belonged to the kings and chieftains of the royal court.

Kastane can be considered as an example that reveals the skills of Kandyan craftsmanship. The decorated pommel in the shape of an open-mouthed lion is a special feature of this kind of swords. Often, the tongue of the lion juts out and its eyes are embedded with precious stones. In certain swords the motif Serapenda has been used for the pommel. Usually, the base of the sword, as well as the sheath (scabbard), are decorated with gold, silver, or copper carvings. The hilt is normally made out of wood filled with carved gold or silver plates. The curved end of the sheath is in the form of a bird's head.

A 19th century Kastane from Russia to Sri Lanka
This Sri Lankan made Kastane had been taken out of the country during the British colonial period (1815-1945 A.D.). In 2006, it was placed at the Sotheby’s Auction House and at the auction it was purchased by an anonymous Russian.

In 2017, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena received this sword as a gift in an official visit to Russia where he held a meeting with the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 23. The sword was handed over to the Department of National Museum by Sirisena on 2 August 2017. It is presently on the display at the National Museum of Colombo.

This Kastane is supposed to use as a part of the official costume of Kandyan chieftains and has been decorated with Kandyan designs.

This page was last updated on 10 May 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

A short note for local school students

කස්තානය යනු කෙටි එක් පැත්තක් පමණක් මුවහත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකික කඩුවකි. එය යුද්ධය සඳහා භාවිතා කරන ලද කඩුවක් සේ නොසැළකෙන අතර, රාජ්‍ය නිළදාරීන්ගේ නිල තත්වය හැඟවීමට හා උත්සව අවස්ථාවන්හී නිල ඇඳුමේ අංගයක් ලෙස පළඳිනු ලැබූ විසිතුරු කඩුවක් වේ. විවිධ කැටයමින් අලංකෘත කරන ලද රන් කඩු රජුන්ට හා රාජ සභාවේ ඉහළ නිළදාරීන්ට අයත් ඒවා යැයි විශ්වාස කෙරේ.

නුවර කලාශිල්පයෙහි හැකියාවන් හෙළිකරන උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් කස්තාන හැඳින්විය හැකිය. මුව විවර කරගෙන සිටින සිංහ හිසකින් යුත් විසිතුරු මිට මෙම වර්ගයේ කඩුවල දැකගත හැකි විශේෂ ලක්ෂණයකි. බොහෝවිට සිංහයාගේ දිව පිටතට නෙරා තිබෙන අතර ඇස් වටිනා පාෂාණ වලින් සරසා ඇත. සමහර කඩුවල මිට සඳහා සැරපෙන්දියා රුව යොදාගෙන තිබේ. සාමාන්‍යයෙන් කඩු තලයේ මුල් කොටස හා කොපුව රන්, රිදී හා ලෝකඩ කැටයමින් අලංකරණය කොට පවතී. කඩුමිටද දැවයෙන් නිමවා රන් හෝ රිදී පතුරු සවිකොට හැඩකර තිබේ. කඩු කොපුවෙහි වක්වූ අග කොටස පක්ෂියෙකුගේ හිසක ස්වරූපය දක්වයි.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Anaikoddai seal

Anaikoddai seal
Anaikoddai seal is a bronze seal discovered during an archaeological excavation done at a megalithic burial site in Anaikoddai in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka (Ragupathy, 1987). The excavation was organized by the University of Jaffna and conducted in December 1980, by K. Indrapala, P. Ragupathy, and S.K. Sitrampalam (Ragupathy, 1987).

The burial
The burial where the seal was found is the first megalithic burial complex discovered in the Jaffna Penninsula (Indrapala, 1987). A skeleton of around 5 ft in height with folded hands in the front was found in the burial (Ragupathy, 1987). The skull of it was damaged due to the effect of a Palmyra root (Ragupathy, 1987). Remains of a variety of burial offerings such as crab shells, edible oyster shells, edible conch shells, turtle shells, various kinds of fish vertebrae, animal bones had been discovered placed around the skeleton (Ragupathy, 1987). The containers of these offerings were Early Carinated Black & Red Ware dishes/bowls, other Red & Black Wares, Early Red Ware pots, etc. (Ragupathy, 1987). A few of these shreds are said to had graffiti marks (Ragupathy, 1987). Some bone-points of fish with their natural needle eyes and polished shark vertebrae were found around the neck of the skeleton, which is according to the view of investigators could represent the evidence of ornaments (Ragupathy, 1987). A bronze seal, iron slags, and an iron point were among the other findings of the burial (Ragupathy, 1987).

The bronze seal
The seal was found inside an ECBRW dish placed near the skull of the skeleton (Ragupathy, 1987). It is believed to be a part of a signet ring as some fragments of a circular bronze strap were observed in the same dish by the founders (Ragupathy, 1987). The seal is quadrangle in shape and measures 1.7 cm by 1.5 cm (Ragupathy, 1987).

The seal consists of two lines, believed to be two types of writings (Ragupathy, 1987). The first line has three graffiti marks usually found in Megalithic pottery and in the second line, there are three Brahmi scripts. According to Indrapala and Ragupathy, these Brahmi scripts can be dated to the 3rd or 2nd century B.C. (Indrapala, 1987; Ragupathy, 1987).

Indrapala and Ragupathy believe that the inscription on the seal is Dravidian (Indrapala, 1987; Ragupathy, 1987) but Somadeva thought that it is not a Dravidian but a Prakrit inscription (Somadeva, 1998).

Reading by Indrapala
Karthigesu Indrapala identified three characters (or symbols) in the first line and three letters and an Anusvara (pulli = dot) in the second line (Indrapala, 1987). The symbols, according to Indrapala, have been written in the same way as the ideograms on an Indus seal (Indrapala, 1987). He further states that this is the first known instance of these symbols occurring on a seal in the form of an epigraph alongside a Brahmi inscription (Indrapala, 1987).

Indrapala read the inscription from right to left. He identified the first letter as "", the second as "" and the third letter as "ta" but according to him there is an Anuswara (a dot) just above the letter "ta". The dot represents "n" and that can come before or after the letter "ta" (Indrapala, 1987). Therefore, two readings are possible: Kōvēnta or Kōvētan (Indrapala, 1987). Indrapala believed that both readings are Dravidian and have the same meaning. Indrapala interpreted his reading as follows;

Anaikoddai seal by Indrapala
Reading by Ragupathy
P. Ragupathy suggested a few adjustments to the reading of Indrapala. He showed that the dot which Indrapala has taken as an Anuswara can be a part of the third Indus sign (third character) of the first line (Ragupathy, 1987). He read the Brahmi letters in the second line (without Anuswara) as "ta": "the property of  'Kōvēt'" [(Kōvēntanudaiya in the developed Tamil) Ragupathy, 1987]

Ragupathy divided his reading into three parts as "+t+a" and assigned them to the three Indus signs in the first line. According to him, "Kō" and "vēt" are represented respectively by the two tridents, and the "a" is indicated by the third sign (Ragupathy, 1987).

Views by Ramesh
Dr. K.V. Ramesh has commented on Indrapala's reading of this seal as follows;
After himself suggesting two alternatives, the scholar adopts the reading Kōvētan as the more likely one, through he does not adduce reason for taking a mere dot to represent the final consonant n. Since Kō, and vēta both mean 'king' in Tamil, he takes the two trident-like symbols on the top line also to be ideographic symbols standing for 'king'. Armed with these conclusions, Indrapala poses a very typical as well as topical question as to whether we have at last stumbled upon a bilingual inscription in the Indus and Brahmi scripts. Like some other exasperated scholars in the field, I too have come to believe, after protracted exertions, that the Indus symbols are purely ideographic and never carried any phonetic values at any stage in their usage. We have got to make them yield sense by subjecting them strictly to provenance-cum-context oriented ideographic and, in some cases, pictographic-cum-ideographic interpretation. It is in no way unnatural that these symbols had traveled far and wide spatially and , in terms of time, had preceded and outlived the Indus civilization itself. If the trident mark symbolised the 'king' for the megalithic people of the lower tip of South Asia, and if there was need to put down the name of Kōvētan in ideograms, what would have inevitably resulted is the Anaikkodai seal. However, whether the trident symbol represented the 'king' even for the Indus people is indeed a moot point. 
Citation: Ramesh, 1987.
Reading by Somadeva
Somadeva also identified three Brahmi scripts and three symbols (pictographs) on the seal (Somadeva, 1998). As did by Indrapala, Somadeva too read the inscription from right to left. He identified the first letter as "Ke", the second letter as "ve" and the last as "ta" (Somadeva, 1998).

Here, Somadeva argues that the first letter which is according to him is"Ke" has been misread by Indrapala as "Ko" (Somadeva, 1998). Also, he points out that the usage of long vowels in Sri Lankan Brahmi inscriptions are rare and by neglecting that Sinhala Prakrit rule Indrapala has come to an arbitrary assumption that it was written in a Dravidian language (Somadeva, 1998). According to Somadeva, in early Brahmi scripts, the Anuswara is usually put to the right of the letter (Somadeva, 1998). Therefore, he believed that Indrapala has misidentified a part of the last character in the first line as an Anuswara (Somadeva, 1998).

Somadeva further says that it is a great mistake by Indrapala to judge without any evidence that the present majority language of the Jaffna peninsula has entered into a seal with more than two thousand years history just because the seal was found in that area. (Somadeva, 1998). Also, he emphasizes that no such/similar Tamil inscriptions belonging to B.C. era have been found in Sri Lanka yet but, Vallipuram gold plate, a Prakrit inscription, gives a hint that during the 1st century A.D. the northern part of the country was under the influence of Anuradhapura (Somadeva, 1998). Somadeva identified this inscription as Sinhala Prakrit and interpreted his reading as follows;

Anaikoddai seal by Somadeva
According to Somadeva, this seal may represent the identity of a council of fishermen (Somadeva, 1998). The excavators of the burial where the seal was found have mentioned in their reports that a variety of burial offerings including crab shells, edible oyster shells, edible conch shells, turtle shells, various kinds of fish vertebrae, animal bones were discovered around the skeleton.

1) Indrapala, 1987. Appendix II, Anaikkottai seal. Early settlements in Jaffna, An archaeological survey. Published by Mrs. Thilimalar Ragupathy. Madras. pp. 200-202. 
2) Ragupathy, P. 1987. Early settlements in Jaffna, An archaeological survey. Published by Mrs. Thilimalar Ragupathy. Madras. pp.115-126, 202-203.
3) Ramesh, K.V., 1987. Appendix II, Anaikkottai seal. Early settlements in Jaffna, An archaeological survey. Published by Mrs. Thilimalar Ragupathy. Madras. pp. 204. 
4) Somadeva, R., 1998. ආනෛයිකෝඞ්ඩායි ලෝහ මුද්‍රාව: ස්වරාජ්‍යවාදී ප‍්‍රවේශයෙන් ඔබ්බට; The Annaikoddai Seal. Beyond the homelands approach  (In Sinhala). (editors: Gunawardhana, P.; Gunatilaka, H.M.,; Dissanayaka, A.,; Kumaratunga, D.G.). Sarasavi. ISBN: 955-96402-0-3. pp.39-49.
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