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.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Dhathukanda Sri Jinendrarama Viharaya

Dhathukanda Sri Jinendrarama Viharaya
Dhathukanda Sri Jinendrarama Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kalalpitiya village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. 

The temple
The temple has been constructed at the top of a rock in the area. It consists of a Stupa, an image house, a Bodhi-tree, and a recently built large meditating Buddha statue. The rock summit can be reached through two flights of stairs set in two different directions. On the summit, near the large meditating Buddha statue, is a site with the ruins of an ancient structure. Fallen stone pillars, two granite slabs of Korawak Gal (balustrades), and washed-off debris of buildings are found on that site.
 
A protected site
The place with ruins of buildings, place with the evidence of a settlement of pre-historic era and the flight of steps carved on the natural rock at Kalalpitiya Dhathukanda Sri Jinendarama Purana Raja Maha Vihara situated in Grama Niladhari Division No. 343, Kalalpitiya in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Aththanagalla are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 9 March 2016.

Dhathukanda Sri Jinendrarama Viharaya Dhathukanda Sri Jinendrarama Viharaya Dhathukanda Sri Jinendrarama Viharaya
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References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 1957/18. 9 March 2016. p.5A.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 8 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Maimbulkanda Gallen Viharaya

Maimbulkanda Viharaya
Maimbulkanda Purana Gallen Viharaya (or Maimbula Gallen Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple located in Ranpokunugama in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka. 

The temple
The temple is situated on a high-ground and consists of a Len-viharaya (the cave temple: an image house built within a cave), a newly built Stupa and a Bodhi-tree. The lower-ground is connected to the upper-ground through a flight of steps consisting of a large number of granite slabs. Some of these slabs contain the names of unknown people, probably the donors who contributed in constructing that flight of steps.

Len Viharaya
The Len-viharaya is the main attraction of the temple with archaeological value. It houses several Buddha images in meditating and standing posture. Some of these images are apparently old but they have been colored with modern-day paintings. The ceiling of the cave is adorned with paintings probably belonging to a modern period.

A protected site
The cave temple with ancient frescoes and sculptures within the premises of Maimbula Gallen Vihara in Maimbula Ranpokunagama Village belonging to the Grama Niladhari Division No. 350, Maimbula in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Aththanagalla is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 7 July 2016.

Maimbulkanda Gallen Viharaya Maimbulkanda Gallen Viharaya Maimbulkanda Gallen Viharaya
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References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 1974/16. 7 July 2016. p.5A.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 5 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Attanagalla Raja Maha Viharaya

Attanagalla Viharaya
Attanagalla Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Attanagalla village in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

History
Details about the history of Attanagalla Viharaya can be found in the Hatthavanagalla-vihara-vamsa, a Pali work of the 13th century (Wikramasinghe, 1900). It contains a mythical account of  King Sirisamghabodhi (252-254 A.D.) who is said to have lived in Hatthavanagalla (present Attanagalla) in retirement after the usurpation of his kingdom by King Gotabhaya [(254-267 A.D.) Wikramasinghe, 1900]. As mentioned in the text, but without historical foundation, King Sirisamghabodhi gave up his life here by offering his own head to a peasant so that latter might get from Gotabhaya the price set for securing Sirisamghabodhi's head (Liyanagamage, 1963; Nicholas, 1963). It is traditionally believed that the cremation of Sirisamghabodhi was taken place at this site (Liyanagamage, 1963). 

However, on the authority of the Maha-vamsa-tika, it has been pointed out that this event (Sirisamghabodhi's supreme act of self-sacrifice) took place in the south of Issarasamana Viharaya in Anuradhapura and not in the present Attanagalla Viharaya (Liyanagamage, 1963). Some believe that this incident may actually happen at Haththikuchchi Viharaya in Kurunegala District (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

According to chronicles, King Gotabhaya built a Vatadage on the spot where Sirisamghabodhi was cremated and King Upatissa II (517-518 A.D.) erected a 5-storeyed Prasada at the site (Nicholas, 1963). King Parakramabahu II (1236-1271 A.D.) repaired the Vatadage and also built an octagonal image house and a Cetiya over the spot where his father had been cremated in the temple premises (Nicholas, 1963).

The temple
Attanagalla Vatadage
The temple consists of an image house, a Stupa, a Bodhi-tree, a pond, and a Vatadage.

Attanagalla Vatadage
The Vatadage at Attanagalla Viharaya has been built by enclosing a Stupa inside it. The roof of it consists of two decks and is supported by stone pillars in two concentric circles. The inner side of the outer walls is adorned with murals of Buddhist themes.

A protected site
The ancient image house in the premises of the Attanagalla Vihara in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Attanagalla is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

Attanagalla Viharaya Attanagalla Viharaya Attanagalla Viharaya
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References
1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. p.75.
2) Liyanagamage, A., 1963. The Decline of Polonnaruva and the Rise of Dambadeniya, (Circa 1180-1270 AD). Doctoral dissertation, SOAS University of London. pp.48-49.
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.120.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
5) Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1900. Catalogue of the Sinhalese Manuscripts in the British Museum: London. p.70.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 5 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Monday, August 3, 2020

Deraniyagala Cave, Sigiriya

Deraniyagala Cave, Sigiriya
Deraniyagala Cave (also known as Cave no. 7) is a cave situated in the premises of Sigiriya fortress in Matale District, Sri Lanka. The cave has been named after P. E. P. Deraniyagala, the scholar who recorded the paintings in this cave for the first time.

History
The drip-ledge of the cave indicates that this cave was an abode of forest-dwelling Buddhist monks belonging to the first monastic phase before King Kassapa (477-495 A.D.). 

Paintings
Faint traces of several female figures are found drawn on the ceiling of the cave. They are similar in the style to those found in the main caves of the Sigiriya rock, except that they are full-figure representations. Traces of foliage and the spreading branches of trees are found in the background below the female figures (Chutiwongs et al., 1990).

Depending on the colours used and ornaments drawn, these paintings have been dated to the late 6th century (Chutiwongs et al., 1990).

Faint traces of female figures Faint traces of female figures Traces of foliage and the spreading branches of trees
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References
1) Chutiwongs, N., Prematilleke, L., Silva, R., 1990. Paintings of Sri Lanka: Sigiriya: Colombo, Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka, Centenary Publications, Central Cultural Fund. pp. 37-47.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 3 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Nagadeepa Viharaya

Nagadeepa Viharaya
Nagadeepa Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated on the island of Nagadeepa/Nagadipa (Tamil: Nainativu) in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. The famous religious shrines, Nagapooshani Amman temple, and the Buddha Walawwa are also located near to this temple.

History
Ancient Nagadeepa
Nagadeepa is referred to as Manipallavam or Maninaga island as well (Dias et al., 2016). The place is mentioned in several early Sri Lankan chronicles such as Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa and in ancient Tamil Sangam literature of Tamil Nadu (India) such as Manimekhalai.

Nagadeepa is first mentioned in connection with the story of the Buddha's second visit to Sri Lanka (Nicholas, 1963). The inhabitants of here were Nagas who are said to have been related to the ruling Naga family at Kelaniya (Nicholas, 1963).

Legends
According to Sri Lankan chronicles such as Mahawamsa, the Buddha in the fifth year after his enlightenment visited Nagadeepa in Sri Lanka to settle a dispute that had to be arisen between two royal kinsmen of Naga clan Chulodara and Mahodara (nephew and uncle) over a gem-studded throne. After the appearance of the Buddha, the Nagas who were about to war with each other stopped the war and paid homage to the Buddha.

A deity named Samidhi Sumana who was residing in a Rajayathana tree (Kiripalu tree) adjacent to the Jetavanarama temple (at the time Buddha was living in Jetavanarama temple) is said to have come to Nagadeepa with the Buddha by holding his uprooted residence-the Rajayathana tree as an umbrella (parasol) to him.

The Indian Tamil epic Manimekhalai also describes the Buddha's intervene in settling a dispute between two Naga princes over a gem-set throne seat on an island known as Manipallavam.

Royal patronage
The Buddha is said to have returned to Jetavanarama leaving behind the gem-studded throne and the Rajayathana tree for the veneration of the Nagas. In the second century A.D., King Bhatikatisa (143-167 A.D.) is said to have built the Palu-da-ge at the foot of the Rajayathana tree and King Aggabodhi II (571-604 A.D.) had erected the Unnalomaghara dwelling to the Rajayatanadhatu Vihara (the Palu-da-ge and the Rajayatanadhatu Vihara are the same) as well as an umbrella for the Amala Cetiya (Nicholas, 1963).

Modern temple
The establishment of modern Nagadeepa temple was pioneered by a Buddhist monk named Randombe Somasiritissa Thera who visited the site for the first time in 1939 (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012). He met lady devotee Mallika Seneviratna at Bambarakele Sri Maha Viharaya in Nuwara Eliya and with the help of her husband D.A. Seneviratna, the construction works of the modern temple were commenced in 1940 (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012). The Stupa of the temple was unveiled  in 1943 (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012).

A gold-plated Buddha statue donated by the Myanmar Navy was placed in Nagadeepa temple in 1955 (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012). As a result of the communal unrest that erupted in 1958, this statue as well as the other establishment of the temple including the Stupa were destroyed and vandalized by the locals (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012). However, the temple was restored with the support of the then government.

The temple was again threatened in the 1980s due to the activities of the "Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam" (LTTE), a Tamil secessionist group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012). On 31 March 1986, the image house of nearby Buddha Walawwa temple was destroyed by a bomb planted by the LTTE rebels (Vijithadhamma Thera, 2012).

The Bodhi tree and the image house
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References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.201-202.
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.83.
3) Vijithdhamma Thera, 2012. Nagadeepaya Eda-Ada (In Sinhala). Published by the author. pp.24-43.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 2 August 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map