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, August 30, 2020

Kirinda Viharamahadevi Raja Maha Viharaya

Kirinda Viharaya
Kirinda Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Kirinda Viharamahadevi Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple on the sea-coast at Kirinda in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. It is located on the summit of a rocky outcrop situated about 120 m west of the present fisheries harbour of Kirinda.

History
Folklore 
It is popularly believed that this temple has been built at the spot where Viharamahadevi (Vihara-devi), the mother of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) and King Saddhatissa (137-119 B.C.) is supposed to have disembarked after she was sacrificed to the sea to appease the gods who were wrath with King Kelani Tissa for unreasonably suspecting and killing of an Arhant (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 2001). The chronicle Mahavamsa records that Vihara-devi landed ashore at Lanka Vihara on the coast near Mahagama [(the landing place is also known as Tolaka Vihara and Kottalata ) Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001]. King Kavan Tissa (205-161 B.C.) who espoused Vihara-devi constructed the Viharamahadevi Viharaya or Bisovalu Viharaya at this place to commemorate the event (Abeyawardana, 2004; Paranavitana, 2001). However the popular identification of present Kirinda Viharaya as Viharamahadevi's landing place has no historical authority and the inscriptions found at the site do not bear out this popular belief (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001).

Inscriptions
There are two inscriptions in the present temple premises (Somadeva, 2006). Of them, the first one is a metrically composed rock inscription carved on a granite rock surface facing east. The second inscription is engraved on a rock surface situated slightly lower level than the first one (Somadeva, 2006). The first inscription has been dated by scholars such as Nicholas to the reign of King Mahadathika Mahanaga (Somadeva, 2006).

Kirinda rock inscription of Mahadathika Mahanaga
A metrically composed rock inscription was discovered engraved on the vertical face of a large boulder near the ruined Stupa (now restored) of Kirinda Viharaya (Paranavitana, 2001). The record contains four lines and the script closely resembles that of the Maharatmale rock inscription (Paranavitana, 2001). From the palaeographical point of view, this inscription has been dated to the reign of King Mahadathika Mahanaga [(9-21 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963].

Script : Later Brahmi
Language: Sinhala Prakrit
Transcript: Siddham. Aparimate lokahi Budha-same nati athana parama......>>
Content: This inscription records that at the Vihara at this spot, the viceroy named Naga abandoned false beliefs and was converted to Buddhism.
References: Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001.

An inscription containing similar text to the aforesaid inscription is also found engraved on an octagonal pillar erected on the urban mound at Akurugoda situated approximately 9 km north of Kirinda (Abeyawardana, 2004; Somadeva, 2006). According to the view of scholars, these two inscriptions are unique and bear a political significance (Abeyawardana, 2004; Somadeva, 2006). Nicholas has given a short description about its significance as follows;
"The chronicles give us to understand that from B.C. 246 onwards Buddhism was the firm and only faith of the Sinhalese monarchy and people, and the accuracy of that assertion is not impugned by this solitary instance of one dissident prince professing other beliefs and recanting them in favour of Buddhism. This singular event is not recorded in the Chronicles or Commentaries, but it was apparently of sufficient local importance for the recantation to be publicised by the engraving of two inscriptions, one at the Uvaraja's seat (Mahagama) and the other at the Vihara where the conversion occurred".
Citation: Nicholas, 1963. pp.62-63.
Kirinda beach

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Attribution
1) Kirinda temple by Chamal N is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
2) This image (Kirinda Pano) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Dennis Sylvester Hurd.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. pp.128,141.
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). pp.62-63.
3) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.214-217.
4) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in archaeology at Uppsala University. pp.144,311.

Location Map
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Adventure Sports in Kitulgala

White Water Rafting
Kitulgala is a small town located in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka and presently a popular tourist destination for adventure sports such as white-water rafting, canyoning, waterfall abseiling, jungle trekking, bird-watching and aerial rope activities.

Kitulgala is also the movie location of where David Lean’s 1957 adventure epic war film, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" was filmed.

Activities
White Water Rafting (WWR)
Kelani Ganga River that flows through the Kitulgala area has made the country's safest and attractive place for white-water rafting. The rapids named "Virgin breast", "Butter crunch", "Killer fall" and "White water" are ideal for the rafters of beginner to advanced level.

Canyoning (Trekking, sliding, & confidence jumps)
Canyoning is created in Kataran Ella Fall with trekking, sliding down inclined 7 m water fall into a rock pool. The 12 ft tall confidence jump is performed into a natural rock pool.

Water fall abseiling/rappelling
Water falls such as Sandun Ella are popular for abseiling.

Village trekking, Jungle trekking, Cycling
Trekking and cycling through hamlets, rain forests and mountains are also among the activities at Kitulgala. Exploration of pre-historic Belilena cave is also included.

Bird watching
Many bird species including endemic species such as Blue Magpie, Orange-billed Babbler, Chestnut-backed Owlet are found in Kitulgala area.

Aerial rope activity
Zip-lining activities are also available for the tourists.

Note: A number of adventure sports companies are currently operating in Kitulgala area and travelers are advised to contact any of them before go for an adventure type trip.

Broadlands Dam project 
Under the Broadlands Dam project a river hydroelectric complex is being constructed across the Kelani Ganga River in Kitulgala area. According to the view of local adventure sports companies, there is a risk of declining the water based sports in Kitulgala including the WWR due to this dam construction.

Canyoning

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Selva Sannithi Murukan Temple

Selva Sannithi Murukan Temple
Selva Sannithi Murukan Temple (or Selva Sannidhi Kovil) is a Hindu shrine situated in Thondaimanaru in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to God Murukan (also known as Kartikeya or Kataragama), one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon. The temple is famously known among its devotees as the "Kataragama (or Sella Katirkamam) of the North".

Folklore
The temple is located near the bank of Thondaimanaru stream. This stream is said to have been excavated under the supervision of Karunakara Thondaiman who had been sent here for procurement of salt supplies, by South Indian Chola King Kulottunga I [(1070-1122 A.D.) Krishnapillai, 1998]. The temple located by the side of this new cut waterway is believed to be the place of worship of the settlement that got founded in the locality (Krishnapillai, 1998). However, the temple was devastated by foreigners during the 16th century (Krishnapillai, 1998).

The present temple was established at the site later, during the era of the revival of Hinduism in Jaffna.

Attribution
1) This image (Jaffna Trip 2017 Nov) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Samantha Weerasinghe.

References
1) Krishnapillai, V., 1998. Vel worship in Sri Lanka. The article is available at http://kataragama.org/research/krishnapillai.htm.

Location Map

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Kondagala, Loolkandura

Kondagala
Kondagala is a small mountain situated in Deltota in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. Located in the middle of Loolkandura Conservation Forest, the trail to the summit of the mountain is fallen through the first commercial tea estate of the country, Loolkandura Estate (or Loolecondera).

Presently, this site has become a popular place among the tourists for hiking. The journey usually takes about 20-40 mins to reach the top of the rock. A picturesque view of the central highlands can be obtained from the top of the rock.

Location Map

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Pattipola Railway Station

Pattipola Railway Station
Pattipola Railway Station is one of railway stations in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. Located along the Colombo-Badulla line, this station is considered as the railway station on the highest elevation in the country with an elevation of 1,891 m [(6,204 ft) Abeyawardana, 2004]. The highest elevation on the railroad (summit level: 1,898.1 m) is also located at a a point close to the Pattipola station (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Attribution
1) Rail Pa - 2017 by Samantha Weerasinghe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.222-223.

Location Map

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

James Taylor's Loolkandura Estate

Loolkandura estate
The Loolkandura Estate (British pronounce: Loolecondera) is the first tea plantation estate in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) established in 1867 by Scotsman James Taylor.

James Taylor, Loolkandura & Ceylon Tea
James Taylor is credited as the one who introduced tea to Sri Lanka [(then Ceylon) Ranasingha, 2020]. Born on 29 March 1835 in a cottage called Mosspark on Monboddo Estate in Kincardineshire, Scotland, Taylor was the eldest of his family (Forrest, 1967). He came to Sri Lanka on 20 February 1852, at the age of 17 and settled down in Loolkandura estate in Kandy District (Forrest, 1967). He was billeted on Mr. Pride's Naranghena Estate (at the time it was a coffee estate) and Taylor stayed there for about six weeks before he was sent to Wal-oya, the adjoining estate [(now a division of Loolkandura) Forrest, 1967].

With the onset of the coffee rust disease, Taylor visited Assam, India in 1866 to learn about growing tea. In 1867, upon his return, he started the plantation of tea within 19 acres of land in Loolkandura (the land presently known as Field No. 07) and it grew rapidly (Forrest, 1967; Lewis, 1913). By 1872, Taylor had a fully equipped tea-house to his own design and a rolling machine used in tea production  (Forrest, 1967). In a letter dated 18 March 1872, Taylor has mentioned some remarks about the significance of his rolling machine;
"I have a machine of my own invention being made in Kandy for rolling the tea which I think will be successful. If so, we cannot help making a profit on tea if it grows of fair quality in this country. The picking or gathering the leaves and the rolling are the greatest expenses in the production; the rolling costs nearly as much as the gathering."
This rolling machine is considered to be the first machine ever made in the history of the Sri Lankan Tea Industry (Ranasingha, 2020).

Death
Taylor Died on 2 May 1892, soon after his dismissal from Loolkandura estate (Forrest, 1967). His body was buried in Mahaiyawa cemetery in Kandy and his tombstone reads (Lewis, 1913);
"James Taylor of Loolecondera Estate, Ceylon, the pioneer of the Tea and Cinchona enterprises in this island......aged 57 year. This stone was erected by his sister and many friends in Ceylon."
Monuments
Field No. 07
This is referred to the first original tea field of Sri Lanka. Presently, a land of 5 acres out of 19 acres planted by Taylor in 1867 is remaining.

James Taylor Seat, well & Kiln
The granite seat where Taylor sat while planing the future of Loolkandura is found preserved at the present site. A vast panorama of nature including the mountains such as Hunnasgiriya, Knuckles range, Brandygala (Wiltshire), Hampshire, and Thoppigala (Friors Hood) can be obtained across the valley from the seat. Ruins of Taylor's kiln/log cabin built in 1865 are still at the place where his bungalow existed. It is said that he did experiments by making tea in the verandah of his log cabin. Also, the bathing well used by Taylor is still at the site.

Museum
The Ceylon Tea Authority built a museum at Loolkandura in 1992 to commemorate Taylor (Ranasingha, 2020). However, it was later attached to the Hanthana Tea Museum (Ranasingha, 2020).

A protected site
The ancient well, stone seat, and the tea kiln used by James Taylor and belonging to the Loolkandura Tea Estate situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Loolkandura in Deltota Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

References
1) Forrest, D.M., 1967. hundred years of Ceylon tea, 1867-1967. Chatto & Windus. London. pp.-57-79.
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. p. 333.
3) Ranasingha, R.A.K.S., 2020. Loolkandura The Karmantha shalawa asrithaye karmika puravidya urumaya pilibanda adyanayak (In Sinhala). Puravidu Welipila. Vol: I Issue: III. ISSN: 2719-2210. pp.23-27.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.526.

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Tamil Inscriptions of Fort Hammenhiel

Tamil Inscriptions of Fort Hammenhiel
A pillar containing two Tamil inscriptions has been discovered from Hammenhiel Fort in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. 

Discovery
The pillar which had been attached on the outer wall of the Hammenhiel Fort was discovered by Herbert Keuneman while spending a holiday at the fort (Indrapala, 1991). The pillar is said to have been built into the outer wall of the fort on the eastern side at a height of nearly eleven feet from the base (Indrapala, 1991). Subsequently, it was removed from the fort wall by the Department of Archaeology and is presently kept on the display in the Archaeological Museum of Jaffna.

The pillar, due to the ornamental carvings it has, is believed to be a door jamb that once had formed part of a Hindu temple (Indrapala, 1991). That Hindu temple, according to the view of Indrapala, may exist at Mathottam in Mannar District and the pillar along with other stones were transported to the Hammenhiel by sea later to repair the Dutch fort (Indrapala, 1991).

Inscriptions
Two inscriptions are inscribed on two sides of the same pillar and are written in Tamil scripts mixed with Grantha letters (Indrapala, 1991). Depending on the palaeography, both inscriptions have been dated to the eleventh century A.D. (Indrapala, 1991).

The inscription on the first side of the pillar was copied in 1968 by the Department of Archaeology and it is said that the second inscription was not noticed by them as it completely covered with lime plaster at the time (Indrapala, 1991). However, after the lime plaster was removed, the second inscription was read for the first time by Indrapala on 20 February 1978 (Indrapala, 1991).

Content
The context of the two inscriptions is nearly identical. They record about the conquest of Sri Lanka and the capture of King Mahinda V of Anuradhapura (982-1017 A.D.) by a South Indian Cola commander named Jayankonta Cola Muventa Velar in 1017 A.D. (Dias et al., 2016; Indrapala, 1991). These are the only epigraphs from Sri Lanka confirming the fact that Mahinda V and his queen were taken away along with his treasures by a Cola commander.

Reign : Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.)
Period: 11th century A.D.
Script : Tamil, Grantha (used for writing Sanskrit words)
Language: Tamil
Content of side I: Hail Prosperity! Governor and General Muventa Velar alias Jayankonta Cola of Mathottam, Mannar (Rajarajapura) conquered Sri Lanka and took away King Mahinda and his consort.
Content of side II: Hail Prosperity! The Adhikara Dandanayaka who took away the crown that the Pandya had deposited as (part of) his family treasure in Ilam alias Mummaticola-mandalam, the crown of the King of Ilam and the crown of his queen, as well as the ladies and treasures (of the king of Ilam)...Iraje....
References: Dias et al., 2016; Indrapala, 1991.

References
1) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. pp.224-225.
2) Indrapala, K., 1991. Inscription no. two from fort Hammenhiel, Kayts. Epigraphia Zeylanica being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon: Vol: VI Part: II. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. Sri Lanka. pp.154-160.

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Fort Hammenhiel

Fort Hammenhiel
Fort Hammenhiel is an old Dutch fort situated on a small island between Kayts and Karaitive islands in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

History
During the Portuguese period, Hammenhiel which had been named by the Portuguese as Fortaleza do Caes (Wijebandara, 2014), used to guard the passage by water to the castle Fort at Jaffna. The Dutch under the captains Cornelies Reb, Piester Waset, and N. van de Reede captured Fortaleza do Caes in 1658, soon after the occupation of Mannar. The Dutch renamed it Hammenhiel (heel of the Ham) as they considered that shape of Ceylon resembled a smoked ham and the fort was located at the point where the shank bone projects (Wijebandara, 2014). A thanks offering sermon for the god on the victory of Dutch is said to have been conducted here on 28 August 1658 (Wijebandara, 2014).

After occupying this Portuguese establishment, the Dutch carried out many repairs to it as they found some weaknesses in the structure. They constructed a stone breakwater newly as the sandbank on which the fort was built, had been undermined by the storms of the North-east monsoon. The hollow ramparts and their beamed-roofs were also repaired and replaced by the Dutch to use them for a long period without the fear of any destruction. Also, a huge reservoir paved with "Dutch bricks" was built by the Dutch on the northern side of the fort to collect and preserve the rainwater.

In 1795, the fort was captured by the British (Wijebandara, 2014).

An inscribed limestone pillar attached on the outer wall of the fort was discovered by Herbert Keuneman while spending a holiday at the fort (Indrapala, 1991). The pillar which is assumed to be a door jamb of a temple was removed from the fort wall later by the Department of Archaeology and is presently kept on the display in the Jaffna Museum.

Two Tamil inscriptions, both are nearly identical in the context, are found inscribed on the pillar. The inscriptions belong to the 11th century and record about the conquest of Sri Lanka and the capture of King Mahinda V of Anuradhapura (982-1017 A.D.) by a South Indian Cola commander named Jayankonta Cola Muventa Velar in 1017 A.D. (Indrapala, 1991).

The fort
The fort remains in good condition and is garrisoned by the Sri Lanka Navy. There is only one vaulted entrance to the fort which is not more than 7 ft in height. The living quarters consist of three or four rooms in the courtyard and the vaults under the ramparts were used as storerooms. The Dutch maintained a garrison of about thirty soldiers under the charge of a Lieutenant or Ensign on this spot.

The fort is presently maintained by the Navy as a tourist hotel.

A protected site
Hammenhiel Fort belonging to Kayts West Island in the Grama Niladhari Division of Kayts town bearing No. J-49 in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Kytes Northern Island is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

Fort Hammenhiel

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Attribution
1) DJI 0047-01 by KingAlawaka is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
2) Hammenhiel fort by AntanO is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Indrapala, K., 1991. Inscription no. two from fort Hammenhiel, Kayts. Epigraphia Zeylanica being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon: Vol:VI . Part:II. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. Sri Lanka. pp.154-160.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.129.
3) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.110-112.

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Mannar Fort

Mannar Fort
Mannar Fort is an ancient fort located on the island of Mannar, Sri Lanka.

History
The fort was built on the Mannar Island soon after it was taken by the Portuguese viceroy, Don Constantino de Braganza about the year 1560  (Abeyasinghe, 1995). It surrendered to the Dutch on 22 February 1658 and they rebuilt the fort in 1696 (Mandawala, 2012).  On 5 October 1795, the British occupied the fort when the Dutch surrendered to them (Mandawala, 2012).

A description about the Mannar Fort is found in the section related to Sri Lanka in Antonio Bocarro's seventeenth-century work entitled, "O Livro das plantas de Todas as Fortalezas, Cidadese Povoacoes do Estado da India Oriental" (Abeyasinghe, 1995).

The fort
The square-shaped fort is located on the eastern tip of the island shore next to the main bridge that connects the mainland with the Mannar Island.

There are remains of many buildings and structures inside the fort. Of them, the church building, the court and other structures including the bastions have been identified today (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). The church, without the roof, contains a large number of tombstones ranging from the 17th century to the 20th century (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). Although the fort was first built by the Portuguese, the remaining buildings and structures show architectural features belonging to the Dutch (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018).

The walls of every structure of the fort have been constructed using the limestone, coral and bricks [(less amount) Asanga & Nishantha, 2018]. The main entrance arch was set at the southern wall of the fort but it is completely destroyed today. An illustration of that entrance arch is found in a painting of Mannar Fort drawn in 1710 (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). 

Four bastions, still in good condition, have been positioned at the four corners of the fort and three of them have guard posts (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). To position the guns of the guards, a wall of about 1 meter high has been built on the slope of the southern wall (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). The wall originally had about 45 windows but due to the collapse of the entrance arch, 12 of them are not found today (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018).

A protected site
The Dutch fort and the rampart situated in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Mannar are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 11 April 1974.

Mannar Fort Mannar Fort Mannar Fort .
References
1) Abeyasinghe, T.B.H., 1995. Antonio Bocarro's Description of Ceylon Translated into English. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 39, pp.1-9,64.
2) 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.61-65.
3) 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.102.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 4-258. 11 April 1974.

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Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

Nine Arch Bridge
The Nine Arch Bridge is a masonry arch bridge located on Badulla railway line in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. The bridge is situated between Ella and Demodara railway stations and about 2.2 km distance from Ella town along the Passara road.

Located almost 3100 ft above the sea level, the bridge is 300 ft (91.44 m) long and 25 ft (7.62 m) wide. It has been built entirely of solid rocks, bricks and cement without using a single piece of steel. The bride contains 9 arches and therefore, it is known among the locals as "Nine Arch Bridge"or "Ahas Nawaya Palama (nine skies bridge)".

The bridge was built by the British in the early 20th century and was commissioned in 1921. 

Nine Arch Bridge Nine Arch Bridge Nine Arch Bridge Nine Arch Bridge Nine Arch Bridge
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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.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Maimbulkanda Gallen Viharaya

Maimbulkanda Viharaya
Maimbulkanda Purana Gallen Viharaya (or Maimbula Gallen Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated on the verge of Maimbulkanda Sanctury 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 Archaeological 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 Nittambuwa Sanctury
The forest surrounding the Maimbulkanda cave temple was declared as one of the Sanctuaries in Sri Lanka by the government on 31 October 1972.

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.

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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

Not to be confused with Nagadeepa Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya

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 (Wijebandara, 2014). 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 (Wijebandara, 2014).

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; Wijebandara, 2014). In the following year, 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 the present site 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; Wijebandara, 2014). However, the temple was restored with the support of the then government (Wijebandara, 2014).

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.
4) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.81-89.

Location Map

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