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, July 25, 2021

Pravachanodaya Pirivena, Molligoda

Pravachanodaya Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Molligoda in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. Presently it serves as a Pirivena (an educational institute) for Buddhist monks.

History
After the establishment of Vidyoda Pirivena in Colombo (1873), and Vidyalankara Pirivena in Peliyadoda (1876), several Pirivenas were set up around the country mainly to educate Buddhist monks (Abeyawardana, 2002). Pravachanodaya Pirivena in Molligoda was one such institute established in 1891 by a local donor named Liyanage Lewis Perera Vidana-arachchi (Abeyawardana, 2002).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7. p.100.

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Sunandarama Pirivena, Ovitigala

Sunandarama Pirivena, Ovitigala
Sunandarama Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Ovitigala in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been established in the second half of the 19th century. Induruwe Medhankara Thera was the first incumbent of the temple.

The image house
Murals in the image house
The old image house of Sunandarama Viharaya is considered the most important monument of the temple. It mainly consists of two parts; the inner chamber and the outer chamber (the vestibule). The inner chamber contains three Buddha statues in the seated, standing and the reclining postures. An entrance decorated with Makara Thorana (the dragon arch) provides access to this chamber. The walls and the ceiling of the outer chamber are filled with old murals depicting Buddhist themes such as Sath Sathiya (the first seven weeks after the enlightenment), Suvisi Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas), and some important events in the life of the Buddha.

Two male figures wearing a colonial dress
The entrance door of the inner chamber is flanked by two lions and two guardian statues. Adjacent to the guardian statues are the paintings of two male figures wearing a dress of the colonial period. The black coat, tight-fitting breeches, pointed shoes have given these figures a western appearance and the white halo around their crowned heads have increased their status among other figures in the vestibule. As both figures have the same features, they probably represent the same person. However, of the two figures, one holds a brown leather-bound book by his right hand.

The front cover as well as the spine of this book contain some words written in Roman and Devanagari characters. The Roman scripts on the front cover label this book as "Denapota" which is probably the incorrect form of the original word "Dinapotha" (Sinhala: the diary), because the word written in Devanagari characters above this Roman word can be pronounced as "Dinapota". The Devanagari word on the spine of the book says "Me Potha" which can be translated from Sinhala to English as "this book". The year 1827 is also denoted in this book.

A protected site
The old Vihara-geya (image house) of Sunandarama Viharaya, situated in Ovitigala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Matugama is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996. 

Sunandarama Pirivena, Ovitigala .
References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Ashokarama Maha Viharaya, Kalutara

Ashokarama Maha Viharaya, Kalutara
Ashokarama Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kalutara North in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The image house
According to the details in the plaque fixed on to the front wall of the image house, a wealthy devotee named Wel Arumage Elliyas Fernando established the Ashokaramaya temple in the Buddhist Year 2411 (1868 A.D.) and bestowed it to Buddhist monks headed by Matara Sri Dhammarama Maha Swamipadayan Vahanse. Later, they (the Buddhist monks) handed over the custody of the temple to the lineage of students of Alutgama Sangharatana Maha Sthavira.

The Stupa of the temple, as mentioned on the upper part of it (in the Hatares Kotuwa), has been built in the Buddhist year 2442 (1899 A.D.). The decorative gate in front of it has been constructed by a person named A.F. Jayasekara Dharmasiriwardana Mudiyanse Ralahami.

Murals in the image house .
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Sudarshanarama Viharaya, Dodangoda

Sudarshanarama Viharaya, Dodangoda
Dodangoda Sudarshanarama Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Dodangoda in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
By the 19th century, there were no Buddhist temples in the Dodangoda area and people had to go to Pushparama Viharaya in Malegoda for their religious activities (Priyandana, 2013). Therefore, a new Buddhist temple was established at the present site in Dodangoda under the guidance of a Buddhist monk named Dodangoda Sudassi Thera on 12 August 1855 (Priyandana, 2013). Later, Sudassi Thera handed over the custody of this temple to one of his students named Mawanane Indragupta Thera (Priyandana, 2013).

With the support of local donors such as D.V.W. Kotalawala and K.K.A. Ranaweera, an image house for this temple was begun to construct in 1880 (Priyandana, 2013). In 1911, the preaching hall of the temple was erected (Priyandana, 2013). A Stupa was added to the temple in 1928 (Priyandana, 2013).

The image house
The image house of Sudarshanarama Viharaya
The image house of Sudarshanarama Viharaya is considered the most important monument of the temple as it contains Kandyan mural and sculptures belonging to the second half of the 19th century. It mainly consists of two parts; the old image house and the newly-built outer house. The old image house is 52 ft. long and 45 ft. wide and contains two sections, viz; the inner chamber and the outer chamber (Priyandana, 2013). The inner chamber contains three Buddha statues in the seated, standing and reclining postures. Two entrances provide access to this chamber and a figure of the Queen of Great Britain surrounded by a lion, a unicorn and a royal crown is found over one of these entrances (Priyandana, 2013).
 
The murals in this old image house have been drew between the period 1881-1882 by a painter of the Kadolgalla Sittara lineage (Priyandana, 2013).

Murals of the Kandyan tradition.
References
1) Priyandana, W.H.R., 2013. Dodangoda Sri Sudarshanarama Maha Viharaye Bithusithuwam (In Sinhala). An author publication. pp.1-17

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Medawachchiya Wewa

Medawachchiya Wewa is a reservoir situated in Medawachchiya in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The present tank was restored in 1876 but breached in 1923 due to excessive rains (Arumugam, 1969). The repaired tank was damaged again during the heavy flood in December 1957 (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The bund of the reservoir is about 3,100 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 180 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has one spill and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.324.

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Madukanda Wewa

Madukanda Wewa is a reservoir situated in Madukanda village in Vavunia District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The Madukanda area is believed to be one of the places where the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was lodged on the journey from India to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka (Arumugam, 1969).

The tank was restored in the 1886-1896 period (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The bund of the reservoir is about 3,550 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 270 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has three spills and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.302.

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Mamaduwa Wewa

Mamaduwa Wewa is a reservoir situated in Mamaduwa village in Vavunia District, Sri Lanka. 

History
According to a 9th-century inscription in situ, this has been identified as the ancient Mahida Wewa (Nicholas, 1963). It is believed to have been repaired during the reign of King Kassapa V [(914-923 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969]. The Mahindatalaka Wewa restored by King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) during his reign is identical with this tank (Nicholas, 1963).

The tank was restored in the 1888-1896 period (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The bund of the reservoir is about 6,480 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 600 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has two spills and three sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.304.
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.87.

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Hambegamuwa Wewa

Hambegamuwa Wewa is a reservoir situated in the Thanamalwila area in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This ancient tank was restored in 1890 and improved in 1961 (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The reservoir has been constructed by damming the Mau Ara (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 2,800 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 400 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has three spills and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.106.

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Rajanganaya Reservoir

Rajanganaya Wewa is a reservoir built across the Kala Oya river, at Rajanganaya, bordering the North Western and North Central provinces of Sri Lanka.

History
This is a newly built reservoir. However, on the Kadigala hill where the dam of Rajanganaya reservoir abuts into the rock are the ruins of ancient Maha Mangala Viharaya built on the bank of Gona Nadi (the ancient name used to identify the present Kala Oya river) by King Vankanasika Tissa [(109-112 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969]. Rock-cut flight of steps, Stupa mounds are found at this site (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The reservoir has been constructed by damming the Kala Oya river (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 1.62 km. long and the water is extending in an area of about 4,000 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has one spill and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.349.

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Dewahuwa Wewa

Dewahuwa Wewa is a reservoir situated in the Galewela area in Matale District, Sri Lanka. 

History
According to the local tradition, King Dutugemunu received a Pirith thread (Huya) from the gods (Dewa) when he encamped at this site (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The present reservoir has been made by merging two tanks named Dewahuwa and Palu Rotawewa in 1950 (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 4,300 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 850 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has one spill and one sluice (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.341.

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Sunday, July 18, 2021

Paramananda Purana Viharaya, Kotahena

Paramananda Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kotahena in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been erected in 1808. A Buddhist monk named Pandure Dhammananda Thera pioneered this (Manathunga, 2016). Before the establishment of Vidyodaya Pirivena, Ven. Hikkaduwe Sumangala Thera (1827-1911) is said to have lived here (Manathunga, 2016). Some buildings of this temple have been built in 1870 (Manathunga, 2016).

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.78. 
 
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Vipashyaramaya, Maharagama

Vipashyaramaya (also known as Puwakpitiya Temple) is a Buddhist temple situated in Maharagama in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been established by a Buddhist monk named Bogoda Vipassi Thera during the period of the 1818 Uva-Wellassa rebellion (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

The image house
The old image house is the main attraction of this temple with archaeological value. It consists of two parts; the inner section and the outer section (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The outer section can be entered through two entrances and another two entrances have been provided after them in order to enter into the inner section. The front wall of the inner section has been decorated with paintings and sculptures belonging to the low-country style of the latter Kandyan Period (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In the inner section, three seated and two standing Buddha statues are found.

A protected site
The old Vihara-geya (image house) of Vipashyarama Viharaya, situated in Watte Gedara in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Maharagama is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005. 

References
1) 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. pp.52-53.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1401. 8 July 2005.

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Saturday, July 17, 2021

Cargills & Millars Buildings, Colombo

Cargills & Millars Buildings
The old Cargills & Millars Buildings are located on the corner of the Sir Baron Jayatilaka Mawatha and the York Street in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

History
A Dutch building is said to be on the land where the present Cargills & Millars buildings are located and it had been occupied by Sir Frederick North (1766-1827), the first British Governor of Ceylon from 1798 to 1805 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In 1844, a British businessman William Milne started his company at this premises by replacing the old Dutch building and in 1896, it was acquired by David Sime Cargill, a Scottish businessman who headed the popular Cargills & Company (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

During the period 1902-1906, the present two-storied Cargills building that following the renaissance architecture was built by Walker Sons & Company in accordance with the design by Edward Skinner, a British architect (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Wright, 1999). In 1907, another two-storied building designed by Skinner was attached to this Cargills building and it belonged to William Cramond Miller, the head of the Millers & Company (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

By 1946, the ownership of these buildings was in the hands of the local businessmen (Manathunga, 2016).

A protected monument
The building belonging to the Cargills company at No. 40/1, York Street, Colombo 01, situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Fort in Colombo Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 9 September 2011. 


References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.38-39. 
2) 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. pp.33-34.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1723. 9 September 2011.
4) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. pp.457.

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Colombo Terminus Railway Station

Colombo Terminus Railway Station
The Colombo Terminus Railway Station is an abandoned railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is considered as the first railway station built in the country by the British who pioneered in the beginning of the railway service in Sri Lanka (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

History
In the 19th century, the British rulers commenced the railway service in Sri Lanka for planters to facilitate the transportation of their harvest from inland to the seaport located in Colombo (Kesavan et al., 2015). On 3 August 1858, the then Ceylon Governor, Henry George Ward (1855-1860 A.D.) commenced the construction of the first railway line in the country to be run between Colombo and Ambepussa (Abeysinghe, 2016). After the completion, the first train transportation happened between Colombo and Ambepussa on 27 December 1864 (Abeysinghe, 2016).

Besides the stations at Colombo (the Colombo Terminus Railway Station) and Ambepussa, three more stations at Mahara (present Ragama), Henarathgoda (present Gampaha) and Veyangoda were completed along the railway line in 1866 (CGR, 1964). In 1867, the railway station at Peradeniya was built.
 
Colombo Terminus Railway Station
This railway station was built in the 1858-1865 period by a contractor named William Frederick Faviell (1822-1902) following the architecture of the Manchester Railway Station in England (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The first train in Sri Lanka commenced its journey from this station to the railway station at Ambepussa in 1864 (Abeysinghe, 2016; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

However, after the construction of the Maradana Railway Station in 1908, the activities of the Colombo Terminus Railway Station were stopped (Manathunga, 2016). The station was completely neglected after the construction of the present Colombo Fort Railway Station (Manathunga, 2016).
 
The station
Initially, the railway station consists of an office, a train platform, two store rooms, and a quarter for officials (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).  The office is presently used as a museum and one can approach to the train platform through this office building (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). At the beginning, the train platform was about 50 m in length and after the addition of another platform, the length increased up to 108 m (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The roof of the platform was held on a frame made of cast iron imported from England (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A protected monument
The Old Fort Railway Station in Maradana in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Colombo is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 June 1999.

Attribution

References
1) Abeysinghe, A.H.M.S.P., 2016. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ දුම්රිය කාර්මික පුරාවිද්‍යාව; නව මානයක් කරා රැගෙන යමු. Puraveda 2016.
2) CGR, 1964. Ceylon Government Railway : One hundred years, 1864-1964, Colombo. p.19.
3) Kesavan, R.A., Chandrakumar, C., Kulatunga, A.K., Gowrynathan, J., Rajapaksha, R.T.D., Senewiratne, R.K.G.D.M. and Laguleshwaran, D., 150 Years of Sri Lankan Railways: Evaluation of the Services from Employee and Customer Perspectives. International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering. Volume 5, Issue 5.
4) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.60-61. 
5) 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. pp.37-38.
6) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

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De Mel Building, Colombo

The De Mel Building is an old building located in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. 

The four-storied building (with a ground floor) is said to have been built in 1901 (Manathunga, 2016). A restaurant is maintained on the ground floor while the upper floors are reserved for office activities (Manathunga, 2016). The facade of the building is decorated with cylindrical columns of Corinthian style and floral designs (Manathunga, 2016).

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.31-32. 
 
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Olcott Building, Colombo

The Olcott Building is an old two-storied building located in Pettah in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was the residence of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907), an American who played a major role in the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the latter part of the 19th century (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

History
Built between 1881-1885, this two-storied building was the residence of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, the co-founder of the Theosophical Society who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1880 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Later, an English Buddhist school named "Pitakotuwa Ingrisi Bauddha Pasala" was established on the upper floor of this building by the Theosophical Society (Manathunga, 2016). This school was later moved to a land at Maradana and presently it is known as Ananda College (Manathunga, 2016).

In 1929, a building named "Bauddha Mandiraya" (Buddhist Mansion) was annexed to this for the usage of the Theosophical Society and for the religious activities of local residents (Manathunga, 2016).
 
The building
The two-storied and rectangular-shaped building has been built by using Kabok (laterite), brick and lime mortar (Manathunga, 2016). It is 15 m in length and 13.40 m in width (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The two stories are divided by a floor made of wood and a wooden flight of steps provides access to the upper floor (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Two open verandahs are found at either side of the building and their roofs are held by round pillars (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). There are four entrances at the front-verandah of the building while six entrances at the rear-verandah (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A protected monument
The Olcott Building (of Theosophical Society), situated on the Maliben Street in Pettah in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Colombo is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 June 1999. 

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.67-68. 
2) 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.32.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Gaffoor Building

Gaffoor Building
The Gaffoor Building is an old building in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. Located on the corner of the Sir Baron Jayatilaka Mawatha and Leyden Bastian Street, it is a wedge-shaped building of four stories. 

History
This building is said to have been built in 1907 by H. W. Cave, a leading writer and a book publisher at the time (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Wright, 1999). The printing, binding and all other marketing works of the travel and religious books published by his business named the H. W. Cave & Company were done from the offices established at this building (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Besides that, the building also provided space for the offices of other companies that are involved in businesses related to sports and music items as well as crockery and silverware (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). It is said that this building was begun to call the Gaffoor Building after it was purchased by Abdul Gaffoor (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).
 
However, as mentioned in another source, the Gaffoor Building was completed in 1915 and was owned by the prominent jewellery trader N.D.H. Abdul Gaffoor (Macmillan, 2005). At the time it was considered as one of the largest and finest commercial structures in Colombo (Macmillan, 2005). 

Attribution
1) Colombo by massa 我嫌日的冬 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

References
1) Macmillan, A., ed., 2005. Extract from Seaports of India and Ceylon (first published in 1928). Asian Educational Services. p.479.
2) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.40-41. 
3) 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.22.
4) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. pp.455-456.

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Korathota Raja Maha Viharaya

Korathota Viharaya (also known as Shailarama Purana Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Koratota village in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this site goes back to the pre-Christian era. Two cave inscriptions written in early-Brahmi scripts reveal that the caves of this site had been dedicated to the Buddhist monks during the early part of the Anuradhapura Period (Manathunga, 2016; Paranavitana, 1970; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Period: 1st century B.C.               Script: Early-Brahmi                    Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Maharajhaha jhita Mahabiya lene agata-anagata catu-disha-shagasha niyate
Translation: The cave of Mahabi, daughter of the great king, is dedicated to the Sangha of the four quarters, present and absent
Notes: The king mentioned here is believed to be Mahasilu Maha Tissa (76-62 B.C.)
References: Manathunga, 2016; Paranavitana, 1970; Rajapakshe et al., 2018

The Len-Viharaya (the image house in the cave) of the Korathota temple is believed to have been created during the Kandyan Period (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). However, due to recent renovations, the original appearance of the paintings and sculptures of this image house has disappeared (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

During the Portuguese Period (1505-1658 A.D.), the upper rock of this site is said to have been used by locals as a Belum-gala [(a place of spying) Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018]. Also, the folklore mentions that there was a runnel between this site and the Kelani Ganga river (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

A protected site
The drip-ledged caves and inscriptions in the Koratota Raja Maha Vihara premises, situated in Koratota village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Kaduwela are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002. 

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.104-105.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.86.
3) 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. pp.61-62.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

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Ratmalana Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena

Ratmalana Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena is a Buddhist temple situated in Ratmalana in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The Buddhist monk Walane Siddhartha Thera established this temple in 1841 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). With the help of local donors such as Don Karolis Lekham Ralahami, the temple gradually became a prominent Pirivena (a centre of learning) for Buddhist monks (Manathunga, 2016). Several buildings were added to the temple from time to time such as an Awasa-ge (monks' dwelling) in 1861, a Patimaghara (image house) in 1890, a Bana Maduwa (Dhamma preaching hall) in 1892, and a Stupa in 1928 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The Bana Maduwa is said to have been built by the King of Cambodia who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1892 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In 1911, the name of the Pirivena was changed from "Parama Dhamma Chetiyaramaya Pirivena" to "Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena" (Manathunga, 2016). A library and a new image house were added to the temple in 1961 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Several scholarly Buddhist monks such as Ratmalane Dhammaloka Thera (1828-1887), Suriyagoda Sumangala Thera (1879-1939), and Veedurupola Piyatissa Thera (1888-1954) are said to be old students of this temple (Manathunga, 2016).

The Buddha image
A standing Buddha statue which is said to have been discovered from the Kumburulena area in Kurunegala is presently preserved in the image house of this temple (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The statue is about 6.5 ft. in height and is believed to be a work of the Anuradhapura Period (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

The two seated statues of Buddha that are placed on either side of this standing statue are said to have been donated to this temple by a Myanmar queen Sin Dan Basa in 1891 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.95. 
2) 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.57.

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St. Philip Neri's Church, Colombo

St. Philip Neri's Church is a Catholic church situated in Olcott Mawatha in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

History
The church is said to have been established in 1862 (Manathunga, 2016). However, the church building has been built at the site in 1906 (Manathunga, 2016). 

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.72-73. 
 
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Sunday, July 11, 2021

World Trade Center Colombo

World Trade Center Colombo
The World Trade Center (also known as WTC Colombo) is a 152 m tall twin building situated in Echelon Square in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The two towers, 39-storey each, provide facilities for business activities and are unified by a central 4-storey retail podium. The World Trade Center Colombo is the Sri Lankan license holder of the iconic global trademarks “World Trade Center” and “WTC” owned by the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA).

History
The construction works of the WTC Colombo were begun in 1992 by a Singaporean company in Sri Lanka and was topped out in 1996 at a cost of US$ 130 million. However, some parts of the buildings were damaged as a result of the Colombo Central Bank bombing which carried out by the terrorist organization LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) on 31 January 1996. The completed twin towers were declared open on 12 October 1997 with the presence of dignitaries including the then Sri Lankan President Chandika Bandaranayake (1994-2005). On 15 October 1997, just three days after the opening, the LTTE detonated a truck laden with explosives in the adjoining Galadari Hotel car park, causing significant damage to the side of the western tower. The towers were re-commissioned in June 1998 after carrying out a full restoration.

References
1) Official website: Wold Trade Center Colombo

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Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo

Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo
The Shangri-La Colombo is a star-class hotel situated in front of the Galle Face Green in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is the second Shangri-La hotel on the island after Shangri-La's Golf Resort & Spa at Hambantota. The hotel has 500 guestrooms and suites as well as 41 serviced apartments.

History
The hotel was built as a part of Shangri-La's "One Galle Face" development project that includes four skyscrapers, one for businesses to set up offices, two for the residential component, and the fourth for the hotel and a shopping mall. As the first of the four skyscrapers, the hotel was opened on 16 November 2017 with the presence of dignitaries including the then Sri Lankan president Maithreepala Sirisena (2015-2019).

2019 bomb blast
On 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday), an Islamic suicide bomber exploded himself inside the hotel building. On the same day another two luxury hotels (The Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand) and three churches (St. Anthony's Church, St. Sebastian's Church, Batticaloa Zion Church) were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings. The attacks were carried out by Islamic suicide bombers who are believed to be associated with National Thowheeth Jama'ath, a local Islamic group with suspected foreign ties. More than 250 people were killed, including 40 foreign nationals (News reports from BBC: 22 April 2019 and 11 May 2019).. 

References
1) Official website: Shangri-La Colombo

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Sastrawela Viharaya

Sastrawela Viharaya
Sastrawela Viharaya (also known as Ratrawela Viharaya or Maninaga Pabbata Bodhigiri Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in the Panama area in Ampara District, Sri Lanka.

History
At the beginning of the 1st century A.D., the area extending approximately from Pothuvil to Panama was a district of Rohana called Kalayana-kannika (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1983). As mentioned in Mahavamsa, in this district, King Mahadathika Mahanaga (9-21 A.D.) built a temple named Maninaga Pabbata Vihara and according to the view of Nicholas, the present site known as Ratrawela or Sastrawela Viharaya could be that temple (Medhananda, 2003; Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1983; Withanachchi, 2013). As revealed by a rock inscription of the same king, this site had been known at the time as Bohogiri Nakapavata (Medhananda, 2003; Paranavitana, 1983).

Inscriptions
There are about three (or probably more) inscriptions at the site. Of them, one is a cave inscription while the other two are rock inscriptions (Medhananda, 2003). The cave inscription has been written in early-Brahmi scripts belonging to the period between 3rd-century B.C.-1st century A.D.

Script: Early-Brahmi                                                     Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Bena putha budarakitha theraha nagaya janapathika upasika baguya lene devaputhaha thinibithaha sapathikaha cathudisa sagasa dine
Translation: This inscription records the donation of a cave to the Buddhist priesthood by Buddha Rakkhita Thera, Nagaya, Upasika Baguya, Deva puta, Thinikitha and Sapathika.
Citation: Medhananda, 2003. pp.132-133,465.

Of the two rock inscriptions, one has been completely faded away (Medhananda, 2003). The other one which comprises eight lines of writing was copied by the Department of Archaeology in 1934 (Paranavitana, 1983). Dated to the reign of King Mahadathika Mahanaga (9-21 A.D.), this inscription registers a donation made to the Bohogiri Nakapavata Vihara by Naka-maharaja (Mahadathika Mahanaga), the son of Putakana Gamini Abaya, and the grandson of Devanapiya Tisa-maharaja (Paranavitana, 1983).

Reign: Mahadathika Mahanaga                    Script: Later-Brahmi                    Language: Old Sinhala
Content: Success, a monastery named Nagapabbata built at Bohogiri (Bodhigiriya) by King Mahadathika Mahanaga, the son of King Kutakanna Tissa, the grandson of King Devanampiyatissa was donated to the Buddhist monks coming from the four directions. The income from the places named Aganagama Wewa, Velamukha, Akamukaka and Hupikadaka were offered for the use of the monks of the monastery.
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the State Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

The site
A large number of ruins of the ancient Buddhist monastery are found scattered on the temple premises (Medhananda, 2003; Withanachchi, 2013). They include the remains of a colossal brick-built Stupa (and other small Stupas), fragmented statues, walls, pillared buildings, ponds etc. (Medhananda, 2003; Withanachchi, 2013). Also, the drip-ledged caves, rock-cut steps, inscriptions and fragments of cave paintings are among the other monuments of archaeological interest (Medhananda, 2003; Withanachchi, 2013).

References
1) Medhananda, Ven. Ellawala, 2003. Pacheena passa - Uttara passa: Negenahira palata ha uturu palate Sinhala bauddha urumaya (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-686-112-9. pp.129-134,465.
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.22-23.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1983. Inscriptions of Ceylon, Late Brahmi Inscriptions. Volume II, Part I. Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka. pp.36-37.
4) Withanachchi, C. R., 2013. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Ampara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-44-5. pp.24-25.

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Wegiriya Natha Devalaya

Wegiriya Natha Devalaya is a Devalaya shrine situated in Wegiriya village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. It has been dedicated to God Natha, a local deity who was highly venerated by the people along with other deities such as Visnu, Skanda, and Pattini during the Kandyan Period. Natha is considered as one of the deities of the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon and people believe him as an aspirant Buddha

History
As the presence of an early-Brahmi cave inscription, the history of this site can be dated back to the pre-Christian era (Paranavitana, 1970). Locals believe that some of the companions of Sanghamitta Theri, the daughter of the Indian Emperor Asoka (c. 268-232 B.C.), had taken up residence in the caves in this area (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The Natha worship is said to have prevailed in Sri Lanka since the 6-7th century A.D. and therefore, this Devalaya shrine may have erected during that period (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, according to some, this shrine has been established during the reign of King Buvanekabahu IV [(1341-1351 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Rajapakse, 2016].

The shrine & inscriptions
The shrine has been built in a cave on the upper part of a lonely mountain. The statues of God Natha and Goddess Tara are found in the cave (Abeyawardana, 2004; Rajapakse, 2016). The Sandakada Pahana (the moonstone) at the front of the Devalaya shrine and the stone door-frame at the entrance of the Buddha shrine are considered important monuments (Rajapakse, 2016).
 
Two inscriptions are found in the Wegiriya Devalaya premises. Of them, the first one is a cave inscription belonging to the period between the 3rd century B.C.- 1st century A.D. (Paranavitana, 1970). The second one is a rock inscription engraved in Saka Year 1337/ Buddha Year 1957 [(1415 A.D.) Ranawella, 2014; Rohanadeera, 2007]. It contains details about the registration of certain land grants made during the reigning periods of several kings named Buvanekabahu (this name is recorded in two places), and Vikramabahu in favor of the Vegiriya Devalaya (Ranawella, 2014; Rohanadeera, 2007). The kings mentioned in this record are Vikramabahu III (1357-1374 A.D.), Buvanekabahu V (1372-1391 A.D.), and Sri Parakramabahu Apanan [(1409-1415 A.D.) Ranawella, 2014; Rohanadeera, 2007]. The last king, Parakramabahu Apanan can be identified with the prince of that name who figures in the Nayampampaya Inscription of Vikramabahu III (Ranawella, 2014).

A protected site
The Wegiriya Devalaya, the rock with inscriptions, and the cave situated in Wegiriya village in Udunuwara Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 6 August 1965.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.80.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.62.
3) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.64-65.
4) Ranawella, S., 2014. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-62-9. pp.83-84.
5) Rohanadeera, M., 2007. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VIII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-64-3. pp.12-13. 
6) The government gazette notification. No: 14472. 6 August 1965.

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Bambawa Viharaya

Bambawa Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Galewela in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

History
Locals link this site with the birthplace of Kuweni, the first wife of King Vijaya [(c. 543-505 B.C.) Withanachchi, 2018]. According to them, the area in which the temple is situated was ruled by the Yakka King Bamba, the farther of Kuweni (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018).

King Valagamba (103, 89-77 B.C.) is credited with the construction of the Bambawa temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018). After that, the temple received the patronage of several kings such as Bhatiya and Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018].
 
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.166.
2) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.23.

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Wahugapitiya Ambalama

Wahugapitiya Ambalama
Photo credit: Google street view

The Wahugapitiya Ambalama is an old wayside rest situated in Wahugapitiya village in Matale District, Sri Lanka. 

Ambalama
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. As mentioned on one of its pillars, this Ambalama has been built in 1929.

Located adjacent to the main road, this Ambalama has been built on a flat earth-filled terrace. The building is roughly square in shape and its walls have been raised to a height of about three feet using granite blocks. The roof is supported on granite pillars fixed on the wall. Two inscriptions on the left and right pillars of the front side of the building contain details about the construction of this Ambalama. They can be read as follows; 

Inscription on the right pillar
(A figure of a person or a deity)
This Ambalam erected on 2.1929 by RM Arimuthu KP in loving memory of his late father
Inscription on the left pillar
Born in 25.6.1850 39 years service in Beaumont
(a figure of God Ganesha)
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