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, March 28, 2021

Tissa Wewa, Anuradhapura

Not to be confused with Tissa Wewa, Tissamaharama
Tissa Wewa, Anuradhapura
Tissa Wewa is a reservoir situated in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. 

History
This has been identified as the ancient "Tissa-vapi" tank constructed by King Devanampiya Tissa [(247-207 B.C.) Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963]. King Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.) built Kala Wewa and conducted water from it to Tissa Wewa through an artificial canal called Jaya Ganga [(present Yodha Ela) Nicholas, 1963]. Several regulations set out for the distribution of the water-supply of Tissa Wewa to the paddy fields of Isurumuniya Viharaya and Ranmasu Uyana are found in the Vessagiriya slab inscription of King Mahinda IV [(956-972 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Ranawella, 2004]. 

The present tank was restored in 1889 (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
Except the drainage from its own catchment area, the reservoir is fed by the water conveyance from Kala Wewa-Yodha Ela (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 1.75 miles long and the water is extending in an area of about 450 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has two spills and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

Attribution

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.320.
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.149.
3) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon: Containing pillar inscriptions and slab inscriptions from 924 AD to 1017. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.258-261.

Location Map
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Nuwara Wewa, Anuradhapura

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

History
This has been identified as the ancient "Nakara-vapi" tank that is recorded in the Thuparama slab inscription of King Gajabahu I [(114-136 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1933]. It was enlarged, improved and added a feeder channel from Nachchaduwa Wewa during the reign of Moggallana II [(535-555 A.D. Arumugam, 1969].

The present tank was restored in 1890 (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
Except the drainage from its own catchment area, the reservoir is fed by an ancient channel from the Nachchaduwa tank (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 4.25 miles long and the water is extending in an area of about 3,000 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has two spills and two sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

Ancient sluice 
As recorded by Parker in 1909, there was an ancient sluice at Nuwara Wewa (Paranavithana et al., 2020). However, it was demolished by the British later to construct new structures (Paranavithana et al., 2020).


References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.319.
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.150.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Thuparama slab inscription of Gajabahu I. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. III. Printed at the Department of Government Printing, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) for the Archeological Department. p.116.
4) Paranavithana, G.N.; Jayasundara, J.M.W.S.; Harindra, H.W.G.; Ranasinghe, W.D.N.; Ranasinghe, R.S., 2020. Investigation of hydraulic characteristics of ancient inlet sluice barrel in Nuwara Wewa reservoir. Proceedings of the 22nd IAHR-APD Congress 2020, Sapporo, Japan. pp.1-8.

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Yudaganawa Wewa

Yudaganawa Wewa is a reservoir situated in Monaragala District, Sri Lanka. The ancient Yudaganawa Stupa is located near this tank.

History
This reservoir is believed to have been built by King Mahanaga (300 B.C.) and the area is traditionally associated with the battle between the two brothers, Prince Abhaya (Dutugemunu) and Prince Tissa [(Saddhatissa) Arumugam, 1969; Fernando, 1980; Nicholas, 1963].

The present tank was restored between 1950-1952 (Arumugam, 1969).

The reservoir
The bund of the reservoir is about 3,000 ft. long and the water is extending in an area of about 150 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). It has only one spill (Arumugam, 1969). 

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.127.
2) Fernando, A.D.N., 1980. Major ancient irrigation works of Sri Lanka. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22, pp.1-24.
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.53.

Location Map
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Velgam Vehera

Velgam Vehera
Velgam Vehera is a Buddhist temple situated near Mahawewa (Tamil: Periyakulam) in Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. Known among the local Hindus as Natanar Kovil, this temple is said to be the only example of a Tamil Vihara or Buddhist Palli in the country (Nicholas, 1963; Ray, 1960).

History
This temple was founded by Sinhalese Buddhists prior to the 2nd century A.D. (Ray, 1960). In an inscription of King Bhatikatissa (143-167 A.D.), which is found engraved on the adjoining hill, this temple is called Abagara Vihara at Velagama (Nicholas, 1963). 

Cola Period
During the Cola occupation of Anuradhapura from 993 to 1070, this site received the patronage and protection of Cola Tamils who were predominantly Hindus (Pathmanathan, 1978). Although they are said to have destroyed the other Buddhist temples in the country, their treatment for this temple was different (Ray, 1960). They made donations, renovated its buildings, and re-named it after their king, Rajarajaperumpalli (Nicholas, 1963; Pathmanathan, 1978; Ray, 1960). More than 15 Tamil inscriptions that have been recovered from the site reveal some information regarding the donations made to this temple during the reigns of Cola kings such as Rajaraja I (c. 985-1014 A.D.) and Rajendradeva [(1054-1063 A.D.) Pathmanathan, 1978; Ray, 1960]. 

Velgam Vehera Tamil inscriptions
Transcript I: (1) Sri ... la (2) r annal mancan (3) Mummuticolamantala- (4) ttu melaitturu ...>>
Translation I: 5 oxen and 35 cows were endowed for merit to Lord Buddha of Saddha Vihara known as Velgam Vihara alias Rajarajapperumpalli of Pancacantulagama of Melaitturu Sriyantan Parakecari valanatu in Mummuticolamantalam.
Transcript II: (1) Sri pakavan putukku- (2) tiyan Atittapp- (3) peraraiyan stavayca- (4) ram ...>>
Translation II: Worship to Lord Buddha, Atittaperaraiyam, an inhabitant of Putukkutti, granted 84 cows for a perpetual lamp to Rajarajapperumpalli alias Velkam Vihara, situated in Stavayia Ramyana Manavatina nattu.
Citation: Dias, 1990. p.159.

After the end of the Cola Period, the site was again occupied by the Sinhalese Buddhists (Nicholas, 1963; Ray, 1960). King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) who expelled Colas from the country restored a number of Buddhist temples including the Velgam Vehera (Ray, 1960). Sinhalese inscriptions dated in the reign of this king have been unearthed from the site (Ray, 1960). As recorded in the Priti-Danaka-Mandapa rock inscription of Polonnaruwa, King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) have visited this site (Nicholas, 1963; Ray, 1960; Wickremasinghe, 1928).

Velgam Vehera Sinhala slab inscription
Period: 11th century A.D.
Language & Script: Sinhalese
Transcript: (1) (Svasti) Sri Sirisangabo Sri Vi- (2) ...(himi pa)nanva- (3) (n seta) ... vanne a (se)- ...>>
Translation: (Success) On Monday the ... of the (month) of Asala during the year of His Majesty Sri Sangabo Sri Vi..., I. a royal merchant of Alagiya named (Kalpakara bahu)(sapahini)nayangan Kit, donate, 3 tiered bronze lamp (perpetual) in the name of the Lord Buddha at Velgam Vehera. Ten...>>
Notes: This is one of the Sinhalese inscriptions set up at Velgam Vehera, after the restoration of Sinhalese sovereignty after the Colas. 
Citation: Dias, 1991. p.60.

Statues and structures
Velgam Vehera standing Buddha
Velgam Vehera standing Buddha
This statue of Buddha, carved out of dolomite limestone, is 2.1 m tall and standing on a lotus pedestal. The right-hand of it shows Abhaya-mudra and the bent left-hand, which is now destroyed, possibly was holding the robe that falling over the forearm. The robe firmly touches the body and its pleats are slightly visible.  

Scholars have dated this statue to the 7th-8th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). However, it evidently displays the classical qualities of the Gupta standing Buddha of Mathura of the 5th century (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). 

The image house
The remains of the image house reveal that it was a 56 ft. long 28 ft. 7 in. wide edifice in its fully developed stage (Ray, 1960). The base of it contains characteristic Dravidian mouldings (Ray, 1960).

References
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2007. Sri Lanka Murthi: Buddha (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Buddha). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. pp.56-57.
2) Dias, M., 1990. Inscriptions 800-1200 A.D[Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)]. Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume II: Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.159.
3) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.59-60.
4) 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.45.
5) Pathmanathan, S., 1978. The Kingdom of Jaffna; Part I. pp.59-60.
6) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1960. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part II). Ceylon University Press. pp.415,430,434-435,511,590.
7) Wickremasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon (Vol, II). Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford. p.177. 

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mawela Malwathu Tempita Viharaya

Mawela Malwathu Tempita Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Pahala-Kadugannawa in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this temple, according to local belief, runs back to the Dambadeniya Period (Abeyawardana, 2002). It is said that this Vihara has been erected in a flower garden which belonged to Giriba Sunethra Devi, a consort of King Buvanekabahu (Abeyawardana, 2002; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). She is credited with the erection of this temple (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Tempita Viharaya
Tempita Viharas (the temples on pillars) were a popular aspect of many Buddhist temples during the Kandyan period. These structures were usually built on a wooden platform resting on bare stone pillars or stumps which are about 1-4 feet tall. The roof is generally made of timber and held by wooden stumps. The walls are usually made of wattle and daub and they form the main enclosed shrine room containing the Buddhist sculptures and murals belonging to the Kandyan style. Some Tempita Viharas have narrow verandas and ambulatories circulating the main enclosed space. Construction of these buildings was started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Mawela Malwathu Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya is the main monument of this temple with archaeological value. It is said to have been built between 1812-1815 with the patronage of Molligoda Adikaram (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The Tempita Viharaya consists of three components; the entrance porch, the central shrine on pillars, and the single-storied portion (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The central shrine has been built upon 21 stone pillars about 2.38 m tall and a wooden flight of steps provide access to it from the floor. The year 1939 has been engraved on the beginning post of the steps. The inner space of the shrine room is filled with a seated Buddha statue, six standing Buddha statues and murals belonging to the Kandyan tradition (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

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.56.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.41.
3) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p. 12.

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Kawatayamuna Viharaya

Kawatayamuna Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Kawatayamuna village in Matale District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been established in 1944 (Abeyawardana, 2004). It has been named Kawatayamuna because it is believed that warrior Kawata (childhood days of Nandimitra) was responsible for the construction of an embankment in the village where this temple is located (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The temple is popular among devotees due to its gallery depicting scenes related to hell.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.131-132.

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Dalukgolla Viharaya, Ampitiya

Dalukgolla Viharaya, Ampitiya
Dalukgolla Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Ampitiya in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple was erected in 1765 on the orders of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782 A.D.) in order to provide facilities to the Buddhist monks visiting Kandy from Hewaheta and Nuwara Eliya (Abeyawardana, 2004). The completed temple is said to have been bestowed by the king to a Buddhist monk named Werasara Rambukwelle Dhammarakkhita Anunayaka Thera (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The cremation of the eminent Buddhist monk Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera (1698-1778 A.D.) was taken place at this temple premises (Abeyawardana, 2004). A monument containing the ashes of him is said to have been erected in 1778 by King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe and that monument was later renovated in 1965 (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

A protected site
The image house and Sangawasaya (dwelling house) in the Dalukgolla Raja Maha Vihara premises in the Dalukgolla village in the No. 270 Ampitiya Udagama Grama Niladhari Division in the Gangawata Korale Divisional Secretary’s Division, are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 24 July 2009.

Attribution
1) IMG_3839, IMG_3827, & IMG_3836b by Denish C are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 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. p.33.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1612. 24 July 2009. p.1021.

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Matara Bodhiya

Matara Bodhiya is a sacred Bodhi-tree situated in the middle of the Matara town, Sri Lanka. It is considered as one of the seven Bodhi-trees (Hath-Bodhiya) planted in and around the Matara area (Abeyawardana, 2004).

History
The history of this Bodhi-tree, according to local tradition, is associated with Kalidasa, a famous Indian poet and his friend Kumaradasa (513-522 A.D), King of Sri Lanka (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Recent development
The site was upgraded to a temple in 1962 (Samanthi, 1999).

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. p.70.
2) Samanthi, L.K.N., 1999. Architectural concepts of Buddhist places of worship: an examination of the architectural concepts of Buddhist places of worship in rural and urban settings with special reference to Southern Province. A dissertation submitted to the University of Moratuwa as a partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Architecture. pp.90-98.

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Weherahena Viharaya, Matara

Weherahena Viharaya, Matara
Weherahena Viharaya (also known as Veherahena Poorwarama Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

The history of the Weherahena temple runs back to the early part of the 20th century. It is said to have been established in 1930 and the temple became more popular among the devotees after the construction of its gigantic Buddha statue (80 feet tall) in the meditation posture (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Attribution

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. p.76.

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Motagedara Sri Sumangalaramaya

Motagedara Sri Sumangalarama Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Motagedara village in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is believed to have been established in 1814 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The image house and the residence of the monks are regarded as the old monuments of this temple (Wikramaratne, 2015). 

The image house
Construction
The construction work of the image house is believed to have been commenced with the establishment of the temple in 1814 and it is recorded that it took six years to complete (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Paintings
Paintings and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan tradition of art are found inside the image house. Some of them have been repainted in recent times (such as the paintings in the inner chamber) and as a result of that they have lost their original characteristics (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, some original paintings are still found on the outer wall of the inner chamber (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). Three rows of paintings depicting Suvisi-Vivaranaya (Buddha to be receiving the blessing from 24 previous Buddhas) are found on that wall (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The inner wall of the outer chamber also contains three rows of paintings depicting the life of the Buddha, but they have been repainted about a hundred years ago (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Western features on paintings
The western influence is clearly visible on some of the paintings of this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). There is a portrait of a lady in western dress (probably Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom) over the portico which depicts the palace of King Suddhodana (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). Also, in the painting that depicts the procession where Queen Mahamaya is heading to her parent's home, there is a figure of a man wearing pantaloons and carrying a sward (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

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. p.77.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.20.

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Kahatapitiya Mosque

Kahatapitiya Mosque is an orthodox Muslim Mosque near Gampola town in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this site probably runs back to the Gampola Period [(1314-1415 A.D.) Silva et al., 2016]. According to folklore, a saint named Athaulla who came on a pilgrimage to Adams Peak had obtained a plot of land from King Bhuvanekabahu IV (1341-1350 A.D.) and later taken up residence there (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). It is said that he had selected that site because of the view of Adams Peak that he could see from there (Abeyawardana, 2004). After his death, the mosque was erected at this site (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

According to another belief, the body of Henakanda Biso Bandara has been buried at this place (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Bawa Khauf shrine
Besides the main mosque, there is a separate shrine dedicated to an Awlia (a Sufi saint) named Bawa Khauf who is believed to have arrived in Kahatapitiya from Mecca (Silva et al., 2016). As is typical of Sufi shrines, this shrine also contains the tomb of that saint (Silva et al., 2016). According to Obeyesekere, this shrine is a popular sorcery shrine among Muslims as well as Buddhists (Obeyesekere, 1975).

Architecture
The architectural style of this shrine is different from the style of typical Muslim shrines (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The walls have been plastered with lime and some parts of them are covered with glazed ceramic wall tiles (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). 

Wahabi influence
Some Muslims who returned to Sri Lanka after went to the Middle East for employment had started a campaign to discredit the Awlia shrine in the 1990s as they identified it as a place conducting anti-Islamic practices that are not in conformity with Wahabi teachings (Silva et al., 2016). 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.63.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.134.
3) Obeyesekere, G., 1975. Sorcery, premeditated murder, and the canalization of aggression in Sri Lanka. Ethnology, 14(1), pp.1-23.
4) Silva, K.T., Niwas, A. and Wickramasinghe, W.M.K.B., 2016. Religious Interface and Contestations between Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka. Colombo: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, pp.24-25.

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Masjid Al Abrar, Beruwala

Masjid Al Abrar (also known as Buhari Mosque) is a Muslim Mosque located in Beruwala in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This is believed to be the oldest mosque in the country established in 300 A.H. [(920 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002)]. However, according to another belief, the history of this mosque is related to three Sultans named Badurdeen, Salahudeen, and Muhammad who had arrived and settled in the Mannar coast of Sri Lanka in the 7th century A.D. (Abeyawardana, 2002). It is said that the son of Muhammad named Sadurdeen sailed southwards and selected the present site in Beruwala for the establishment of this mosque (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The first Arab settlement in Sri Lanka
This mosque was featured on two commemorative stamps (Rs.23 and Rs.4.50), released by the Postal Department on 8 June 2003, to mark the first Arab settlement in the country.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  pp.107-108.

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Minneriya Reservoir

Minneriya Reservoir
Minneriya Reservoir (or Minneriya Wewa) is a low-land shallow irrigation tank situated in Polonnaruwa District, Sri Lanka (Silva & Gamlath, 2000). It is considered as one of the ancient tanks in the country (Silva & Gamlath, 2000).

History
This is the ancient Manihira-vapi, one of the 16 celebrated reservoirs built by King Mahasena [(276-303 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Fernando, 1980; Silva & Gamlath, 2000]. It was later repaired and improved by King Parakramabhu I [(1153-1186 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969; Silva & Gamlath, 2000]. However, it was abandoned after shifting the country's ancient capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa (Silva & Gamlath, 2000).

The present tank was restored in 1903 under the British regime and subsequently improved and enlarged in 1953 (Arumugam, 1969; Silva & Gamlath, 2000).

Reservoir
Except the drainage from its own catchment area, the reservoir is fed by Amban Ganga diverted through the Elahera canal (Arumugam, 1969; Silva & Gamlath, 2000). The bund of the reservoir is about 1.47 miles long and the water is extending in an area of about 6300 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969; Wikramagamage, 2004). The reservoir has 3 sluices (Arumugam, 1969). 

Attribution

References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. p.242.
2) Fernando, A.D.N., 1980. Major ancient irrigation works of Sri Lanka. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22, pp.1-24.
3) Silva, E.I.L. and Gamlath, G.A.R.K., 2000. Catchment characteristics and water quality of three reservoirs (Victoria, Minneriya and Udawalawe) in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka J. Aquat. Sci5, pp.55-73.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.268.

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Richmond Castle, Kalutara

Richmond Castle is a two-storied castle-like mansion located in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka. Presently this building is under the management of the Public Trustee (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

History
This mansion was built by Padikara Mudaliyar Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena, a local landowner, graphite miner and a favourite of the British rulers (Abeyawardana, 2002; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). After his death in 1947, the mansion along with the appurtenant land of 42 acres of rubber and coconut was entrusted to the Public Trustee to be used as an orphanage (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The mansion
This mansion is said to be a replica of the palace of the Indian Rajah of Ramnad, a friend of Siriwardena (Abeyawardana, 2002). It has 16 rooms, 99 doors and 38 windows (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The upper floor consists of six-bed rooms with attached bathrooms and balconies and the ground floor is reserved for a large ballroom, living, dining, and cooking spaces (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Most of the construction materials for the building were sourced from abroad, including teak from Burma, bathroom floor tiles from Italy, green-coloured glass from Scotland, terracotta marble from India, and cistern, commodes and spiral iron stair-case from England (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

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.104.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.143.

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Pidurutalagala

Pidurutalagala
Pidurutalagala (or Mount Pedro) is the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Situated to the north of Nuwara Eliya town, the mountain rises to an altitude of 2524 meters above sea level (Abeyawardana, 2004; Werner, 1986).

The main TV transmitter of the country has been installed at the peak of Pidurutalagala and because of that the upper part of the mountain is prohibited to the public (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Attribution
1) MountPedro-SriLanka02 by Rehman is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.227-228.
2) Werner, W.L., 1986. A comparison between two tropical montane ecosystems in Asia: Pidurutalagala (Ceylon/Sri Lanka) and Pangrango-Gede (Java). Mountain Research and Development, pp.335-344.

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Wewurukannala Viharaya

Wewurukannala Viharaya
Wewurukannala Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Dikwella in Matara District, Sri Lanka. The temple is famous among devotees due to its gigantic seated Buddha statue of about 160 feet (49 m) tall (De Thabrew, 2013).

History
This temple has three image houses and the oldest of them belongs to the Kandyan Period. It is believed to have been built in the latter part of the 18th century, probably around 1780 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The second oldest image house has been built in 1899 and the last one in a more recent date (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

The preaching hall of this temple is said to have been constructed in the late 19th century (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, the Pirit-Mandapaya, a wooden chamber where monks perform Pirit chanting has the date "18th July 1839" marked on it (Abeyawardana, 2004). This Mandapaya has been made out of jack-wood and decorated with traditional designs and paintings depicting Jataka stories (Abeyawardana, 2004). The building which is being used as the residence of monks is said to have been built in the early 20th century (Abeyawardana, 2004).

There is a locally manufactured chiming clock in the temple premises and it is said to have been invented by a juvenile offender named W. Elaris Silva in 1927 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The incumbent of the Wewurukannala temple at the time purchased it from Elaris on payment of Rs. 3,000 (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

A protected site
The ancient image house and Uposathagara belonging to the Wewrukannala Rajamaha Vihara situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Wewrukannala in Dikwella Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 November 2012.

Attribution
1) Wewurukannala Vihara by pixel.fabian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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. p.83.
2) De Thabrew, W. V., 2013. Monuments and Temples of Orthodox Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka. Author House. p.72.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1786. 23 November 2012. p.1188.

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Dondra Head Lighthouse

Dondra Head Lighthouse
Dondra Head Lighthouse is one of the lighthouses in Sri Lanka. It is located in Dondra Head (local name: Devi-Nuwara or Devundara), the southernmost point of the country (USA, 1942).

History
During the Period of British Ceylon (1815-1948 A.D.), this lighthouse was erected. The site for the lighthouse was selected by the British in 1826, but its construction works were commenced in 1887 (Abeyawardana, 2004). Mr Woodford Pilkinton M.I.C.E. is said to be the one responsible for this construction (Abeyawardana, 2004). The completed lighthouse was commissioned in 1890 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The lighthouse tower
The white octagonal-shaped tower is 160 m tall and made out of granite (Abeyawardana, 2004; USA, 1942).

Attribution
1) 20121201-_MG_2449 by Dhammika Heenpella is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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. p.75.
2) USA, 1942. Sailing Directions for the West Coast of India from Point Calimere to Cape Monze, Including the Island of Ceylon and the Maldive and Laccadive Islands (3rd edition). Hydrographic Office Publication No. 159. U.S. Government Printing Office. p.110.

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Saram Mudali Walawwa

Saram Mudali Walawwa is an old manor house situated in the premises of Rahula College in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This Walawwa is said to have been constructed by Mudaliyar David De Saram during the latter part of the 18th century A.D. (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). In 1923, the ownership of the building was transferred to C.A. Odiris De Silva, the former Manager of Rahula College (Abeyawardana, 2004). Silva, in 1939, donated this precious property to house Rahula College (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The building is now a property of Rahula College and they use a part of that as a boarding-house for the students (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). A small museum has also been established in another part of the building (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015).

A protected monument
The old Sarammudali Walawwa located in the premises of Rahula College in Nupe village in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Matara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 9 April 1999.

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. p.69.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1075. 9 April 1999.
3) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.61-62.

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Weligama Agrabodhi Viharaya

Weligama Agrabodhi Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Weligama in Matara District, Sri Lanka. The famous Kushtarajagala is located near this temple.

History
There is a reference to this temple in Sinhala Bodhivamsa (Abeyawardana, 2004; Samanthi, 1999; Wikramaratne, 2015). It says that the very first sapling out of the first 32 saplings of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi-tree at Anuradhapura was planted in this temple premises (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). As it is the first Bodhi-tree sapling, the temple is said to have been known by the name Agrabodhi Viharaya (Wikramaratne, 2015). However, according to another view, this temple is called by that name because of the belief that this temple was built under the patronage of King Aggabodhi IV [(667-683 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. A verse written by a monk from Aggrabodhi (Agbo) of Weligama has been found among the graffiti in Sigiriya (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Chronicles reveal that a Pirivena or a religious school for Aggrabodhi Viharaya was built at Weligama by a general named Swaraja Kulawardhana Devadhikari during the reign of Queen Kalyanawathi (1202-1208 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa (Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963; Wikramaratne, 2015). The present Rajakulavadana Viharaya which is located in close proximity to Aggrabodhi Viharaya is considered by many as that monastic site established by the general (Abeyawardana, 2004). King Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326 A.D.) of Dambadeniya is believed to have erected a two-storied long building named Parakramabahu Pasada at Weligama temple and granted it the village of Saligiri [(present Algiriya) Nicholas, 1963; Wikramaratne, 2015]. There are further records regarding donations made to this temple by King Bhuvanekabahu IV (1341-1351 A.D.) and General Lankadhikara (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

The temple is believed to have been partially destroyed by the Portuguese who landed in Sri Lanka in 1505 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Samanthi, 1999). They had control of some parts of the island until they were expelled by the Dutch in 1658. The destroyed temple was re-erected by Ven. Agalakada Dhammarakkhita Thera under the patronage of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Samanthi, 1999; Wikramaratne, 2015]. A stone slab inscription found in the temple premises reveals some donations made to the temple by several donors including King Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha [(1782–1798) Dias, 1991]. This inscription has been dated by scholars to the 19-20th century A.D. (Dias, 1991).

The temple is mentioned in some Sandesha poems, such as Tisara, Paravi, and Kovul (Abeyawardana, 2004; De S. Manukulasooriya, 1978).

Artifacts and other structures
Donations by Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha
A golden statue, casket, a pair of tusk, two Semaras, and two ivory monks' fans are presently preserved in the temple (Wikramaratne, 2015). These are believed to have been donated to the temple by King Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha [(1782-1798 A.D.) Wikramaratne, 2015].

The Ashta-Mangala slab
A rectangular slab of limestone containing symbols of Ashta-Mangala (Eight Auspicious symbols) has been unearthed during an excavation done at a spot near the preaching hall (Karunaratne, 1973). 

The Stupa
The Stupa of the temple is said to have been erected in 1890 (Wikramaratne, 2015). 

The image house
The two-storied image house contains several Buddha statues in seated, standing, and reclining positions. Images of Sariputta and Moggallana, the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha are also found. The murals that adorn the inner walls depict features of the Kandyan Art tradition (Wikramaratne, 2015). The image house was completely renovated in 1914 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

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.54-55.
2) De S. Manukulasooriya, R.C., 1978. Transport in Sri Lanka in ancient and mediaeval times. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 24, pp.49-85.
3)  Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.33,35-36.
4) Karunaratne, T.B., 1973. A unique Astamangala relief from Weligama. Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 17, pp.46-54.
5) 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.72.
6)  Samanthi, L.K.N., 1999. Architectural concepts of Buddhist places of worship: an examination of the architectural concepts of Buddhist places of worship in rural and urban settings with special reference to Southern Province. A dissertation submitted to the University of Moratuwa as a partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Architecture. pp.79-89.
7) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.10-12.

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Rajakulawadana Viharaya

Rajakulawadana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Weligama village in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

History
Although this temple is presently functioning as a separate monastery, it is considered as having formed a part of the monastic complex of Agrabodhi Viharaya that associated with one of the saplings of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi-tree at Anuradhapura (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). Therefore, the origin of this temple dates back to the Anuradhapura Period (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

A reference to this temple is found in the chronicle Culavamsa [(the latter part of Mahavamsa) Abeyawardana, 2004; Dias, 1991; Wikramaratne, 2015]. It says that a general named Swaraja Kulawardhana Devadhikari (or Ayasmanta) established a Pirivena or a religious school for the Agrabodhi Viharaya during the reign of Queen Kalyanawathi (1202-1208 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa (Abeyawardana, 2004; Dias, 1991). Many consider the present Rajakulavadana Viharaya as that monastic site established by the general (Abeyawardana, 2004).

King Panditha Parakramabahu (1302-1326 A.D.) of Dambadeniya is believed to have erected a two-storied long building named Parakramabahu Pasada at Weligama temple and granted it the village of Saligiri [(present Algiriya) Nicholas, 1963; Wikramaratne, 2015]. An in-situ slab inscription of the 14-15th century A.D. reveals the construction of a promenade for the community of monks by a minister named Kalu Parakrama during the reign of a king styled Sirisangabo Sri Bhuvanaikabahu Cakravarti [probably King Buwanekabahu IV (1341-1351 A.D.) Dias, 1991; Wikramaratne, 2015]. 

A reference to this temple is also found in Kokila Sandeshaya written during the Kotte Period (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015).

The temple
The image house of this temple is apparently old. It consists of two Malas and two arch-shaped doors decorated with Makara-Thorana (dragon-arch) provide access to the inner shrine room (Wikramaratne, 2015). A Buddha statue in reclining posture and murals depicting Jataka-tales such as Ummagga are found inside it (Wikramaratne, 2015).

The preaching hall of the temple has been built in 2476 B.E. [(1932 A.D.) Wikramaratne, 2015]. Several ancient monuments such as fragments of stone pillars, Pinthaliya, and foot-washing stone bowls are found scattered in the temple premises.

A protected site
The ancient image house (with paintings and sculptures) and the Chethiya (the Stupa) of Rajakula Wadana Raja Maha Vihara located in Weligama village in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Weligama are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

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.54,56.
2) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.41-42.
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.72.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.127.
5) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.12-13.

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Asmagoda Purana Viharaya

Asmagoda Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Asmagoda village in Matara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is believed to have been built in about 1750 (Wikramaratne, 2015). A Dutch symbol and some figures belonging to that time are found on the front wall of the Vihara-ge [(the image house) Wikramaratne, 2015]. Some ancient structures such as Sandakada-pahana (moonstone), stone door-frame, and stone steps are found within the temple premises (Wikramaratne, 2015). 

A protected site
The ancient image house of Asmagoda Purana Raja Maha Viharaya located in Asmagoda village, in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Akuressa is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, no: 948. 1 November 1996.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.47-48.

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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Maraluwawa Raja Maha Viharaya

Maraluwawa Raja Maha Viharaya
Maraluwawa Sri Pushpadeva Arahantha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Maraluwawa village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
As evident by the inscriptions in-situ, the history of this temple probably runs back to the 1st century A.D. (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). However, the Andagala copper plate grant by King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1748-1798 A.D.) reveals that this temple was renovated during the reign of King Dutugemunu [(161-137 A.D.) Nawarathne & Rathnayake, 2020].

Inscriptions
A number of inscriptions dating from the 1st century A.D. to the 7th century A.D. have been found from the site (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; Nicholas, 1963). In the earliest of them, Ratavahanaka-mahanakara and a Vihara of the same name are mentioned (Nicholas, 1963).

Maraluwawa rock inscriptions
Period: 4th-5th centuries A.D.          Script: Transitional Brahmi          Language: Old Sinhala
Contents: These inscriptions mention the names of some tanks (such as Pakara, Matha, Cetavila etc.) and watercourses (such as Siraketha, Mahawaka ratha etc.). Also, they mention that Lahithaka of Thihapakara and Sayalawa of Kepuwila were freed from slavery. There are more than ten such inscriptions in the temple premises.
Reference: The information board at the site by the Director-General of Archaeology.

The temple
A worn rock inscription written in characters of the 1-4th centuries A.D. is found on the rock surface near the present Stupa (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A drip-ledged cave named Potgul-lena is also found near to it (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

The Vihara-ge (the image house) of the Maraluwawa temple is believed to have been done during the Kandyan Period (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A pillar inscription containing Sinhala and Tamil scripts is found in front of it (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).
Maraluwawa Raja Maha Viharaya .
Attribution
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.57.
2) Nawarathne, S.A.L.I. and Rathnayake, R.M.S.K., 2020. Andagala thamba-sannasin heliwana Maraluwawa Rajamaha Viharaye aithihasika pasubima (In Sinhala).
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.104.

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Tsunami Honganji Viharaya

Tsunami Honganji Viharaya
Tsunami Honganji Viharaya is a Buddhist place of worship situated in Peraliya in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

Tsunami disaster and the Honganji Vihara
On 26 December 2004, an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 9.3 occurred along Northern Sumatra and the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, and Sri Lanka was among the worst-hit countries with more than 30,000 fatalities (Sumathipala et al., 2006). Peraliya where the present Tsunami Honganji Vihara is situated was badly affected by the waves of Tsunami. It is also the place where the largest single rail disaster in world history by death toll, with more than 1,500 fatalities, happened (Rohan et al., 2009).

One year later, as a sign of rising from the disaster, a giant Buddha statue was proposed to be built at Peraliya and its construction works were begun after laying the foundation stone on 24 December 2005.

The statue was unveiled on 26 December 2006 by Rev. Otani Chojun, the president of Honganji Foundation and the chief incumbent of Honganji Viharaya in Kyoto, Japan with the presence of Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thera, the chief Sanghanayaka of Japan, and Mahinda Rajapakse, the then president of Sri Lanka.

The statue
The statue is 18.5 m tall and stands near the seashore facing the sea depicting the Abhaya-mudra, the gesture of reassurance and safety. It was erected to commemorate the victims of the Tsunami tragedy and as a symbol of hope for the mental and spiritual relief of all Tsunami victims in the country, and also promotes the propagation of Buddhism and its culture by making stronger ties between Japan and Sri Lanka.

The statue is also a reproduction of the famous Bamiyan Buddhas at Afganistan that were destroyed on 27 February 2001 by the terrorist group Taliban.

References
1) Rohan, R.P., Hettiarachchi, M., Vidanapathirana, M. and Perera, S., 2009. Management of dead and missing: Aftermath tsunami in Galle. Legal Medicine, 11, pp.S86-S88.
2) Sumathipala, A., Siribaddana, S. and Perera, C., 2006. Management of dead bodies as a component of psychosocial interventions after the tsunami: A view from Sri Lanka. International Review of Psychiatry, 18(3), pp.249-257.

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