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.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Sirimalwatta Raja Maha Viharaya

Sirimalwatta Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temples situated in Sirimalwatta village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The old wayside rest Sirimalwatta Ambalama is located near this temple.

History
Sirimalwatta village
According to folklore, the history of Sirimalwatta village where the temple located is going back to the days of King Saddhatissa [(137-119 B.C.) ] Abeyawardana, 2004]. It is said that the king had grown jasmine flowers in this village and ordered to bring them to be offered to the Ruwanweliseya Stupa at Anuradhapura before they blossom (Abeyawardana, 2004). The garden where Hirimal flowers (flowers which didn't blossom) collected later became Sirimalwatta (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
The temple
According to folklore, this temple was founded during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.) and developed later by King Vimaladharmasuriya II [(1687-1707 A.D.) Rajapakse, 2016]. The name of the temple is mentioned in Nampota, an ancient Sinhalese text which is considered to have been compiled after the 14th century.
 
However, some consider this temple as one of the Viharas established under the patronage of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Karunaratna & Ambanwala, 2010]. The rock inscription that has been engraved on a rock located near the temple land indicate the antiquity of this temple (Karunaratna & Ambanwala, 2010).
 
The temple
The temple comprises a Stupa, image house, preaching hall, Bodhi-tree, and monk dwellings. The image house shows architectural features of both Kandyan and Dutch (Karunaratna & Ambanwala, 2010). The short walls and round pillars bear the roof of the image house. Three seated Buddha statues and twenty-one standing statues are found inside it (Rajapakse, 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.112.
2) Karunaratna, M., Ambanwala, C, 2010. Sirimalwatta Rajamaha Viharaya (In Sinhala). Dinithi: Vol. 1: Issue IV. ISSN 2012-7189. p.18.
3) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.105-106.
 
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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya

Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya is a Buddhist temples situated in Lankapatuna (Tamil: Ilankathurai) in Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka.

History
Popular belief
Lankapatuna in Sinhala means the "Lanka's port". The temple is located on an elevated rock that sticks out of the shoreline and lies at the mouth of the Ullakkalli lagoon. According to popular belief, this is the historic Port of Lankapatuna where Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala set foot in Sri Lanka bringing the Tooth Relic of the Buddha in the 4th century A.D. (Medhananda, 2003).
 
LTTE influence 
Medhananda Thera, a Buddhist monk who visited this site in 1965 reported the ruins scattered at this place and he identified an ancient Buddhist Stupa of about 8 ft. tall (Medhananda, 2003). However, during the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009), this site was captured and used as a gun post by the cadres of "Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam" (LTTE), a Tamil secessionist group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries including India, the United States and the European Union (Klem, 2012). Following the peace talks between the LTTE and the Government in 2002, a Hindu shrine had been established at this ruined site by 2003 (Medhananda, 2003). After liberating the area from the LTTE, the present temple was established at the site (Klem, 2012).

A protected site
The ancient Dagaba, ruined pond, oval shaped and rectangular shaped pickaxe marks and Pana-bemi in the Lankapatuna Samudragiri Vihara premises in the Seenathvali village in the Grama Niladhari Division of Uppural in the Divisional Secretary's Division of Seruvila are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 7 March 2008.

References
1) Klem, B.W.N., 2012. In the wake of war. The political geography of transition in eastern Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, University of Zurich). pp.131,262.
2) 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.319-322.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1540. 7 March 2008. p.175.

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Rajamaha Kohon Viharaya

Rajamaha Kohon Viharaya is Buddhist temple situated in Halngoda village in Matale District, Sri Lanka.
 
History
Kohon Viharaya is believed to be a temple donated to Arahant Tissa Thera by Maha Naga, the brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. It is said that Arahant Kohontissa was the incumbent of this temple when writing down the scriptures on Ola-leaf books at Matale Alu Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004). After completion of writing of the scriptures, a procession carrying lamps was proceeded to Alu Viharaya from this temple to commemorate that event (Abeyawardana, 2004).

King Rajadhirajasinghe (1781-1798 A.D.) is said to have bestowed some lands to this temple for its maintaining works (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
Inscriptions
A 19th century rock inscription has been discovered on a rock located about 20 yards to the west of the temple (Dias, 1991). It was copied by the Department of Archaeology on 25 October 1971 (Dias, 1991).
 
Kohon Raja Maha Vihara rock inscription
Period: 19th century A.D.                Script: Modern Sinhala               Language: Modern Sinhala
Content:  The inscription contains details about a donation of some lands to the temple (Kohon Viharaya) by a person. While expecting the Buddhahood, the author of this inscription has shared his meritorious work firstly with Royalty and secondly with all others.
Reference: Dais, 1991.
 
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.129-130.
2) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.59,61.
 
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Kaludiya Pokuna, Dambulla

Not to be confused with Kaludiya Pokuna, Mihintale

Kaludiya Pokuna is a site with a ruined Buddhist monastery located near Kumbukkandanwala (Dambulla) in Matale District, Sri Lanka.
 
History
This has been identified as the ancient Dakkhinagiri Vihara [(Dakinigiri Vehera) Nicholas, 1963]. According to Mahavamsa, Dakkhinagiri Vihara was built by King Saddhatissa [(137-119 B.C.) Nicholas, 1963; Ranawella, 2001]. However, Culavamsa mentions that King Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.) built the monastery named Dakkhinagiri Vihara (Nicholas, 1963; Ranawella, 2001). It is believed that Dhatusena had only affected certain repairs during his reign to the Dakkhinagiri temple which had been built by Saddhatissa (Ranawella, 2001). King Aggabodhi I (571-604 A.D.) is said to have constructed a Uposathaghara (a chapter house) at Dakkinagiridalha Vihara which is probably the same temple (Nicholas, 1963). King Kassapa V (914-923 A.D.) granted a village to this monastery (Nicholas, 1963).

The identity of this place as Dakkhinagiri Vihara was confirmed by two inscriptions discovered from the site (Nicholas, 1963). These two inscriptions belong to the reigns of King Kassapa IV (909-914 A.D.) and King Sena III (938-946 A.D.) and they record the name of this temple as Dakinigiri Vehera (Ranawella, 2001). The name Dakinigiri Vehera has been found among the graffiti of nearby Sigiriya (Nicholas, 1963).
 
Inscriptions
Three inscriptions have been discovered from this site (Paranavitana, 1933). The earliest of them which belongs to the 7th century A.D., has been engraved on a plain guard-stone of the flight of steps at the southern entrance to the courtyard of the Stupa (Paranavitana, 1933). Other two inscriptions belong to the 10th century A.D. and have been dated by scholars to the reigns of King Kassapa IV (909-914 A.D.) and King Sena III [(938-946 A.D.) Ranawella, 2001; Ranawella, 2004].
 
Kaludiyapokuna cave inscription of Kassapa IV (909-914 A.D.)
Period: 10th century A.D.                Script: Medieval Sinhala               Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content:  The inscription is dated in the 12th regnal year of the king. It registers certain donations (23 Kalandas of gold) made by eight persons for providing Laha-bat (ticket-meals) to the inmates of the Dakinigiri monastery.
Notes: Paranavitana had identified the king of this inscriptions as Sena II (853-887 A.D.). Ranawella corrected his reading later and identified the king as Kassapa IV.
Reference: Raranavitana, 1933; Ranawella, 2001.
 
Kaludiyapokuna slab inscription of Sena III (938-946 A.D.)
Period: 10th century A.D.                Script: Medieval Sinhala               Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content:  The inscription is dated in the 1st regnal year of the king. It contains a set of rules and regulations to be adhered by the monks of Dakinigiri-radmahavehera as well as by officials and workers who have been assigned to the temple duties. It also mentions that any person who break these rules and regulations will not have the fortune to see the Bodhisattva Maithri.
Reference: Ranawella, 2004.

The site
The site which has been declared as an archaeological reserve, extends in an area of about 40 acres (Abeyawardana, 2004). It comprises a large number of ruins including rock caves, a Stupa, inscriptions, residential cells and other ancient remains (Abeyawardana, 2004). These ruins belong to the period 5th to 10th century A.D. (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
The ancient monastery at Kaludiya Pokuna is said to have been built accordance to the Pancavasa tradition (Abeyawardana, 2004). The brick-built Stupa has been built on an elevated platform. It is believed that this monastery had been used by the monks of Dhammaruci sect (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
Kaludiya Pokuna means the "Black water pond". The water of the pond that is found in this site has become dark colour due to natural causes of the surrounding environment. 
 
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.180-181.
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.111.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1933. (Edited and translated by Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z.; Codrington, H.W.) Kaludiyapokuna inscriptions. 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. pp.253-269.
4) Ranawella, S., 2001. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part I. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-21-6. pp.251-254.
5) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon: Containing pillar inscriptions and slab inscriptions from 924 AD to 1017. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.143-146.
 
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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Palatota Ammunition Store

Palatota Ammunition Store is an old Dutch building situated in Palatota in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

The building
This building was built by the Dutch (Dutch Ceylon: 1640-1796 A.D.) to store ammunition and to preserve it from fire (Katupotha, 2011). It is quadrangle in shape and has a vault like roof made of brick and concrete (Katupotha, 2011). Windows have been fixed on the walls to control the air circulation inside the store.

A protected monument
The ancient ammunition store in Palathota Grama Niladhari Division bearing No. 723E in Kalutara Divisional Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by the government Gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

References
1) Katupotha, J., 2011. Cultural and Historical Monuments and Protected Resources of Archaeological Significance in the Lower Kalu Ganga Basin, Sri Lanka. Conference PaperNational Archaeological Symposium 2011. pp.197-213.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.123.

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Weeransole ruins, Wilpattu

A site with the remains of an ancient Buddhist temple has been discovered in Weeransole area located in the woods of Wilpattu National Park in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.
 
The site & ruins
The site was revealed during a study conducted under the Wilpattu Resource Inventory Project implemented by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation, during the period of June 2005 to April 2006 (Goonatilake, 2006). A total of 68 archaeologically important sites were recorded during this study including the ruins at Weeransole (Goonatilake, 2006). Goonatilake has described details about this site in his publication as follows;
Weeransole ruins near the Paluvilandawa tank has not been recorded by any previous workers and consisted of three destroyed Buddha statues, including two seated (Samadhi) and one standing statue. A well preserved seated (Samadhi) statue was brought to the Park entrance (Hunuvilagama) during the 1980s by Army offices, which can be seen at present in the image house. This statue is very similar to the Samadhi Buddha statue at Anuradhapura. One of the destroyed Samadhi Buddha statue seated under the hood of Naga King Muchalinda, is of a rare type. These three types of Buddha statues were recorded from eastern province; two from Seruvila Mangala Rajamaha Viharaya off Trincomalee and one from Kantale sugar plantation, which are currently displayed at the Archaeological Museum at Anuradhapura (Godakumbura, undated). This is the fourth known Buddha statue belonging to this posture. Broken lotus pedestal, which belongs to standing Buddha statue can also be seen at the site. The body of the statue is 1.15 m in height and its head and arms were missing. The name of the site is unknown and no such inscriptions are still found in the sites. The site has also been excavated and destroyed by treasure hunters, and needs immediate conservation action.
Citation: Goonatilake, 2006. pp.64-65.
References
1) Goonatilake, W.L.D.P.T.S. de A., 2006. Archaeologically important sites in Vilpattu National Park: present status and new findings. National Archaeological Symposium 2006. pp.57-80..

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Rajagirilena, Mihintale

Rajagirilena or (Rajagiri cave mountain/ Rajagirilenakanda) is a site with a ruined Buddhist cave temple located near Mihintale Monastery in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.
 
History
Chronicles reveals that during the reign of King Saddhatissa (137-119 B.C.) the Rajagirilena cave had been used by Kala Buddha Rakkhita Thera as an abode of living (Nicholas, 1963). The kings are said to have visited this site frequently for the observance of the higher precepts and to listen to the Buddhist preaching. Brahmi inscriptions those have been discovered from the site indicate that during the initial stages the site was inhabited by the monks of Theravada tradition. However, it became an institute of the Mahayana Buddhist sect in the 9th and 10th century A.D. (Dhammaratana, 2000).

The ruins of an image house constructed during the Kandyan Period has been identified in this premises. The site was declared as an archaeological reserve in 1926.
 
Inscription
A number of early & later-Brahmi inscription have been found from the site (Paranavitana, 1970).

Period: 3rd century B.C.-1st century A.D.           Script: Early-Brahmi          Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript:  Damaguta-teraha lene agata-anagata-catu-di[sha]-shagasha
Translation:  The cave of the elder Dhammagutta, [is given] to the Sangha of the four quarters, present and absent.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.p.5.
 
Besides the Brahmi inscriptions, there is a Sanskrit inscription written in Devanagari characters (Dhammaratana, 2000). It is said to be one of the two inscriptions in Sri Lanka written in Devanagari characters (Dhammaratana, 2000). This inscription confirms the fact that Rajagirilenakanda was under the influence of Mahayana tradition during the 9th-10th centuries A.D. (Dhammaratana, 2000).

Period: 9th century A.D.                Script: Devanagari               Language: Sanskrit
Content:  The inscription is worn and some part of it can not be read. The remaining part contains Sanskrit stanza which is frequently observed used in epigraphs belonging to the Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist sects.
Reference: Dhammaratana, 2000.
 
References
1) Dhammaratana, I., 2000. Sanskrit Inscriptions in Sri Lanka: A thesis submitted to the University of Pune in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sanskrit. Department of Sanskrit & Prakrit Languages, University of Pune, India. pp.357-364.
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.163.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.5,87.

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Kaludiya Pokuna, Mihintale

Not to be confused with Kaludiya Pokuna, Dambulla

Kaludiya Pokuna is a site with a ruined Buddhist temple located on the west slope of the Mihintale Monastery in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.
 
History
This is believed to be the ancient Hadayunha Pirivena built for the monks of Dhammaruchika by the General of King Kassapa IV [(898-914 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004]. The pond of this site is supposed to be the ancient Porodini Pokkarani that is mentioned in Tablets of Mahinda IV [(956-972 A.D.) Wellivitiya, 2000]. It might have been used by monks for observing "Pohoya Karma" (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
Kaludiyapokuna rock inscription
Period: 7-8th centuries A.D.                Script: Transitional Brahmi               Language: Old Sinhala
Content:  An offering of gold Kalanda was made for the stone masons' craft by a person named Yuva. A person named Bodhi is also mentioned. The inscription is worn and can not be fully read.
Citation: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage and Cultural Affairs.

The pond and other ruins
Kaludiya Pokuna means the "Black water pond". The water of the pond that is found in this site has become dark colour due to the silhouette of the surrounding flora and rocks. The pond is about 200 ft. long 70 ft. wide and considered to be the largest specimen at Mihintale (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wikramagamage, 2004). Scholars believe that it is a work belonging to the 10th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016). 
 
Besides the pond, the site comprises a Stupa, chapter house, promenade, residential cells, Padhanaghara, bathhouse and lavatories (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wellivitiya, 2000; Wikramagamage, 2004). The site was declared as an archaeological reserve in 1926.
 
References
1) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.60.
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.164.
3) Wellivitiya, T., 2000. Organic nature in Sri Lankan vernacular architecture. A dissertation submitted to the University of Moratuwa as a partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Architectura. pp.75-99.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.172.

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Mihintale

Mihintale (ancient Cetiyapabbata, Seygiri or Segiri Vihara) is a Buddhist monastery site situated in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. 

Mihintale rock & the name
The Mihintale rock has been identified with ancient Missaka-pabbata (Missakapawwa), called afterward Cetiya-pabbata/Cetiyagiri (Sinhala: Seygiri or Segiri) and Ambatthala (Wickremasinghe, 1912). The name Cetiyapabbata means the "Mountain of Stupas" and the name have come into the parlance because of the large number of Stupas those have been built at various levels of the rock (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). Mihintale is said to be the only monastery having the largest number of Stupas in the country (Wikramagamage, 2004). 
 
Mihintale is the present name used to identify this site. It roughly means the "Plateau of Mahinda" and is said to have been derived from the name of Arahant Mahinda Thera (Jayasuriya, 2016). A later-Brahmi rock inscription discovered from Mihintale has the name "Mahidala" which is supposed to be the ancient form of the present name (Paranavitana, 2001).
 
Mihintale rock is 309.73 m in height and the extent of the monastic site is about 182.25 hectares [(450.34 acres) Wikramagamage, 2004]. Near to this place are several historic sites such as Eth Vehera, Anaikuti-kanda and Rajagirilena-kanda. Some pre-historic artefacts are said to have been discovered from a few of caves of these sites (Wikramagamage, 2004).

History
The cradle of the Sinhala Buddhist civilization
According to chronicles, Mihintale is the place where the Indian missionaries headed by Arahant Mahinda Thera, the son of Indian Emperor Ashoka (c.268-232 B.C.) met King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.) in the 3rd century B.C. (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). As a result of this meeting, the king embraced Buddhism and established Buddhism as the religion of the Sinhalese people (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). Therefore, Mihintale is considered as the fountain of Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka as well as the cradle of the Sinhala Buddhist civilization.

Establishment of the first monastery
After embracing the Buddhism, King Devanampiyatissa established the first monastery at Mihintale and presented it to Arahant Mahinda Thera (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). He refurbished sixty-eight caves (see Ataseta Len) and bestowed them to the community of monks (Wikramagamage, 2004). It is said that Arahant Mahinda Thera resided in one of them and that cave is presently known as Mihindu Guhava [(Theranambattha-lena) Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004]. Also, a monk named Lomasa Naga lived later in one of these caves called Piyanguguha and another cave was known as Rajagirilena during the reign of King Saddhatissa [(137-119 B.C.) Nicholas, 1963]. According to Mahavamsa, King Devanampiyatissa planted a sapling of the Bodhi-tree at Mihintale and completed the repairs of its buildings (Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912).
 
After the death of Arahant Mahinda Thera (in the 8th year of the reign of King Uttiya), his ashes were enshrined in a Stupa by King Uttiya (Nicholas, 1963). The ruined Stupa (see Mihinduseya at Mihintale) near the Mihintale Maha Seya is believed to be that monument (Nicholas, 1963). The Mihinduseya at Rajagala is believed to be another Stupa built to commemorate Arahant Mahinda Thera.
 
Royal patronage and development
Shortly after the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, the Kantaka Cetiya was built at Mihintale (Wikramagamage, 2004). King Lanjatissa (119-109 A.D.) encased with stone a Stupa  and a Uposatha hall with a stone Thupa (Sila Cetiya) in front of it were added to the temple by King Kutakannatissa [(42-20 B.C.) Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912]. King Bhatikabhaya (20 B.C.-9 A.D.) made donations to the monks and King Mahadathika Mahanaga (9-21 A.D.) erected a great Stupa (see Mihintale Maha Seya) on Ambatthala and held a great festival which later known as the "Giribhanda festival" (Wickremasinghe, 1912). King Kanijanutissa (31-34 A.D.) settled a problem arisen in the temple, imprisoned sixty monks who were engaged in a conspiracy against him and finally flung them into the caves called Kanira [(see Ataseta Len) Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912]. King Vasabha (67-111 A.D.) built 10 Stupas and illuminated a thousand of lamps at Mihintale mountain (Nicholas, 1963). King Kanitthatissa (165-193 A.D.) built a Cetiyaghara at Ambatthala (see Ambastala Stupa Vatadage) which was afterwards repaired by King Gotabhaya [(254-267 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912]. The tank named Kalamattika Wewa was granted for the use of Mihintale by King Jetthatissa [(263-275 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912]. King Mahasena (277-304 A.D.) assigned Mihintale to the Abhayagiriya Monastery in his reign and a procession conveying a golden statue of Arahant Mahinda Thera was held by King Sirimeghavanna [(304-332 A.D.) Wikramagamage, 2004; Wickremasinghe, 1912].

In the 5th century A.D., the Mihintale was passed into the control of the Mahayana fraternity of Abhayagiriya Monastery (Nicholas, 1963) Fa-Hsien, a Chinese monk who stayed in Sri Lanka from 411 to 413 A.D., reveals in his notes that there were about 2,000 resident Buddhist monks in Mihintale (Nicholas, 1963; Wikramagamage, 2004). King Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.) is said to have rebuilt the Ambatthala Vihara and conferred it on the Dhammaruci sect of  Abhayagiriya Monastery (Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912). King Aggabodhi I (564-598 A.D.) built a bath named Nagasondi (see Naga Pokuna) at Mihintale and King Aggabodhi III (624-640 A.D.) dedicated the village Ambillapadara to the temple (Wickremasinghe, 1912). King Aggabodhi V (726-732 A.D.) repaired the dilapidated structures of the temple and the queen of King Udaya I (797-801 A.D.), built Kattaka Cetiya at Mihintale (Nicholas, 1963). King Sena II (866-901 A.D.) established a hospital at Mihintale (Nicholas, 1963; Wickremasinghe, 1912). The inscription of King Kassapa V (929-939 A.D) near "Stone Canopy" at Anuradhapura reveals that both Mihintale and Ath Vehera then belonged to Kaparamula Fraternity of Abhayagiri Viharaya (Wickremasinghe, 1912).

During the Polonnaruwa Period King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) renovated 64 Stupas at Mihintale (Nicholas, 1963).

Inscriptions
A large number of inscriptions (caves, rock, slabs, pillars etc.) ranging from 3rd century B.C. to 10th century A.D. have been discovered from the premises of Mihintale monastery as well as from the areas located vicinity such as Rajagiri-kanda, Anaikuti-kanda etc. (Dias, 1991; Paranavitana, 1970; Paranavitana, 1983; Paranavitana, 2001; Ranawella, 2001; Ranawella, 2004; Ranawella, 2005). Prof. Paranavitana, in his publication in 1970, has read 58 early-Brahmi inscriptions in Mihintale, 9 in Rajagirillena-kanda, 7 in Anaikuti-kanda and 1 on a stone on the bund of the Mihintale tank (Paranavitana, 1970). He has further read 6 later-Brahmi inscription in Mihintale and 2 in Rajagirilena-kanda (Paranavitana, 1970).

Mihintale early-Brahmi inscription of princess (Abi)Tissa
Period: 210-200 B.C.                Script: Early-Brahmi               Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: (1) Gamani-Uti-maharajhaha jhita Abi-Ti]shaya lene dasha-dishsha sagaye dine (symbols) (2) mata-pitasha ataya
Translation: (1) The cave of princess (Abi)Tissa, daughter of the great king Gamani-Uttiya, is given to the Sangha of the ten directions, (2) for the benefits of the mother and the farther.
Note:  The name Uti is, without doubts, the name occurring in the chronicles as Uttiya. In the list of kings given in the Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa, there is only one sovereign of this name; that was the younger brother of Devanampiyatissa.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970. pp.lii,3.

Among the number of later-Brahmi inscriptions in Mihintale, one is considered special as it contains the name of Arahant Mahinda Thera as well as the names three of his companions namely Itthiya, Uttiya, and Badrasala (Paranavitana, 1983). However, as mentioned in chronicles, one of the four companions of Arahant Mahinda Thera, Sambhala, does not find mention in this inscription (Paranavitana, 1983). This is also the earliest document in the country where a reference to coconut grooves has been made (Paranavitana, 1983).

Mihintale rock inscription of Mahadatika Mahanaga (9-21 A.D.)
Period: 1st century A.D.                Script: Later-Brahmi               Language: Old Sinhala
Content: This inscription lists the tanks, canals, villages, highlands, coconut lands etc. donated for the use of the monks of Segira (Mihintale) Viharaya. Also it records the donations made for the maintenance of the images of the Arahant Mahinda Thera, and Reverends Itthiya, Uttiya, and Bhadrasala Theras.
References: Paranavitana, 1983.
 
Three inscriptions belonging to the 6-7th centuries A.D. were found on a slab on the pavement of the Ambasthala Stupa at Mihintale (Dias, 1991). 
 
Mihintale Ambasthala Stupa inscription
Period: 6-7th century A.D.                Script: Later-Brahmi               Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: (1) [Jayapa....pura ma]..... (2) vaharala vata katu......>>
Translation:......gave for the purpose of maintaining the compulsary service at the monastery. May the merit be achieved by all beings.
Citation: Dias, 1991.
 
An inscribed rectangular stone pillar of King Udaya II (887-898 A.D.) was found near the ancient hospital at Mihintale in 1952 (Ranawella, 2001). It helped to confirm the identity of the site of the Segiriya hospital (Ranawella, 2001). Another inscription of King Kassapa IV (909-914 A.D.) that was discovered from the same site enabled scholars to identify it as a hospital (Ranawella, 2001).

Mihintale fragmentary pillar inscription of Udaya II (887-898 A.D.)
Period: 9th century A.D.                Script: Medieval Sinhala               Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: This inscription has been issued to register certain immunities granted by the king in respect of the land on which the Mihintale hospital (Segiriya ved-hala) had been located.
References: Ranawella, 2001.
 
Two slab inscriptions of Mahinda IV has been erected in a ruined building at Mihintale. These two inscriptions have been inscribed on the orders of King Mahinda IV (956-972 A.D.) to provide information on the administration and inner life of the Mihintale monastery. They reveal the rules and regulations pertaining to the monk community, the intervention of the State, the wages and allowances for the employees of the temple as well as the information regarding the work involved with the temple, the relic house, and special monastic buildings.

Monuments
The existing ruins at Mihintale indicate that the monastery was in an active state from the 3rd century B.C. to the 14th century A.D. (Wikramagamage, 2004). These ruins comprises a network of monasteries, caves, religious monuments and water works. Some of the important monuments belonging to the monastery are listed below;
 
The main flight of steps: The main flight of steps which leads the devotees to the Ambastala plain is located on the western slope of the mountain. It has 1840 stone steps arrange in three flights (Jayasuriya, 2016; Wickremasinghe, 1912). Shaded by temple trees on either side, this is perhaps the widest flight of steps in the country (Jayasuriya, 2016).

Kantaka Cetiya: This Stupa is believed to have been constructed during or soon after the reign of King Devanampiyatissa (Nicholas, 1963). According to Mahawamsa, Devanampiyatissa had refurbished sixty-eight caves in the neighborhood of the Kantaka Cetiya for the use of the monks headed by Arahant Mahinda. 
 
Ambastala Stupa & Vatadage: This Stupa has been built on the highest point of the Ambastala plain. As belief of the people, this place has been hallowed by the Buddha on one of his visits to the island (Jayasuriya, 2016). A Stupa named Sela  Cetiya is said to had been erected at this place by King Mahadathika Mahanaga [(9-21 A.D.) Wikramagamage, 2004]. The Vatadage (circular Stupa shrine) was constructed round the Stupa by King Kanittha Tissa [(165-193 A.D.) Wikramagamage, 2004].
 
Maha Thupa: This is the largest Stupa in Mihintale. Built by King Mahadatika Mahanaga (9-21 A.D.), it is believed that the Urnaromadhatu of the Buddha (the rounded hair in the middle of the forehead of the Buddha) has been enshrined in this Stupa (Wikramagamage, 2004). The Stupa has been referred to as Ambulu Dagoba in Pujavaliya as well as in the Lithic Records of Mahinda IV (Wickremasinghe, 1912).
 
Mihindu Seya: This Stupa has been built in memory of Arahant Mahinda Thera (Jayasuriya, 2016). It is said that, King Uttiya, the younger brother of King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.), built a Stupa on the summit of the Mihintale mountain by enshrining a part of the relic of Arahant Mahinda Thera (Nicholas, 1963). The old Stupa which is found to the west of the Maha Seya has been identified as that Stupa which is mentioned in the chronicle Mahawamsa (Nicholas, 1963)
 
Giribhanda Seya: A Stupa exposed by an excavation done in 1951. Although the builder of it is not known, it has been dated by scholars to the 8th century A.D. The relic-chamber (with fragments of paintings) that recovered from the Stupa is presently being exhibited in the Mihintale museum.
 
Indikatuseya: Indikatuseya Stupa has been built on a brick platform about 5 ft. 6 in. tall (Jayasuriya, 2016). Several copper plates containing quatations from Mahayana texts in Sinhala letters of the 8-9th centuries A.D. have been recovered from this Stupa during the conservation works commenced in 1923 (Jayasuriya, 2016).
 
Katuseya: It is believed that the smithy implements and the tools used in the construction work of the Mihintale complex have been enshrined in this Stupa. According to the remaining architectural features, it has been found out that this was a Stupa-centered monastic complex that belonged to the Mahayana tradition of the Anuradhapura period.
 
Ath Vehera: A brick-built Stupa constructed on a terrace 14 m in diameter (Wikramagamage, 2004). Renovations were done in 1984 (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
Ataseta caves: The chronicle Mahavamsa states that King Devanampiyatissa had prepared 68 caves as dwellings for Bhikkhus headed by Arahant Mahinda Thera (Seneviratna, 1994). The early Brahmi cave inscriptions presenting below the drip-ledges of these caves confirm that they had been prepared for the use of the Buddhist monks during the pre-Christian era. 

Mihindu Guhawa: This rock cave is supposed to have been used by Arahant Mahinda Thera (Jayasuriya, 2016). A part of the cave (measures 2.28 x 1.06 m) has been polished to suit human habitation and that is believed to had been used as a bed (Wikramagamage, 2004).
 
Monk's hospital: This hospital has been assigned to King Sena II (853-857 A.D.) and a 9th century inscription at a ruined building located near the entrance to the Vihara refers to it as the Segiri Hospital (Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). Metal surgical instruments and a medicinal canoe have been found from this site (Jayasuriya, 2016).
 
The alms-hall: This building has been identified as the place where the daily alms were provided for the monks who lived in Mihintale.  

Sannipata Salawa: This ruined building has been identified as the assembly hall of the Mihintale monastery where monks assembled to discuss matters of common interests pertaining to the monastic life.
 
Aradhana Gala: The Aradhana Gala rock is believed to be the spot on which the Arahant Mahinda Thera alighted when he came through the air (Jayasuriya, 2016).
 
Kaludiya Pokuna: Kaludiya Pokuna means the "Black water pond". It is located at the foot of the southern incline of Mihintale mountain. The remains of an ancient monastery complex are found around this pond. These ruins have been dated by scholars to the 10th century A.D. (Jayasuriya, 2016). 
 
Naga Pokuna: The history of the Naga Pokuna runs back to the time of the arrival of Arahant Mahinda Thera in Sri Lanka (Wikramagamage, 2004). It is mentioned in chronicles that the pond named Nagacatukka was used as a bathing tank by Mahinda Thera and the monks of the Vihara (Nicholas, 1963). Chronicles further record that King Aggabodhi I (575-608 A.D.) had built a bath at Cetiyagiri (modern Mihintale) by the name Nagasondi and supplied it with a continual stream of water (Wickremasinghe, 1912).
 
Sinha Pokuna: This pond has been given its name since there is a statue of lion standing with two legs. The lion figure has been made on the outer wall of the lower terrace of the pond. The water is discharged through the mouth of the lion making a spout. This was used to collect water for the use of Buddhist monks. The water for the pond had been supplied from the Naga Pokuna through a tunnel.

References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.15,19,85,90. 
2) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.58-62.
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). pp.162-166.
4) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.lii,1-6,87.
5) Paranavitana, S., 1983. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part I. Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka. pp.26-27,30-34,37-39.
6) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.206-207,224-225,227-228.
7) Ranawella, S., 2001. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part I. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-21-6. pp.26-29,34-37,102-103,249.
8) 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.272-285.
9) Ranawella, S., 2005. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part III. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-91-59-57-7. pp.4-5,8-9,144,162.
10) Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura: the monastic city. Archaeological Survey Department. p.236.
11) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.157-174.
12) Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp.75-113.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Mihintale Assembly Hall

Mihintale Assembly Hall
Sannipata Salawa is a ruined building located in the ancient monastery of Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. It has been identified as the assembly hall of the Mihintale monastery where monks assembled to discuss matters of common interests pertaining to the monastic life. It has been used as a preaching hall as well.

The building is square in shape and the length of one side is 18.55 m (Wikramagamage, 2004). It has been constructed on a raised platform of about 1.93 m tall (Wikramagamage, 2004). The entire building is believed to had been covered by a roof supported on 48 pillars (Wikramagamage, 2004). The raised seat at the center of the hall is supposed to be the chair used by the head priest or the chairman of the assembly. The square-shaped chair measured 8.08 m on one side (Wikramagamage, 2004). Four entrances accompanied by Sandakada Pahana (moonstones), Muragala (guardstones), Korawak Gala (balustrades) provide access to the hall.

References
1) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.167.

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Pepiliyana Sunethradevi Pirivena and Viharaya

Pepiliyana Sunethradevi Pirivena
Sunethradevi Pirivena and Viharaya are two Buddhist temples situated adjacent to each other in Pepiliyana in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
Establishment
Pepiliyana Sunethradevi Viharaya
The history of Pepiliyana Sunetradevi Pirivena runs back to the period of Kotte Kingdom. Epigraphical evidence (see the below "Inscriptions" section) reveal that King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 A.D.) constructed this temple in memory of his mother Sunethra Devi (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Rohanadeera, 2007). Mangala Sami, a student of Galathuramula Medhankara is said to be the first incumbents of this temple (Rohanadeera, 2007).
 
A prominent educational center
Sunethradevi Pirivena (along with Padmavathi Pirivena at Keragala, Siri Ganananda Pirivena at Veedagama, Vijayaba Pirivena at Totagamuwa and Siri Perakumba Pirivena at Kotte) was considered as one of the most prominent Buddhist teaching institutions that engaged in spreading literacy to the country during the Kotte Period. The 15th century Gira Sandeshaya has a reference to this temple (Manathunga, 2016).

Demise
With the downfall of the Kotte Kingdom in the latter part of the 16th century, the temple lost its state recognition and is said to have been vandalized by Westerners including the Portuguese who landed in Sri Lanka in 1505 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Inscriptions
A fragmentary slab inscription (with an appendix) and several Sannasas issued by King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 A.D.) reveal the history of this temple as well as about the properties bestowed to it (Rohanadeera, 2007). 

Pepiliyana Sannasas
Several Sannasas pertaining to the lands and properties endowed to the Sunethradevi Pirivena by King Parakramabahu VI are currently in the possession of the temple (Rohanadeera, 2007). They have been issued by the king in 1431, 1432 (12 April), 1432 (10 November), and 1459 (Rohanadeera, 2007).

Pepiliyana Sunetradevi slab inscription of Parakramabahu VI
This slab inscriptions has been engraved in March 1454  (Rohanadeera, 2007). It contains a proclamation issued by King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 A.D.) in his 39th regnal year (Rohanadeera, 2007). It says that Mangala Sami, the pupil of Galaturu Mula Mahasami, has been appointed to the post of Head of the Sunethradevi Pirivena and the income from the temporalities belonging to Pepiliyana Viharaya and the Pirivena should be utilized in accordance with the instructions given in the proclamation (Rohanadeera, 2007).
Period: 15th century A.D..                Script: Modern Sinhala               Language: Modern Sinhala
Content: This inscription discloses that King Parakramabahu VI who came to the throne in the year 1958 B.E. (1415 A.D.) has made an order in the 39th year of his reign to the official named Sikura Mudalpotun to commence construction of a new temple to accrue merit for Queen Mother. Accordingly with an expenditure of money amounting to 25,000 Pepiliyana Vihara was constructed with boundary walls, gateways, image houses, assembly halls, a Bodhi-tree, Dagobas, monastic residences, temples of gods, libraries, and flower altars. It also reveals details of paddy lands and other property grants offered to maintain the temple and provide necessary expences for alms of the residence monks. This temple named after the Queen Mother was offered to Ven. Mangala, the student of Ven. Galaturumul Medhankara. King has offered cash and other donations to cover expenses pertaining to religious ceremonies of the three Bodhi (Stupa, Bodhi-tree, and image house) and maintenance of the monastery. Various other donations for the chief incumbent monk and other monks have been granted by the king as well. 
 
Inscription further reveals details of the servants assigned for various purposes. It also mentions that until the temple exists; subsequent kings, sub kings and other nobles should donate various grants to the temple and that any violators of this custom will be reborn as Pretas, while those who assist the ceremonies even by word will be rewarded in this world and in heaven.
Citation: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

Pepiliyana slab inscription: Appendix
This inscription has been inscribed in December 1459 on the lower half of the main inscription as an appendix to it. 
Content: King Parakramabahu VI on the 44 year of his reign built the Aramanapola Vihara in Navayodun Koralaya with an image house and the residence for the monks and bestowed it to the Triple Gem and then toMangala Maha Thera, the chief incumbent of Sunethradevi Pirivena at Pepiliyana. The donations included villages, lands, large extents of paddy fields, servants and money to buy rice, chilies, salt and other ingredients for the kitchen, betel, and areca nut, etc. scented water, fragrant flowers for the rituals performed for the three Bodhis. Eight accoutrements were distributed once a year to the chief incumbents and the resident monks. Money had been allocated to buy cloth for the clerk and other officials working at the Pirivena. The income derived from the revenue on a daily, monthly and yearly basis consisted of cash and kind. All these grants should be used for the rituals performed in the Pirivena to supply four requisites to the resident monks and guest monks and for the national service of issuing books by the Pirivena. The inscription also discloses the fact the Pirivena and resident monks were maintained without any help from devotees.It further mentions that anyone who interrupting these grans will be reborn in hell, while those who help these meritorious acts will enjoy life in this world and in heaven and eventually will see the Maitree Buddha and attain Nirvana or the Supreme Bliss.
Citation: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.

A protected site
The ancient image house and the Avasage belonging to the premises of Pepiliyana Sunethradevi Raja Maha Viharaya situated in Grama Niladhari Division of Pepiliyana West bearing No. 535, Kesbewa Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by the government Gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

Pepiliyana Sunethradevi Pirivena
.
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.100-101. 
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.60.
3) Rohanadeera, M., 2007. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon. (Vol. VIII). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-64-3. pp.23-28,40-45,47-50.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.123.

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Sithulpawwa Viharaya

Sithulpawwa Viharaya
Sithulpawwa Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in the Ruhuna National Park in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
Sithulpawwa Viharaya has been identified as the ancient Cittalapabbata Vihara that is mentioned in local chronicles and commentaries (Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1983). This is confirmed by an inscription in the temple premises which records the ancient name of this temple as Citalapavata Vihara (Nicholas, 1963). According to the chronicle Mahavamsa, Kavantissa, the ruler of Rohana early in the 2nd century B.C. established the temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963). The Stupa at Maha Situlpawwa rock is believed to have been constructed by Kavantissa (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Phussadeva, Nandhimitta, and Velusumana, three of the ten paladins of King Dutugemunu (161-137 A.D.) have their links to this temple. Phussadeva is said to have come from the village Gavita, near Cittalapabbata and the names of him as well as Nandimitta and Velusumana are mentioned in cave inscriptions in situ, belonging to the 2nd and 1st century B.C. (Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 1970; Ray, 1959). A Stupa called Tissatthera-cetiya which is believed to have been erected on the relics of a Samanera who became Arahant is found in the temple premises (Nicholas, 1963). During the reign of King Valagamba (103 and 89-77 B.C.) there had been 12, 000 Buddhist monks living at this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004). A meditation hall named Ninkaponna-padhanaghara is said to have existed here in the 1st century A.D. (Nicholas, 1963).

King Vasabha (67-111 A.D.) built 10 attendant Stupas in Cittalakuta (Cittalapabbata) Vihara and as recorded in an inscription, King Mahallaka Naga (135-141 A.D.) have endowed land to the temple and constructed a Stupa there (Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963). King Dappula (661-664 A.D.) granted a village named Gonnavitthi to the temple (Nicholas, 1963). Kuravakagalla where the troops of Parakramabahu I (reigned:1153-1186 A.D.) and Sugala encountered is probably Korawakgala, one of the hills in the present Sithulpawwa entourage (Nicholas, 1963).

Inscriptions
A large number of inscriptions (cave, rock etc.) have been discovered from the temple premises as well as from the areas located vicinity such as Koravakgala, Dekundara Wewa etc (Dias, 1991; Paranavitana, 1970; Paranavitana, 1983). There are 19 early-Brahmi inscriptions in Situlpawwa, 27 in Koravakgala and 19 in the area near Dekundara Wewa (Paranavitana, 1970). 

In one of the cave inscriptions in Koravakgala, the Senapathi Mita (Mitta) of King Devanapiya Abaya is mentioned (Paranavitana, 1970; Ray, 1959). This Senapathi Mita is said to be Nandimitta, the chief commander of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) whose personal name was Abhaya (Paranavitana, 1970; Ray, 1959).
 
Period: 2nd-1st century B.C.                Script: Early Brahmi                Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: Devanapiya-rajha-Abayasha shenapati parumaka Mitasha lene agata-anagata-catu-dish-shagasha dine (a symbol).
Translation: The cave of the chief Mitta, the Commander-in-Chief of King Abhaya, the Friend of the Gods, is given to the Sangha of the four quarters, present and absent.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970. p.47.

Five rock inscriptions belonging to the period of 5-6th century A.D. have been recorded on a boulder near the pond to the east of Maha Situlpawwa Stupa and one of them contains the ancient name of this temple (Dias, 1991). 

Period: 5-6th century A.D.                Script: Later Brahmi                Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: (1) Siddham (1) ma Citala pavama visitiya kahavana dina (2) ......ralaya pavataya m(e) Citala pavama (3) pala sava satanata.
Translation: Prosperity, Twenty Kahapanas were given for the maintenance of the compulsory service in (this) Citala pava (monastery). May the merit be shared by all beings.
Citation: Dias, 1991. p.92.

Ruins and artifacts
A large number of ancient remains of about 3rd century B.C. to about the 10th century are found scattered on the main hill of Sithulpawwa as well as on and around the adjoining hills of Korawakgala and Dekundara Wewa (Paranavitana, 1983). Caves, ruined Stupas, and stone pillars marking the sites of buildings are found among these ruins.
 
Bodhisattva statue
A Bodhisattva figure, in the round, has been discovered from Situlpawwa Viharaya (Ray, 1959). Carved out of a gneiss, the statue is 1.93 in height (Chutiwongs et al., 2011) It has been dated by scholars to a time between the late 8th and early 9th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al., 2011). A statue with similar features has also been reported from Kurukkalmadam in Batticaloa District (Ray, 1959).
 
A fragment of painting
A fragmentary painting belonging to the Anuradhapura Period has been found on the roof of the rock-shelter image house in Situlpawwa (Bandara, 2020). It depicts a scene of a conversation between two monks (Bandara, 2020).

Attribution
1) IMG_5875 by firesock 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. pp.129-130. 
2) Bandara, J., 2020. Religion in Colors: Buddhist Paintings in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Arts, 10(2). pp.39-42.
3) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2011. Sri Lanka Murthi: Bodhisattva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Bodhisattva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.90-91.
4) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.91-92.
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.63.
6) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.lxx-lxxii,46-50,94.
7) Paranavitana, S., 1983. Situlpavu rock-inscription of (Mahana)ga. Inscriptions of Ceylon, Late Brahmi Inscriptions, 2 (part 1). Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka. pp.51-53. 
8) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1959. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part I). Ceylon University Press. pp.155,403.

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Veheragala Seated Buddha Statue

Veheragala Seated Buddha Statue
The Veheragala Seated Buddha Statue is presently on the display in the Gallery of Anuradhapura Period in Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka.

This gilt bronze was discovered along with a group of Buddhist images (Bodhisattva Statue, Standing Buddha Statue etc.) from Veheragala monastery in Anuradhapura District (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). It was later brought to the present location for conservation.

Seated on a lotus pedestal, the Buddha is depicted in the Veerasana posture with hands in Samadhi mudra (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The robe worn by the Buddha closely touches the body of him and its pleats are shown by regular linear ridges (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The right shoulder is naked and the pleated edge of the robe has been placed in front of the left chest. The face is round and the half-closed eyes are inlaid with crystals (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The head covered with snail-shell curls has a slightly raised Usnisha surmounted by a Siraspata (the flame of knowledge). The empty niche on the Siraspata indicates that it had been embedded with a precious stone (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The style of this image fall in line with the Standing Buddha Statue discovered from the same site (Chutiwongs et al., 2007).

The statue is 33.5 cm in height (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). It has been dated by scholars to the 9th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al., 2007).

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.86-87.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 March 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Seenigama Devol Devalaya

Seenigama Devol Devalaya
Seenigama Devol Devalaya is a Devalaya situated in Hikkaduwa in Galle District, Sri Lanka. It has been dedicated to Devol Deviyo, a local deity who serve the people by offering cursing punishments and other forms of cursing violence (Feddema, 1997).

History
The site consists of two shrines; one on the Seenigama shore and the other on an small island located about 500 m away from the shore of the first shrine. The shrine on the island is the oldest among the two and it is believed to be more than 1,300 years old (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, there is no proper evidence to prove that belief (Abeyawardana, 2004). The existing historical facts and other evidence indicate that it has a history running back to more than 300 years (Abeyawardana, 2004). The shrine on the shore is said to be a recent construction (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The site
Two deities, god Devol and goddess Pattini, are venerated in the shrine located on the Seenigama shore (Feddema, 1997). Peoples who expect the healing from their problems come to this shrine and perform the relevant religious rituals. 

However, the shrine in the middle of the ocean which has been dedicated to Devol Devi is visited by the people with cursing appeals (Feddema, 1997). It has been built on a small island and can only be approached by a boat. It is said that this shrine was a part of the mainland when it was first constructed but now has isolated on an island created due to erosion (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. pp.17-18. 
2) Feddema, J.P., 1997. Cursing Practices in Sinhala Buddhism: The Case of Seenigama. Journal of Ritual Studies, pp.21-34.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 April 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map