Friday, May 21, 2021

Aluthnuwara Dedimunda Devalaya

Aluthnuwara Dedimunda Devalaya
Aluthnuwara Dedimunda Devalaya is a Devalaya shrine situated in Alutnuwara village in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. It has been dedicated to God Dedimunda Bandara (otherwise styled Wahala Bandara Deviyo), a minister of Visnu and to Malwatte Bandara (Abeyawardana, 2002; Bell, 1904). Presently, this site has been declared a sacred area by the government (Abeyawardana, 2002).

History
The history of this shrine directly runs back to the reign of King Parakramabahu II (1236-1271 A.D.) of Dambadeniya Kingdom (Bell, 1904). According to local tradition, King Dapalusen [(probably Dappula II (807-812 A.D.)] installed an image of God Upulvan (present Visnu) made of sandalwood at Devinuwara and later some of the sacred objects (the cloth and insignias) of this statue were brought to Dambadeniya by minister Devapratiraja on the orders of Parakramabahu II (Bell, 1904). Later, the King Mahalu Buvanekabahu [probably Buvanekabahu I (1273-1284 A.D.)] built a two-storied Devalaya at Alutnuwara and placed there the sacred cloth of Visnu brought from Devinuwara (Bell, 1904). 

However, upon orders of a later king, the sacred cloth along with a statue of Visnu was transferred to the Maha Devalaya at Kandy and some offerings were made to the Alutnuwara Devalaya in the name of Dedimunda and Malwatte Bandaras (Bell, 1904). After some time, the sacred cloth was removed from Kandy to Hanguranketha where a new Visnu Devalaya was erected (Bell, 1904).

Inscriptions
Two worn inscribed stone slabs which are said to have been dug out from the ruins of the old Visnu Devalaya at the site have been presently placed at each side of the steps of the Devalaya verandah (Bell, 1904). The inscriptions on both slabs are connected to each other in their subject matter and have been engraved at the same time (Ranawella, 2015). Scholars have dated these inscriptions to the reign of King Senasammata Vikramabahu [(1469-1511 A.D.) Bell, 1904; Ranawella, 2015].

The inscriptions contain a declaration of allegiance by the inhabitants of the Satara Korale to the Kingdom of Highlands (Kanda-uda-kattuva). It says that King Senasammata Vikramabahu or any other member of his royal family will not cause loss of property, of limbs, or of life to the people of Satara Korale, so long as they remain faithful to their allegiance (Ranawella, 2015).

A protected site
The Alutnuwara Devalaya, inscriptions, Pattirippuwa, and Giruwa Ambalama situated in Alutnuwara village in Mawanella Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 2 May 1975.

 
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.82-83.
2) Bell, H.C.P., 1904. Report on the Kegalle District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: XIX-1892. Government Press, Sri Lanka. pp.46-48,80-81.
3) Ranawella, S., 2015. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. IX. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-98-8. pp.1-5.
4) The government notification. No: 162. 2 May 1975.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 23 May 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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