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, June 27, 2021

Anjaligala Viharaya

Anjaligala Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Anjaleegala in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of Anjaligala Viharaya is obscure. However, the site contains a large number of ruins including four inscriptions engraved on the natural rock-boulders and two dilapidated building structures (Somadeva, 2006).  Of the four inscriptions, three are dated to the first century A.D. and the fourth is dated to the fourth century A.D. (Somadeva, 2006).

Anjaligala rock inscription of King Sri Meghawarna (303-331 A.D.)
Period: 4th century A.D.             Script: Later-Brahmi             Language: Old Sinhala
Content: This inscription has been established in connection with a royal commemoration ceremony. It reveals details of renovations carried out to this monastery located in the northern quarter of Mahagama. A donation of Kahavanu for the upkeep of the monks has been given by King Sri Meghavarna also. The full reading of the inscription is impossible due to its worn condition.
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage

References
1) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in Archaeology at Uppsala University. pp.96,100,134.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 June 2021
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Talaguru Vehera, Hambantota

Talaguru Vehera is a Buddhist monastery site located in Veherakema in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. The Nimalawa Aranya Senasanaya is situated near this site.

History
Some ancient references to this temple can be found from the historical literature in the country. The chronicle Mahavamsa mentions a Buddhist monastery named Tuladhara (or Tulakara) Pabbata Vihara situated in the ancient Ruhuna Principality in the 2nd century B.C. (Somadeva, 2006). As recorded in the chronicle, it was founded by the ruler Kakavannatissa, the father of King Dutugemunu [(161-137 B.C.) Nicholas, 1963]. According to Nicholas, the ancient Tulahara Pabbata Vihara which is described in Mahavamsa could be the monastery called Talaguru Vehera situated at the present location (Nicholas, 1963; Somadeva, 2006).

This identification is further strengthened by a few rock inscriptions found within the temple premises. Written in late-Brahmi characters of about the 3rd century A.D., two inscriptions indited on the rock near the ruined Stupa clearly reveal the ancient name of the present monastery as Talakara-pava Vihara (Paranavitana, 2001).

The site
The ruins of two ancient buildings are found at the site (Somadeva, 2006). On the summit of the rock, where the inscriptions are found, there is a mound of ancient bricks probably remains of a Stupa (Somadeva, 2006).

References
1) 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.62.
2) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.263-266.
3) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in Archaeology at Uppsala University. pp.121-122.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 June 2021
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Nimalawa Aranya Senasanaya

Nimalawa Aranya Senasanaya is a Buddhist forest monastery located in Veherakema in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. The ancient Talaguru Vehera is situated near this site.

History
There are two caves with drip-ledges and inscriptions in the monastery premises (Somadeva, 2006). These monuments are considered as firm clues about the existence of the site as a Buddhist monastery since the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in or around 250 B.C. (Somadeva, 2006). The early-Brahmi inscriptions found from and around the Nimalawa monastery have been published by S. Paranavitana under the title "Veherakema" (Paranavitana, 1970).

Presently the caves at this site have been converted into the residential quarters of the Buddhist monks.

References
1) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.52.
2) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in Archaeology at Uppsala University. pp.120-121.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 June 2021
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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Suduhumpola Raja Maha Viharaya

Suduhumpola Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Sri Narendrarama Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Suriyagoda village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.
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History
The history of this temple runs back to the 18th century. It is said that this temple was established by Munwatte Rajakaruna Wijewardhana Navaratna Wasala Mudiyanse Ralahami at the request of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018]. The completed temple was bestowed to Ven. Kaduwela Nagasena Thera and his pupillary succession in 1771 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018).

The temple also provided facilities to the monks who came to Kandy for the Upasampada Vinaya Karma (Withanachchi, 2018). Ven. Wariyapola Sri Sumangala Thera, the Anunayaka of Asgiri Maha Vihara of Siyam sect. is said to have served the Tooth Relic of the Buddha while staying at this temple (Rajapakse, 2016; Withanachchi, 2018).

Image house
The image house of this temple can be identified as the main monument with archaeological value. A large seated Buddha statue in the Virasana posture depicting Dyana Mudra is found inside the image house (Abeyawardana, 2004). Paintings belonging to the Kandyan tradition adorn the inner walls of the image house. Artists from South India are said to have involved in the temple works (Withanachchi, 2018).

A protected site
The image house of Suduhumpola Raja Maha Vihara situated in the Suduhumpola Grama Niladhari Division in the Gangawata Koralaya, Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 21 October 2010. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.31.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.29-32.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1750.
4) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. pp.11-12.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 June 2021
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Dimbula Raja Maha Viharaya

Dimbula Maliyadeva Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Methagama village in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.
History
According to folklore, this temple has got its name because of its association with Arahant Maliyadeva Thera, the last Arahant of Sri Lanka (Wijesinghe, 2015). Although it is said that Maliyadeva Thera rested at this place under a Dimbul tree, no evidence is there to prove that belief (Wijesinghe, 2015; Withanachchi, 2018).
 
This temple was an important religious place during the 15th century as its name is mentioned in the "Nampotha", an ancient Sinhalese text that lists the principal Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka (Withanachchi, 2018). According to the text called Kothmale Puravrutha, there had been five wooden Buddha images covered with mortar kept in this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004). Of these five statues, three are still preserved in the Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004). 
 
The 50 ft. long image house contains a number of statues including a large Buddha statue (Withanachchi, 2018). Among them, the two statues depicting King Kosol and ‘Ane Pindu Situ Thuma’ are considered rare (Withanachchi, 2018).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.229.
2) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.74-75.
3) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.28.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 June 2021
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Holy Emmanuel's Church, Hanguranketha

Holy Emmanuel's Church
Photo credit: Google street view

Holy Emmanuel's Church is a church situated in Hanguranketha, in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. It is considered one of the oldest churches established in the district (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

History
Although it is mentioned on the church building that it was built in 1886, the history of the establishment of this church runs back to the year 1815 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

Folklore
During the early 19th century, the ancient route between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya was fallen through Hanguranketha (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). People used this route only during the daytime as there were robbers operating at night (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). One day a Catholic priest travelling on horseback on this route stayed overnight at the spot where the present church is located as his horse refused to proceed (Abeyawardana, 2004). On the next day, the priest commenced his journey and found a dead body of a wayfarer who had travelled at night murdered by robbers (Abeyawardana, 2004). By thinking of the spot where he spent the night as a sanctuary, the priest later constructed the present church there (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

A protected monument
St. Emmanuel's church in the Kottala Grama Niladhari Division in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Hanguranketha is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 6 July 2007.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.253.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1505. 6 July 2007. p.548.
3) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.23-25.

Location Map
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Morapaya Ambalama

Morapaya Ambalama
Photo credit: Google street view

The Morapaya Ambalama is an old wayside rest situated in Morapaya in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.

Ambalama
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. The Morapaya Ambalama is one such building believed to have been built about 110 years ago (Wijesinghe, 2015).

The square-shaped Ambalama is relatively small (20 ft.x20 ft.) and consists of a single open space surrounded by a short wall (Wijesinghe, 2015). The four-sided roof is held by nine pillars.

References
1) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. p.33.

Location Map
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Wilwala Raja Maha Viharaya

Wilwala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Wilwala village in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.
History
According to folklore, this temple is believed to have been constructed by Queen Henakanda Biso Bandara, the consort of King Wikramabahu III [(1357-1374 A.D.) Wijesinghe, 2015; Withanachchi, 2018]. However, the rock inscription found within the temple premises belonging to the reign of King Vijayabahu V of Dambadeniya [(1335-1341 A.D.) Wijesinghe, 2015; Withanachchi, 2018].

The temple & the inscription
A Buddha statue under the shade of a Makara Thorana (a dragon arch) is found inside the drip-ledged cave (Withanachchi, 2018). The statues in the image house are said to be made of wood coated with plaster (Wijesinghe, 2015). The Stupa of the temple is 1.87 m tall (Withanachchi, 2018).

The rock inscription
The inscription contains five lines of writings and has been dated in the 11th year of a king styled Sirisangabo Sri Vijayabahu who is identified with Vijayabau V [(1335-1341 A.D.) Ranawella, 2014]. It records that the king assigned certain lands as a perpetual grant to a monastery named ......galvihara (Ranawella, 2014).

A protected site
The old image house and the rock inscription of Wilwala Raja Maha Vihara situated in Wilwala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Udahewaheta are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996. 

References
1) Ranawella, S., 2014. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. VII. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-9159-62-9. pp.83-84.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
3) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.30-31.
4) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.26.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 10 July 2021
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Friday, June 25, 2021

Madanwala Raja Maha Viharaya

Madanwala Raja Maha Viharaya
Photo credit: Google street view

Madanwala Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Madanwala village near Hanguranketha in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.
History
The history of this temple runs back to the Period of Dambadeniya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018). A broken stone pillar containing an inscription of the 9-10th century A.D. have been placed along with other rocky antiquities close to the cave of the temple.

Madanwala Pillar Inscription
Period: 9-10th centuries A.D.               Script: Medieval Sinhala               Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: This records about a person named Sena, a caretaker of the royal bedroom and another person from the Elahera Kadawat area. It is mentioned that jungles were being cleared for preparing paddy fields for consumption and therefore, personal stock of cattle should be protected by the owners. (Since only a part of the inscription remains today, it is difficult to extract the whole meaning of this recording).
Reference: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology

Kings such as Wimaladharmasuriya II (1687-1707 A.D.), Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739 A.D.) have contributed to the development of this temple (Withanachchi, 2018).

Artefacts
The Buddha image
There is a magnificent seated image of the Buddha in Madanwala Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018). The statue is 0.308 m in height and has been accommodated on a seat accompanied by a Makara Thorana (a dragon arch). According to folklore, this is one of the four Buddha statues that had emerged from the funeral pyre of the Buddha (Abeyawardana, 2004). The other three images are said to be at Vattarama Viharaya, Pusulpitiya Viharaya and Diddeniya Viharaya.
 
Two alms-bowls
There are two large bowls in the Vihara premises and they are believed to have been used as containers to offer alms (Wijesinghe, 2015). The person named Hanguranketha Dukgannarala is said to be the one responsible for the offering of daily alms to this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). The word "Maha Wahala" is found engraved on these bowls (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).
 
A protected site
The cave temple and the Avasa-geya of Madanwala Raja Maha Vihara situated in Madanwala village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Udahewaheta are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.247.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
3) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.46-48.
4) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.26.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 30 June 2021
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Wegama Raja Maha Viharaya

Wegama Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Wegama village in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka.
History
This temple is believed to have been constructed by Queen Henakanda Biso Bandara, the consort of King Wikramabahu III [(1357-1374 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018]. According to the inscription found in the temple, some lands have been donated to this temple in 1585, during the reign of King Rajasinghe I (1581-1593 A.D.). Kings such as Rajasinghe II (1629-1687 A.D.), Wimaladharmasuriya II (1687-1707 A.D.), Veera Parakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739 A.D.), and Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782 A.D.) have contributed to the development of this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

When the British dispatch forces into Kandyan territory in 1803, the Tooth Relic of the Buddha is said to have moved to this Vihara for protection (Wijesinghe, 2015; Withanachchi, 2018).
 
The only statue of Queen Henakanda Biso Bandara in the country was placed in this Viharaya. However, some vandals who searched imaginary treasures in that statue had destroyed it in 2007.

A protected site
The image house with ancient paintings and the inscription of Wegama Raja Maha Vihara situated in Wegama village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Udahewaheta are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.252.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996.
3) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.19-21.
4) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.26.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 25 June 2021
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Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya

Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Sri Narendrarama Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Suriyagoda village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.
History
The history of this temple runs back to the Kingdom of Kotte (Rajapakse, 2016). It is said that this temple was established by Suriyagoda Wijesundara Seneviratna Wijekoon Rajakaruna Attanayaka Bandara, a mentor of King Parakramabahu VI [(1412-1467 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Senanayaka, 2018]. It was later renovated and renamed as "Narendraramaya" by King Sri Narendrasinghe [(1706-1739 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. Ven. Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thera (1698-1778 A.D.), the famous scholarly monk who became the Sangharaja of the country, entered the Buddhist order at this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004; Rajapakse, 2016; Withanachchi, 2018).

Some of the buildings of this temple are said to have been burnt by the Portuguese (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
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. The construction of these buildings was started in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 19th century (Wijayawardhana, 2010).

Suriyagoda Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya shrine at Suriyagoda Viharaya is considered an ideal example of Kandyan architecture (Abeyawardana, 2004). It has been built upon 8 pillars of about 0.77 m tall (Abeyawardana, 2004). The shrine is 4 m in length and 2.46 m in width and a small open hall has been attached in front of it (Abeyawardana, 2004). A seated Buddha statue under the shade of a Makara Thorana (a dragon arch) is found inside the shrine room.

The Stupa and the chapter house of the temple have been built in front of this Tempita Viharaya.

A protected site
The ancient Suriyagoda Raja Maha Viharaya situated in Suriyagoda village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Yatinuwara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 October 1953. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.90.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.83-84.
3) Senanayaka, P., 2018. Senkadagala Mahanuwara pradeshaye peranima Bauddha Vihara Arama (In Sinhala). Samodhana, The Journal of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Vol.7 (1). pp.55-83.
4) The gazette notification. No: 10593. 1 October 1953. 
5) Wijayawardhana, K., 2010. Sri Lankawe Tampita Vihara (In Sinhala). Dayawansa Jayakody & Company. Colombo. ISBN: 978-955-551-752-2. p.12.
6) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. pp.10-11.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 25 June 2021
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Hendeniya Raja Maha Viharaya

Hendeniya Raja Maha Viharaya
Photo credit: U Edg3, Google street view

Hendeniya Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Sendeniya Viharaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Hendeniya village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.
History
The temple is popular for its three image houses belonging to three periods, namely Gampola Period (1341-1408 A.D.), Kandyan Period (1597-1815 A.D.), and the modern period [(after 1948) Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018]. Built inside a drip-ledged cave, the image house of the Gampola Period is believed to have been constructed by Henakanda Biso Bandara, the consort of King Wikramabahu III [(1357-1374 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Rajapakse, 2016; Senanayaka, 2018; Withanachchi, 2018]. A carved stone door-frame with traditional Sinhalese designs is found at the entrance of it (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). Inside the image house is a plastered image of the seated Buddha made of stone (Withanachchi, 2018). Evidence of there to prove that this temple received the patronage of King Senasammata Vikramabahu [(1469-1511 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004].

The Kandyan Period image house is found to the west of the Gampola image house. It is said to have been built by Prince Wasala Bandara Samantha, the son of King Rajadhi Rajasinghe [(1782-1798 A.D.) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009]. However, according to other sources, it has been built in 1812 by the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe [(1798-1815 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Withanachchi, 2018]. The image house has been built on a low granite podium decorated with carvings (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). A round Sandakada Pahana (moonstone) of Kandyan style is found at the entrance of the podium. Painting and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan tradition are found inside the image house.
 
The modern image house has been built inside a cave by a Buddhist monk named Ambanwela Gunaratne Thera about 50 years ago (Abeyawardana, 2004).

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.78-79.
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. pp.48,70.
3) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.63-64.
4) Senanayaka, P., 2018. Senkadagala Mahanuwara pradeshaye peranima Bauddha Vihara Arama (In Sinhala). Samodhana, The Journal of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Vol.7 (1). pp.55-83.
5) Withanachchi, C.R., 2018. Madyama palate Rajamaha Viharasthana (In Sinhala). Report on the ancient Buddhist temples in the Central Province of Sri Lanka which were royally sponsored during the Kandy period. p.14.

Location Map
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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Dorawaka Cave

Some evidence of neolithic period along with a few prehistoric petroglyphs have been discovered in a rock cave named Dorawaka kanda (or Ethgale Galge) located in Dorawaka village in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. 
 
Evidence of a neolithic period
Microliths, pottery and some grains have been discovered from excavations done at Dorawaka kanda cave and scholars have dated them to a period of 6000 BP (Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014).
 
Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs are considered a primitive art form made by prehistoric people (Senanayaka & Rammungoda, 2010). These include various rock engravings executed on the face of a rock or a cave wall using some form of sharp instruments such as stone, bone or metal implements (Senanayaka & Rammungoda, 2010). Petroglyphs have been recorded from a few places in Sri Lanka such as Dorawaka, Urakanda, Danigala, Hakbelikanda, Navagala, Molagoda, Budugala, and Dimbulagala (Senanayaka & Rammungoda, 2010).
 
Petroglyphs at Dorawaka
Dorawaka petroglyphs are found in a natural cave situated within a rubber cultivation land. The cave is formed by two large slabs of rock, supported one by the other. It is 55 ft. in height with a floor space of 82 ft. by 14 ft. (Browning, 1919).

The drawings have been executed on the inner side of the taller slab, about 6.5 ft. above the ground (Browning, 1919). They are rough and obscure, but the figures of an elephant and its calf can be identified (Browning, 1919). It is suggested that the drawings are of Veddah origin (Browning, 1919).

References
1) Browning, G. F. R., 1919. Some Rock Drawing at Dorawaka in Kegalla District. Ceylon Antiquary and literary Register, Vol.IV. Part IV. pp.226-227
2) Kelum, M.A., Wickremasinghe, H., 2014. Action Plan for Conservation & Sustainable Use of Palaeobiodiversity in Sri Lanka. Biodiversity Secretariat, Ministry of Environment & Renewable Energy. pp.21,30.
Ministry of Environment & Renewable Energy. ISBN: 978-955-0033-57-7.
3) Senanayaka, J., Rammungoda, U.R., 2010. Petroglyphs of Urakanda - Sri Lanka : A preliminary account. Sirinimal Lakdusinghe Felicitation Volume. pp.247-253.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 20 June 2021
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Rock Paintings and Engraving Sites in Sri Lanka

Rajagala Rock Paintings
Sri Lanka has a number of rock painting and a few engraving sites scattered over four specific ecozones, viz; (i) semi-arid lowlands; (ii) dry lowlands; (iii) wet lowlands; and (iv) intermediate dry lowlands (Somadeva et al., 2019). Although these sites were not much explored or studied, several scholars such as H.C.P. Bell, C.G. Seligmann, B.Z. Seligmann, G.F.R. Browning, J. Still, F. Lewis, G.F.R. Browning, P.E.P. Deraniyagala, S. Karunaratna, L.A. Aditya, A.T. Rambukwella, B.D. Nandadeva, and R. Somadeva have made valuable efforts to find out and document their historical and archaeological values (Browning, 1919; Seligman et al., 1911; Somadeva et al., 2019; Still, 1910).

The list of rock paintings and engraving sites in Sri Lanka
This is an incomplete list prepared by "Lanka Pradeepa".
 
No. Site Remarks References
1 Alugalge
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (leopard, peacock), lines, and other symbols (wheel)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019

2 Andiyagala
(Anuradhapura District)
Rock paintings. Includes figures of human and other symbols (sun)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Still, 1910
3 Arangodagala
(Polonnaruwa District)
Rock paintings. Includes figures of human (man, woman), animal (monkey, deer, centipede or leaf), and other symbols (lotus of sun, bow & arrow, flowers) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
4 Bambaragastalawa
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes unidentified animal figures
Somadeva et al., 2019
5 Billewa
(Anuradhapura District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (sambur, peacock), and other symbols Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Still, 1910
6 Bogoda
(Anuradhapura District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
7 Budugala
(Ratnapura District)
Includes the figures of human faces, animal (lion), and other symbols (Swastika, trident)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
8 Budunnehela
(Monaragala District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (deer, tusker, elephant), and other symbols (beehives, hungotu, hoop, arrow)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
9 Danigala
(Polonnaruwa District)
Rock engravings Sumanarathna et al., 2020
10 Dimbulagala
(Polonnaruwa District)
Includes the figures of human, and other symbols (square) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
11 Dikgalge
(Ampara District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
12 Dorawakakanda
(Kegalle District)
Rock engravings. Includes the figures of human, animal (elephant and calf), lines, and other symbols
Browning, 1919
13 Gamakandagalge
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Figure of a hangout or maludema (a vessel for collecting honey)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Seligman et al., 1911
14 Ganegama
(Monaragala District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of animal (elephant, crocodile, crawling animal), and Brahmi scripts
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
15 Gonagolla
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of hunter, deer, stag and deer juveniles
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
16 Hakbelikanda
(Kurunegala District)
Rock engravings. Includes fihures of human, animals (pangolin, deer), various lines
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
17 Havala Eliya
(Hambantota District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
18 Henanigala
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal, and other shapes Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
19 Hingurana
(Ampara District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
20 Hulannuge
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal, and other symbols Somadeva et al., 2019
21 Kadurupokuna
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of animal (elephant, and unidentified) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
22 Kandegala
(Polonnaruwa District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
23 Kongarayankulam
(Vavunia District)
Includes the figures of human and animal
Somadeva et al., 2019
24 Kiripokunahela
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of animal (elephant) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
25 Komarikalena
(Anuradhapura District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, and animal (elephant, either a sambur doe, jackal or dog) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
26 Konategodagalge
(Batticaloa District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
27 Kondagalagalge
(Ratnapura District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
28 Kotiyagala
(Ampara District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
29 Kudumbigala
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human Somadeva et al., 2019
30 Kurullangala
(Badulla District)
Rock paintings. Includes drawings of animals (mainly birds), hand prints (only left hand), and abstract signs Thantilage et al, 2016
31 Lenama
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, and animal (elephants, pigs, bears, birds) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
32 Lihiniyagala
(Nuwara Eliya District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, and animals Somadeva et al., 2019
33 Lunuathugalge
(Monaragala District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
34 Mahalenama Eliya
(Ampara District)
Various drawings
Somadeva et al., 2019
35 Malayadikanda
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal, and other symbols Somadeva et al., 2019
36 Mandagalage
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (elephant), and other symbols Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
S
omadeva et al., 2019
37 Magulmaha Viharaya
(Hambantota District)
Rock paintings. Hand impressions
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
38 Minademugalge
(Ampara District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
39 Molagoda
(Kegalle District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
40 Mudunalavagalge
(Monaragala District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
41
Neelagirikanda
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes figures of animal (deer, tortoise), and other symbols Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
42 Nella
(Monaragala District)
Rock paintings. Includes figures of human, animal (deer), and other symbols (hangotu, beehives)
Somadeva et al., 2019
43 Nevgala
(Monaragala District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures animal (lion/tiger) Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
44 Panama Galge
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes lines and other symbols Somadeva et al., 2019
45
Pihillegodagalge
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes figures of human (men, women), animal (leopard, monitor lizard), and other symbols (bow & arrow)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Seligman et al., 1911
46 Piyangala
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human (a group), animal (deer), and other geometric shapes
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
47 Pulukunawa
(Batticaloa District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human (two), animal (deer, elephant, dog), and other shapes (hangotu, beehive)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
48
Punchikiriammagalge
(Badulla District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (elephant), Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Seligman et al., 1911
49 Rajagala
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal, and other symbols Somadeva et al., 2019
50 Samangala
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures animal (pangolin, a deer, either a jackal or a dog), and other objects (hangotu)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Medhananda, 2003
51
Sangamankanda
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal, lines, and other symbols Somadeva et al., 2019
52 Tantirimale
(Anuradhapura District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (birds, bear, child, leopard, iguana), and other symbols (sun, moon)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Still, 1910
53
Thelambukemagalge
(Monaragala District)

Somadeva et al., 2019
54 Umagekanda
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, and other symbols Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
55 Urakanda
(Kegalle District)
Rock engravings. Includes triangular shapes, Siripatula
Senanayaka & Rammungoda, 2010
56
Ussagala
(Monaragala District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal, and other geometric shapes
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
57 Valagampura
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (deer, elephant), and other symbols (hangotu, beehive)
Kelum & Wickremasinghe, 2014
Somadeva et al., 2019
58
Vettambugala
(Ampara District)
Rock paintings. Includes the figures of human, animal (elephant, deer), lines, and other symbols Somadeva et al., 2019

References
1) Browning, G. F. R., 1919. Some Rock Drawing at Dorawaka in Kegalla District. Ceylon Antiquary and literary Register, Vol.IV. Part IV. pp.226-227.
2) Kelum, M.A., Wickremasinghe, H., 2014. Action Plan for Conservation & Sustainable Use of Palaeobiodiversity in Sri Lanka. Biodiversity Secretariat, Ministry of Environment & Renewable Energy. pp.68-70.
3) 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.212-215.
4) Seligman, C.G., Seligman, B.Z., Myers, C.S. and Gunasekara, A.M., 1911. The veddas (Vol. 1). The University Press. pp.318-
5) Senanayaka, J., Rammungoda, U.R., 2010. Petroglyphs of Urakanda - Sri Lanka : A preliminary account. Sirinimal Lakdusinghe Felicitation Volume. pp.247-253.
6) Somadeva, R., Wanninayake, A., Devage, D., Fernando, R., 2019. A review of rock art studies in Sri Lanka. Expression N° 25. ISSN:2499-1341. pp.70-85. 
7) Still, J., 1910. Tantrimalai: Some archæological observations and deductions. The Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland 22, no. 63. pp.73-10.
8) Sumanarathna, A.R., Aouititen, M., Taylor, B., Sameera, G. and Bandara, A., 2020. Fundamental inspection report- relevant to astrotourism, geotourism, and archaeological potentials: Vistas and unique opportunities of Dhanigala circular rock Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. pp.2-50.
9) Thantilage, A.; Dissanayaka, R.A.; Bogahawatta, C.; Vithanage, I.; Senanayaka, J.; Wijesinghe, T.K.; Ekanayaka, E.M.L.S.S., 2016. An account of the recently discovered rock art site at Kurullangala in Ella, Sri Lanka. Laboratory of Cultural Material Analysis Publication Series-4. Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya. pp.1-12.
 
This page was last updated on 20 June 2021
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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Matara Fort

Matara Fort
The Matara Fort is an ancient fort situated in Matara District, Sri Lanka. It has been erected on the land between the sea and the estuary of the Nilwala Ganga river.
History
Although the fort at Matara is believed to have been built by the Portuguese during the period of Dharmapala of Kotte (1550-1597 A.D.), the actual fort was built by the Dutch sometime after they took Matara, after the capture of Galle from the Portuguese in 1640 (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva, 1988; Mandawala, 2012).
 
The fort was the sole Dutch defence at Matara when a rebellion took place there in 1760 mainly due to the Dutch endeavour to register peasants' holding of lands and either to dispossess or tax them if they couldn't prove title (De Silva, 1988). Sinhalese forces backed by the Kandyan Kingdom captured the Matara Fort in March 1761 and held it for a period of nearly one year (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva, 1988; Wikramaratne, 2015). The Dutch retaken the fort in February 1762 and decided to erect the Star Fort on the western bank of the Nilwala Ganga river in order to strengthen their defences (De Silva, 1988; Wikramaratne, 2015).
 
The date 1789 A.D. is found recorded over the entrance of the fort and that is believed to be the date of a later restoration and strengthening of the fort and not the date it was built (Abeyawardana, 2004). On 24 February 1796, the fort was ceremoniously handed over to the British by the Dutch (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015).

The fort
Matara clock tower
The fort has been built with coral and stones (Abeyawardana, 2004). The rampart and the entrance of the fort still remain. The rampart is about 240 m long, 13 m thick and 5 m tall with two side lengths of 80 m each (De Silva, 1988). The central projection is 70 m along each side and 70 m from point to base (De Silva, 1988). The gate has been set somewhat south of the centre of the northern section of the rampart (De Silva, 1988). During the Dutch period, the fort is said to have been used as the commanding base for the inland forts at Katuwana, Akuressa and Hakmana. Also, there was an elephant stable at the site where the present District Secretariat building is located (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
A few monuments that are dating from the Dutch and the British periods is found inside the fort. The Dutch Reformed Church is considered one of the earliest surviving monuments dating from the Dutch period [(1656-1796 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. The courthouse, the resthouse, the police station, and the clock tower (1883) are a few buildings belonging to the British period [(1796-1948 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015].

The rampart and the gate of the fort were restored in 1985-86 by a Dutch firm named Ballast Nedam (De Silva, 1988).

A protected site
The fort rampart (in the land plot no. 6 of the Mulika Pimbura no. 12876), in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Matara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 January 1974. 

Attribution
1) IMG_7399 by Dhammika Heenpella is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 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.65-67.
2) De Silva, R.R.K., 1988. Illustrations and Views of Dutch Ceylon 1602-1796: A Comprehensive Work of Pictorial Reference with Selected Eye-Witness Accounts. Brill Archive. pp.173-179,180-181.
3) Mandawala, P.B., 2012. Sri Lanka: Defending the military heritage; legal, administrative and financial challenges. Defending the military heritage; legal, financial, and administrative issues. Reports from the Seminar 16 – 17 May, 2011, in Karlskrona, Sweden, organised by ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues (ICLAFI) and the Swedish Fortifications Agency of Sweden. p.101. 
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 95. 18 January 1974. 
5) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.55-57,59-60.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 30 June 2021
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Matara Star Fort

The Star Fort (Redoubt van Eck) is a Dutch fort situated in Matara District, Sri Lanka. Built on the western bank of the Nilwala Ganga river, the fort is located about 400 m from the entrance of the Matara Fort. It is the last major defensive work built by the Dutch in Sri Lanka (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva, 1988).
History
The Dutch who occupied several coastal parts of the Sri Lanka after expelling the Portuguese, had gained the control of the the Matara Fort by the 17th century. In 1760 a rebellion took place at Matara mainly due to the Dutch endeavor to register peasants' holding of lands and either to dispossess or tax them if they couldn't prove title (De Silva, 1988). Sinhalese forces backed by the Kandyan Kingdom captured the Matara Fort in March 1761 and held it for a period of nearly one year (De Silva, 1988; Wikramaratne, 2015). The Dutch retaken the fort in February 1762, and decided to erect the Star Fort on the western bank of the Nilwala Ganga river in order to strength their defenses (De Silva, 1988; Wikramaratne, 2015).

The construction work of the Star Fort was begun in 1763 and completed in 1765 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Mandawala, 2012; Wikramaratne, 2015). A person named Orukema Muhandiram  was in charge of this construction under the Dutch Governor Baron Van Eck (Mandawala, 2012; Wikramaratne, 2015). After the fort was built, it was used as barracks with the residential accommodation for the Commanding Officer.
 
In 1796, the fort was fallen under the rule of the British (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). During their time, the fort was used as a residence for government officials and maintained under the Public Works Department (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva, 1988). 
 
By 1965, the fort was the public library of Matara Urban Council (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015). In 1980, it was taken over by the Department of Archaeology (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wikramaratne, 2015).

The fort
The fort has been built in the shape of a unique six-pointed star (Abeyawardana, 2004; De Silva, 1988; Wikramaratne, 2015). It is surrounded by a moat and a drawbridge with arches have been built at the main gate. Although the drawbridge no longer exists, the attractive gateway with the Dutch coat of arms is still well preserved (De Silva, 1988; Mandawala, 2012). The moat had been filled with earth but was later excavated and preserved by the Department of Archaeology (Abeyawardana, 2004). After the main gate there are two similar gates and two inner rooms (Wikramaratne, 2015). A deep well is found in the middle of the fort (Wikramaratne, 2015).

The gate
The attractive arch-shaped entrance gate of Matara Star Fort is considered a splendid example of Dutch colonial architecture (De Silva, 1988). The semi-circular upper portion of it is ornamented with the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie: United East Indian Company) initials (De Silva, 1988; Wikramaratne, 2015). Below it is the name of the fort, Redoute van Eck (De Silva, 1988). A plaque with van Eck's coat of arms, flanked by two lions is found immediately below the fort name (De Silva, 1988). Also, the initials of van Eck (L.I.V.E.) and the year "1763" are denoted on the bottom of it (Wikramaratne, 2015).

Two long narrow slots into which the beams of the drawbridge (now vanished) retracted are found on either side of the upper half of the gate (De Silva, 1988).
 
Inscription
An inscription is found immediately above the arch-gate of the fort.
As De Ly, opperkoopman en secunde van het Gaals commant mitsd'. Dessave deser landen, AO MDCCLXV
A protected site
The Star Fort at Matara town (in Uyanwatta land located in the southern section of land plot no. 1 of the Mulika Pimbura no. 12875), in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Matara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 26 March 1959. 

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.67-68.
2) De Silva, R.R.K., 1988. Illustrations and Views of Dutch Ceylon 1602-1796: A Comprehensive Work of Pictorial Reference with Selected Eye-Witness Accounts. Brill Archive. pp.180-183.
3) Mandawala, P.B., 2012. Sri Lanka: Defending the military heritage; legal, administrative and financial challenges. Defending the military heritage; legal, financial, and administrative issues. Reports from the Seminar 16 – 17 May, 2011, in Karlskrona, Sweden, organised by ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues (ICLAFI) and the Swedish Fortifications Agency of Sweden. p.101. 
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 11709. 26 March 1959. 
5) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. pp.59-60.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 19 June 2021
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