Sunday, October 3, 2021

Ancient City of Panduwasnuwara

Panduwasnuwara Archaeological Site is situated in Kottambapitiya in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. It is one of the popular tourist sites in the country with a large number of ancient monuments dating from the Polonnaruwa Period.

Although this area is presently called Panduwasnuwara, it has been identified as ancient Parakramapura, the city of Dakkhinadesa, founded by King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) when he was a sub-king of this territory (Prematilleka, 1990; Nicholas, 1963). Prince Parakramabahu I who ascended the throne of Dakkhinadesa following the death of Kitti Sri Megha in 1140, improved the infrastructure of this city as well as its military power. After a protracted civil war, he was finally able to secure power over the entire country around 1153 and remained in this position until his death in 1186. He ruled the country from his Capital at Polonnaruwa.
Ancient monuments
The ruins scattered in Panduwasnuwara belong to the 12th century A.D. The remains of a large palace building and a number of Buddhist monasteries are found within the city limits. Each Buddhist monastery consists of Stupas, image houses, Bodhighara and dwellings built for the monks.
The city which is extending in a square area of 1056 ft. x 990 ft. is surrounded by a thick brick wall (Prematilleka, 1990). The wall towards the north-east had been built as to admit a sheet of water within the palace complex to form a pond (Prematilleka, 1990). The gateway of the citadel has been built towards the east (Prematilleka, 1990).
There is the ruins of a decayed palace building that once belonged to King Parakramabahu I. A slab inscription at this site records that King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) visited this place. Surrounded by a brick rampart and a moat, the ground plan of this building is similar to the Parakramabahu I Palace at Polonnaruwa.
The temple consists of a number of old monuments including a Kandyan era Tempita Vihara, and a large number of pillar inscriptions belonging to the 9-10th century A.D. These inscriptions have been dated by scholars to the reigns of King Sena II (853-887 A.D.), King Udaya II (887-898 A.D.), King Kassapa IV (898-915 A.D.), King Kassapa V (915-923 A.D.), and King Dappula IV [(923-935 A.D.) Ranawella, 2001; Ranawella, 2004; Ranawella, 2005].
Discovered in 1951, this Tamil inscription is presently erected in front of an ancient Buddhist monastery located south of the Panduwasnuwara Citadel. It records the benevolent deeds done by a commander named Kulantey Matimana Panjara during the reign of King Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Pillay, 1960].

Ektem Maligaya
There is a circular embankment of earthwork within which several structures including the base of a circular-shaped structure called "Ektem Maligaya" or "Biso-Kotuwa" (Prematilleka, 1990). According to the most popular belief, it is the single-pillared building where Prince Unmada Citra, the daughter of Panduwasadeva (504-474 B.C.) was confined by her brothers (Prematilleka, 1990). However, no single archaeological evidence has been found so far from this site to prove that belief.
According to Paranavitana, this is the mythical Cakravata of the Universe where King Parakramabahu I was installed as Cakravarti, the Lord of the Universe (Prematilleka, 1990).

Panda Wewa tank
The breached tank situated close to this city has been identified as the ancient Pandavapi or Panda Wewa restored by King Vijayabahu I [(1055-1110 A.D.) Anuradha & Kumseari, 2015; Nicholas, 1963]. It was enlarged and renamed as Parakrama Samudra (or Bana Samudra) by Parakramabahu I as a part of his plan of development of his principality (Nicholas, 1963). According to the belief of some, the present name "Panduwasnuwara" has been evolved from the name of this tank (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

An archaeological reserve
The land plot named Panduwasnuwara Puravidya Sthanaya [F.V.P No 1690 Bathalegodawewa Lot  8,9,10,11 F.V.P. 1706 Lot No 1 Radadena; F.V.P. 1710 Lot 42½ F.V.P. 1711 Lot from 25 to 28; F.V.P. 1708 Lot 1,2,2½,3,25,26,28 L,28 D,29 A,42A 43, 48A 1,48,48 B the land known as Ambagahawewa (62 acres, 3 roods, 30.2 perches)] situated in Panduwasnuwara village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Panduwasnuwara West is an archaeological reserve, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 30 April 1931.

Panduwasnuwara .
1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. pp.69-71.
2) Prematilleka, L., 1990. The architecture of the Polonnaruwa period 800-1200 A.D.. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.40-41.
3) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.104.
4) Pillay, K. K., 1960. A Tamil inscription from Panduvasnuvara: University of Ceylon Review (Vol: XVIII Nos 3 & 4). Ceylon University Press. pp. 157-162. 
5) Ranawella, S., 2001. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part I. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-21-6. pp.24-25,138-143,228-230,351-357.
6) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-30-5. pp.90-92.
7) Ranawella, S., 2005. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part III. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-91-59-57-7. pp.2,13-14,111.
8) The Gazette notification. no. 7851. 30 April 1931. 

Location Map
This page was last updated on 10 October 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map


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