Ancient City of Dambadeniya

Ancient City of Dambadeniya
The Ruins of the Ancient City of Dambadeniya are found scattered in and around the Dambadeniya Maliga Gala area in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

Polonnaruwa Kingdom (1056-1236 A.D.), the second kingdom of Sri Lanka was abandoned in the 13th century mainly due to its susceptibility to invasions from South India. Also, the struggles to grab the power of the throne among the rulers who came after King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) had already put the country's political environment into an unstable state (Dias et al., 2016). Magha (1215–1236 A.D.) of Kalinga (India) who came with a large army from Malabar (Kerala) easily invaded Sri Lanka during this period and as a result of that, Polonnaruwa collapsed and Dambadeniya became the new and the third kingdom of the country (Dias et al., 2016; Sudharmawathie, 2008).

King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.) was the first king who chose Dambadeniya as the new capital. 

Dambadeniya Maliga Gala Palace ruins
Maliga Gala Mountain (or Jambudoni Mountain) is considered the site where the royal palace of Dambadeniya erected by King Vijayabahu III was located. According to chronicles such as Culavamsa, the king built a new city on the summit of the Jambudoni mountain consisting of fine walls and gate towers (de Silva, 1990). The details given in the Dambadeni Asna reveal that there were two parts of the capital: the inner city and the outer city (de Silva, 1990). The inner city where the main buildings of the kingdom were located such as the Palace Complex and the Temple of the Tooth is said to be protected with an 18-cubit tall wall (de Silva, 1990). The outer city had three boundary walls built of stone, clay, and timber (de Silva, 1990). The remains of the clay (earth) wall are still visible at the site.

Dambadeniya three ponds
The ruins of the palace building are seen on the western part of the Maliga Gala rock summit (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). It has been identified as a building with an inner compound and the remains of old channels that had been used to remove the accumulating rainwater in the compound are still visible (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). 
Three ponds named Ura Pokuna, Mavee Pokuna and Ratmal Pokuna are found on the summit of the rock.
Sri Vijayasundararama Viharaya
King Vijayabahu III (1232-1236 A.D.) built Vijayasundararama Viharaya as the main temple of the kingdom and started an academy similar to Maha Viharaya and Abhayagiriya in Anuradhapura. The next ruler, King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 A.D.) constructed two temples for the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha on the summit of the Maliga Gala and on the premises of Vijayasundararama temple. The temple built at the Maliga Gala was the permanent house for the Tooth Relic and the other at Vijayasundararamaya was used mainly for the relic expositions (Seneviratna, 1987).
Waduwa Ketu Gala
The mountain known as Waduwa Ketu Gala (or Mapa Gedara Gala) is said to be the site where the abodes of the people of Adhikarana Senevirath Mapa were located (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). According to another view, this site has been used during the Dambadeniya period to detain prisoners. Ruins of some buildings, ponds, and a rock-cut flight of steps can be seen scattered over the mountain.

Ancient tank
Part of an old bund of a breached tank has been found on a site located between the Maliga Gala and Mapa Gedara Gala mountains (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). This tank is believed to have been used by King Parakramabahu II for his war and defence activities (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015).

Ancient City of Dambadeniya Ancient City of Dambadeniya .
See also

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.22-23,27-29.
2) de Silva, N., 1990. Sri Lankan architecture during the period 1200-1500 A.D. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.76-77.
3) Dias, M.; Koralage, S.B.; Asanga, K., 2016. The archaeological heritage of Jaffna peninsula. Department of Archaeology. Colombo. p.178.
4) Seneviratna, A., 1987. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic: An Architectural History of the Daḷadā Māligāwa, the Symbol of Buddhist Faith and Sovereignty in Sri Lanka. Government of Sri Lanka. p.59.
5) Sudharmawathie, J.M., 2008. Historical significance of the kingdom of Dambadeniya, Proceedings of the Annual Research Symposium 2008, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Kelaniya. p.105.

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This page was last updated on 14 May 2023

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