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.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Paralai Murugan Temple

Paralai Murugan Temple
Paralai Murugan Temple (Photo credit: Google street view)
Paralai Murugan Kovil is a Hindu temple located in Chulipuram in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

History
Sangamitta Bodhiya
Although this site is presently a Hindu shrine, Buddhists believe that the Sangamitta Bodhi, the old Bo tree located in this temple premises is a historical tree linked to Sangamitta Theri, the daughter of Indian Emperor Asoka [(c.268-232 B.C.) Ragupathy, 1987; Wijebandara, 2014]. According to chronicles, Sangamitta Theri landed at the Dambakola Patuna port (Jambukola port) in Sri Lanka with the Sri Maha Bodhi Sapling during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 A.D.) Wijebandara, 2014]. This Bodhi sapling was venerably received by Devanampiyatissa and brought it in a procession to Anuradhapura along the ancient route that was fallen through the present Paralai area (Wijebandara, 2014). It is believed that the Sangamitta Bo tree in the premises of the Paralai Murugan Temple was planted as a souvenir tree when the Sri Maha Bodhi sapling was brought to Anuradhapura on this route (Wijebandara, 2014). 

Hindu shrine
The Hindu shrine and the pond at this site is said to be about 300 years old (Wijebandara, 2014). A poet named Sittatambi Pulavar (1700-1764 A.D.) and a local physician named Vairamuttu Arumugam (1822-1917 A.D.) are said to have involved in the development and administration of this temple (Wijebandara, 2014).

See also

References
1) Ragupathy, P. 1987. Early settlements in Jaffna, An archaeological survey. Published by Mrs. Thilimalar Ragupathy. Madras. p.51.
2) Wijebandara, I.D.M., 2014. Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya (In Sinhala). Published by the editor. ISBN-978-955-9159-95-7. pp.132-135.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 12 March 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Gurulugomi

Gurulugomi was a Buddhist commentator and philosopher who lived in the 12th century in Sri Lanka. He is known for his works Amavatura and Dharmapradipika (Suriyahetti, 1975). He is sometimes styled Mahakavi, the great poet.

There is no much information about Gurulugomi except the mention of his name in the Rajaratnakara, the Sidath Sangarawa, the Nikaya Sangrahaya, and the Mayura Sandeshaya (Suriyahetti, 1975). Of them, the latter two mention his name as Guruludami (Suriyahetti, 1975). The term Dami can be taken as the equivalent of Gomi which means the Buddhist lay follower.
 
Although the time of Gurulugomi is unclear, there is a clue in Rajaratnakara where it has mentioned his name with other scholars who lived between the 5th century A.D. to the 13th century A.D. (Wikramasinghe, 1900). Therefore, Gurulugumi must have lived before or about the year 1267 A.D. (Wikramasinghe, 1900).
From the time of Buddhaghosa (410 A.D.) up to the present year (1809 A.B. expired, i.e. 1267 A.D.), the great Theras Vahisvara (prob. Vagisvara), Dharmapala, Dharmakirti, Sahitya, Vilgammula and Mayurapada, and the laic pandits Kavirajasekara, Gurulugomi, Agamacakravarti and Parakramapandita, as well as many other pandits, have illumined the doctrine of Buddha by bringing out commentaries, glossaries, translations, &c
Also, as his name is mentioned in Sidath Sangarawa, a text written at the request of Patirajadeva, the chief minister of King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 A.D.), it is concluded that Gurulugomi lived between the reign of Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa and King Parakramabahu II of Dambadeniya (Suriyahetti, 1975). The linguistic features in Gurulugomi's works are close to or more archaic than those in works written in the Polonnaruwa Period (Suriyahetti, 1975). According to the opinion of Suriyahetti, Gurulugomi may have lived in the Polonnaruwa Period probably during the reign of a Kalinga prince such as Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Suriyahetti, 1975].

Gurulugumi's ancestors are said to have come over to Sri Lanka from Kalinga, a region in South India (Reynolds et al., 1994; Wikramasinghe, 1900). However, there is no tangible evidence to prove that view (Suriyahetti, 1975). Gurulugomi wrote two Sinhalese books named Amavatura, a devotional biography of the Buddha and Dharmapradipika, a doctrinal work arranged as a commentary on the Pali Mahabodhivamsa (Reynolds et al., 1994).

References
1) Reynolds, F., Tracy, D. and Greeley, A.T. eds., 1994. Religion and practical reason: New essays in the comparative philosophy of religions. SUNY Press. p.124.
2) Suriyahetti, P., 1975. A syntactical study of the Amavatura. University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (United Kingdom). pp.1-2.
3) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1900. Catalogue of the Sinhalese Manuscripts in the British Museum: London. pp.30-31.


This page was last updated on 28 February 2022
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Sunday, 27 February 2022

Alawala Ambalama

Alawala Ambalama
Alawala Ambalama (Photo credit: Google street view)
Alawala Ambalama is an old wayside rest situated in Alawala in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. They were also used as a place for people to gather, hold meetings and serve as a public place in society. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Ambalamas were spread all over the country.

The structure
The Alawala Ambalama is a square-shaped brick and mortar structure with 4 square pillars holding the roof. The roof is covered with calicut clay tiles. A short wall is built around the building with an opening for the entrance at the front.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 February 2022
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Henakanda Biso Bandara

Henakanda Biso Bandara (Sinhala: හෙනකඳ බිසෝ බණ්ඩාර) was a Queen of King Wikramabahu III (1357-1374 A.D.) of Gampola Kingdom, Sri Lanka (Abeyawardana, 2004). She is credited with the construction or renovation of several prominent Buddhist temples in the country including the famous Embekke Devalaya and Hindagala Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004).  
 
According to folk tradition, she was born out of a Beli fruit (Abeyawardana, 2004; Kehelgamuwe, 1935). It is believed that after her death, which happened at Sevandarapitiya, the body was placed in a trough and allowed to float in the river (Abeyawardana, 2004). The place where the log was cut for the trough was named as Kahatadena and the spot from where the trough containing her dead body was recovered was called Kahatapitiya (Abeyawardana, 2004; Kehelgamuwe, 1935). The famous Muslim shrine Kahatapitiya Mosque stands at this spot in Gampola. Henakanda Biso Bandara is venerated at this Muslim shrine presently as a powerful god without any religious discrimination (Abeyawardana, 2004).

There was an ancient wooden statue of her in Wegama Raja Maha Viharaya but it was destroyed later by treasure hunters.

See also
#) Hendeniya Raja Maha Viharaya                            #) Mawela Raja Maha Viharaya
#) Morape Kataragama Devalaya                              #) Ranawana Viharaya

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.68,231.
2) Kehelgamuwe, P.B., 1935. Kotmale Puravrutha (In Sinhala). pp.43-44.

This page was last updated on 29 August 2022

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Pethangoda Uyana

Pethangoda Uyana
The Bamboo grove at Pethangoda Park (Photo credit: Sudaththa Ariyasena, Google Street View)
Pethangoda Uyana (Sinhala: පෙතන්ගොඩ උයන) is a bamboo garden situated in Waththegammeda near Ruwanwella in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
Located between the streams named Gurugoda Oya and Athalawa Ela, this site is believed to be the royal pleasure garden that served as a resting place for royals who were travelling between the country and the Sitawaka Kingdom (16th century A.D.). The garden had been protected from wild animals especially the elephants by constructing a moat and by planting beyond the moat a thorny bamboo variety brought from South India. Two groves of these bamboo trees are still visible at the site.

During the time of the Sitawaka Kingdom, there was a lake close to the garden but it has now turned into a paddy field. It is said that King Rajasinha I (1581-1593 A.D.) sustained a bamboo thorn prick while resting in this park on his return from Kandy after a losing battle with Konappu Bandara who later became the ruler of the Kandyan Kingdom by the name Vimaladharmasuriya I [(1590-1604 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002; Mendis & Susantha, 2020]. According to some sources, the physician who treated the king performed black magic and applied the wound poisonous substances to kill him (Mendis & Susantha, 2020).

A protected site
The two clusters of thorny bamboo in the Pethangoda Uyana in the Pethangoda Grama Niladhari Wasama, of the Ruwanwella Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 July 2011.

See also

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.66-67.
2) Mendis, N.D.N.A. and Susantha, R.A.R.P., 2020. Forensic aspect of the death of King Seethawaka Rajasinghe. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 11(2). pp.50-57.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1716. 22 July 2011. p.510.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 2 July 2022

Maduru Oya Reservoir and Archaeological Ruins

Maduru Oya ancient sluice
Maduru Oya ancient sluice (Photo credit: Lakshan Abeynaike, Google Street View)

Maduru Oya Reservoir (Sinhala: මාදුරු ඔය ජලාශය) is a large irrigation tank situated in Ampara, Polonnaruwa and Badulla Districts, Sri Lanka. The dam of it is located in North Central province and the reservoir extends to the Eastern and Uva provinces. It is the largest reservoir found within the Maduru Oya National Park (Dilrangi et al., 2021). 

Maduru Oya Project
Maduru Oya Reservoir
Maduru Oya reservoir has been constructed by blocking the Maduru Oya stream flowing through the Danigala and Kandegamakanda ridges. The dam was built in 1983 under the Maduru Oya Project of the Accelerated Mahaweli Program (Kasthuriarachchi et al., 2016; Lal et al., 2014). The purpose of the project was to provide irrigation water to system B of the Mahaweli scheme supporting over 130,000 families (Lal et al., 2014). The project was partially funded by USAID and designed and constructed with the assistance of ACRES International of Canada and CH2M Hill of USA (Lal et al., 2014). The Mahaweli Ministry commissioned a 41 meter-high Buddha statue at the bank of the dam.

The reservoir has a catchment area of 453 km2 and a storage capacity of 596,000,000 m3 (Dilrangi et al., 2021). The rockfill dam with a centre clay core measures 1,090 m in length, 41 m in height. A link tunnel of about 5.64 km long has been created from this reservoir to the nearby Ulhitiya Rathkinda reservoir.

Maduru Oya ancient sluice
The remains of an old sluice were discovered at the site in September 1982, during the preparatory work for the construction of the dam (Gunawardana, 1987). Located at the southern end of the embankment the sluice is 72 m in length, 9 m in width and 3.45 m high in front (Wikramagamage, 2004). The gates of the sluice are made of stone and other parts are made of burnt bricks (Embuldeniya, 2018; Wikramagamage, 2004). It mainly contains parts belonging to two periods; the Anuradhapura Period and the Polonnaruva Period (Embuldeniya, 2018).

A C14 dating test conducted for some carbonized chunks and flakes of woods found beneath the wing wall of the sluice has revealed that they belong to a period of A.D. 540±62 (Gunawardana, 1987). According to the view of scholars, the reservoir was constructed in two major stages and the wing wall of the sluice belonged to the second stage (Gunawardana, 1987).

Creator of the ancient sluice
The king who was responsible for the construction of this sluice is unknown. However, the chronicle Mahavamsa mentions that a tank named Mahadaragalla was built by King Mahasena (277-304 A.D.) and it was later repaired by King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) and King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.). It is believed that the name Mahadara evolved to Madara and later to Maduru.

Carvings
Several low-reliefs of a male figure of a drummer and four female figures of dancing women are found on the wall of the square shape pit of the sluice located about 34.77 m from the entrance (Embuldeniya, 2018; Wikramagamage, 2004). According to the view of some, the male figure here represents the god named Balarama who is a genius for the agriculture and irrigation sectors (Embuldeniya, 2018). The female figures represent his wives and maidservants (Embuldeniya, 2018).

Attribution
1) 20200203 175204 lakeview by Nisakya 21 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Dilrangi, K.H., De Silva, W. and Mahaulpatha, D., 2021. Diversity, habitat utilization and nesting characteristics of waterbirds in and around Maduru Oya Reservoir in Maduru Oya National Park, Sri Lanka. Open Journal of Ecology, 11. pp.664-689.
2) Embuldeniya, P., 2018. Art in the Ancient Water Management System of Sri Lanka. Journal of the Centre for Heritage Studies, pp.155-162.
3) Gunawardana, R.A.L., 1987. The Ancient sluice at the Maduru Oya Reservoir: Experimentation in Sri Lankan Traditions of Hydraulic Engineering. pp.1-20.
4) Kasthuriarachchi, T.D.W., Wickramaarachchi, W.D.N. and Premaratne, W.A.P.J., 2016. Assessment of Water Quality Status and Pollution Levels in Maduru Oya Reservoir in Sri Lanka. In proceedings of the 17th Conference on Postgraduate Research, International Postgraduate Research Conference 2016, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. p 161.
5) Lal, A.W., Panapitiya, M. and Nihal, K., 2014. Optimized Water Delivery to Farmers in Maduru-Oya, Sri Lanka, Using irrigation demands communicated through SMS messaging. In World Environmental and Water Resources Congress. pp. 1754-1763.
6) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.256-257.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 May 2022
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Friday, 25 February 2022

Tomb of Sitawaka Rajasinha

The archaeological monument known as the Sitawaka Rajasinha Tomb (Sinhala: සීතාවක රාජසිංහ සොහොන) is situated in the Talduwa area in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
Folklore suggests that the remains of the tomb of King Rajasinha I (1581-1593 A.D.), the last king of the Sitawaka Kingdom who is believed to have unified Sri Lanka under one canopy in the 16th century, could be buried at this site. During his reign, the main road that ran between Colombo and Kandy had fallen through this area. It is said that the king fell ill and died after being pricked by a thorn of a particular variety of bamboo at Pethangoda Park, located near Ruwanwella where he rested on his return from Kandy after a losing battle with Konappu Bandara who later became the ruler of the Kandyan Kingdom by the name Vimaladharmasuriya I [(1590-1604 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002; Mendis & Susantha, 2020].

Also, it is believed by locals that Rajasinha's viceroy of Kandy, Weerasundara Bandara who is mentioned in the chronicle Rajavaliya had died at this spot.

See also

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.66-67.
2)  Mendis, N.D.N.A. and Susantha, R.A.R.P., 2020. Forensic aspect of the death of King Seethawaka Rajasinghe. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 11(2). pp.50-57.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 2 July 2022

Anula Devi Cetiya

Anula Devi Cetiya (Sinhala: අනුලා දේවී චෛත්‍යය) is a ruined Buddhist place of worship situated near Mihintale in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The history of this site runs back to the early Anuradhapura Period. Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) is said to have built this temple in the 2nd century B.C. It is also believed that Queen Anula got ordained as the first Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka and resided together with her fellow nuns at this monastery.

The ruins of a large Stupa belonging to the early Anuradhapura period, potsherds, beads, terracotta figurines, inscriptions, and remnants of building materials have been discovered at this site.

A protected site
The Stupa (Dagoba) known as Diggala Anula Saya situated in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 586-Puvarasankulama, in Mihintale Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.524.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 28 May 2022

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Ruwanwella Jubilee Ambalama

Not to be confused with Kegalle Jubilee Ambalama

Ruwanwella Jubilee Ambalama
Ruwanwella Jubilee Ambalama (Photo credit: Google street view)
Ruwanwella Jubilee Ambalama is an old wayside resthouse situated in the Ruwanwella area in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. They were also used as a place for people to gather, hold meetings and serve as a public place in society. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Ambalamas were spread all over the country.
 
As recorded on the plaque that is fixed onto one of the walls, this Ambalama has been erected at the beginning of the 20th century in commemoration of Lily Harriet Davidson, the wife of the Assistant Agent of Kegalle District from 1892 to 1896. The plaque can be read as follows; 
English: "This Ambalam is erected by her friends to the memory of Lily Harriet Davidson, wife of the Assistant Govt Agent of this District, 1892-1896 as a tribute to one who was for twenty years a true friend to the people of Ceylon of every race, caste and creed. She died at Pretoria South Africa 1901."
A protected monument
The Jubilee Ambalama situated in Ruwanwella in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Ruwanwella, is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 22 November 2002.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 24 February 2022
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Mahiyanganaya Sri Maha Bodhi Seya

Mahiyanganaya Sri Maha Bodhi Seya
Sri Maha Bodhi Seya is a modern Buddhist site of worship situated in Mahiyanganaya town in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. 

The main building at this site is a replica of the famous Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India. Although its architecture resembles the features of a Hindu shrine, Buddhist themes are embedded into its context. This was built as a part of the Gam Udawa exhibition that was held in Mahiyanganaya in 1989 with the presence of President Ranasinha Premadasa.

Attribution
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 24 February 2022
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Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Nepalana Ambalama

Nepalana Ambalama
Nepalana Ambalama (Photo credit: Google street view)
Nepalana Ambalama is an old wayside rest situated in Nepalana near Mawanella in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka.

History
Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. They were also used as a place for people to gather, hold meetings and serve as a public place in society. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Ambalamas were spread all over the country. 

The structure
The Nepalana Ambalama is roughly a rectangular-shaped structure built of bricks. The roof which is covered with semi-cylindrical clay tiles (Sinhala Ulu) is supported by twelve (outer) and four (inner) brick pillars erected in two concentric tiers.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 27 February 2022
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Buduruwayaya Archaeological Site

Not to be confused with Buduruwagala

Buduruwayaya (Sinhala: බුදුරුවයාය) is an ancient Buddhist site situated in the southwest corner of Wasgamuwa National Park, near Amban Ganga river in Bakamuna village in Polonnaruwa District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The history of this site runs back to the early Anuradhapura Period. A large number of monuments including a Stupa built on a raised platform, a reclining Buddha image carved out of the living rock, and ruined image houses are found scattered all over the site. 

Location Map
This page was last updated on 12 May 2022
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Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Stupas in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Stupas
Stupa or Dagaba [also known as Chetiya, Vehera, Dhatugabbha (Pali), Dhatugharbha (Sanskrit)] is a dome-shaped Buddhist monument built to enshrine the corporeal relics (Saririka-dhatu) or other related relics of the Buddha (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007). Construction of Stupas in Sri Lanka was begun with the introduction of Buddhism to the country by Arhat Mahinda Thera (Bandaranayake. 1990). Since then, Stupas were built in every Buddhist monastery, with the exception of the monasteries in forests (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007). Presently, Sri Lankan Stupas are considered the largest brick structures in the world (Held & de Panthou, 2001; Ranaweera, 2004; Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006).

History
In the beginning, Stupa was a burial mound containing relics and on which a mast had been raised (Held & de Panthou, 2001). According to the view of some scholars, this mound was the reproduction of Mount Meru, the famous cosmic mountain at the centre of the South Asian Universe (Held & de Panthou, 2001). The main function of this type of mound was to protect and proclaim the sacred relics which it enshrines.
 
The first Stupa built in Sri Lanka
Thuparamaya
According to provable historical sources, the first historical Stupa erected in Sri Lanka is the Thuparama Stupa in the Maha Viharaya at Anuradhapura (Dias, 2001; Held & de Panthou, 2001; Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006; The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007; Wikramagamage, 2004). It was built by enshrining the right collar bone of the Buddha by King Devanampiyatissa (247-207 B.C.) after the introduction of Buddhism to the country by Arhat Mahinda Thera, the son of Indian Emperor Ashoka (c.268-232 B.C.) in the 3rd century B.C. (Dias, 2001; Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963). 
 
As per details given in the chronicles, the Stupas at Mahiyanganaya and Tiriyaya have been built in Sri Lanka during the lifetime of the Buddha (Ray, 1959). Therefore these two monuments are considered by some as the earliest Stupas in the country as well as in the world. However, the details given about these Stupas in chronicles are full of miraculous things and no monument that can be dated to a time before the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka has been identified in the country yet (Ray, 1959).

Construction of colossal Stupas
Jetavanarama Stupa
The early Stupas built in the country were smaller in dimensions but later, in the 2nd century B.C., King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) built the colossal Ruwanweliseya Stupa in the Maha Viharaya monastery premises with a diameter of 90.8 m at its base and a height of 91.4 m (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007). The Abhayagiri Stupa built in the 1st century B.C. was also a colossal construction with a base diameter of 94.5 m and a height of 71.5 m. The Jetavanarama Stupa with a base diameter of 99.1 m and a height of 73 m was built by King Mahasena (276-303 A.D.) in the 3rd century A.D. and it often compared with the great pyramids of Egypt (Held & de Panthou, 2001; Jayasuriya, 2016; Nicholas, 1963; Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006; Wikramagamage, 2004). These monuments were not only the largest of their type in the entire Buddhist tradition but are also amongst the largest and tallest constructions in the pre-modern world (Bandaranayake. 1990; Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006).

The construction of colossal Stupas was come to an end in the 13th century A.D., due to the decline of the kingdoms as a result of warfare and foreign invasions (Ranaweera, 2004).

Structural aspects of the Stupas
Stupas have occupied the principal position in Buddhist monasteries and even when their primacy was paralleled by other ritual structures such as the Bodhighara and the Patimaghara [(image house) Bandaranayake. 1990]. It is accepted that no Stupa in the country has come down to the present day in the same form as it was when originally built (Held & de Panthou, 2001). They were subjected to restoration, renovate or re-model by Sinhalese kings who ruled the country for about two millenniums (Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006). 

Sri Lankan Stupas
The Stupas in Sri Lanka, in their most evolved form, have the following distinct elements; 
    #) Maluwa (elevated terrace or platform)
    #) Garbha/Dhatugharbha (the dome/the relic chamber)
    #) Devatha Kotuwa (the cylinder)
    #) Kotha & Chuda Manikya (the pinnacle and the crystal)
    #) Vahalkada/Ayaka (the frontispiece)
    #) Pesawa (the plinth/basal rings)
    #) Hatharas Kotuwa (the square chamber)
    #) Chathra or Koth Kerella (the umbrella or the spire)
    #) Yupa and Yasti (the cosmic pillar and the mast)
    #) Garadiya (the railing)


#) Maluwa: Stupas are always built on an elevated terrace or platform demarcated by boundary walls. These walls sometimes contain low-relief carvings such as elephants. Flights of steps located at the four cardinal points provide access to the Maluwa.

#) Pesawa: The part between the Maluwa and the Garbha of a Stupa is known as Pesawa. It consists of a moulded plinth or series of plinths built one above the other.

#) Garbha & Dhatugharbha: The dome-shaped part is called Garbha and it is the biggest body and the principal element of a Stupa (Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006). It contains within it a few Dhatugharbhas (relic chambers) built to preserve the enshrined relics and other valuable objects. The inner walls of Dhatugharbha are adorned with murals as evidenced by the relic chambers discovered from Mahiyangana Stupa and Giribhanda Stupa. Usually, the outside of the Gharbha is plastered and painted in white. 

The main shape of the Gharbha is a semi-circular form but traditionally it has been categorized into six (or sometimes seven) more shapes (Bandaranayake. 1990).
        
Stupa shapes
1) Ghantakara (bell shape): ex. Thuparama Stupa
2) Ghatakara (pot shape): ex. Tissamaharama Stupa
3) Bubbulakara (bubble shape): ex. Ruwanweliseya StupaKiri Vehera Stupa
4) Dhanyakara (paddy heap shape): ex. Kelaniya StupaAbhayagiri StupaJetavanarama Stupa
5) Padmakara (lotus shape)
6) Amlakara [Nelli fruit shape (Phyllanthus emblica)]: ex. Lankarama Stupa

Additionally;
7) Palandvakara (onion shape)
 
Besides the Stupas with aforesaid shapes, there are two more special types of Stupas, namely: the ziggurat type and the Kota Vehera type (Prematileke, 1990). Of them, the ziggurat type Stupas have a square-shaped base and series of receding cube-shaped tiers built one above the other. Prasada Stupa and Nakha Vehera in Anuradhapura and Satmahal Prasada in Polonnaruwa belong to this type. The Kota Vehera type Stupas have a dome of a hemispherical form truncated on the top (Prematileke, 1990). The Sutighara Stupa, Demalamahaseya, Deliwala Stupa, Yudaganawa Stupa, and Lahugala Stupa are example for this type of Stupas (Prematileke, 1990).
 
#) Hatharas Kotuwa & Devatha Kotuwa: The cube resting immediately on the summit of the dome is the Hatharas Kotuwa or sometimes it is known as the Harmika. The cylindrical-shaped Devatha Kotuwa (or encloser of the gods) is built above the Hatharas Kotuwa and it forms the base of the Chatthravalli. The outer surfaces of both Hatharas Kotuwa and Devatha Kotuwa are adorned with figures depicting lotus roundels or the sun and moon (on the Hatharas Kotuwa) and deities (on the Devatha Kotuwa).

Rajagala Stupa
#) Chatthravalli & Kotha:
Chatthravalli, also known as Koth Kerella, consists of a series of Chatthras (sun-shades) placed one above the other forming a conical spire (Bandaranayake. 1990). It is clearly a development of the single Chatthra design found in early Indian Stupa architecture and in early Sri Lankan reliquaries which are in the form of miniature Stupas (Bandaranayake. 1990). The solid conical Chatthravalli of brick masonry is thought to be a Sri Lankan development and its design is found to date from about as early as the 2nd century A.D. (Bandaranayake. 1990).

Kotha (the pinnacle) is the upper part of the Koth Kerella as well as the Stupa. It is usually a precious stone or a metal (probably gold or gilded bronze) or sometimes a masonry feature crowned with a precious crystal or gemstone (Bandaranayake. 1990).

#) Yupa & Yasti: Yupa (or cosmic pillar) is an eight-sided pillar placed in the brickwork of the Stupa above the Dhatugharbha (Bandaranayake. 1990). The Yasti is the mast that forms the stem of the Chatthra or Chatthravalli (Bandaranayake. 1990).

#) Vahalkada: Also known as Ayaka or Adimukha or frontispiece, this is a structure constructed joining the Stupa at its four cardinal directions.
 
Besides the above-mentioned elements, some small-sized Stupas have been built inside a roofed structure known as Vatadage (lit: circular relic house). Examples for these buildings, without their roof superstructures, are still found at several ancient Buddhist monasteries in the country such as Thuparamaya, Lankaramaya, Mihintale, Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Tiriyaya (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007).
 
Materials used in the construction of Stupas
Stupas in Sri Lanka are solid structures, built mostly of burnt clay bricks. The bricks used in ancient Stupas are much larger than the modern bricks and it is observable that different sizes of bricks have been used in different components of the same Stupa, larger ones for the basal rings and the dome, and smaller ones for the spire (Ranaweera, 2004). The mortar used between the bricks is a clay slurry type (called butter clay) with an adhesive from a tree and a solvent of sweetened water(Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006). Normally, the outer surface of the Stupa was water-proofed using a plaster layer (Ranaweera & Abeyruwan, 2006).

References
1) Bandaranayake, S., 1990. The architecture of the Anuradhapura period 543 B.C.-800 A.D. Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief). Archaeological Department centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series: Volume III: Architecture. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.25-26.
2) Dias, M, 2001. The growth of Buddhist monastic institutions in Sri Lanka from Brahmi inscriptions. Epigraphia Zeylanica, Vol. VIII. Department of Archaeology Survey. ISBN: 955-9264-04-4. p.47.
3) Held, S.; de Panthou, P., 2001. Sri Lanka; the Island of Ceylon. Editions Herme, Paris. ISBN:2 86665 355 6.  p.233.
4) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. pp.36-46,51-52.
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). pp.131-133,146-147.
6) Prematileke, 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.47-49.
7) Ranaweera, M.P., 2004. Ancient Stupas in Sri Lanka-Largest brick structures in the World. CHS Newsletter No. 70, December 2004, London, Construction History Society.
8) Ranaweera, M. and Abeyruwan, H., 2006. Materials used in the construction, conservation, and restoration of ancient stupas in Sri Lanka. In Proceedings of the second International Congress on Construction History. pp.2573-2586.
9) Ray, H. C. (Editor in Chief), 1959. University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon (Vol 1, part I). Ceylon University Press. pp.136-137.
10) The National Atlas of Sri Lanka, 2007. (2nd ed.) Survey Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-9059-04-1. p.102. 
11) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.74-79,126-139.

 
This page was last updated on 5 June 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Anuradhapura Folk Museum

Anuradhapura Falk Museum
The Anuradhapura Folk Museum, Sri Lanka is one of the Provincial Museums Administered by the Department of National Museums.  It has been established near the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum.

History
The museum was established on 22 August 1971 to preserve the lifestyle and household objects of the Nuwara-Kalaviya people in the Anuradhapura area (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museum
The museum is used to exhibit artifacts relating to Buddhist temples, Devalas and objects relating to folk sports, music, dance, foods etc. Books, traditional Sinhalese household equipment, betel-chewing equipment, ancient traditional medicine objects, arms and armaments, textiles and clothes, ornaments, various kinds of household items, boxes and bags made of different materials, coins and currency, different kinds of scales and measuring tools, traditional arts and craft objects, domestic husbandry utensils, implements related to Chena cultivation and ancient traditional agriculture, and various type of objects relating to traditional village life are also displayed in the museum (Rambukwella, 2014).

References
1) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). pp.403-405.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 22 February 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Monday, 21 February 2022

Paurukanda Viharaya

Paurukanda Viharaya
Paurukanda Raja Maha Viharaya (also known as Paurukanda Punchi Sri Padaya) is a Buddhist temple situated in Halwala village in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this site runs back to the Polonnaruwa Period. Ruler Manabharana who got defeated in the fight with Vikramabahu (reigned: 1111-1132 A.D.) fled to Pasyodun-rata with his two brothers Keerthi Sri Megha, and Sri Wallabha and received the protection there. The Pancayojana-Rattha or Pasyodun-vaga (present Pasdun Korale) was a part of Rohana principality before the Parakramabahu’s (1153-1186 A.D.) rule ship of Dakkhinadesa in the 12th century. 
 
It is said that the fortress of Manabharana was located at this place (Abeyawardana, 2002). This was a natural fortress on a mountain and its summit is said to have been surrounded by a wall made of stone. The present name of the temple Paurukanda means the "mountain of the wall".

Presently, this site is also known by the name Punchi Sri Padaya (little Sri Pada) due to the Footprint of the Buddha that has been carved on a rock at the summit of the mountain. Beside this carving is a Sinhalese inscription dated on 26 December 1838.

The site
There is a large cave that can accommodate about 400 people at a time (Abeyawardana, 2002). Several small caves are also found adjacent to it (Abeyawardana, 2002). A stone canoe, pond, stone pillars and embankments are some of the ruins scattered in the temple premises (Abeyawardana, 2002).

A protected site
The ancient image house belonging to Pawrekanda Purana Vihara situated in the top of Halwala Kanda in the Grama Niladhari Division of Halwala in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Agalawatta is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 July 2007.
 
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. p.109.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1505. 6 July 2007. p.548.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 17 March 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Lanka Ella Falls

Lanka Ella Falls
Lanka Ella Falls is a waterfall located close to the well known Bambarakanda Falls in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. The fall has got its name due to the base pool which  has a shape similar to the island of Sri Lanka.  The base pool is not suitable for bathing or swimming.
 
Attribution
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 21 February 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Economic History Museum, Sri Lanka

Economic History Museum
The Economic History Museum, (Sinhala: ආර්ථික ඉතිහාස කෞතුකාගාරය; Tamil: நாணய நூதனசாலை, கொழும்பு) popularly known as Currency Museum or Money Museum, is located in the old Central Point Building in Chatham Street, Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. It is administered by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

History
The museum was established in 2013 by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in The Central Point, an old building which is considered a unique example of British Colonial architecture in the Neoclassical style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

The Central Point Building
Economic History Museum in Sri Lanka
Designed by Walker and Adams, the building was constructed by the Ralph McDonald company by laying the foundation stone in 1911. It was completed and opened in 1914 as the branch office of the National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd, an insurance company based in Australia. It was the tallest building in Colombo by 1914 and in the decade following. 

In 1973, the building was acquired by the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment of Sri Lanka (CWE). In 1996, the interior of the building was damaged as a result of the bomb attack at the premises of the Central Bank by LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), a militant group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries including Sri Lanka, India, the USA and the EU. After that, the building remained in a dilapidated state until the Central Bank acquired it from CWE in 2011.

The Central Bank restored the building and gave it the name "The Central Point". This name was given as the building is located opposite the historic Clock Tower of Colombo which is considered the "Central Point" of the island's road network.

Items
The museum presently displays a wide range of exhibits from the evolution of currency in the world, as well as its usage in Sri Lanka which is dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the present. Coins used during various periods of the country such as the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Kotte and Kandy kingdoms, and during the colonial rule of the country and notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka are displayed in the museum. Self-learning tools to detect the security features of currency notes, and videos on currency are also available.

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.13.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 14 July 2022

Dighavapi Archaeological Museum

Dighavapi Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Dighavapiya, Sri Lanka is one of the Regional Museums Administered by the Department of Archaeology. It is also called as Ampara Museum.

History
The first museum at Dighavapi was owned and run by the River Valley Development Board and later it was handed over to the Department of Archaeology (Rambukwella, 2014). The museum was declared open to the public in 1982 (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museum
The museum is used to exhibit antiquities found from nearby Dighavapi Viharaya as well as the Ampara region and the Eastern Province. Artefacts such as statues, inscriptions, beads, coins, and terracotta objects are preserved in the museum building. Open spaces are also used to display the objects.

References
1) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). pp.412-413.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 20 February 2022
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Saturday, 19 February 2022

Ussangoda

Ussangoda
Ussangoda is one of the six serpentinite sites in Sri Lanka (Weerasinghe & Iqbal, 2011). Situated in the geological boundary between the Highland and Vijayan Complexes in Hambantota District, it is considered the largest serpentinite body found in the country (Rajapaksha et al., 2012).

Historical value
Merely due to the different environmental features of this place, locals have tended to believe that this place has a history linked with King Ravana, a mythical figure depicted in the Indian epic Ramayanaya. According to them, Ussangoda has been used by Ravana to land his chariot named Dandumonara (Abeyawardana, 2004). However, the authenticity of the Ramayanaya is controversial and hence it is today dismissed as a myth by Sri Lankan scholars (JRASSL, 2014).

Pre-historic human remains have been discovered from this site (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The site
The site is a flat plain extending in an area of about 3.49  km2 (349.077 ha). The southern boundary of the plain is a cliff, approximately 30 m AMSL, overlooking the Indian Ocean (Weerasinghe & Iqbal, 2011). The highest point on the plain is 34.5 m AMSL (Weerasinghe & Iqbal, 2011).

The types of rocks occurring in Ussangoda are ferro-laterite, serpentines and ochre red soil rich in ferric oxide (Tennakone et al., 2007). Of them, most of the rocks contain significant amounts of nickel and lesser quantities of cobalt, manganese and chromium (Tennakone et al., 2007). The vegetation around the plain indicates the signs of metal toxicity (Tennakone et al., 2007).

Ussangoda National Park
Ussangoda was designated as a National Park under the Forest Conservation Ordinance (Chapter 469) by a government gazette notification published on 6 May 2010.

Ussangoda Ussangoda .
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. p.105.
2)  JRASSL, 2014. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka New Series, Vol. 59, No. 2, Special Issue on the Ramayana (2014). https://www.jstor.org/stable/i40203619. pp.1-112.
3) Rajapaksha, A.U., Vithanage, M., Oze, C., Bandara, W.M.A.T. and Weerasooriya, R., 2012. Nickel and manganese release in serpentine soil from the Ussangoda Ultramafic Complex, Sri Lanka. Geoderma, 189, pp.1-9.
4) Tennakone, K., Senevirathna, M.K.I. and Kehelpannala, K.V.W., 2007. Extraction of pure metallic nickel from ores and plants at Ussangoda, Sri Lanka. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 35(4). pp.245-250.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1652/49. 6 May 2010. pp.1A-2A.
6) Weerasinghe, H.A.S., Iqbal, M.C.M., 2011. Plant diversity and soil characteristics of the Ussangoda serpentine site. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 39(4). pp.355-363.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 19 February 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map