Friday, 15 April 2022

Gilimale Rankoth Viharaya

Not to be confused with Rankoth Vehera, Polonnaruwa & Rankoth Viharaya, Pandura

Sri Rankoth Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Gilimale in Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
A slab inscription discovered from this temple reveals that King Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.) had taken this route to reach Sri Pada Mountain (Abeyawardana, 2002; Ranawella, 2007). Several ancient monuments and artefacts such as the remains of the old Stupa, stone pillars, moonstones, grinding and lavatory stones have been unearthed from this site (Abeyawardana, 2002).

The modern image house of the temple has been built in 2456 B.E. [(1912 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2002].

Gilimale slab inscription
The chronicle Culavamsa mentions that King Vijayabahu I granted Gilimalaya village for the benefit of the pilgrims who went to worship the footprint of the Buddha on the Samantakuta (Sri Pada) mountain and engraved about it on a stone pillar (Ranawella, 2007). It has been identified without a doubt that the slab inscription discovered from the Gilimale Rankoth Viharaya premises is the one that is mentioned in the chronicle (Ranawella, 2007).

The inscription contains 52 lines of writing, covering 5 ft. 7 in. by 3 ft. 8 in. of the surface of the slab (Ranawella, 2007). The writing is completely weathered and as a result of that, it has become impossible to decipher the inscription (Ranawella, 2007).
 
Gilimale slab inscription
Reign: Vijayabahu I (1055-1110 A.D.)                                           Period: 11th centuries A.D.
Script: Medieval Sinhala                                                                  Language: Medieval Sinhala
Content: The inscription says that the two villages of Gilimale and Bambarabatuwa were donated to the Sacred Footprint by Vijayabahu I for the benefit of the pilgrims who worship the Footprint. Complete deciphering of the inscription is impossible.
Citation: The information board at the site by the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of National Heritage.
 
According to the view of scholars, this inscription is a copy of the Ambagamuwa Rock Inscription but not an exact copy of it (Ranawella, 2007).

A protected site
The image house with ancient paintings and sculptures, Devalaya shrine and the inscribed stone slab located in the premises of Sri Rankoth Raja Maha Vihara in Gilimale village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Ratnapura are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 November 2002.
 
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.20.
2) Ranawella, S., 2007. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume VI. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-61-2. p.11.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 November 2002.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 April 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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