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.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Sellawali Raja Maha Viharaya

Sellawali Viharaya
Sellawali Viharaya (Photo credit: U Edg3, Google Street View)

Sellawali Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: සෙල්ලාවලී රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Halloluwa village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The temple, according to a copper plate grant, was constructed by a queen named Sandapati whose identity is not known (Seneviratna, 1983). The copper plate is a land grant made in 1597 by King Vimaladharmasuriya I [(1591-1604 A.D.) Seneviratna, 1983]. However, the temple belongs to an early period than that date and is said to have been constructed by Chandrawathi, the mother of King Vikramabahu III (1356-1374 A.D.) or the queen of King Sanasammata Vikramabahu [(1469-1511 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Seneviratna, 1983].

Some believe that the temple was built by Sellawali Devi, the niece of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815 A.D.)'s brother-in-law, Kuttinayaka Deviyo (Lewis, 1922). Sellawali is the old name for the present-day Holloluwa where the temple stands today (Seneviratna, 1983). 

The image house
Of the two image houses at the temple, the small Vihara that has been made out of dressed stone is thought to have been constructed during the Gampola Period (Abeyawardana, 2004). It has a doorway measuring 1.28 m in length and 0.49 m in width (Abeyawardana, 2004). The murals inside it have features of the Kandyan Period (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.99-100.
2) Lewis, J.P., 1922. Kandyan Notes. The Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register. Vol: VII, Part: II. p.108-113.
3) Seneviratna, A, 1983. Kandy: An Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments, with Historical, Archaeological, and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. p.161.

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This page was last updated on 30 November 2022

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Katarangala Raja Maha Viharaya

Katarangala Viharaya
Katarangala Viharaya (Photo credit: U Edg3, Google Street View)

Katarangala Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: කටාරංගල රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Halloluwa in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The Brahmi inscriptions indicating the donation of caves to Buddhist monks in the large cave at the site testify that this place existed as a dwelling place for the monks in the early centuries of the Christian era (Seneviratna, 1983). The cave was later converted into a cave temple with a recumbent Buddha image in it (Seneviratna, 1983). The place Halloluwa which is referred to in the 14th-century text Saddharmalankaraya is identified as the present Katarangala Viharaya (Abeyawardana, 2004). 

During the Kandyan Period, the text titled Vimana-watthuprakarana was translated into Sinhala by a Buddhist monk named Gammulla Ratnapala who had lived in this temple (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Gilt Buddha image
The temple has got attention due to a gilt Buddha statue that is said to have been brought here by Arhat Maliyadeva Thera from India or from Devanagala in Mawanella (Abeyawardana, 2004; Seneviratna, 1983). The Buddha statue under a Makara Torana (dragon arch) is similar in appearance to the ones at the Pusulpitiya Viharaya and Madanwela Viharaya (Seneviratna, 1983). On the bottom of the statue is a date indicating the Buddhist year 2310 (or 1766 A.D.) which falls into the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha [(1747-1782 A.D.) Seneviratna, 1983]. A Pirith-nula and a Pirith-pota which are said to have been offered to the temple by Kirti Sri Rajasinha are preserved at the Viharaya today (Seneviratna, 1983).

Although the statue was robbed several times, it has been recovered and is kept in the temple (Abeyawardana, 2004).

A protected site
The Buddha shrine belonging to Katarangala Purana Vihara premises situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Halloluwa in Harispattuwa 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. pp.100-101.
2) Seneviratna, A, 1983. Kandy: An Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments, with Historical, Archaeological, and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. p.161.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.525.

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This page was last updated on 29 November 2022

Monday, 28 November 2022

Godamunna Ambalama

Godamunna Ambalama
Godamunna Ambalama (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Godamunna Ambalama (Sinhala: ගොඩමුන්න අම්බලම) is an old wayside rest situated in Godamunna village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The Godamunna Elle Oya Ambalama built in 1930 is located near this Ambalama.

Ambalama
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 Ambalama at Godamunna is believed to have been constructed during the Kandyan Period (Rajapakse, 2016). The wooden pillars of the Hanguranketha Palace that got destroyed by fire during the Dutch attack in the 17th century are said to have been used for the construction of the Ambalama (Abeyawardana, 2004; Seneviratna, 1983). Folklore reveals that the Tooth Relic of the Buddha was kept for one night at this Ambalama when it was secretly moved from Kandy to Hanguranketha due to security reasons (Abeyawardana, 2004; Rajapakse, 2016). 

During the Great Rebellion of 1817–1818, the British who camped at Godamunna used this Ambalama as a cattle slaughterhouse (Rajapakse, 2016). The structure was conserved in 1970 by the Department of Archaeology (Rajapakse, 2016).

The structure
The square-shaped Godamunna Ambalama is reared on wooden pillars rising on the grid of massive beams (Seneviratna, 1983). Each of these beams measures 1.85 m in circumference (Abeyawardana, 2004). The pillars and the roof have been replaced and repaired later. The Marassana Ambalama situated in close proximity is very much similar in appearance to the Godamunna Ambalama (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. p.58-59.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.115-116.
3) Seneviratna, A, 1983. Kandy: An Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments, with Historical, Archaeological, and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. p.135.

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This page was last updated on 28 November 2022

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Naga Vimanaya (Kandy)

Naga Vimana Kande Viharaya, also known as Naga Vimanaya (Sinhala: නාග විමානය, නාගවිමාන කන්දේ විහාරය), is a small Buddhist temple situated near the Malwathu Maha Viharaya in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The temple is believed to have been founded in the early 17th century (Seneviratna, 1983). The name of this temple is mentioned in Nampota, an ancient Sinhalese text which is considered to have been compiled after the 14th century A.D. King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782 A.D.) is said to have maintained a garden at this site (Rajapakse, 2016). Later, the Bowl relic of the Buddha that had been enshrined in the Stupa of this site was moved to the Natha Devalaya at Kandy (Rajapakse, 2016).  

The famous Buddhist monk Welivita Sri Saranankara Thera (1698-1778 A.D.) is said to have lived in this temple for some time (Rajapakse, 2016; Seneviratna, 1983).

The image house
The small image house of this temple is of archaeological importance. Built of brick covered by clay and lime mortar, it consists of two sections; the inner chamber and the outer pavilion (Rajapakse, 2016). The paintings on the walls of the inner chambers are well-preserved and the murals in the outer pavilion have been conserved by the Central Cultural Fund (Rajapakse, 2016). The main Buddha statue in the Samadhi posture shows features of the Gampola and Kandyan Periods (Rajapakse, 2016). Murals depicting Jataka stories such as Vessantara adorn the walls of the shrine.
 
A protected site
The ancient image house belonging to Nagavimana Kande Vihara premises situated in Kandy city in the Malwatta 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) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.49-50.
2) Seneviratna, A, 1983. Kandy: An Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments, with Historical, Archaeological, and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. p.101.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1750.

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This page was last updated on 27 November 2022

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Nataraja (Siva Devale No. 1), Colombo National Museum

Nataraja Siva Devale 1 Colombo Museum
A bronze representing Nataraja in his cosmic dance is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. It was discovered in the precinct of Siva Devale No. 1 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983).

The copper bronze is 90.4 cm in height and depicts the divine dancer Nataraja, a form of the Hindu god Siva (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). The four-armed god dances balancing his body weight on the right leg, trampling down the dwarfish demon Muyalaka, the symbol of ignorance while the left leg is kept raised and bent Kunchitapada (Krishnarajah, 1983). The back hands hold a drum (or kettle?) and a flame, the symbols of creation and destruction while the front hands are in Varada and Gajahasta Mudras. The long hair spreading in either direction indicates the fall and spread of strands during god's dance. Rows of flowers, a skull, and a crescent are found inserted among the strands. The miniature figure of the divine river Ganga indicates it falling onto the god's head thus reducing her rapid descent from the Himalayas (Arunachalam, 2004). Also, a few cobras coil themselves in between the hair locks as well as on the wrist. The earrings consist of a Makara pendant and a pearl-studded disk and the body is richly adorned with ornaments. The god is encircled with a complete Prabhamandala (Tiruvasi) arising from the mouths of two Makaras (dragons) established on the lotus pedestal (Coomaraswamy, 1914).

The composition and stylistic features of the bronze indicate its roots linking to the Pandya style of Southeast India (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). Scholars have dated this statue to the 13th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al, 2013)

References
1) Arunachalam, P., 2004. Polonnaruwa bronzes and Siva worship and symbolism. Asian Educational Services. pp.24-28.
2) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2013. Sri Lanka Murthi: Siva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Siva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.60-61.
3) Coomaraswamy, A., 1914. Bronzes from Ceylon, chiefly in the Colombo Museum. Series A. No. 1. Memoirs of the Colombo Museum/Ed. J. PearsonColombo: Horace Hart, Colombo. p.13.
4) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. pp.26-28.

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This page was last updated on 26 November 2022

Friday, 25 November 2022

Siva (Colombo National Museum)

Siva statue, Colombo Museum
A bronze representing Siva in Tribhanga posture is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at the Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. Discovered in 1908 in the precinct of Siva Devale No 5 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City, the theme depicted by this bronze is frequently known as Vrisabhavahana murti  (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983).

The bronze is 67 cm in height and depicts the Hindu god Siva in a relaxing position after performing the Tandava dance. The weight of the body is balanced on the right leg while the left leg bends lightly with the toes touching the lotus pedestal (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). He is four-armed and the extra arms branch out from the elbow. The back hands hold an axe (Pharasu) and a leaping antelope while the front left hand depicts the attitude of resting upon the bull vehicle (Vrisabhavahana) which is now separated from the bronze (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). The front right hand, now empty, could have been holding a trident (Trisula), the main symbol of Siva (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The tall headdress is conical in shape and the third eye is visible on the forehead of the god. The earrings consist of a Makara pendant and a large disk and the body is richly adorned with ornaments.

Scholars have dated this statue to the 13th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al, 2013)

References
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2013. Sri Lanka Murthi: Siva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Siva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.72-73.
2) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. p.45.

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This page was last updated on 25 November 2022

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Kasuprad Parivena

Kasuprad Parivena (Sinhala: කසුප්රද් පරිවෙන) is a ruined monastery complex situated in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City, Sri Lanka.

History
Located between Rankoth Vehera and Menik Vehera monasteries, this ruined site is supposed to be the ancient Kasuprad Parivena built by King Kassapa V (914-923 A.D.). This belief is supported by a 10th-century inscription that was discovered near this site where the name Kasuprad Parivena is mentioned. Also, the architectural design of this building complex suggests that it belongs to the Pancavasa style which was prevalent at the time. The ruined structures surrounding the central terrace of the complex indicate that a large number of Buddhist monks had been resident here.

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This page was last updated on 24 November 2022

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Nataraja (Siva Devale No. 5), Colombo National Museum

Nataraja, Colombo National Museum
A bronze representing Nataraja is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. It was discovered in 1908 in the precinct of Siva Devale No. 5 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983).

The bronze is 64.5 cm in height and depicts the divine dancer Nataraja, a form of the Hindu god Siva (Krishnarajah, 1983). According to scholars, this bronze has several special features that are not found in other Nataraja images found in the country (Krishnarajah, 1983). The dancer is represented with many cobras upon his body besides the one that forms the usual ornaments of Siva (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). Also, two crescents are present on the Jatamakuta (headdress) while the ears are ornamented with two types of earrings; a Makarakundala and a disc-shaped Ratnakundala (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983). The upper body of the dancer is naked but the lower body is covered by a thin cloth. A miniature figure of the Ganga river is shown floating upon the hair strands to the right of the dancer (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The usual ring of fire (Praba or Tiruvasi) that surrounds the dancer's body is not depicted in this bronze.

Scholars have dated this statue to the 12th-13th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al, 2013)

References
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2013. Sri Lanka Murthi: Siva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Siva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.64-65.
2) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. pp.29-31.

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This page was last updated on 23 November 2022

Siva Parvati (Colombo National Museum)

Siva & Parvati, Colombo National Museum
A bronze representing Siva & Parvati in the standing posture of Tribhanga is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. It was discovered from the premises of Siva Devale No 1 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983).

The bronze depicts both Siva and his consort Parvati standing lovely close together on separate lotus pedestals on a common base in the act of showing benevolence to human beings. Siva is four-armed and wears his characteristic matted locks and the moon crescent (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). His back hands hold an axe (Pharasu) and apparently an antelope (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The front right hand depicts the symbolic gesture of protection while the left hand encircles the shoulders of Parvati (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). Parvati stands slightly inclined towards Siva and holds a water lily by her right hand while her left arm hangs down pendant (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The divine couple is surrounded by an arched halo (Tiruvasi) consisting of pearls and flames (Krishnarajah, 1983). 

Scholars have dated this statue to the 13th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al, 2013)

References
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2013. Sri Lanka Murthi: Siva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Siva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.1110-111.
2) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. pp.44-45.

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This page was last updated on 23 November 2022

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Uma Maheshvara (Colombo National Museum)

Uma-maheshvara murti, Colombo National Museum
A bronze representing Siva & Parvati in their formal posture enthroned like a king and queen is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. Discovered in 1908 from Siva Devale No 1 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City, the theme depicted by this bronze is frequently known as Uma-maheshvara murti (Chutiwongs et al, 2013; Krishnarajah, 1983).

The bronze is 60.3 cm in height and depicts Siva sitting with Parvati (Uma) on lotus seats in Lalitasana attitude (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). Siva is four-armed. The back hands of Siva hold an axe (Pharasu) and an antelope (deer) while the front right hand depicts Abhaya Mudra and the left hand Katakahasta Mudra (Krishnarajah, 1983). The moon crescent and a snake appear on his schematically designed matted hair (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). Parvati is represented by two hands. She holds a lily (Utpala) in her right hand and shows Varada Mudra by the left hand (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The holes and the rings at the lower base of the pedestal indicate that the image was meant to be carried in procession.

Even after the end of the Chola Domain in Polonnaruwa, the making of Hindu bronzes continued in Sri Lanka in the 13th and 14th centuries A.D. as well mainly due to the Pandyan influence. Although these bronzes are very much similar to those of the 12th century, some features such as over-ornamentation and angularity of the figures testify when they were actually created.

Scholars have dated this statue to the 13th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al, 2013)

References
1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2013. Sri Lanka Murthi: Siva (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Siva). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural and the Arts. pp.116-117.
2) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. pp.43-44.

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This page was last updated on 22 November 2022

Monday, 21 November 2022

Abhayagiriya Museum

Abhayagiriya Museum
Abhayagiriya Museum (Photo credit: Ayoma Wijethunga, Google Street View)

The Abhayagiriya Museum (Sinhala: අභයගිරිය කෞතුකාගාරය), Sri Lanka is one of the Museums Administered by the Central Cultural Fund. It has been established on a premise located south of the colossal Abhayagiriya Stupa.

History
The museum, which was designed in the ancient Panchavasa monastery plan was constructed by the Central Cultural Fund with the monetary support of China. It was declared open to the public on 13 June 1992.

Initially, the complex was known as the "Mahatissa-Faxian Cultural Complex" in order to commemorate Kupikkala Mahatissa, the first incumbent of the Abhayagiri monastery and Fa-Xian, the Chinese Buddhist monk who studied Buddhism at the Abhayagiri Viharaya from 411 to 412 AD. However, the name was changed later (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museum
The museum preserves a collection of items discovered at the Abhayagiriya monastery site and its vicinity (Rambukwella, 2014). Artefacts include Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, gold & silver items, stone, iron, clay, ceramic & limestone objects, beads, animal statues, relic cambers, statues of gods, coin moulds and coins.

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). p.420.

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This page was last updated on 21 November 2022

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Seated Parvati (Colombo National Museum)

Seated Parvati, Colombo National Museum
A bronze representing Parvati in the seated position is presently on display in the Gallery of Polonnaruwa Period at Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka. Discovered from a Siva Devale in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City, this was originally part of the Uma-maheshvara murti which is now exhibited in the Polonnaruwa Museum.

The statue is 41 cm in height and depicts Parvati, the wife of the Hindu god Shiva. The right arm holds a lotus bud and it overreaches the nipple of the right breast (Krishnarajah, 1983). The statue is believed to have been cast in Sri Lanka by a metal sculptor who has been trained in the traditional local Buddhist customs (Krishnarajah, 1983). 

Scholars have dated this statue to the 10-13th century A.D. (Krishnarajah, 1983).

References
1) Krishnarajah, S., 1983. Saiva Bronzes in Sri Lanka. Dissertation submitted in the partial fulfilment of M.A. degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, India. p.40.

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This page was last updated on 20 November 2022

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Perumal Kovil (Jaffna)

Perumal Kovil
Perumal Kovil (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Vannai Sri Venkatesa Varatharaja Perumal Kovil is a Hindu temple situated in Kannathiddy in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

History
According to popular belief, the history of this place goes back almost 600 years (Kandiah, 2014). It is believed that this temple was established to provide facilities for Vaishnava worship for the migrants who arrived in Sri Lanka from India to work in the weaving industry (Kandiah, 2014). Some historical sources reveal that the Jaffna Ariya Chakravarthy ruler named Segarajasekaran IV (or Kuna Pooshana Singhai Ariyan) invited people especially proficient in fine weaving from Andra Nad, Karikal and Kanchipuram to settle in Jaffna (Kandiah, 2014).

The seven-tiered Gopuram of the temple that was constructed in 1978 is said to be the tallest of its kind at the time in the country (Kandiah, 2014). The five-tiered Gopuram at the southern entrance of the temple was constructed in 2003.

References
1) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.60-62.

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This page was last updated on 19 November 2022

Friday, 18 November 2022

Inuvil Kandaswamy Kovil

Inuvil Kandaswamy Kovil
Inuvil Kandaswamy Kovil (Tamil: இணுவில் கந்தசாமி கோயில்; Sinhala: ඉනුවිල් කන්දස්වාමි කෝවිල) is a Hindu temple situated in Inuvil in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan (or God Kataragama), the War God of the Hindu pantheon.

Located on Inuvil-Manipay road adjoining Pararajasekara Pillaiyar Kovil, the temple consists of a three-tiered Rajagopuram with two courts with several Mandapams including Shanmuga Mandapam, Nadesar Mandapam, Maha Mandapam, Vasantha Mandapam and Thevar Sabai (Kandiah, 2014). The Manjam of this temple is recognized by the Indian craftsmen as a Manjam of antiquity (Kandiah, 2014).

Attribution
1) Inuvil kanthan by T.kiresan has been released into the Public Domain

References
1) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.67-68.

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This page was last updated on 18 November 2022

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Nallur Veeramakali Amman Kovil

Nallur Veeramakali Amman Kovil
Nallur Veeramakali Amman Kovil (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Veeramakali Amman Kovil is a Hindu shrine situated in Nallur in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to Goddess Kali Amman, one of the most venerated deities in the Hindu pantheon.

History
According to Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the Chola prince Vijaya Kulangai (or Kulang-kay-ariyan or Singka-ariyan) who is said to be the first ruler of the Arya Chakravarti dynasty developed Nallur in Jaffna as his capital city in the 13th century (Britto, 1879). Expecting to receive divine protection for his city, Kulangai erected temples for deities in the four directions of it (Kandiah, 2014). As the belief of many, Veeramakali temple is one that was erected in the western approach to the city (Kandiah, 2014). (Kandiah, 2014).

Sankili, also known as Segarajasekaran, was a ruler in Jaffna from 1519 to 1565 and at a time when he was pressured by the Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 16th century there came to his aid a Sinhala general named Veediya Bandara (Kandiah, 2014). Both soon agreed to act against the Portuguese and they gathered in front of the Veeramakali Amman temple to swear allegiance. (Kandiah, 2014). However, an explosion occurred at a neighbouring ammunition store causing a commotion in which Veediya Bandara was killed (Kandiah, 2014). It is said that Sankili who repented of this incident built the Pootharayar temple at Nallur in memory of Veediya Bandara (Kandiah, 2014).

As the destiny of other Hindu temples in Jaffna, this temple is believed to have been destroyed by the Portuguese when the Jaffna fell into their hands in 1621 (Kandiah, 2014). 

The temple was re-erected with the revival of Hinduism on the island that took place in the early 19th century (Kandiah, 2014).

References
1) Britto, C., 1879. The Yalpana-Vaipava-Malai or The history of the Kingdom of Jaffna: Translated from the Tamil, with an appendix and a glossary by C. Britto. Colombo. p.14.
2) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.57-59.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 17 November 2022

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Vannarpannai Vaitheeswaran Temple

Vannarpannai Vaitheeswaran Temple
Vannai Vaitheeswaran Temple, also known as Pattinathu and Chettiyar Sivan Kovil (Tamil: வண்ணார்பண்ணை வைத்தீஸ்வரன் கோவில்) is a Hindu shrine situated in Vannarpannai in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to God Siva, one of the most venerated deities in the Hindu pantheon.

History
The temple was erected in 1790 after obtaining special permission from the Dutch rulers of Sri Lanka (Dutch Ceylon: 1640-1796) by Vaithilinga Chettiyar, the son of Gopala Chettiya who was a businessman from Thiruvarur, South India (Kandiah, 2014). Vaithilinga was also a leading merchant who had some influential connections with Dutch rulers. The chief of Panakamam village named Nalla Mappana Vanniyan who had been held in the prison for treason was released after paying the necessary ransom money to the Dutch Government by Vaithiling (Kandiah, 2014). It is said that Vanniyan donated to the temple that Vaithilingam was building, 20,000 palmyra trees for timber (Kandiah, 2014).

The famous Saiva reformer Arumuka Navalar (1822-1879) held his maiden religious discourse on 21 December 1847 on this temple premises (Kandiah, 2014).

A protected monument
Vannarpannai Sivan Kovil situated in the Grama Niladhari Wasama No. J/83 Vannarpannai in the Jaffna Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 30 December 2011. 

Attribution
1) Vaitheeswara kovil, Jaffna by Ghostface Buddha is licensed under the CC BY-SA 2.0
  
References
1) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.43-44.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1090.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 16 November 2022

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Saddanathar Sivan Kovil

Saddanathar Sivan Kovil
Saddanathar Sivan Kovil (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Saddanathar Sivan Kovil, also known as Nallai Nathaswamy Kovil (Tamil: நல்லூர் சட்டநாதர் கோயில்) is a Hindu shrine situated in Nallur in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to God Siva, one of the most venerated deities in the Hindu pantheon.

History
Saddanathar Sivan Kovil
According to Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the Chola prince Vijaya Kulangai (or Kulang-kay-ariyan or Singka-ariyan) who is said to be the first ruler of the Arya Chakravarti dynasty developed Nallur in Jaffna as his capital city in the 13th century (Britto, 1879). Expecting to receive divine protection for his city, Kulangai erected temples for deities in the four directions of it (Kandiah, 2014). As the belief of many, Nallai Nathaswamy temple is the one that was erected in the northern approach to the city (Kandiah, 2014). The temple together with the other three was maintained by the succeeding rulers including Kanaga Sooriya Singai Ariyan [(1440-1478 A.D.) Kandiah, 2014].

As the destiny of other Hindu temples in Jaffna, this temple is believed to have been destroyed by the Portuguese when the Jaffna fell into their hands in 1621 (Kandiah, 2014). The stones from the demolished temples were taken to build the Fort in Jaffna (Kandiah, 2014). It is said that, before the demolition, the Vigrahams of the temple were deposited in the neighbourhood pond by the priests of this temple (Kandiah, 2014). 

The temple was re-erected with the revival of Hinduism on the island that took place in the early 19th century (Kandiah, 2014). Several artefacts that were unearthed from the site have been handed over to the Jaffna Archaeological Museum (Kandiah, 2014).

See also

Attribution
1) Saddanathar-Koyil by Mayooranathan has been released into the Public Domain

References
1) Britto, C., 1879. The Yalpana-Vaipava-Malai or The history of the Kingdom of Jaffna: Translated from the Tamil, with an appendix and a glossary by C. Britto. Colombo. p.14.
2) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.32-33.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 18 November 2022

Monday, 14 November 2022

Kasi Pillaiyar Temple (Tellippalai)

Tellippalai Kasi Pillaiyar Temple
Tellippalai Kasi Pillaiyar Temple (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Kasi Pillaiyar Temple, also known as Kasi Vinayagar Kovil (Tamil: தெல்லிப்பளை காசிப்பிள்ளையார் கோவில்; Sinhala: තෙලිප්පලෙයි කාසි පිල්ලෙයාර් කෝවිල) is a Hindu shrine situated in Tellippalai in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to God Ganesha, one of the most venerated deities in the Hindu pantheon.

History
The temple was established in 1920 (Kandiah, 2014). It is said that a devotee who on his return after a Tirtha pilgrimage to Kasi in India brought along with him a Vigraham and placed it in this place for worship (Kandiah, 2014). After that, the place gradually became a sacred site and developed to its present state. The first Kodisthambam (flag pole) was erected at the temple premises in 1973 (Kandiah, 2014).

References
1) Kandiah, T, 2014. Ancient Hindu temples of Sri Lanka. pp.12-13.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 14 November 2022

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Mahakirindegama Tamil Inscription

The Mahakirindegama Tamil Pillar Inscription is one of the Tamil Inscriptions in Sri Lanka. It was discovered in an old field located nearly a quarter of a mile north of Mahakirindegama Wewa in Mihintale, Anuradhapura District.

Content
The inscription has been engraved on two sides of a pillar of about 3 ft. in height (Indrapala, 1971). It consists of twenty-three lines (seventeen lines on the first side while six lines on the second side) of almost equal length (Indrapala, 1971). The characters are Tamil and Grantha used in the 12 century A.D. (Indrapala, 1971; Veluppillai, 1971). 

The object of establishing the inscription is to register a grant of land to the Brahmanas of Jayankonta Calameka Caturvvetimankalam (Indrapala, 1971). Although the identity of the donor has not been disclosed, the record is dated in the twenty-fourth regnal year of Jayabahu Devar who, according to scholars, is non-other than King Jayabahu I [(1110-1111 A.D.) Indrapala, 1971; Veluppillai, 1971].

Scholars have dated this inscription to the reign of King Gajabahu II [(1132-1153 A.D.) Indrapala, 1971; Veluppillai, 1971]. However, as found in several other inscriptions, the regnal year given in the record is not Gajabahu II but Jayabahu I (Indrapala, 1971). Therefore, this inscription is believed to have been engraved in the year of 1133 or 1134 A.D. (Indrapala, 1971; Veluppillai, 1971).

References
1) Indrapala, K. (ed), 1971. Epigraphia Tamilica. Volume I, Part I. Jaffna Archaeological Society. pp.6-9.
2) Veluppillai, A., 1971. Ceylon Tamil Inscriptions: Part 1. Published by the author. pp.27-.31

Location Map (approximate)
This page was last updated on 13 November 2022

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Hingurakdamana Tamil Inscription

The Hingurakdamana Tamil Pillar Inscription is one of the Tamil Inscriptions in Sri Lanka. It was discovered in a paddy field situated in Hingurakdamana in Polonnaruwa District and first noticed in the Annual Reports of the Archaeological Department in 1891 (Indrapala, 1971; Veluppillai, 1971).

Content
The inscription has been engraved on an area of 3' 5'' x 8'' on one side of the pillar and consists of twenty-two short lines (Indrapala, 1971; Veluppillai, 1971). The characters are mixed Tamil and Grantha of the 12th century A.D. (Indrapala, 1971). 

The object of establishing the inscription is to register the grant of some money to a Buddhist institution (Buddhastana) at Padoni Macar (Veluppillai, 1971). The donor named Umpila Ayittan, a person of the Agampadi community in the service of Gajabahu Tevar obtained this money from the sale of a part of the Pilappettu of his Jivitha (land-holding for life in return for service) at Mananalay (Indrapala, 1971;  Pathmanathan, 1976). The date of the record is given as the 40th year of a king whose name has been omitted (Indrapala, 1971; Pathmanathan, 1976).

Scholars have dated this inscription to the reign of King Gajabahu II [(1132-1153 A.D.) Indrapala, 1971;  Pathmanathan, 1976; Veluppillai, 1971]. However, as found in several other inscriptions, the regnal year given in the record is not Gajabahu II but King Jayabahu I [(1110-1111 A.D.) Indrapala, 1971;  Pathmanathan, 1976]. Therefore, this inscription is believed to have been engraved in the year of 1150 or 1151 A.D. (Indrapala, 1971).

References
1) Indrapala, K. (ed), 1971. Epigraphia Tamilica. Volume I, Part I. Jaffna Archaeological Society. pp.14-18.
2) Pathmanathan, S., 1976. The Tamil Inscription from Hingurakdamana. Vidyodaya J. Art.Sci. Litt., Vol 5 Nos.1 & 2. pp.56-61.
3) Veluppillai, A., 1971. Ceylon Tamil Inscriptions: Part 1. Published by the author. pp.32-34.

Location Map (approximate)
This page was last updated on 12 November 2022

Friday, 11 November 2022

Sandagiri Seya (Hantana)

Not to be confused with Sandagiri Seya, Tissamaharama and Sandahiru Seya, Anuradhapura

Sandagiri Seya
Sandagiri Maha Seya (Sinhala: සඳගිරි මහ සෑය) is a modern gigantic Stupa situated on the premises of Sandagiri Maha Viharaya in Hanthana in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The Stupa is claimed to be the largest of its kind in Kandy.

The construction work of the Stupa was started on 27 January 2017 under the guidance of Buddhist monk Gangasiripura Dhammaloka Thera. The ceremony of topping the pinnacle of the Stupa was held on 28 March 2021 and the deposition of auspicious objects was taken place on 10 September 2022.

The Stupa is 33 m (108 ft.) in height and has a girth of 100 m (328 ft.).

Location Map
This page was last updated on 11 November 2022

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Jaffna Tamil Inscription of Parakramabahu VI

In 1968, a limestone inscribed in Tamil was discovered paved on the floor in a tea shop called Central Cafe on Main Street in Jaffna (Indrapala, 1971). It was later moved by authorities to the nearby Jaffna Archaeological Museum for conservation.

The limestone appears to have formed part of a door-jamb or a pillar in an earlier structure but is presently in a fragmentary state (Indrapala, 1971). The inscription on it covers an area of 5' 6'' x 7'' and contains 25 lines of writing but only 15 lines are readable (Indrapala, 1971).

Content
Except for the first letter in Grantha, the rest of the record is inscribed in the Tamil script of the 15th century (Indrapala, 1971). According to Indrapala, the writing of this record is similar to that of the Naimmana Tamil Inscription of King Parakramabahu VI [(1412-1467 A.D.) Indrapala, 1971].

The purpose of establishing this inscription is unclear due to its fragmentary state. However, the name of the ruler in whose reign the inscription was set up is identifiable in the preserved portion (Indrapala, 1971). Scholars such as Indrapala identify this ruler with King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467 A.D.) and date the record to a year between 1448 and 1467 (Indrapala, 1971).

Sinhala literacy sources reveal that Prince Sapumal, the adopted son of Parakramabahu VI ousted the Tamil ruler in Jaffna and annexed his territory to the Kotte Kingdom. According to the view of Indrapala, the historical authenticity of this claim is further confirmed by this Tamil inscription (Indrapala, 1971).

See also

References
1) Indrapala, K. (ed), 1971. Epigraphia Tamilica. Volume I, Part I. Jaffna Archaeological Society. pp.29-32.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 10 November 2022

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Abhayagiri Tamil Inscription

The Abhayagiri Vihara Tamil Inscription is one of the Tamil Inscriptions in Sri Lanka. It was found engraved on a broken stone slab that had been utilized to pave the terrace of the gigantic Abhayagiri Stupa. The slab is roughly two feet long and one and a half feet wide and has a crescent-shaped cut on the left side of it (Pathmanathan, 2006).

Content
The inscription consists of ten lines and the script shows features of the Pallava of the 8th century A.D. (Pathmanathan, 2006). The initial portion of the record is missing.

The inscription reveals the construction of the floor or platform of a building occupying an area of 11x11 feet and a token gift of money (Pathmanathan, 2006). It further records about a Bodhi tree shrine (Bodhighara Shrine) that existed at the time on the Abhayagiri Vihara premises (Pathmanathan, 2006). The Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hien (5 century A.D.) also refers to a Bodhighara shrine that was at the Abhayagiri Viharaya. Although there is no Bodhighara shrine at the present temple, it is confirmed by this Tamil record that there was a Bodhighara shrine in the past in the Abhayagiri Viharaya (Pathmanathan, 2006).

This record indicates that there were Tamil Buddhists associated with Abhayagiri Viharaya in ancient times (Pathmanathan, 2006). Abhayagiriys was once the seat of Mahayana doctrine and thus had links with Buddhist centres in South India (Pathmanathan, 2006). 

References
1) Pathmanathan, S., 2006. இலங்கைத் தமிழ்ச் சாசனங்கள்: Tamil inscriptions in Sri Lanka (In Tamil). Department of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs. ISBN: 955-9233-10-6. pp.39-42.

Location Map (approximate)
This page was last updated on 9 November 2022

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Mehiella Tamil Inscription

The Mehiella Tamil Inscription is one of the Tamil Inscriptions in Sri Lanka.

Discovery
The slab containing the inscription was discovered in a place called Mehiella at Mallawapitiya in Kurunegala District (Veluppillai, 1971).

Content
The inscription which consists of fifteen lines is almost worn out (Veluppillai, 1971). Depending on the features of the scripts, scholars believe that it has been engraved in the Period of Dambadeniya/Kurunegala [(1232-1341 A.D.) Veluppillai, 1971].

Although the record mentions an year, it can not be identified (Veluppillai, 1971). The word Kurunekal which means "Kurunegala" is found in the third line (Veluppillai, 1971). A person named Atityavarman is mentioned in the last line (Veluppillai, 1971). According to the view of Veluppillai, this person probably a silk trader belonged to the Vaisnavite sect of the Hindus (Veluppillai, 1971).

References
1) Veluppillai, A., 1971. Ceylon Tamil Inscriptions: Part 1. Published by the author. pp.35-36.

Location Map (approximate)
This page was last updated on 8 November 2022

Monday, 7 November 2022

Sivasubramaniam Pathmanathan

Sivasubramaniam Pathmanathan or S. Pathmanathan (1940-) is a Sri Lankan Tamil epigraphist and historian.

Life events
Pathmanathan was born as the son of Sivasubramaniam and Sivapakkiyam on 20 March 1940 in the village of Araly in the Jaffna District (Kanagaratnam et al., 2004; Profile, 2008). He completed his primary education at Jaffna College before entering the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya where he obtained a B.A. Special Degree in History in 1963 (Kanagaratnam et al., 2004; Profile, 2008). He completed his PhD in South Asian History at the University of London in 1969 (Kanagaratnam et al., 2004; Profile, 2008).

Pathmanathan worked as an assistant lecturer in history at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya from 1963 to 1969 and then as a lecturer (1969-1975), senior lecturer (1975-1981), and associate professor [(1981-1986) Kanagaratnam et al., 2004]. In 1986, he joined the University of Jaffna where he served as a professor until 1994 (Kanagaratnam et al., 2004). He returned to the University of Peradeniya in 1995 as a professor of history and served there until 2006 (Kanagaratnam et al., 2004). He became the Head of the Department of History at Peradeniya between 2001-2002 (Profile, 2008). 

He also served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Colombo (1970-1972), University of Kelaniya (1975-1977), University of Cologne (2003-2004) and Uppsala University (2004) before getting retire in 2006 (Profile, 2008).

In 2007 and 2008, Pathmanathan was a visiting lecturer at the Eastern University of Sri Lanka. He was also a consultant for establishing the Faculty of Hindu Civilization at the same university and the consultant to the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka for Hindu studies in 2008 (Profile, 2008).

Awards
# Sri Lanka Sikhamani (Sri Lankan National Honours, 2017)
# Merit Award [for the book Hinduism in Sri Lanka (in Tamil), State Government of Tamil Nadu, 2005]
# Sahitya Mandala Award (for the book Ilankait tamilar tecavalamaikalum camukavalamaikalum, 2002)
# Sampanthar Award (for the book Ilankait tamilar tecavalamaikalum camukavalamaikalum, 2002)

Bibliography
Pathmanathan has published more than 8 books and over 130 articles in various journals and encyclopedias (Kanagaratnam et al., 2004; Profile, 2008).

Books
# The Vanniyar (in Tamil, 1970)
# The Kingdom of Jaffna Part I (1978)
# Hindu Culture in Sri Lanka Volume I (in Tamil, Department of Hindu Religious & Cultural Affairs, 2000)
# The Laws and Customs of the Sri Lankan Tamils (Kumaran Publishers, 2001) 
# Ilankaiyil vanniyar/The Vanni Principalities in Sri Lanka  (Kumaran Publishers, 2003) 
# Ilattu Ilakkiyamum varalarum/ Tamil Literature and Historical Traditions in Sri Lanka (Kumaran Publication, 2004)
# Ilankaiyil intu camayam/ Hinduism in Sri Lanka (Kumaran Publication, 2004) 
# Ilankait Tamil cacanakal/ Sri Lankan Tamil Inscriptions (Department of Hindu Religious & Cultural Affairs, 2006) 

References
1) Kanagaratnam, V.; Rajagopal, S.; Pushparatnam, P., 2004. Pathmam (Professor S. Pathmanathan Felicitation Volume). Bavani Pathippakam. pp.xi-xx.
2) Profile, 2008. Professor S. Pathmanathan, A Profile. Professor V. Chelvanayakam Trust. pp. 4-24.


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The information published in this biography has been extracted from reliable sources but we, Lanka Pradeepa (lankapradeepa.com) assume no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate or outdated content on this page.
This page was last updated on 7 November 2022

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Matara Clock Tower

Matara Clock Tower
The Matara Clock Tower (Sinhala: මාතර ඔරලෝසු කණුව) is located within the Matara Fort, Sri Lanka. It is said to have been erected in 1883 during the British Period (1796-1948 A.D.). The inscription on the tower can be read as follows;
This clock was purchased from funds subscribed by the ...s and Head Men of the Matara District. The Tower was erected by the Local Board of Matara and completed in May 1883
.
Attribution

Location Map
This page was last updated on 6 November 2022