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.

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Sapugahadola Ella Falls

Sapugahadola Ella Falls
Sapugahadola Ella Falls (Sinhala: සපුගහ දොල ඇල්ල) is a waterfall located in Warapitiya in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. The fall cascades in two sections and is created by a water stream originating from the Rammalakanda forest. The cascading water finally ends at the Warapitiya tank. 

The fall can be reached after a small hike from the road. At the bottom of the fall is a small artificial pool created by a vertical cement wall. Bathing is possible at the site.

Attribution

Location Map
This page was last updated on 31 December 2022

Friday, 30 December 2022

Thaliya Wetuna Ella Falls

Thaliya Wetuna Ella Falls
Thaliya Wetuna Ella Falls (Sinhala: තලිය වැටුණු ඇල්ල) is a waterfall located in Panwila Divisional Secretariat in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The fall cascades in two sections and is created by the Hulu Ganga River originating from the Knuckles Forest Reserve. The cascading water finally ends at the Victoria Reservoir. 

The locals associate this waterfall with the queen of King Sri Vikrama Rajasingha (1798-1815 A.D.), the last king of Sri Lanka. It is said this fall got its name because the queen once dropped a golden plate (Thaliya) at this place while passing the Hulu Ganga river (Ekanayaka, 2007).

The fall can be reached after a small hike through the Alakola Estate. At the bottom of the fall is a small natural pool not suitable for bathing.

References
1) Ekanayaka, U., 2007. Keni Madala Sasala Wiya. S Goḍagē Saha Sahōdarayō. p.93.

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This page was last updated on 30 December 2022

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Kasagala Purana Viharaya (Kumbukgete)

Not to be confused with Kasagala Raja Maha Viharaya (Angunukolapelessa)

Kasagala Purana Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: කුඹුක්ගැටේ කසාගල පුරාණ රජ මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Kumbukgete village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. 

History
The history of Kotasara temple runs back to the Anuradhapura Period. Two inscriptions belonging to the 2nd century A.D. and 6th century A.D. have been found at the temple premises (Dias, 1991; Kannangara, 2022). Of these two, the one belonging to the 2nd century A.D. has been erected in front of the image house. It was copied by the Department of Archaeology on 8 March 2017 and documented under register no. 4405 (Kannangara, 2022). This inscription reveals the ancient name of the temple as "Naga Pabbata Viharaya".

Kasagala Vihara slab inscription
Period: 2nd century A.D.               Language: Old Sinhala               Script: Later-Brahmi
Transcript: (1) [S]iddhama naka pavata (2) viharahi
Translation: Hail! of the Naga Pabbata Vihara.
References: Kannangara, 2022.

The other inscription is found engraved on the rock behind the monks' dwelling. The Department of Archaeology copied the inscription in 1932 and documented it under register no. 812  (Dias, 1991).

Kasagala Vihara Vaharala rock inscription
Period: 6-7th century A.D.               Language: Old Sinhala               Script: Later-Brahmi
Transcript: (1) ...pahana [a] baka [sa] (2) kasabavi...cidavaya (3) vaharala
Translation: ...Kasaba...of...pahana-[abaka]...caused to be made free from the compulsory service in the monastery.
References: Dias, 1991.

A protected site
The ancient image house belonging to Kasagala Purana Raja Maha Vihara premises in Kumbukgete village in Ibbagamuwa Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

References
1) Dias, M., 1991. Epigraphical notes (Nos 1 -18). Colombo: Department of Archaeology. pp.85,87.
2) Kannangara, T, N., 2022. අභිලේඛන සංග්‍රහය-2 (Abhilekhana Sangrahaya-2). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-624-5840-15-1. pp.98-99.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 21 November 1996.

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Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Murunkan Inscription of King Mahallaka Naga

The Murunkan Slab Inscription of King Mahallaka Naga (Sinhala: මන්නාරම මුරුංගන් රෝහල් භූමියේ මහල්ලක නාග රජුගේ පුවරු ලිපිය) is presently on the premises of the Divisional Hospital at Murunkan in Mannar District,  Sri Lanka.

The slab and other ruins
This inscribed slab was discovered on the premises of the Divisional Hospital at Murunkan by an archaeological officer when it had been used as a seat for the patients who come to the hospital. The slab is 1.6 m in length and 0.6 m in width and is a broken part of the original slab (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). The preserved portion contains incomplete 5 lines of the initial inscription (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). The inscription was copied by the Department of Archaeology on 27 June 2011 and documented under register no. 3951 (Dayananda, 2022).

The slab is said to have been brought to the present site from the place where the doctors' and nurses' quarters have been built (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018). In the vicinity of this site are several ruins of ancient structures and monuments such as Stupa mounds, Siri Pathul Gal, base stones, brick pieces and red and black potsherds (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018; Dayananda, 2022)).

Content
The language and the script of the inscription are later-Brahmi and Old Sinhala of the 2nd century A.D. (Dayananda, 2022). It records donations made to two Buddhist temples (Kalabakili Viharaya and Bakini Viharaya) by a king-styled Nakamaharaja (Dayananda, 2022). Scholars have identified this king as Mahallaka Naga [(136-143 A.D.) Dayananda, 2022].

A protected monument
The stone inscription located in the territory of the Murungan Hospital and the site of archaeological ruins located in its vicinity in the Grama Niladhari Division of Murungan in the Nanattan Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 20 June 2014.

References
1) Asanga, M. V. G. K.; Nishantha, I. P. S., 2018. Mannarama Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-10-9. pp.42-46.
2) Dayananda, T, A., 2022. අභිලේඛන සංග්‍රහය-3 (Abhilekhana Sangrahaya-3). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-624-5840-16-8. pp.39-42.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1868. 20 June 2014. p.502.

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This page was last updated on 28 December 2022

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

Ginikarawa Viharaya

Ginikarawa Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: ගිණිකරාව රජ මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Ginikarawa village in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of this temple goes back to the Anuradhapura Period (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). The drip-ledged cave temple (Len Viharaya) presently preserves the painting and sculptures belonging to the Kandyan Period (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015). A dilapidated Stupa built on a short platform of 1.5 m in height is found on the rock located northeast of the cave temple (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; Kannangara, 2022). A few rock-cut steps and rock inscriptions of the Vaharala type belonging to the 6-7 centuries A.D. are also found near this Stupa site (Anuradha & Kumari, 2015; Kannangara, 2022).

Ginikarawa Vaharala Inscriptions
About four rock inscriptions of this type have been discovered at the Ginikarawa Viharaya site. Belonging to the period between  6-7 centuries A.D., these inscriptions have been written in Old Sinhala language using the transitional-Brahmi script. According to the eminent archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana, Vaharala cidavi means manumission from slavery. Sirimal Ranawella believes that it means redemption from Vihara salaka while Malini Dias thinks that it means freedom from compulsory service. The merit gathered by performing the act is bestowed upon all beings.

Period: 6-7 centuries A.D.               Language: Old Sinhala               Script: Transitional Brahmi
Transcript: (1) Chethayaha vasana (2) sadava vaharala
Translation: (a person) lived at Stupa (site) liberated from Vaharala
Notes: The inscription was copied on 23 May 2008 and documented under register no. 3864.
References: Kannangara, 2022. pp.26-27.

A protected site
The drip-ledged cave temple (Len Vihara) belonging to the Ginikarawa Raja Maha Vihara premises situated in the No. 771, Ginikarawa Grama Niladhari Division in the Kurunegala Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 21 October 2010.

References
1) Anuradha, R.K.S.; Kumari, A.S., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kurunegala Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-37-2. pp.14-15.
2) Kannangara, T, N., 2022. අභිලේඛන සංග්‍රහය-2 (Abhilekhana Sangrahaya-2). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-624-5840-15-1. pp.22-32.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1677. 21 October 2010. p.1749.
 
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This page was last updated on 1 January 2023

Monday, 26 December 2022

Gorakana Gal Kanuwa Junction Inscription

Gorakana Gal Kanuwa Junction Inscription
Gorakana Gal Kanuwa Junction Inscription (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The Gorakana Gal Kanuwa Junction Slab Inscription (Sinhala: ගොරකාන ගල්කණුව හන්දියේ පුවරු ලිපිය) has been erected on the corner of Galkanuwa Rd junction on the Moratuwa-Pandura main road in Gorakana village in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

The inscription has been engraved on one side of a stone slab of about 4 ft. in height. The upper margin of the stone is round. The inscription consists of seventeen lines and it begins with a sketch of a hand showing the direction to the Buddhist temple Gorakana Kande Viharaya. In 1953, the Department of Archaeology copied and documented the inscription under register no. 2226 (Kodithuwakku, 2022).

Period: 19th century A.D.                    Script: Modern Sinhala                    Language: Modern Sinhala
Transcript: (1) Sugathabdam 2403 (2) The road to the (3) Gorakana Vihara (4) Mahanuwara Pushparama (5) Vihara parsha Kolamba Pala (6) the weda sitina Sanghaya..... 
References: Kodithuwakku, 2022. p.176.

The inscription initially says that it was established in 2403 B.E. (1860 A.D.) and then mentions in English language that this is the way to the Gorakana Viharaya. It further mentions that Wadduwe Sri Dhammananda who belongs to the Mahanuwara Pushparama Chapter (Malwattta Chapter) is the chief incumbent of the temple at the time (Kodithuwakku, 2022). The record ends with the date denoted in the standard method, 1860.04.20 (Kodithuwakku, 2022).

See also

References
1) Kodithuwakku, N., 2022. අභිලේඛන සංග්‍රහය-1 (Abhilekhana Sangrahaya-1). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-624-5840-17-4. pp.175-180.

Location Map

This page was last updated on 26 December 2022

Sunday, 25 December 2022

Vidyodaya Pirivena

Vidyodaya Pirivena (Sinhala: මාළිගාකන්ද විද‌්‍යෝදය පිරිවෙණ) is a Buddhist Pirivena (a monastic college for the education of Buddhist monks) located near the Agrasrawaka Viharaya in Maligakanda in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
The Pirivena was founded in 1872 by Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera (1827-1911) who is considered one of the pioneers of the Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist movement in the 19th century. It is said that the land and funds for its foundation were donated by the philanthropist Andiris Perera Dharmagunawardhana (1809-1890), the grandfather of Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933).

The image house of the temple was built in 1874 and the preaching house was constructed in 1887 (Manathunga, 2016). The Stupa which is believed to have been constructed by enshrining the relics of the Buddha which were in the possession of the Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera was opened for worship in June 1906.

In 1959, the Vidyodaya Pirivena was granted university status by the Government of Sri Lanka. After two years, this university was moved to a land at Gangodawila and in 1978, it was renamed the "University of Sri Jayewardenepura".

A protected site
The image house and the Awasa Geya (Bhikkhu dwellings) within the premises of Vidyodaya Pirivena at Maligakanda in Colombo Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 June 1999.

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.64.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

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This page was last updated on 25 December 2022

Saturday, 24 December 2022

Mahabodhi Agrasrawaka Maha Viharaya

Mahabodhi Agrasrawaka Maha Viharaya
Mahabodhi Agrasrawaka Maha Viharaya (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Mahabodhi Agrasrawaka Viharaya (Sinhala: මහාබෝධි අග්‍රශ්‍රාවක විහාරය, මාළිගාකන්ද) is a Buddhist temple located wayside of Sumangala Mawatha in Maligakanda in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
In order to restore regain control of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, India, a society named "Mahabodhi Society" was founded in Colombo in 1891 by several Buddhist leaders including Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) and Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala (1827-1911). Two original buildings belonging to this society have been established at this temple (Manathunga, 2016).

The temple was started to be known as Agrasrawaka Viharaya after the relic exhibition of Arhat Sariputta and Moggallana (the two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha) that was held at this temple premises in 1918 (Manathunga, 2016).

A protected site
Maha Bodhi Viharaya at Maligakanda in Colombo Divisional Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected site, declared by a government gazette notification published on 18 June 1999.

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.63.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.

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This page was last updated on 24 December 2022

Friday, 23 December 2022

Galle Road Old Milestones

1st Milestone Galle Road
1st Milestone, Galle Road (Photo credit: Google Street View)

A few old milestones erected along the Galle road are found preserved in several places around Colombo City, Sri Lanka.

1st milestone
The first milestone of the road is presently located in front of the Taj Samudra Hotel (6°55'20.5"N 79°50'46.0"E).

This milestone is believed to have been installed on Galle road before the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) as it contains the word "King's House" (Manathunga, 2016). At the time, it is said that the road's distance had been measured from the King's House (present President's House) which is located adjacent to the Gordon Gardens (Manathunga, 2016). The milestone which had been dismantled and thrown by the wayside later is said to have been installed at the present location in 1978 (Manathunga, 2016). The English inscription on the milestone can be read as follows;
Side I: 1 Mile from the King's House
Side II: This road made A.D. 1814
7th milestone
The seventh milestone is located in front of the S. Thomas' College in Mount Lavinia (6°50'15.8"N 79°51'59.2"E).

This is one of the original milestones erected along Galle road to mark distance during the time of Robert Brownrigg (1812-1820), the 3rd Governor of British Ceylon (Manathunga, 2016). The English inscription on the milestone can be read as follows;
Side I: VII Miles 1817
References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.44-45,94.

This page was last updated on 24 January 2023

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Royal Colombo Golf Club and Course

Royal Colombo Golf Club Course
Royal Colombo Golf Club (Sinhala: කොළඹ රාජකීය ගෝල්ෆ් සමාජය සහ පිටිය) is one of the oldest Golf Clubs in Sri Lanka. Its course is situated adjacent to Borella Cemetery in Colombo District.

History
The Colombo Golf Club was established in 1879 by ten founder members, led by Edward Aitken, the founder of Aitken Spence (Gunawardena, 2003). On 13 March 1880, they met at the Colombo Club and held the first general meeting of the Golf Club. E. Aitken took the chair and R. L. M. Brown was the first Honorary Secretary. W. Law became the first Chairman and W. Somerville, F. A. Fairlie and R. Webster elected the initial committee members.

In 1896, the club was moved to Alfred Model Farm, an abandoned model farm set up by a Sri Lankan philanthropist Sir Charles Henry de Soysa (1836-1890) who finally gifted it to the colonial government. The golf course was opened in July of the same year by Governor Joseph West Ridgeway (1896-1903), after whom the Ridgeway Links were named.
 
In 1928, King George V (1910-1936) bestowed upon the club a royal charter, which enabled the club to use the prefix "Royal". The club opened its doors to Sri Lankans in 1936 (Gunawardena, 2003).


Attribution

References
1) Gunawardena, C.A., 2003. Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka. Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd. ISBN: 81-207-2536-0. p.162.
 
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This page was last updated on 22 December 2022

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Lawyers' Building (Kandy)

Kandy Lawyers' Building
The Kandy Lawyers' Building is located on Deva Veediya near St. Paul's Church in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The building has been used as lawyers’ offices due to its proximity to the court. It is a two-storey, elongated, Neoclassical building with a series of round arches on the front facade. Each opening accommodates a lawyer’s office. The building was declared an archaeological protected monument through a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005.

Attribution
1) Kandy Street 1 by Cossde is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1401. 8 July 2005.

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This page was last updated on 21 December 2022

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Yodha Wewa (Tissamaharama)

Not to be confused with Yodha Wewa (Mannar)

Yodha Wewa (Tissamaharama)
Yodha Wewa (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Yodha Wewa, also known as Yodha Kandiya Wewa (lit: Giant's Tank; Sinhala: තිස්සමහාරාම යෝධ කණ්ඩිය වැව), is a large irrigation tank situated in Tissamaharama in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
This reservoir is believed to be the ancient Duratissa tank (the far Tissa tank) constructed along with the Naga Maha Viharaya by Mahanaga, the younger brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Arumugam, 1969]. A Naga-gala (a cobra-stone) found at the sluice of this tank is presently kept on the premises of Naga Maha Viharaya. The tank was enlarged during the reign of King Ilanaga [(33-43 A.D.) Arumugam, 1969]. King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186 A.D.) restored the tank in the 12th century A.D. (Arumugam, 1969).

The ruined tank was restored again during the administration of Governor Sir Henry Ward (1855-1860) on the recommendation of civil engineer Harrison and completed in 1902 (Arumugam, 1969).

The tank
Yodha Wewa is the end tank of the Kirindi Oya Left Bank Scheme which comprises Debara Wewa, Tissa Wewa and Yodha Wewa. Except for the drainage from its own catchment area, the tank is mainly fed from the Kirindi Oya diversion from Tissa Wewa (Arumugam, 1969). The bund of the reservoir is about 3,500 ft. long and the water is extending over an area of about 1,200 acres at its full supply level (Arumugam, 1969). The reservoir has 2 sluices and 2 spills (Arumugam, 1969).
.
References
1) Arumugam, S., 1969. Water resources of Ceylon: its utilisation and development. Water Resources Board. pp.131-132.

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This page was last updated on 28 January 2023

Monday, 19 December 2022

Padikema Patanangala Archaeological Ruins

Padikema Patanangala Archaeological Ruins
There are ruins of ancient structures on the rock group presently known as Padikema-Patanangala (Sinhala: යාල පඩිකෙම-පතනන්ගල නටඹුන්) in the Yala National Park in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. These ruins are believed to be the remnants of the ancient Patungalu Viharaya founded by Kavantissa [(205-161 B.C.) Nicholas, 1963]. The anchorage here was probably used from early times (Nicholas, 1963).

References
1) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.63.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 19 December 2022

Sunday, 18 December 2022

Naga Maha Viharaya

Naga Maha Viharaya, also known as Mahagamanaga Viharaya or Mahanaga Viharaya (Sinhala: නාග මහා විහාරය), is a Buddhist temple situated near Yodhakandiya Wewa in Tissamaharama in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is considered the oldest Vihara at Mahagama founded by Mahanaga in the 3rd century B.C. (Nicholas, 1963). It was restored, its Stupa was enlarged and its area extended by King Ilanaga [(33-43 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963].

A protected site
The ancient pond and other ruins at Yodhakandiya Naga Maha Vihara premises in Debarawewa in Tissamaharama Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

References
1) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.60.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996. 

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This page was last updated on 20 December 2022

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Pashchimarama Viharaya

Pashchimarama Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: පස්චිමාරාම රජමහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated on the bank of Kirindi Oya in Debarawewa village in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
The construction of this temple is attributed to Mahanaga, the younger brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. As per the view of Abeyawardana, this was an important Buddhist temple before it went into obscurity with the change of the capital during the 12th century (Abeyawardana, 2004). The temple was renovated again after the area was colonized in the 20th century (Abeyawardana, 2004).

There is an ancient standing Buddhist statue and its basal structure on the temple premises. The statue is 2.6 m in height with its pedestal and is made out of limestone (Somadeva, 2006). According to Somadeva, this statue depicts the features of the Andra style and hence can be dated to the 8th century A.D. (Somadeva, 2006).

A protected site
The Stupa and other building ruins at Pashchimarama Vihara premises in Debarawewa village in Tissamaharama Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

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.127.
2) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in Archaeology at Uppsala University. p.135.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996. 

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This page was last updated on 16 January 2023

Friday, 16 December 2022

Uddhakandara Viharaya

Uddhakandara Raja Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: උද්ධකන්දර විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated near Yodhakandiya Wewa in Tissamaharama in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka.

History
A few early-Brahmi inscriptions dated to c. 250 B.C.E. has been discovered at the temple premises (Somadeva, 2006). They indicate that this site was an ancient Buddhist monastery since the pre-Christian era (Nicholas, 1963).

Uddhakandara Cave Inscription of Matamata
Period: 3rd century B.C.-1st century A.D.                   Script: Early Brahmi                  Language: Old Sinhala
Transcription: Lene shagasha matamata-Tishsha lene shagasha
Translation: The cave of the Sangha. The cave of Maha-Matta Tissa [is given] to the Sangha.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.p.53.

Presently it is believed that this is the ancient Uddhakandara Viharaya which is said to have been founded by Mahanaga, the younger brother of King Devanampiyatissa [(247-207 B.C.) Abeyawardana, 2004; Nicholas, 1963; Paranavitana, 2001]. However, a later-Brahmi rock inscription (2nd century A.D.) discovered at the site reveals the ancient name of this temple as "Nakaragalaka", a monastery of which name is not found in any chronicle (Paranavitana, 2001). This inscription registers a private grant of a number of Kahapanas, from the interest of which non-spirituous drinks were to be supplied to the Sangha on the occasion of Ariyavasa celebration at the Nakaragalaka monastery (Paranavitana, 2001).

A protected site
The caves, inscriptions and building ruins at Uddhakandara Vihara premises in Ranakeliya village in Tissamaharama Divisional Secretariat Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 November 1996.

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.130.
2) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.61.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.53.
4) Paranavitana, S., 2001 (Edited by Dias, M.). Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Part II. Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka. pp.266-267.
5) Somadeva, R., 2006. Urban origins in southern Sri Lanka. Doctoral thesis in Archaeology at Uppsala University. p.120.
6) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 948. 1 November 1996. 

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This page was last updated on 16 January 2023

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Ridiyagama Safari Park

Ridiyagama Safari Park
Ridiyagama Safari Park is a safari park in Ridiyagama in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. Maintained by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, it is the first safari-type park established in the country.

The construction of the park was started in December 2008 under the direction of The National Zoological Department. It was declared open to the public on 28 March 2016.

Ridiyagama Safari Park
The park is 500 acres in extent and consists of 13 zones including the African lion zone (35 acres), the Asian elephant zone (54 acres), the Bengali tiger zone, the pet feeding zone, the bird park and the migratory bird care centre, the zone for herbivores (80 acres) and the animal conservation breeding centre. Around 22 species of animals including African lions, zebras, giraffes, Bactrian camels, Arabian oryx, Lechwe, Indian blue bulls, African cape buffaloes and large birds including ostriches are found in the park.

Administrative buildings, an animal hospital, and other visitor facilities such as shopping malls, and parking lots are also available within the park premises.

Ridiyagama Safari Park
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This page was last updated on 15 December 2022

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

St. James' Church (Gurunagar)

St. James' Church
St. James' Church is a church in Gurunagar in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. 

The history of this place runs back to the 19th century. The foundation stone for the present church is said to have been laid in 1861. On November 13, 1993, a bomb attack killed 9 people who were praying at the place.

Attribution

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This page was last updated on 14 December 2022

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Nataraja (Siva Devale No. 5), Polonnaruwa Museum

Nataraja (Siva Devale 5)
A bronze representing Nataraja in his cosmic dance is presently on display at Polonnaruwa Museum, Sri Lanka. It was discovered in the precinct of Siva Devale No. 5 in the Polonnaruwa Ancient City (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). This statue is considered the largest specimen of Siva bronzes found in the country (Krishnarajah, 1983).

The copper bronze is 139.5 cm in height and depicts the divine dancer Nataraja, a form of the Hindu god Siva (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). 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. The backhands hold a kettle drum (Mrdanga) and a flame, the symbols of creation and destruction while the front right hand is in Abhaya Mudra (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). A cobra with five heads is found entwined on the right hand (Krishnarajah, 1983). The garment consists only of a short loincloth, tied up with a series of bejewelled belts (Chutiwongs et al, 2013). The head is adorned with a high-piled Jatamakuta (Chutiwongs et al, 2013).

The god is encircled with a horse-shoe-shaped Prabhamandala (Tiruvasi) arising from the mouths of two small Makaras (dragons) on either side. The Tiruvasi is decorated with stars in the inner band and flames of fire on the outer band (Krishnarajah, 1983). The lotus pedestal on which Siva stands is rectangular in shape and on the front of it are five friezes of musicians [a woman beating a pair of cymbals (Karaikkal Ammaiyar ?), a conch player, a flute player, a cymbalist] with musical instruments (Krishnarajah, 1983). The face of the musicians can be compared to the similar sculptures found at Polonnaruwa Vatadage (Krishnarajah, 1983).

Scholars have dated this statue to the 12th 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.58-59.
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.33-34.

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This page was last updated on 13 December 2022

Monday, 12 December 2022

Handagala Kanda Viharaya

Handagala Kanda Viharaya
Handagala Kanda Viharaya (Photo credit: Dishan Danushka Ekanayaka, Google Street View)

Handagala Kanda Viharaya (Sinhala: හඳගලකන්ද පුරාණ ගල්ලෙන් විහාරය) is an ancient cave temple situated 4 km north-west of Ratmalgahawewa junction in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka.

History
Although the person who initiated the construction of the site is not known, the drip-ledged caves with early-Brahmi inscriptions of the 2-1 century B.C. indicate that this site was a Buddhist monastery of the Anuradhapura Period since the pre-Christian era (Nicholas, 1963). The place names occurring in these inscriptions include the name "Mataligama" which may be the same as "Mahatalitagama" where the Pandyas inflicted their shattering defeat on the army of King Sena I [(833-853 A.D.) Nicholas, 1963].

Handagala Vihara Cave Inscription of Naga and Tissa
Period: 2-1 century B.C.                   Script: Early Brahmi                  Language: Old Sinhala
Transcription: Bata-Nagaha lene shagasha Mataligamika-puta gamika-Tishaha lene
Translation: The cave of lord Naga [is given] to the Sangha. The cave of the village-councillor Tissa, son of the village-councillor of Mataligama.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.p.10.

Fifteen early-Brahmi inscriptions and sixteen later-Brahmi inscriptions discovered from Handagala Kanda have been recorded by Senarath Paranavitana in his book "Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I" published in 1970 (Paranavitana, 1970)

The site
The summit of the hill where the monastery has been established is 648 ft. above sea level and about 300 ft. above the surrounding ground level (Nicholas, 1953). There are about 40 drip-ledged caves in all, situated on the summit, on the slopes and around the foot of the hill and some of them contain inscriptions in the Brahmi script of the 2-1 century B.C. and 1st century A.D. (Nicholas, 1953). Also, the ruins of the Stupas, image houses, Chapter Houses and ancillary monastic components have been identified at the site. A cave with its interior partly adorned with paintings of the Anuradhapura tradition has been also discovered. The style and technique of these paintings are akin to those found in the famous Sigiriya Paintings.

The different patterns of the constructions reveal that the site from time to time had undergone renovations. Evidence is there to prove that the monastery had been subjected to development during the Kandyan Period

References
1) Nicholas, C. W., 1953. Texts of the cave inscriptions at Handagala Viharaya. The Ceylon Historical Journal. Vol. II. pp.221-224.
2) Nicholas, C.W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.162.
3) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.10-11,89-90.

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This page was last updated on 1 January 2023

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Wilandagoda Aranya

Wilandagoda Aranya, also known as Virandagoda Archaeological site (Sinhala: විරන්දගොඩ, විලඳගොඩ පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්ථානය), is a ruined Buddhist cave temple situated in Wilandagoda in Puttalam District, Sri Lanka.

History
The early-Brahmi inscriptions, dilapidated Stupas and stone-pillared ruins at the site indicate that Wilandagoda was a Buddhist monastery since the pre-Christian era (Nicholas, 1963). One inscription of the 2nd or 1st century B.C. records the donation of a cave by the Nakaravudika (city architect), the high official who had charge of the Capital Anuradhapura (Nicholas, 1963).

Virandagoda Cave Inscription of Nakaravudika
Period: 2-1 century B.C.                   Script: Early Brahmi                  Language: Old Sinhala
Transcription: Nakara-vudika-Baranigutaha lene agata-anagata-catu-shagasha
Translation: The cave of Bharanigutta, the City Architect, [is given] to the four Sanghas, present and absent.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970.p.85.

Vaharala Inscriptions
More than ten rock inscriptions of this type have been discovered from the site. Belonging to the period between 4-5 centuries A.D., these inscriptions have been written in Old Sinhala language using the later-Brahmi script. According to the eminent archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana, Vaharala cidavi means manumission from slavery. Sirimal Ranawella believes that it means redemption from Vihara salaka while Malini Dias thinks that it means freedom from compulsory service. The merit gathered by performing the act is bestowed upon all beings. Village names such as Ratayagama, Sayalapavatarata, and individual names such as Vasaba, Mavarasala, Nakali, are mentioned in the inscriptions.

Virandagoda Pillar Inscription
This inscription is dated in the 3rd regnal year of King Sena II [(853-887 A.D.) Ranawella, 2001]. The object of this record was to register certain immunities granted by order of a Mahaya named Mihind (Mahinda) in respect of a village and other land attached to a monastery named Salvana-vehera situated at Nadunnaru in Kasigamubim sub-district (Ranawella, 2001). It is evident from this epigraph that the present monastery ruins at Wilandagoda had been known as Salvana Vehera in ancient times (Nicholas, 1963; Ranawella, 2001).

The chronicle Mahavamsa refers to two monasteries named Salavana Vihara (Salvana Vehera), one built by King Dhatusena (455-473 A.D.) and the other by a prince named Aggabodhi, an independent ruler of Rohana (Ranawella, 2001). According to Sirimal Ranawella, the Salavana Vihara which was founded by King Dhatusena in the 5th century A.D. is non-other than the present Wilandagoda Viharaya (Ranawella, 2001).

Conservation
The site was excavated and conserved by the Department of Archaeology in 2012. Archaeological remains belonging to AnuradhapuraPolonnaruwa and Kandyan periods have been identified and preserved by today.

References
1) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.89.
2) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. pp.85-86.
3) Ranawella, S., 2001. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part I. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-21-6. pp.20-23.

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This page was last updated on 1 January 2023

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Polonnaruwa Museum

Polonnaruwa Museum
Polonnaruwa Museum (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The Polonnaruwa Museum (Sinhala: පොළොන්නරුව කෞතුකාගාරය), Sri Lanka is one of the Museums Administered by the Central Cultural Fund. It has been established near the main sluice gate of the Parakrama Samudraya of Polonnaruva Ancient City.

History
The museum was established with the support of the Government of the Netherlands to exhibit the artefacts that were recovered through research carried out since 1981 by the Alahana Project of the Central Cultural Fund and to provide knowledge and understanding to visitors about the Polonnaruva World Heritage Site (Rambukwella, 2014). It was declared open to the public on 31 September 1998.

The museum building is said to have been first planned by Roland Silva and it was further developed by Messrs. L.A. Aditya and L.K. Karunaratna (Wikramagamage, 2004). The compound was designed on the instructions of Senaka Bandaranayaka (Wikramagamage, 2004).

Museum
The museum has seven galleries preserving a collection of items discovered in ancient Polonnaruwa city (Rambukwella, 2014). Artefacts include terracotta and clay objects, Buddhas and Buddhist objects, Bodhisattva images,  Hindu items, household and agricultural equipment, inscriptions and writing instruments, beads,  bone remains, glass, brass, copper, bronze and metal objects, coins and coin moulds (Rambukwella, 2014).

See also

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.421-422.
2) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.229.

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This page was last updated on 10 December 2022

Friday, 9 December 2022

Kandy Mampitiya Walawwa

Kandy Mampitiya Walawwa
Mampitiya Walawwa (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Mampitiya Walawwa (Sinhala: නුවර මාම්පිටිය වලව්ව) is an old manor house located on the Raja Veediya street in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

This building was originally one of the eighteen Walawas that belonged to the elites of the latter part of the Kandyan Kingdom. After the conquest of the Kandyan Kingdom by the British in 1815, the Walawwa was repaired and re-used by the British as a party hall (Dissanayake et al, 2021). After Sri Lanka gained independence from the British in 1948, the monument was converted into a hotel. This hotel is presently known as “Royal Bar and Hotel” (Dissanayake et al, 2021).

References
1) D.M.K.G.K, Dissanayake and W.K.M, Wijayarathna and G.A.A.N, Sri-Shan, 2021. The Adaptive Reuse of Historical Buildings in Kandy: Case Study on Adaptive Reuse of Kandy Mampitiya Walawwa. Proceedings of the 7th International Research Conference on Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS) 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3809103.

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This page was last updated on 9 December 2022

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Pattiyawatta Ambalama

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

Pattiyawatta Ambalama (Sinhala: පට්ටියවත්ත අම්බලම) is an old wayside rest situated in Udabokalewala in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

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 Pattiyawatta is believed to be one such place.

A protected monument
The ancient doss house (Pattiyawatte Ambalama) located in the Grama Niladhari Division of Udabokalewala in Harispaththuwa Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 16 August 2013.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.3A.

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This page was last updated on 8 December 2022

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Kottunna Ambalama

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

Kottunna Ambalama (Sinhala: බියගම කොට්ටුන්න අම්බලම) is an old wayside rest situated in Biyagama in Gampaha District, Sri Lanka.

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 Kottunna is believed to be one such place.

The structure
The square-shaped Kottunna Ambalama is relatively small and consists of a single open space surrounded by a short wall. The four-sided roof which is held by four pillars at the corners has been tiled with calicut clay tiles.

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This page was last updated on 7 December 2022

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Gonawatta Ancient Caves

Gonawatta Ancient Caves  (Sinhala: ගෝණවත්ත පුරාණ ලෙන්) are located on the hills near Gurudeniya in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
As is evidenced by the early-Brahmi inscription engraved just below the drip-ledge of the caves, this site has been used as an abode of Buddhist monks since the pre-Christian era. Therefore, Gonawatta is believed to have been a centre of Buddhist activities in the Malayarata during the early Anuradhapura Period (Seneviratna, 1983).

Period: 3rd Century B.C.-1st century A.D.                      Script: Early Brahmi                      Language: Old Sinhala
Transcript: [Ma]cudika-rajhasha pute rajha-Abaye shajha-Abayasha pute rajha-Naga rajha-Nagasha pute rajha-Abaye rajha-Abhayasha puta-Gamani-Tishena karapite Mahashudashane agata-anagata catu-disha shagasha paditite
Content: The inscription mentions that the son of King Mahaculika was King Abhaya; the son of King Abhaya was King Naga; the son of King Naga was King Abhaya. The cave Mahasudassana caused to be fashioned by Gamini Tissa, the son of [that] King Abhaya, has been established for the Sangha of the four quarters, present and absent.
Citation: Paranavitana, 1970. p.62.

References
1) Paranavitana, S., 1970. Inscriptions of Ceylon: Volume I: Early Brahmi Inscriptions. Department of Archaeology Ceylon. p.62.
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.144.
 
Location Map (approximately)

This page was last updated on 1 January 2023