Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery

Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery
Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery (Photo credit: Nuwan Jude Liyanage, Google Street View)

Sapumalgaskada Archaeological Site (Sinhala: සපුමල්ගස්කඩ පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්ථානය) is situated in the dense woods of Periyakattikulam forest near Bogaswewa village in Vavuniya District, Sri Lanka.

The site consists of the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery belonging to the Anuradhapura Period. Extending in an area of about 15 acres, the monastic ruins indicate that it was one of the temples of the Pabbatarama style which was popular during the middle part of the Anuradhapura era. However, no historical mention of this temple exists in any chronicle but a pillar inscription of the 9-10th centuries A.D. that was unearthed from this monastery premises reveal some historical information (Dayananda, 2022).

Sapumalgaskada Vihara Pillar Inscription
The pillar is badly worn and only two of the four sides contain the letters while a figure of a dog is visible on the third side (Dayananda, 2022). The first side contains 18 lines of writing, but the initial 11 lines are completely illegible (Dayananda, 2022). The second side consists of 24 lines of writing and the line numbers 1-11, 21 and 24 are unreadable (Dayananda, 2022).

Period: 9-10 centuries A.D.               Language: Medieval Sinhala               Script: Medieval Sinhala
Content:  A royal order prohibiting the entry of tax collectors, local administrators and village officials. Complete deciphering of the inscription is impossible!
Notes: The inscription was registered on 12 December 2020 under register no. 4636.
References: Dayananda, 2022.

The preserved brick Stupa at the site indicates that it is probably a work of the 1st-3rd century A.D. The Pathimaghara (image house), Uposathaghara (Pohoya-ge/chapter house) and Bodhighara (Bo tree house) are the other ruined structures that have been identified at the site. Some of the artefacts including an image of Bodhisattva that were unearthed from this site have been presently preserved in the Vavuniya Archaeological Museum.

The conservation work of the site was begun by the Department of Archaeology as a result of efforts made by a Buddhist monk named Galigamuwe Santhabodhi Thera who came and settled at the site in 2019 amidst the protest of local Tamil politicians.

A protected site
The hillock covering the Dagoba, the image house, Bodhighara, Pohoyage, boundary wall and the access road and the complex of ruins in Sapumalgaskada village in the Grama Niladhari Division of Wedivattukallu in Vavuniya North Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government notification published on 16 August 2013.

1) Dayananda, T. A., 2022. අභිලේඛන සංග්‍රහය-3 (Abhilekhana Sangrahaya-3). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-624-5840-16-8. pp.133-135.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary. No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.11A.

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This page was last updated on 12 April 2023

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