Yapahuwa in Sri Lanka

Yapahuwa which is 767 feet, above sea level is situated in the North Western Province in the district of Kurunegala. It is the second ancient rock fortress, the first being Sigiriya. It is situated 3 miles east of Maho railway station on the northern line. Defensive measures have been taken to protect this capital. The fortress on the Yapahuwa rock was built by a minister named Subha. Before Yapahuwa became a fortress and a capital there is evidence that the Bhikkhus resided in some of the caves.

As this was the home of the Minister Subha, this was named as “Subha” mountain and was also called”Sundara Giriya”, “Ayo Pabbata” and “Yapahuwa”.

The frequent changes of capital during this period were intimately connected with the political history of the island. A general sense of insecurity appears to have pervaded the political atmosphere of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom. It was King Vijayabahu III who first made Dambadeniya his capital. His son Parakramabahu II also ruled from Dambadeniya.















The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara in Sri Lanka

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara or Kelaniya Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, seven miles from Colombo. The Chief Incumbent (Chief Priest) is Venerable Professor Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhitha Thera. Buddhists believe the temple to have been hallowed during the third and final visit of the Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, Accoding to the chronicles, Lord Buddha on the 8th year after enlightenment on full moonday of Vesak, visited Kelaniya on the invitation of Maniakkhika the Naaga King of Kelaniya, seated on the gem throne the Blessed one preached the doctrine.

The gem studded throne is enshrined in the dagaba. This Vihara was built by King Yataalatissa. The height of stupa is 80 feet, circumference is 180 feet. The dagaba is in shape of a heap of paddy. In the temple premises are devales dedicated to Gods Kataragama, Vishnu, Naatha and Vibhishana.The original Temple and the Stupa or the Dageba was built in 5th Century BC, but none of the earlier structure survives today.

Mentioned in the Sri Lankan chronicle”Chulavansa” is that, the Kelaniya Temple was five stories high with traditional styling and roofing. It also states that the temple was rebuilt by King Vijayabahu III, (1232-1236) and King Parakrama Bahu II (1236-1270).

The temple flourished during the Kotte era but much of its land was confiscated during the Portuguese empire. Under the Dutch empire, however, there were new gifts of land and under the patronage of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha the temple was rebuilt. It was refurbished in the first half of the 20th century with the help of Helena Wijewardhana.

The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Gautama Buddha and paintings by the native artist Solias Mendis which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales.

According to the Galpotta records King Nissanka Malla visited Kelaniya to pay homage. It is recorded that Kalinga Maagha raided the temple and plundered all the wealth. The Portuguese set fire to the temple and destroyed it. Kelani Vihara is one of the 16 sacred shrines in the island. Duruthu Perahera is conducted in the month of January with pomp and glory.




  • Painting of kelani raja maha viharaya









































Mihinthalaya in Sri Lanka

Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures.

8 miles east of Anuradhapura, close to the Anuradhapura – Trincomalee road is situated the “Missaka Pabbata” which is 1000 feet in height and is one of the peaks of a mountainous range. Though this was called Cetiyagiri or Sagiri, it was popularly known as Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Thera Mahinda came to Ceylon from India on the Full moon poya day of the month, of Poson (June) and met King Devanampiyatissa and the people, and preached the doctrine. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is revered by the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. Therefore in the month of Poson, Buddhists make their pilgrimage to Anuradhapura and Mihintale.

From ancient times a large number of large steps were constructed to climb Mihintale. It is stated that King Devanampiyatissa constructed a vihara and 68 caves for the Bhikkhus to reside in. At Mihintale there gradually grew a number of Buddhist viharas with all the dependent buildings characteristic of monasteries of that period.


  • Ambasthala Dagaba

Is situated on the plain close to the peak of the mountain, and is said to have been built by King Makalantissa. The ruins show that there has been a house built encircling the stupa. The Dagaba is said to enshrine the relics of the great Apostle Mahinda. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is marked by the Ambasthala Dagaba.


  • The cave of Arahanth Mahinda

When proceeding from Ambastala dagaba along the narrow road, on the slope is the cave knows as Mihindu Guhawa or the cave of Arahanth Mahinda, where he resided. Out of the caves the most famous and incidentally the most sacred to Buddhists is this cave with its flattened slab on which Thera Mahinda was accustomed to rest.


  • Naaga Pokuna

Passing Ambasthalaya on the western side is a flight of steps. When going down the steps one could see the Naaga Pokuna. This has been constructed by King  Agbo I and its name is derived as there are figures of snakes with their hoods spread-out in the back ground and is one of the most famous ponds.


  • Kaludiya Pokuna

Is also one of the famous ponds at Mihintale. The name is derived from the fact that the water in the pond appears to be black in colour. It is believed that on new moon day, Kalu Buddha Rakkhita Thera sat under the Thimbiriya tree, close to the Kaludiya Pokuna, preached on sermon based on kaalakaaraama Sutta.




























Dalada Maligaya (Temple Of Tooth)

The temple of tooth is located in the beautiful surrounding in front of the Kandy Lake.  And also this temple is situted in Kandy district. This temple and this holy place is named as the world heritage. This is one of the most scared and reliouges place of Buddhist. This is also and outstanding  cultural valuble places. The tooth relic of Lord Buddha is deposited in the goldern cascket, which is respected and worshiped by the devotees every day. On poya days large number of pilgrims worship the tooth relic.

During the regin of King Kitsiri Mevan the Tooth Relic was brought to Ceylon from Kalinga by Princess Hemamali and Prince Danta. The Tooth Relic was considered as the symbol of kingship and became the most sacred object of worship in the island. it was customary for the kings to build a temple near the place, and to become its custodian. the Tooth Relic was taken to Polonnaruwa, Beligala, Dambadadeniya and Yapahuwa, the capitals of ancient Ceylon. It was Aryachakravarti who seized the Tooth Relic and fled to India. However King Parakramabahu III was able to bring the Relic back to Sri Lanka.

It was King Vimaladharmasooriya I who brought back the Tooth Relic to Kandy. The Tooth Relic temple built by him  was renovated by his son Veera Parakrama Narendasingha and Kirti Sri Rajasinghe respectively. King Sri Wicramarajasingha built the Pttirippuwa or the Octganal Shaped building. a new building was constructed to enclose the ancient temple without changing its architecture. The Tooth Relic is placed in the old shrine.

Some traditional rituals are performed every day befor meals. The drumers beat the drums and conch shell is blown to show the respect befor the alms given. It is called the “Thewawa”. The hold area is considerd as a scared place. At any time of the year Kandy is a romantic city, but in August the ancient capital becomes the venue for one of the most legendary festivals in Asia. The Esala perahera is also held to respect for the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha.

There is a musium, the shrine room was made out of the wood. The statue of late prime minister D.S.Senanayake and child Madduma Bandara’s statues are made in front of the temple.

The prince & princess Dantha and Hemamala bring the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.


Sigiriya is one of the world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. It is in the village of Sigiriya near Dambulla in the District of Matale. This is a fortress built on a rock, by king Kassayapa.

Kashyapa now placed himself on the throne and ruled at Anuradhapura. His subjects however were displeased with him over the foul murder of his father, and he lived in constant fear of rebellion. He also feared tht his brother, with an army from india, would invade Ceylon at any moment. So he moved his capital to sigiriya where, on the top of the Rock, rebuilt himself a large and beautiful palace. He built a wonderful staircase leading to it through the mouth of huge lion carved out of stone. He named the Rock “Sinha-giri” or “Sigiri”, which means “Lion Rock”. Round this built a moat to protect himself against enemies. On a side of the royal places he had a large pond made several watch-towers, built on summit of the Rock, overlooked the surrounding country

It attracts visitors from all over the world. It has got the name “Sigiriya” due to its entrance being built like the throat of a lion. In Sinhala giriya means the throat and singha means lion. Hence, he name Sigiriya came to exist.

This great piece of art stands proud depicting our past glory which had shone through prosperity and unity.

Even the modern archaeologists wonder at the technical know-how ancestors had in building this fortress. Half way up the rock you can see the world famous frescoes (murals) in a row of caves. The paints and the mixture used on the walls to make murals had been prepared according to a secret formula of our ancestors.

Then there is the mirror-wall “Katapath Paura” by the side of a passage. On this, you can see more than 700 Sinhala verses, grafitis written during the period from the 5th century to the 13th century by popular visitors admiring the beauty of those women. Then there are pleasure gardens, state-halls, ponds, a network of advanced toilets and many such things to be admired by a visitor.

It is wonderful to see on rainy days the net-work of pipe lines laid hidden work automatically shooting water as in a display. From faraway you can see this fortress has been built balancing on one axis. The moat built round the rock to defend it from enemy attacks is another important feature of it.

Sigiriya gives birth to a new picture about Sri Lanka. It speaks volumes about the wonders of our ancestors. So protect Sigiriya and then you will be protecting your island nation as well.




Parakrama Samudraya

Parakrama samudraya is the largest lake in Sri Lanka, which was built by the king Maha Parakrama bahu. This lake is situated in Polonnaruwa district. This tank is very useful to collect water for the agriculture. This reservoir provides enough water to cultivation paddy and drinking water. There are seven sluices in this tank. The capacity of this tank is 5350 archers.

Polonnaruwa – Ancient city

After the decline of the Anuradhapura kingdom, Polonnaruwa became the next seat of rule. The city which is the main town in the North Central Province could be approached when travelling along Trincomalle road, turn off from Habarana proceeding 28 miles on the Batticaloa road.

Polonnaruwa is a historical important city, which was ruled by the king Parakramabahu. This city was known as Kandavuru Nuwara, Pulasthipura and Jananathapura. Among the Kings who ruled in Plonnaruwa are the famous Kings like Vijayabahu I, Parakramabahu the great and King Nissanka Malla, King Kalinga Magha who ruled from Polonnaruwa destroyed Buddhist place of worship and burnt the books. There is a stone of king Parakramabahu also made by the rock. One of the biggest reservoir called “Parakrama Samudraya” collect large some of water.

There are lot of religious monument can be seen even today. The world famous sleeping statue of Load Buddha is carved out of the rock. The other place known as Gal Viharaya, Watadageya,Nishshsanka latha mandapaya are the remaining ruins of those ancient places. They are also built out of the stone pillars.


Gal viharaya (sleeping statue of Load Buddha)

Passing Kirivehera and proceeding northwards, one sees the Galvihara at Polonnaruwa which was earlier named as “Uttararamaya”. The colossal figures carved on the face of the living rock at Galvihara and the walls constructed to protect the statue can be with certainty be taken as representative of the type of the Buddha image that was common during the Polonnaruwa period. These have been destroyed and only the foundation can be seen. Four colossal Buddha images have been carved from one large rock. At the left while facing the shrine is a sedent Buddha. This image is preserved. In the background of the statue on the edge of the rock is a carving of a pandol.

It is Vidyadhara Cave shrine hollowed out with the alter, a stone umbrella (supported by a stone shaft over the dome of the stupa) and other decorations and the sedent Buddha image is carved out of the living rock. This is an artificial cave. Although these are preserved all the painting has been destroyed.

The statue of the Buddha standing with arms crosses over the chest and with a sorrowful expression in the countenance and is the only one is kind in Ceylon.  And also at the extreme right is an image of the recumbent Buddha. A small section of this has peeled off. There is also a view that this image depicts the pariniwaana of the Load Buddha. (Passing away of the Buddha) It was built by king Parakramabahau in B.C. 12. This is carved out of the rock. The long of this statue is 42 feet and this statue is special in the Gal Viharaya.


Ran kothvehera

This is largest Dageba in Polonnaruwa. It was built by King Nissanka Malla. There is a rock inscription assigned to the King. There are many shrine rooms around the Dageba. The height of Rankoth vehera is 180 feet and 550 feet is extent. This stupa thus surpassed in magnitude every stupa of that type built during the Polonnaruwa period. There are a number of Buddhist shrines around it. This is the largest stupa in Polonnaruwa.



Plonnaruwe kirivehera

The original shape of this Dageba has not changed yet. This Dageba was contacted to memorize the king Prakramabahu’s wife subadra. This height of Dageba is 80 feet and 88 feet is extent.  This large building is situated to the north of Lankathilake Vihara. Rankoth Vehera is of the same architectural pattern as the Kiri Vehera, but far exeeds it in dimension. The best preserved of the Polonnaruwa stupas is Kiri Vehera, which being the largest monument of this type at Polonnaruwa. The white plaster on the stupa can still be seen. This is also assigned to Parakramabahu I.



Nishshanka latha mandapaya

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya is a mantion, which was built by the king Nissnka Malla. This maintains was made for exhibition of Tooth Relic and this attractive Pavillion named Nissanka Latha Mandapaya may have been used for chanting of sacred protective texts (pirith).

This was a square shape building and made out of the stone pillars. At the top of the pillars a lotus flower is carved on each of them. It is not definitely known why this small building consisting of stone pillars with decorative scroll design was constructed. In the center is a stone platform and the space is quite small. This is enclosed by a small railing.

Nelum Pokuna  in Polonnaruwa (Lotus Pond)

Passing Demala Maha Seya and proceeding a little distance, and turning towards the left are a beautiful pond Known as the lotus pond. One of the most fascinating sights in Polonnaruwa is a bath cut in stone, resembling a full blown eight-petaled lotus. Surrounding this is a brick wall constructed for its protection from what remain of this place shows that water sent to the pond through pipelines.



The Statue of King Parakramabahu

North of Pothgul Vihara on a sligt elevation is a statue of granite. This remarkably fine statue is 11 ½ feet high, rock-cut nearly in the full round of a king probably Parakramabahu I himself.  This statue bearing in his hands an object like an ola leaf is facing the Pothgul Vihara. Therefore it can be concluded that there would have been some connection between pothgul Vihara and the person representing the statue. The body of the satue is drapped in a robe, with a sash round the waist has a headgear resembling an ancient Turkish hat and a yellow thread on the shoulder, and bare bodied above the waist.


Pothgul Viharaya

One of the largest tanks known as Parakrama Samudraya was constructed by King Parakramabahau I. he is said to have declared that “Not even a drop of water that comes from the rain must flow into the ocean, without being made useful to  men” .

When walking about a mile the bund of this tank is a building of a unique type, is the so called Pothgul Viharaya. The building is a rotunda. In the surrounding area are many ruins and it is accepted that this would have been an educational institution consisting of a large library.




Is a circular relic house or house built encircling a stupa. The Watadage at Plonnaruwa represents the utmost elaboration of the circular chetiyaghara in Ceylon. This is a beautiful circular structure. It consists of two concentric circular stone terraces one above the other. On the stone pillars is constructed the roof of the building.  A conventional entrance leads to the first terrace, from this to the upper terrace there are 4 entrances at the 4 cardinal points. The upper terrace housed a small Dagaba with 4 statues depicting posture of tranquility (Samadhi). The floor is of stone slabs. According to the rock inscription found there, it is believed that King Nissanka Malla constructed this building.



Only one building is assigned to King Vijabahu I and that is the temple of the Tooth on the quadrangle (Dalada Maluwa) in front of the Watadage. This consisted of several storeys. The Tooth Relic would have been placed on the upper story.




This building is situated close to Galptha insciptions. It is believed that this temple of Tooth is assigned to King Nissanka Malla. On the western side of the building is the stairway consisting of 10 stone steps. Therefore it could be concluded that this building would have been multi storeyed. (The name is due to a belief that it was completed in 60 hours)


Sathmahal Prasadaya

A short distance from Vatadage and close to Galpatha is situated the Sathmahal Prasada. This building has not been identified as yet. The Sathmahal Prasada was a square pyramidal tower of seven diminishing stage of 7 storeys is situated at the North Eastern, corner of the quanrangle (Dalada Maluwa) at Polonnaruwa. As this consists of seven storeys this is known as Sathmahal Prasada. It is doubted whether it was a stupa of a different shape.