The Hidden Tourist Paradise.

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Being the location of four Anicient Kingdoms, spread all over the NWP are places of archaeological interest.

Stone plaques, Cave paintings, Ancient buildings, Monumentary temples, statues etc., are found at those places. Whatever constructions by our ancient kings who had strategically changed their kingdoms owing to continuous indian invasions, can be found well restored. So well restored are the constructions and the associated techniques of architecture of the times of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English after 1800 A.D. These local and foreign monuments have become tourist attractions today.

 

Yapawwa

 

Yapawwa

 

Yapahuwa is located a little way of the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura road, in the Wayamba province of Sri Lanka. Of all the ancient ruins in the country the Rock Fortress Complex of Yapahuwa is considered to be quite remarkable despite the fact that it isn't famous among most visitors. However, it is renowned as one of the best archeological site in the country. It is even rumored to be more significant than The Rock Fortress in Sigiriya. 

In the early 13th century Yapahuwa was the capital of the country and it housed the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for 11 Years. King Bhuvanekabhu I, the son of the King Parakramabahu who at that time ruled Dambadeniya, was stationed at Yapahuwa in order to protect the Country from Invaders; built the palace and the temple. After the Fortress was abandoned monks converted it into a monastery and monks still reside among the ancient ruins. Even today signs of early defense mechanisms can still be seen among the ruins.

On top of the rock the remains of a stupa, a Bodhi tree, and a rock shelter/cave used by Buddhist monks is visible. A couple of caves are seen at the base of the rock, one of which is a Buddhist Shrine whereas another cave has some inscriptions on it. The rock fortress has a strong resemblance to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

 

Dambadeniya

 

Dambadeniya

 

Dambadeniya was the third capital in ancient Sri Lanka. (1233 – 1283 A.D.) It was crowned by four kings. The pioneer King Wijayabahu-III (1233 – 1236 A.D), builds his royal palace on the rock at Dambadeniya & converted it to the capital of the country in 1233 A.D. 

There was a stepped path from the base to the top of the rock. The first segment of the path was recently built. Having climbing about 100feet, the stepped path joined to the ancient route, which was built with dressed rocks. (Complete path used in ancient time from the base to the top was still remain) There was a huge rocky trap made ready to fell on a battle of enemy who would try to enter the Kingdom on the rock. And also there was a narrow point of the stepped path to enable the Royal solders to cut the enemies one by one, which entered through. 

Area of the top of the rock was not less than 6 acres. The complex of Royal palace, a temple for the Sacred Tooth Relic, 3 major ponds & security points were placed on it. 

Paduwasnuwara

 

Paduwasnuwara

 

Panduwasnuwara is an ancient city in the Kurunegala area which functioned as the capital of Sri Lanka for a very brief period. King Parakramabahu set up his temporary capital in this city during the 12th century.

During this period, Panduwasnuwara was the city housing the sacred tooth relic which was brought back to Sri Lanka from India by King Parakramabahu. In our article on Yapahuwa, you would have read how the relic was captured from Yapahuwa by the invading Indian armies and how it was retrieved and brought back by this king.

Although Panduwasnuwara is not as spectacular a sight as the capital cities Anuradapura  or Polonnaruwa, it is still worth exploring, if one gets the opportunity.

The site which contains the ruins of ancient buildings is spread over an area of 20 hectares, of which some sections have still not been excavated.

 

Kurunegala

 

Yapawwa

 

Kurunegala is the royal capital for only half a century, starting with the reign of Buvanekabahu II (1293-1302) who was followed by Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326).There is little left of the Tooth relic temple save few stone steps and part of doorway.

Today, Kurunegala is an important cross - roads  town, astride the route from Kandy to the Puttalam and Colombo to Anuradapura. It enjoys a pleasant location overlooked by huge rocky outcrops some of which have  been given names of the animals they resemble:- elephant rock, tortoise rock etc. According to a legend, when during drought, the animals threatened the city's water supply, they were magically turned into  stone, Situated at the foot of the 325km black rock Etagala there are excellent views of across the lake from the Top. It is also within easy reach of a few sites which are not very  often visited.

 

Arankele

 

Arankele

 

The ancient monastery of Arankele which is acclaimed to be the premier Forest Hemitage of Sri Lanka was constructed in the past for the use of Bhikkhus engaged in meditation. It is located in the Ganewatta Divisional Secretariat Division of the Kurunegala District.

This Bhikkhu monastery which is in a natural habitat has mountain slopes and plataues dotted with hundreds of buildings such as padhanagharas, Jantagharas (hot water bathing houses), Bodhigharas (parapet encrcling Bo trees), ponds, promenades, caves etc.

Of the buildings in the sacred area, the presence of a  Jantaghara for the aged and the sick Bhikkhus is of special significance. In the Jantaghara, places are set aside  for hot baths, saunas and  medicinal baths. In this building the hearths used for boiling water and grinding stones for the making of medicinal pastes from herbs are found as well.

 

 

 

Rideeviharaya

 

Rideeviharaya

 

Ridi Viharaya or the Silver Temple was built at the place where Silver ore was found, that was made used to build Ruwanweli Dageba at Anuradhapura by King Dutugemunu during his rein.

To reach the Ridi Vihara, proceed along Kandy- Kurunegala highway turn off at Mallawapitiya and proceed to Ridigama for about 13 kM. Then proceed about 2 kM to find Ridi Vihara which is built under a rock outcrop which stands about 200 feet high from the surrounding area.

Ridi Vihara is an important Raja Maha Vihara belonging to the Cultural Triangle. Historical Data on this Monastery complex is found in some Caves written in Brahmin Inscriptions. They dates back to the 2nd and 3rd Centuries BC. During the time of Arahath Mahinda, many Arahaths are believed to be resided in these caves which numbers around twenty five in the surrounding area of Ridi Vihara and Rambadagalla area. The caves had been prepared by cutting into the rock and donated by chieftains of the area to the Sangha.

The Ridi Vihara temple was built later by King Dutugemunu and the details about the construction is mainly being known by the historical chronicle Mahavamsa and by other sources like Ridi Vihara Asna and also by legend.