Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Stronghold of Ruhunu Kings

Ancient Digavapi

Many people think Digavapi is only a Buddhist Dagaba in the Ampara District built during the Second Century B. C. It is true that an enormous Dagaba was built by King Sadda Tissa, brother of Dutugemunu.
According to the Mahawansa, the Buddha on his third visit to Sri Lanka, after spending the day at the foot
of Samantakuta (Adam's Peak) set out for Digavapi and seated himself with the brotherhood at the place where the Cetiya (afterwards) stood. He gave himself up to meditation to consecrate the spot. However, Dipavamsa, the older Chronicle says that the Buddha travelling through air, went to Digavapi from Kelaniya thupa and that "at the place of Digavapi Cetiya, the Buddha who was full of compassion to the world,
 descended from the air and again entered upon mystical meditation.

Therefore Digavapi Cetiya has become one of the sixteen most sacred places of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
Digavapi Mandala or Digamadulla is supposed to be the settlement named after Prince Dighayu, one of six brothers of Baddha Katyana, the queen of King Panduwas Deva. It is said that the Indo-Aryan ancestors of the Sinhalese who came from North India and colonized the Island, named those settlements after them.
Similarly, the five other brothers too {of queen Baddha Katyana (Kachchayana)} Rama, Uruwela, Anuradha, Vijitha and Rohana had their settlements named after them. It is also a belief that the word Digha Vapi (long tank) was used to identify this region by the existence of such a reservoir during the reign of Kakavanna Tissa (Kavanthissa), father of Dutugemunu, in the 2nd Century B. C. It is possible that one of the tanks in  the district was called Digavapi, named after the district. In "Ancient Irrigation works in Ceylon" R. L. Brohier states that it was "Mahakandiya Wewa" that was called Digavapi.

The Digha-vapi was undoubtedly an ancient work of very great importance. It is occasionally mentioned in the ancient  annals, but the reservoir has never been definitely identified. There are, however, two very strong clues which assist in attesting almost to a certainty that it is the abandoned tank now known as Maha- Kandiya Wewa or in the Tamil version Kandia-Kattu. The first of these clues hinges on very definite data which confines Digha-vapi to the South Eastern region of the Island. The other is based on a not unreasonable assumption that one of the characteristics of the old tank has been perpetuated by its name.
The only "long tank" (Digha Vapi) in the South East of Ceylon is the totally abandoned work alluded to which has relapsed more or less to its original wild forest. The latest topographical and contour sheets assist more readily than data available in the past to visualize the latter of these two clues, and to weigh the probability that Maha-Kandiya was the Digha-vapi of old. However, many other scholars did not agree with the above theory, and in "Historical topography of Ancient and Medieval Ceylon", C. W. Nicholas wrote:

.... and Dr. Paranavithana has made an important observation on the connection between Digayu and Dighavapi... In the identification of Dighavapi, it is, therefore, not necessary to look for a long tank. The construction of a tank named Dighavapi is nowhere recorded, and the medieval Sinhalese name for the region did not include the element Vapi (Tanks. vapi).

Digavapi Mandala of ancient fame could now be identified as the area of Authority of the former Gal Oya Development Board. It is extended over both banks of the Galha Ganga (Gal Hoy, presently called Gal Oya) covering a vast area. Mahavamsa states that Kakavanna Tissa stationed his second son, prince Tissa at Digavapi with troops and chariots in order to
 guard the open country. (MV 23-16, 24.2) After defeating the Tamil King, King Dutugemunu appointed his brother Tissa to reside at Digavapi and to develop agriculture as this was one of the most important areas of food production. Prince Tissa's development work in the region could be assessed by the number of ruins that were found there at the start of the Gal Oya Development Board. A map showing archaeological ruins within the Gal Oya Valley prepared during this time shows over 60 such sites. However, a 1:250,000 map prepared by the Survey Department in 1992 shows only four or five such sites.On ascending the throne in B. C. 137 King Saddatissa built the Digavapi Cetiya together with the Vihara of that name. The Sinhala chronicles call it diganaka or Naka Vihara and the ruined Monument near Irakkamam too was locally called
Nakha Vehera prior to its occupation by the Sangha about 1924, and probably it is identified by its correct name, Digavapi Cetiya. King Saddatissa's two sons Lan Jatissa and Thulathana built Girikumbhila vihara and Kandara vihara respectively. Girikumbhila or Kumbhila Vihara is identified by the recent finding of inscriptions in situ near Bakkiela, but the other, Kandara Vihara has not yet been discovered. Several other inscriptions belonging to more recent times too have been found in the area, one such finding being the
discovery of a gold leaf inscription in 1986 deposited inside a reliquary made of thin gold sheets near the western Wahalkada of the ancient stupa, Digavai Cetiya. Along with the reliquary which contained the gold leaf, two other gold reliquaries were found, all deposited in a stone casket embedded in the aforesaid frontispiece. On the eastern side of Divulana tank (Bordering the Southern boundary of Batticaloa district) is a large rocky hill with many ancient caves. These were the former abode of eremite monks and many of these caves bear rock inscriptions of the 2nd and 1st Centuries B. C. Among them are three inscriptions of a more recent time, the 8th Century A. D. These inscriptions relate to the grant of lands by local rulers of Rohana to a monastery called Artitara Vihara of which remains are now seen at Rasahela in this region.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ancient Deegawapi

Ancient Deegawapi 
Deegawapiya is one of the 16 places which has been blessed by the Buddha's presence. Buddha was invited to Kelaniya by Mani Akkika of Naga Tribe, ruler of the Kelaniya region on his second visit to Nagadeepa. On the 8th year of attaining nirvana Buddha decided to visit Sri Lanka for the third time specially to Kelaniya. During this visit he came to Deegavapi with 500 arhaths and spend time meditating.
According to the the Mahavansa, great chronicle of Sri Lanka, this stupa was built by king Saddhatissa (137-119 BC). According to the same the king has also donated a jacket decorated with gold lotus flowers and various gems to cover the stupa.

large number of stone flower pedestals of different sizes indicating the flourishing state of this complex in the ancient history.  Since this location has been blessed by Buddha's presence, it is generally believed that this stupa is a "paribogika" stupa and no special relics has been enshrined. But historian venerable Ellawela Medananda thero believes that this stupa enshrines a nail relic of Buddha. An inscription on a gold foil unearthed during excavations discloses that King Kawanthissa (164-192) has done renovations to the stupa. With passage of time, this temple was neglected with the internal conflicts of the country. King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe ( 1747 - 1781) seeing the status of the temple carried out major renovations and handed it over to Rev. Bandigide Negrodha thero along with 1000 'amunu' (2000-2500 acres) of land in 1756. Two stone inscriptions by King Saddhasissa and King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe has been in existence at the Deegawapiya until last centaury but both of these have mysteriously disappeared now. But a copy of the Rajasinghe inscription which was made in 1845 exists today.

 In 1916 a priest called Kohukumbure Revatha thero started searching for this stupa and he found some muslims carrying bricks in carts. When inquired, he was told that they were from a great brick mound deep in the jungle. He followed these cartsmen and found the Dageba in absolute ruins. He came back with few buddhists from colombo and started redeveloping this temple area and also managed to reclaim 250 acres of land back to the temple. By this time, Deegavapi area were dominated by Muslims who were given refuge in this area by King Senerath (1604 - 1635) when they were harassed in the coastal areas by the Portuguese. The king not only gave them refuge, but destroyed a portuguese fort at the port called "Deegavapi Thitha" for them to carry out their business activities freely. But in 1950 Kohukumbure Revatha thero was brutally murdered by a Muslim in the area.

{Moreover, he founded the Dighawapi-vihara together with the cetiya; for this cetiya he had a covering of
network made set with gems, and in every mesh thereof was hung a splendid flower of gold, large as a wagon-wheel, that he had commanded them to fashion. (In honour) of the eighty-four thousand sections of the dhamma the ruler commanded also eighty-four thousand offerings. When the king had thus accomplished many works of merit he was reborn, after his death, among the Tusita gods.}

How To Get There
Ampara is the nearest main town to Dighawapi. Take the Akkaraipatthu road from Ampara. It is about 18 km off Ampara town.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ruins of ancient Buddhangala in Ampara

Ruins of ancient Buddhangala

The rocks where ruins are; are mentioned thus:

Rock A- in which the stupa and Image House are built.
Rock B- in which the destroyed resting hall stood 
Rock D- The rock to the south of B 
Rock E- in which the hall is built for the chanting of discourses
Rock F - where caves are seen

The most interesting ruins are found or Rock A. The undermentioned ruins are seen around the stupa and the Image House.
* Three Sculptured stone Pillars
One measures 3' 1 ½” in length, 1' 0½” in breadth and 7” in thickness. The others measure 3' 5” and 1' 11” in length respectively. The second pillar is presently attached to the flight of steps where the incumbent high priest resides. The third is attached to the flight of steps to the stupa.
* Door frames
(Many of them are at present attached to flights of steps)

6' 7½” in length, 1' 3” in breadth, and 6” in thickness. The holes in which the upright pillars were inserted, measure 8” × 4”. The breadth of the door thus seems 4 feet.
7' 2” ×1'. 6½” and 7½” in thickness. Holes measure 9” ×4” The breadth of the door being 4'. This stone is now seen attached to the flight of steps at the southern corner of the stupa.
Stone pillar at the present flower altar near the stupa: 6' 11” ×0'. 11” ×0' 04”. Size of the hole 7½” ×8” with a depth of ½”. The width of the door could be 3 feet. There are two other square holes in the centre of the pillar's broad side to put a latch.
Door frame pillar lying at a side of the stupa compound: 6' 3½” ×1' 2½” ×0.5”. Holes measure 8 ½” ×8” Breadth of the door 3'.
All door frame pillars are plain
* Stone seats.
There are two stone seats among the ruins near the stupa. Another seat half completed lies at the foot of the rock. The first two measure 6'.5” ×3' 0” ×6” and 6'.4” ×2'.10” × 6” respectively. The third measures 6'. 11” ×2' 2”.
A square pit one inch deep is dug in the centre and I may presume that it was to hold a cushion.
* The usual stones
The stool stones used to put relics (Yantra stone) at Aniuadhapura and other places are square in shape with many square holes in the centre. But a stone we find here is rectangular in shape with a circular hole in the centre. A lid also made of stone lies close, that can be considered to be used to cover the hole after filling it with valuables.
* Umbrella stone
The umbrella stone and the “Yupa sthambha”: The umbrella that was once over the stupa lies by a side measuring 9' 9” in the round. The Yupa sthambha or the central pillar in which the umbrella stood, is 4'.7” long and 2' 3” square. The top most 2 ½” is shaped in order to fit the umbrella stone. Out of the 4'.7”of the whole length, the section that was buried inside the stupa is 2' 6” and that portion of the pillar is roughly kept so that plaster is will fastened.
* Moon Stones
Three moonstones are found. Two are lying at the stupa premises with other pieces of ruins. The third is near the wall of the terrace, covered with grass and other rubble. The first and the third are 4' 11” In the round and the breath from the centre is 1' 9”. It is 2' 4” in length at the last flight of steps. No sculpture is found carved.
The other moonstone is broken into pieces. Being larger than the above two, it measures 6' 2” inches at flight of steps, and the breadth is 2'. 9½” Circular lines are engraved while the lotus petal designs are not found.
* Balustrades and Guard stones
Two Balustrades said to be attached to the main flight of steps are now at the Southern entrance to the Image house. The length at the foot is 5' and the height is 2' 11' the elephant figure with its trunk inside mouth can be seen in the balustrades and no other carvings are seen on either side.
Two quards stones are found at the ancient flight of steps. They are still in their previous position, Semi circular at the top, no other sculptures are seen in them
* Stone Foot Prints
Two Foot Prints of the Blessed One are found. One (4) is lying with the other remaining sculptural pieces. Square in shape, the carvings are gibing way. Other Foot Print (B) that is kept inside the shrine room is of great value. The stone slab that it is inscribed is circular in shape, being 11'.8” in the round. Three circular lines are engraved at the brim of the stone, to represent the Triple Gem - ie: Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. There is a circular hole, 2 inches in breadth and 2 ½” inches in depth at the under side of the stone. Some believe that once there were relics inside it.
* Stone Pillars and steps
Though only five pillars on the terrace are in standing position at present, there are more than sixty of them strewn all over, some broken too. In the recent renovations some have been used to construct the side walls. The upper part of each of the pillars are10”×10” square. The pillar heads are not to be seen. The pillars are not of smooth finish. More than 75 slabs of stone that were used for flights of steps too are strwn all over.
* Flight of steps and the ancient parapet wall
To the east of the terrace for the present compound of the vihara, and 35' down, is found ruins of an ancient parapet wall. Though is dilapidated condition, when taken as a whole it is about 131'in length. Another 85 feet of the same wall is fully ruined. This whole structure can be the eastern side of the ancient terrace where the stupa and other buildings stood. The earlier said guard stones and the balustrades belonged to the entrance made in this wall.
* Mounds with stone pillars
There are two such mounds in front of the Image House, and near the ancient parapet wall. The mound to the right side has five stone pillars. One can understand that the building that was once here was constructed out of brick. The rock in which this mound stands is very steep on one side. Most of the remains have been washed away downwards. An idea can be gathered as to this mound once being a small stupa.
The second mound stands 59' away to the north of the parapet wall. Sixteen stone pillars, four in one row, suggest that this was a large building. Some pillars have a distance of 5' 9” in between, while some others are7' 10' apart. Studying their positions one can conclude that there were at least nine roons in the building. Was it a meditation house?
* Ponds and flights of steps
A natural pond that never dries up in any drought is situated on to the right side of the rock. A rock cut flight of steps helps one to descend to the pond,
The other four rocks are to the western slope of this rock. In the western side is another pond. Two rock cut flights of steps lead to this pond, one contains 15 steps, the other 13. At the foot of the last step is a flattened square area of live rock. Square holes are cut around, the purpose being to plant pillars into them. There fore it suggests that it was a small building, that was used to keep robes and other requisites while bathing.
All the five rocks have flights of steps to ascend to them. Stones of various sizes and shapes made for carious purposes are seen around in abundance.
* Dog and crow symbols
A work of immense interest can be found to the northern side of rock B. The surface of the rock is flattened and shaped to carve a rectangle of 10'.10”×15”.0” It is 3” deep from the ordinary rock surface. Four square holes are dug on the four corners.
In the exact centre another pit of the nature of a basin2' 8½” in diameter is cut, the centre of which has another hole cut with a diameter of 1½” and a depth of 19”. The symbols of a crow and a dog are sculptured at the northern side. The four square holes may suggest of a roof over four wooden pillars.
The above symbols deserve mention. The same symbols at the bottom, with the sun and moon signs at the top are seen in many inscriptions mentioning about donations. The sun and moon represents the order or request – as the case may be - of the donor to allow enjoyment of the said grant till the planets exist. The dog and the crow tells that any who disregards this laws will be born in the future world as dogs and crows. The idea is told by words in some documents.
I have my own ideas about this building. It can be the place where paddy and other grains were husked for the use of the mendicant priests at the Buddhangala Hermitage. The symbols are an advice to any who misappropriate the grants. Another example of this nature can be seen near the caves at Vala-ellu-goda kanda close to dombagahawela.
* Bricks
Bricks used for carious purposes are seen strewn every where in the premises. But I only deal here of some bricks exhibited inside the shrine room. They are of the sizes of 1' 4”×0'.8” or 1'.6”×0'.8”. They bear the letters “' W ' ‘ i ' ‘ m ' ‘ K ' in them. They were probably attached to the three terraces of the stupa.
Another set of bricks, circular in shape, too are exhibited. They also have “' i ' ‘ , ' ‘ y ' ‘ l ' and ‘ I ' on them. The swastika symbol too can be recognized. Some letters can be thought of as signatures. Bricks of this nature are found in many places in the country.
* Clay figurines and other finds.
Only one clay statuette is found, though the head is missing. The height is only 3”. The breadth at shoulders is 3.2”. The belly n the round is 8½”. This can be considered as the traditional weight bearer (bhayirava) in eastern sculpture. The big bead-necklace found in statuettes elsewhere is not seen here.
Another exhibit is the clay pinnacle. Being 11.2” in its present height, its upper point is decayed. The circumference at the bottom level is 1'.3”. Inside centre is hollow. There are many pinnacles of which one deserves special mention. The usual cone shape is at the top, the lower part is made in such a way to show the square portion we see at an ordinary ancient stupa. A clay pot 3½” in diameter at the mouth and 1' 1½” at the centre and a pitcher 3½” in height and1” 6” in the round are the other finds. These last two items were found close to the pond. They say they were found at a depth of about 16feet. Pieces of bowls, pots and other pottery too were found.
* The Stupas
There are ruins of more than foru stupas. Two are built on rocks A and B. Rubble was used to construct these. Early stupas at Rohana were constructed with granite rubble. The Rajagala stupa in which Ven. Mahinda There's ashes were enshrined was made of this rubble. Early Anuradhapura buildings also were constructed in the same manner. This indicates that, before they learnt the art of making bricks, masons of very ancient times used rubble to construct buildings like stupas and walls. Buddhangala ruins therefore belong to a very early period.
Another mound that can be thought of as a stupa is found near the ancient parapet wall close to the bottom of rock A. A large quantity of brick in this structure is strewn at the lower level of the high ground.
The largest and the important stupa among all is the recently renovated one. Though in bell shape today, its earlier shape could have been somewhat different.
Many still live, who saw the forested ruins of the area, before the recent re-habilitation. Some of them remember two circular rows of stone pillars around two stupas. They believe that spiritual powers roam in the vicinity on auspicious days. Wild elephant venerate the stupas. Those who came in search of treasure were driven away by unseen powers. One such person fell down from a precipice to succumb. Any who come here with a mind full of devotion may get his wishes come right.
To revert into the veterans's experiences. The two rows of pillars around the stupa may stand to prove of a stupa ghara (an umbrella like roof above the stupa) with four entrances on the main corners, with all architectural and sculptural qualities. Therefore we invite further excavations.
Symptoms around the building show that this main stupa stood on a rectangular platform. If this platform was on a terrace that was around it, this whole structure can be thought of as a magnificent building being a great pride to the whole of Rohana. A chetiyaghara, on a rectangular platform on a rock; this can be the only early example in the southern Sri Lanka .
A devotee who intends to venerate this stupa must climb the rock with the aid of the live flight of steps. At the first stage he may ascend to the terrace around the stupa. He will again climb anther flight of steps to reach the stupa compound. The earlier mentioned balustrades and the moon stone with its stone steps could have been a proud architectural and sculptural presentation here.
* Stone slabs at the terrace compound
As many slabs of different sizes are seen around, we can presume that the flat surface around the stupa was paved with these slabs. Random samples of such stones are seen around, half buried.
* Finds
During renovations conducted at the stupa, many buried things were found that were there made out of metal. They are at present exhibited inside the shrine room. A small statue of 7” in height stands on a plane 3.8” long and 1” thick two small elephants are on either side. The human figure is bent at the waiste and knees (Tri-vanka). Left hand is close to the left of the breast. Right hand is in a saluting posture. The upper part and the lower art of the body is clothed the navel is seen.
Four other statues considered to be of the four guardian Gods are among the exhibits. The first among them is 4” in height. One hand is on the hip, the other is a little raised. The second has a walking stick in one hand and some circular object in the other. It is four inches in height. The third stature being 5½” high, holds a book in one hand while the other rests on the bosom. The fourth is 3.8” is height. It has a cane like object in one hand. All statues wait scientific attention.
Cobra Statue
A three hooded cobra image made of metal with a height of 2.6: is among the exhibits. The breadth of the hood is 2.2” A swastika seal 1.6” which is considered as a lucky symbol, a goad and seven statuettes of guardians too are seen. If the idea among people of the eight guardians could be thought of, one other statuette may still be lying under earth.
Many other pieces and small sheets of metal with diagrams in them are there. The medium size of one piece is about 1” ×1.3”. The carvings of elephant, bull and the horse are in them. It is strange that the lion is missing.
A talisman case in the shape of a drum, made of pure gold is another exhibit. Nothing can be seen inside except clay. But the two Brahmi Letters “ b ” and” . ” are seen inscribed on the outside. Four other small gold leaves too are seen. All these can be donations of devotees at the time of the enshrining of relics in the stupa.
The Golden Casket
The most valuable find among the ruins is the Golden casket with the relics of Lord Buddha and the two disciples. It is great abort this place that relics of this nature were not found any where else in the country. They were enshrined in the Circular relic house.
The casket, in the form of a stupa, has its pinnacle, semi-circular body and the three terraces. Inside the stupa like casket, were three golden lotus flower standing on their stalks. The flower in the centre was a little higher then the other two. The flower on the left side was the shortest among them.
On the two lotus flowers on either sides were two bo-leaves made of gold. The relics of the two disciples were on them. The words “Sariputasha” and “ Maha Moganala” were inscribed in them.
The highest among the three flowers contained the relics of the Buddha. It is interesting to note that the casket in its full form is only 4” in height. But the clever craftman who finished it, did it with such care.
* Coins
Many kinds of coins were found. Among them are the coins named “Kahavanu”. There are altogether 42 coins that deserve careful examination.
* Caves with inscription
There are six caves. Five of them have drip ledges cut on their brows. One drip ledge is constructed recently using cement. A cave of the shape of an umbrella is a pleasing sight. The inside is modified with brick walls. No inscription could be seen at the drip ledge as a lengthy piece of it is broken and fallen down.
The rock towards the west has three caves. We can see that they were used as residing places of bhikkhus as walls have been built inside. The largest of the caves is about 68' long and has a height of 15½”. The breadth is 25'. The inscription in it reads:
Karajhikagala vahike bata digatiha lene niyate shagasha
(donated to the sangha is the e cave of Lord dighati of the village of Karajhikagala )
Another cave has this inscription
Chita deviya ayaka parumaka utiputa parumaka shujha tasha lene agatha anagata chatudisha shagasha
(donated to the sangha of the four quarters come and not come, is the cave of chief Sujata, son of chief Uttiya, the accountant of chitradeve)
Two other caves, close to the present assembly hall bear inscriptions. One is now the residence of the manager. The other is the alms hall. The chief incumbent priest resides here too. The inscription reads.
“Gamika /shivaputa diga mita - ha”
(Digha mitra, the son of Gamika Shiva)
* Other Inscription
Other than the earlier said cave inscriptions, there are another two inscription, there are another two inscriptions, one kept on the terrace in front of the cave and the other on the compound of the stupa. Letters are weather-worn in the former, and the latter is at present attached to the side wall of the stupa. No idea can be taken about what is said in them.
* Ruins close to the site.
There are many places of historical and religious value around Buddhangala Remains of two stupas can be seen about a kilometer to the north. One can also see stone ponds both natural and man made, in the same stretch of rocks running to a distance from Buddhangala. The two stupas stand close to each other on one rock span. One of these has met with great destruction and almost all stone and brick are strewn all over. The other, about 20' in height has faced ruin in the hands of treasure seekers.
The village of Malvatta is situated to the North East, Many ruins are found there too. Stone pillars, slaves, bricks and ruins of a stupa are among them.
Early Sponsors
Earlier said inscriptions mention about those who sponsored the place. One cave was donated by Digati(pali - Dighiti) who had the title lord (Bata) The donor of another cave was Shujahata (The Prakrit Presentation of the Pali word Sujata). Sujata and his father were chiefs (Parumaka). Another name is given as Digamita (Dighamitra) who was the son of a village chief.
Language and Culture
The language found in these inscriptions is {Prakrit Sinhala. The “ t ” sound shows the nominative case. The “y” and “T” which are the derivation of “I” in the dative and genitives cases and “g” of the feminine dative case can be seen in the language of the day. The cultural aspects too of the time can be understood by examining the inscriptions


Thursday, March 31, 2011

rajagala and Samangala

Rajagala and Samangala

Most of the information recorded about King Mahanaga who is considered to
be the founder of Rohana Kingdom, is found in Ampara. The Wottaya Kallu stone
inscription of Ampara district mentions King Mahanaga as Viceroy Naga, Malayadikanda
cave inscription as Viceroy and Samangala stone inscription as Gamini Naga. Similarly,
Samangala and Malayadi Kanda stone scription mention about Mahanaga’s dynasty,
namely Gotabhaya, Kawantissa and Saddhatissa. In addition, Karandawela Vihara
inscription which was written after Kawantissa regime mentions Kawantissa as King
Kawantissa and archeologists are of the opinion that the symbol of that inscription was
used by King Kawantissa as his signature. Accordingly since all these places of source
are located within Ampara, what is revealed is that Ampara was used as a centre of
government by the chief rules of Ruhunuudynasty since King Mahanaga.
Mahawansha mentions that King Saddhatissa ruled the area now known as Ampara for a
long time and took great efforts to develop agriculture. Inscriptions in proof of this have
been found in Digamadulla. Among them Samangala cave inscription is the foremost.
According to it, it is clear that the cave has been offered by King Saddhatissa. It mentions
So far the history is Ampara is analyzed , Rajagala area is found to be a source of many
valuable historic information. The sentence “YE IMADIYA PATAMAYA IDIYA
AGANNA ITIKA THERA MAHINDA THERA THUBE” is inscribed on a stone slab
which is found near the ruins of a chaitya in this area in Rajagala. Accordingly, this
chaitya is introduced as the dagaba of Ittiya and Mahinda Theras who visited the island
for its wellbeing. This proves the historical record of the Mihindu Thera’s visit to Sri
Lanka, accompanied by Ittiya thera as mentioned in Mahawansa. It also gives evidence to
prove the fact that after the passing away of Arhat Mihindu, dagabas with His relics
embedded, were built all over the country. In addition to this, another stone inscription
discovered from Rajagala, mentions about a lady called Rajitha who is introduced as one
of King Dutugemunu’s queens. This inscription is also of much historical importance.
Similarly, yet another stone inscription has been
discovered from Rajagala which gives information about a marriage connection between
the two families of Nandimithra, giant and King Dutugemunu. When this inscription and
the inscription of Mumunugala are juxtaposed, it provides evidence to prove that the
daughter of King Dutugemunu and the son of Nandimithra were married.
Similarly, according to Dathuwansa King Kawantissa built Seruwila Chaitya and
embedded the Buddha’s relic was found at Kukkutagiri Vihara in Hatthota colony.
Ellawala Medhananda thera brings fourth his opinion that Hatthota colony is
Manthottama in Ampara and Kukkuta Vihara is Kukuluwa Vihara which is presently
situated there. Historical sources say that during the period King Dutugemunu was
getting ready to wage war against King Elara, Velusumana, the giant on his journey from
Magama to Anuradhapura visited Ambarapitisi Piyanganaya and took his midday meal.
Ambarapitisi Piyanganaya mentioned there, may most probably be present Ampara. Facts
are found from Ampara itself that say that after King Saddhatissa, his son King Lajjatissa
also ruled this area. King Lajjatissa’s name is mentioned in the cave inscription set up at
Nuwaragala, Maha Oya in Ampara district, in Ginikurumbara Vihara pillar inscription
and in the stone inscriptions discovered from Rajagala.