Magul Maha Viharaya Lahugala , Ampara

Magul Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Lahugala, Ampara District of Sri Lanka. The temple lies on the northern edge of the Lahugala National Park, about 22 km off from Siyambalanduwa town and about 11 km off Pottuvil town. Lahugala has been part of the Kingdom of Ruhuna in ancient Sri Lanka. The ruins of Magul Maha Vihara are one of the major tourist attractions of the Eastern province. This temple is also an archaeologically protected monument of the country.

History and legends

The history of Magul Maha Vihara possibly dates back to the period of King Kavantissa (205-161 BC) who ruled the Kingdom of Ruhuna in ancient Sri Lanka. There are evidence that suggests that the king has built this temple in the 2nd Century BC on the exact location where he married the princesses Viharamahadevi, the daughter of king Kelani Tissa. Other sources claim that King Dhatusena (463-479 AD) built this temple while many other monarchs renovated it through the centuries later. There is a stone inscription at the site of this temple that dates back to the 14th century which supports the latter view.

According to legend Viharamaha Devi, the daughter of King Kelanitissa volunteered to sacrifice herself to the sea to appease the gods who were enraged at the King for punishing an innocent monk. The princess was safely carried over the ocean waves, reaching ashore at a place near the Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil, where the encounter between king Kavantissa and the princess took place which later led to their marriage. The legend also tells that the marriage ceremony was conducted at the premises of Magul Maha Viharaya in Lahugala, where the King had later built the temple to celebrate the auspicious event. The foundations of the Magul Maduwa where the wedding ceremony took place can still be seen at the temple premises. Magul is a word in native Sinhala language which gives the meaning wedding or auspicious.

Magul Maha Vihara had been renovated by several monarchs after its establishment. A 14th century stone inscription, located within the temple premises, reveals about a queen who also had the name Viharamaha Devi, wife of King Buvenekabahu IV of Gampola and Parakramabahu V of Gampola, who renovated and donated many acres of land to this temple. Magul Maha Viharaya is inscribed in this stone inscription as Ruhunu Maha Viharaya. Some other sources reveals that king Dappula I (661-664 AD), constructed this temple after listening to the preachings of Buddhist monks. It is speculated that around 12,000 monks inhabited the complex at some stage in history, which is evident to the largeness of the ancient temple.

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Biso Pokuna (queens pond)

Biso Pokuna (queens pond) is an archaeological site which has the remains of a palace and an amazing solid rock pond which made for princess "Sugala" in 12th century AD. worth visiting this masterpiece just paying few minutes of your time. you have to stop your vehicle beside road, gate is always closed, just few meters walk. search on google maps easy to find.

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The Ancient Kingdom of Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa was one of the ephemeral capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. The citadel of Yapahuwa lying midway between Kurunagala and Anuradhapura was built around a huge granite rock rising abruptly almost a hundred meters above the surrounding lowlands.

In 1272, King Bhuvenakabahu transferred the capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa in the face of Dravidian invasions from South India, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic with him. Following the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the Pandyans of South India invaded Sri Lanka once again, and succeeded in capturing Sacred Tooth Relic. Following its capture, Yapahuwa was largely abandoned and inhabited by Buddhist monks and religious ascetics.

Yapahuwa served as the capital of Sri Lanka in the latter part of the 13th century (1273–1284). Built on a huge, 90 meter high rock boulder in the style of the Sigiriya rock fortress, Yapahuwa was a palace and military stronghold against foreign invaders.

History

The palace and fortress were built by King Buvanekabahu I (1272–1284) in the year 1273. Many traces of ancient battle defenses can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway, is its biggest showpiece. On top of the rock are the remains of a stupa, a Bodhi tree enclosure, and a rock shelter/cave used by Buddhist monks, indicating that earlier this site was used as a Buddhist monastery, like many boulders and hills in the area. There are several caves at the base of the rock. In one of them there is a shrine with Buddha images. One cave has a Brahmi script inscription. At the southern base of the rock there is a fortification with two moats and ramparts. In this enclosure there are the remains of a number of buildings including a Buddhist shrine. There is also a Buddhist temple called Yapawwa Rajamaha Vihara built during the Kandyan period.

The Tooth Relic was brought from Dambadeniya and kept in the Tooth Temple built for the purpose at the top of the third staircase. The relics were carried away from the temple here to South India by the Pandyas, and then recovered in 1288 by Parakkramabahu III (1287–1293), who temporarily placed them in safety at Polonnaruwa.

Yapahuwa was one of the ephemeral capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. The citadel of Yapahuwa lying midway between Anuradhapura and Kurunegala was built around a huge granite rock rising abruptly almost a hundred meters above the surrounding lowlands.

In 1272, King Bhuvenakabahu transferred the capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa in the face of Dravidian invasions from South India, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic with him. Following the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the Pandyans of South India invaded Sri Lanka once again, and succeeded in capturing Sacred Tooth Relic. Following its capture, Yapahuwa was largely abandoned and inhabited by Buddhist monks and religious ascetics

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Koneswaram Temple - Trincomalee

Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee  or Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple – The Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam is a classical -medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Built significantly during the reign of the early Cholas and the Five Dravidians of the Early Pandyan Kingdom atop Konesar Malai, a promontory overlooking Trincomalee District, Gokarna bay and the Indian Ocean, its Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Jaffna design reflect a continual Tamil Saivite influence in the Vannimai region from the classical period. The monument contains its main shrine to Shiva in the form Kona-Eiswara, shortened to Konesar and is a major place for Hindu pilgrimage, labelled the "Rome of the Gentiles/Pagans of the Orient". Connected at the mouth of the Mahavilli Ganga River to the footprint of Shiva at Sivan Oli Padam Malai at the river’s source, the temple symbolically crowns the flow of the Ganges River from Shiva’s head of Mount Kailash to his feet.

The complex was destroyed in colonial religious attacks between 1622 and 1624 and a fort was built at the site from its debris. A 1632 built temple located away from the city houses some of its original idols. Worldwide interest was renewed following the discovery of its underwater and land ruins, sculptures and Chola bronzes by archaeologists and Arthur C. Clarke. It has been preserved through restorations, most recently in the 1950s. Granted ownership of villages in its florist to form the Trincomalee District, Trincomalee village is located on the cape isthmus within the compounds. The modern temple has been a source of conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils due to its position in a Geo strategically important area. Revenue from the temple provides services and food to local residents.

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Kandy Esala Perahera

The month of (July) Esala - [according to Buddhist month system], during which period this annual pageant is usually hold, had been considered a month of celebrations and festivity, both among Indians and Sri Lankans. Even from the lifetime of the Buddha in the 6th century BC, the Esala festival was held to commemorate the Buddha’s Conception, his Renunciation and the First Sermon. Esala is also considered to be the beginning of the raining season (Vassana) when the monks commence their Retreat. Also, this month is considered to be the period when ritual performances to the protective divinities are held, (eg Pattini puja) as recorded in the text ‘Pattini-Halla’. Being considered a ‘chaste’ month, the period is held sacred for the availability of water, hence prosperity.

Kandy Perahara is the main Buddhist event in SriLanka, as a Buddhist country this festival is fully conducted by sri lankan government. "Dalada maligawa" is the main temple of all, so this festival is called as the heart beat of Sri Lankans which is most awaited through the year. thousands of devotees gather to see the "perahara" on this season and more than 50 elephants, +2000 artists  take part in this event,

 

Preparation

Most of the rituals are hidden and unseen, we were able to get some rare shots of dressing the elephant which carries the relic in perahara, and this time [2012] the elephant is called "Nadungamuwe Raja", and there is an amazing history about those elephants who carries the sacred relic and among those the most famous one is "Raja" who passed away few years ago and still makes people cry when they see him at its museum. , if you visit "Dalada Maligawa" dont miss Raja's museum next  to the temple at left side.

 

Esala Perahara

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