WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka

The Bogoda bridge: Ancient bridge leads to caves of mystery

(by Palitha Ariyawansa)

Today's bridges are built of concrete, steel, aluminium and other newer and durable materials. When Sri Lanka was under foreign rule bridges were built of iron.

The Bogoda bridge in Badulla can perhaps be considered a national heritage. It is over 400 years old and made entirely out of wooden planks which are said to have come from one tree. The Bogoda Oya (Gallenda stream) gently flows beneath it adding to the beauty of the lush greenery surrounding it.

This bridge is 50 ft. in length and 5 ft. wide. Two wooden poles bear the entire weight of the bridge. The roof of the bridge is covered in indigenous tiles (Sinhala ulu) and two wooden fences decorated in various designs, have been erected on either side.

Interestingly, not a single nail has been used in the construction of the bridge. All parts fit neatly into each other.

The bridge was probably constructed during the time of the kings for the convenience of the devotees to visit a temple on the other side of the bridge.

The Buddhist shrine of Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya itself has an interesting history and is built in a cave, comprising two statues of the Buddha. One is a reclining statue and the other is sedentary. Behind the reclining statue is an image of Vishnu carved on a rock dating back to 1 BC.

Chief Incumbant of the temple Ven. Etempitiye Rahula says that many devotees arrive at the temple to make vows.

Legends and mystery surround the tunnels from the temple leading to various places in the cave. One legend has it that a tunnel leads upto the Narangala mountain range. Other stories tell of tunnels leading to Kataragama devalaya, Kandy, Dova Raja Maha Viharaya and more.

However, no known person has actually used the tunnels in modern times.

Some of the villagers in the area say that once a monk tried to explore the tunnel with a dog but only the dog came back. No one has seen the monk to this day.

Poems of ancient times describe beautiful frescoes on the sides of the tunnels.

Today the tunnels remain a mystery- a catacomb of awesome paths that none dare to explore.

WWW Virtual Library - Sri Lanka