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 Post subject: Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Vihara
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:49 am 
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Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Vihara

Not far away from the city of Colombo, a priceless cultural heritage is found at a len vihara called Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Vihara, atop a mountain frontier. It is off Yakkala on the Colombo-Kandy road, about 30 miles from Colombo. The len vihara lies in the upper maluwa (higher terrace), just going past the two giant Bodhiyas looming over the premises.

In the years gone by of monarchy rule in ancient Lanka the rock cave shelters cloistered in the recess of the forests served the recluse Buddhist monks in performing their meditation chores and other religious observances. Such cave hermitages were patronised by the ruling kings of the time, chieftains and the people as well. As the years passed, such cave shelters turned into len viharas (cave temples) and len avasas (abodes of Buddhist monks). Such len (cave shelters), were gifted by the kings, queens, and other nobles of the royalty. Foremost among such noble chieftains were the paramukas (chieftain of royal rank holding multiple designations).

On the apex of those rock cave shelters were carved drip-ledges (kataran), for preventing rain water from falling into the interior of the cave abode. Below such drip ledges bore the etched stone inscriptions mostly of Brahmi scripts. In them are mentioned the names of the donors with their titles and the names of kings and queens. The name of paramuka stands gloriously carved on them, denoting the donors’ designations. The ancient concept of cultural values had been symbolic of the tank (weva), dagaba and rice field (ketha). Such features are well portrayed in the innumerable archaeological relics found in the nooks and corners around Raja Rata, Maya Rata, Pihitirata, Ruhuna Rata and even extending to the medieval kingdom of Sitawake.

Not far away from the city of Colombo, such vestiges of our priceless cultural heritage are found at a len vihara called Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Vihara, atop a mountain frontier. It is off Yakkala on the Colombo-Kandy road, about 30 miles from Colombo. The len vihara lies in the upper maluwa (higher terrace), just going past the two giant Bodhiyas looming over the premises.


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Yoda puswela, Gal mala and the Kalantha bokka

by Kishanie S. Fernando

While Pilikuththuwa is famous for its caves, other natural wonders also abound.

Amongst its caves, and not far from the Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Vihara, is the much celebrated yoda puswela or creeper.

This Pilikuththuwa puswela is spread through a huge area and is said to be second only to the one at Sinharaja. It is also believed to be at least 500 years old. We looked for its roots and found them with some difficulty. It was a rare sight -- from the deep crevices of sheer rock its thick root twisted and raised itself up, out of a great abyss towards the freedom of the wilderness. We climbed the surrounding rocks through dark and narrow crevices to get a better view. To take a good picture of this gnarled and knotted titan was almost impossible as its tangled branches twisted and crept in all directions in a mighty jumble. We emerged from its clutches and stood on the edge of a cliff with a whole lot of scenery below us.

Also not far from the Pilikuththuwa Raja Maha Vihara is the Dig gala or the Dig Thalawa - a rocky plain, consisting of about 1 mile of rock mass with a height of about 750 feet above sea level. This is also called the Balun gala or the look out post. .

From here is visible the spectacular Gal mala. (coral) Out of a dense carpet of tangled green it soared upwards in an extraordinary arrangement. The vertical drain like depressions making waves in a down ward pattern. It is indeed an unusual sight.

On the far horizon Gampaha town can be seen. While closer up, and from another side, is seen the Valagamba Raja Maha Vihara and, from yet another side, the Maligathenna Vihara.

In quite another direction, and again by walking along a rocky plain, we made our way to the Valagamba Raja Maha Viharaya.

On route we were introduced to the Kalantha bokka.

A sheer abyss between two rocks, which is not for the faint hearted.

At one point the distant horizon revealed the city of Colombo or so I was told.

But to me what was thrilling was the tropical scenery which spread like a green-gold carpet around the bottom of the rock. The paddy fields in the valleys were lit with luminous green. The coconut plantations leaning over in delightful grace, a variety of fruit trees in absolute abundance.... It seemed that here was everything !!


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