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|Year and Month||October, 2015|
|Number of Days||One|
|Crew||(Both of us & Theshantha’s family)|
|Transport||Pajero & Hilux|
|Activities||Adventure drive, 4X4, Archeology, National parks|
|Weather||Gloomy and drizzling|
|Route||Chilaw -> Nikaweratiya -> Maho -> Madagalla -> Bulnewa -> Galnewa -> Kala wewa -> Andiyagala -> Kala Wewa NP -> Res wehera -> Awukana -> Vijithapura -> Returned back on the same route|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
It was totally random but we wanted to visit Kala wewa since it was named and opened to the public very recently. When we got there it was already drizzling and the lake was filled up to the brim. After getting in contact with the DWC officers and experienced “Ali Ananda” we went to get a ticket. We were surprised because we got to know that we were the first to visit the park since its opening. Feeling honoured we took the road towards Kala wewa reservoir. It was a muddy virgin road which was very slippery. This adventure was all about mud baths. When we reached the lake we noted that we had to abandon the idea of riding around the lake because the 20km path was covered with water. After a brief stay we came back to the entrance and took the road towards the fishing port and took a short boat ride before exiting this muddy park. Though we didn’t see any elephants it really didn’t matter because we enjoyed the muddy ride. We were told that there are 14 Tuskers and 12 young Elephants with tusk. Kala wewa is the only place in SL with such a high density of tuskers. So it’s a timely decision to announce this as a national park.
After visiting Kala wewa we wanted to visit few archeological sites in the vicinity so we returned back to Andiyagala junction and took few by roads and reached Bulnewa – Saliyagama road and from there we went towards Res wehera. It is located in Kahallapallekele sanctuary and the road was a muddy one through the wilderness. The visit was totally worth and we really appreciated that visit. We also climbed uphill to have a good panoramic view towards the land of the kings. The image house and its paintings were well preserved and lovely.
This is a colossal statue of Buddha lying close the famous Awkana statue, but not as popular. This statue is called Ras Vehera as well as Sasuruwa (or Sas-seruwa). The height of this statue is recorded as 39 feet 3 inches but according to the chief priest there its height is 42 feet 4 inches. The statue depicts the Abhaya Mudra ( freedom from fear). Like the Awkana the robe of the Buddha is clinging to the body but the final finishes doesn’t seems to have been done.
The pedestal on which the Buddha is carved is not decorated and it is only a square block of stone. One ear is also unfinished. All this indicate that this statue was never fished for a unknown reason.
According to chronicles The King Mahasen (276-303 AD) who ruled from Anuradhapura has built a statue called “Rahera” statue at the base of the “Rahera” cliff. It is thought that Ras Vehera is this statue and after his death the work on the site has also halted.
This statue also lacks the “Siraspatha” at the top of the head which is seen in the Awkana statue. But it is said that there has been a wooden “siraspatha” in early days. There also has been a housing structure around the statue for protection as the rock in which the statue is carved is fairly soft. All this has been destroyed during the North Indian Tamil invasion (of Kalinga Maga).
The Bo Tree in the site is a sapling of the very first 32 saplings (dethis Omaha bo Ankara) of the Sri Maha Bodhi in the Anuradhapura and is thought to be planted by the king Devampiyathissa (250 – 210 BC). It is said that on the day the tree was planted the area was lit by colourful rays of light (ras). Thus the name ‘Ras Vehera’ was attached to this site. The tree is protected by a 10 feet tall 4 layers of tightly packed stones. This is too is a unique feature of the unique feature comparable to bodigara seen in other temples.
This place is also called Sesuruwa (or Sas-seruwa) which could be interpreted as the “similar statue”. This could be due the proximity of the Awkana Statue and the similarities. Folklore also tells that the Ras Vehera statue was done by the same person and this was a trial before starting off the famous Awkana Statue.
There are 2 image houses in addition to the main Buddha image cut in to the stone. One is on the same path you climb to the rock statue but before the Bo tree. This image house inside a cave is called “Raja Maha Viharaya” and the stupa is said to be built by King Walagamba (89-77 BC). As you enter is a beautiful Makara Thorana and underneath is a beautiful seating Buddha statue.
The other cave image house contains a massive reclining Buddha statue. You can see several places in this statue where treasure hunters have broken in to and freshly repaired.
According to the priest of the temple this is 39 feet long and has some unique features not found in other shrine caves. It is possible to walk around this statue. Another feature is the robe on the statue has been hand woven and pasted. Then a hand woven cotton thread has been pasted all over to represent the waves of the robe. Then this has been plastered and painted. According to the chief priest this thread has been woven by single poor woman as a offering to the Buddha. The original thread and the robe is now visible in certain places, specially on the rear side of the statue.
In this cave there is finely woven bed donated by a wood craftsman during the King Rajasinghe (1797 – 1814) era. According the chief priest there is a very interesting story behind this offering. During these times only privileged people were allowed to sleep on beds. But the wife of this said wood craftsmen was nagging him to make her a bed.
Finally the craftsman gave in and made a bed for his wife. And of course there was no fun sleeping on a bed when nobody knows that there is a bed in your house. So the wife had to tell about her secret bed to their neighbors and news spread from house to house and finally to the king. So finally the the poor craftsman decided to offer the bed to the temple to avoid punishment by the king.
In this cave is a small burrow where a large Cobra lives. It is commonly believed that this cobra is a protector of the cave shrine.
Both these shrine rooms are generally kept locked to keep away thiefs. But the priests there will be happy to open them for anybody who wants to go in.
In addition to above there are 99 caves where the Buddhist monks lived in the pre christian era.
From Ras Vehera we took off towards Awukana and paid this masterpiece a quick visit.
Our ancient sculptures in stone in the form of Buddha statues, sluices, guard stones , pillars and other such artifacts are over 2000 years old. Among the largest such standing Buddha statues is this famed Aukana Buddha statue lying amidst Raja Rata – the cradle of our ancient civilization. It is carved out of a rock boulder and lies close to the serene Kala Weva tank built by King Dhatusena of the 5th century AD.
The Aukana Buddha colossus in stone is also easily accessible through the Mahaweli System H, at Galnewa. This Aukana Buddha statue is 46-feet high, resting on a fine lotus stone pedestal. The symbolic gesture carved on the statue, called Mudra is in the form of Ashiva Mudra which signifies giving or blessing.
A few miles away from Galnewa via Magalweva in Mahaweli System H, lies a similar standing Buddha statue enclaved amidst a vast conclave of rock cave shelters and giant boulders in the folds of the jungle fastness. This Buddha statue is known by two names one is Ras Vehera and the other Sesuruwa.
Ras Vehera has its derivation that the patriarch Bo tree standing there had originated from a sapling that was brought from the Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura. As when the Bo sapling was planted there, the rays (halo) of Lord Buddha illuminated around the place.
From Awukana we took off towards Vijithapura to pay a visit to the historical Vijithapura Raja Maha Viharaya. After visiting the temple we returned back to our homes with some wonderful memories of this rainy day.
In the 2nd century BC the great warrior king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) began his crusade to defeat the Indian Tamil King Elara in Anuradhapura and bring the country under one Sri Lankan king from Tissamaharama. On his way he destroyed many strongholds of Elara. The great chronical mahavansa describes the victories.
And finally he reached the Fortress of Vijithapura, the final and the mightiest of the strongholds of Elara before the Capital City of Anuradhapura. The victory of Vijithapura takes a special place in the Mahavansa.
This city is of Vijithanagara is today believed to be the Vijithapura off Kala weva although some historians believe that the Vijithanagara should lie close to Polonnaruwa. Legend say that king Dutugemunu built a temple embodying winning post which used to inform the victory and this temple is believed to be the Vijithapura Rajamaha Viharaya. Although there is no much historic evidence, the temple is littered with old ruins which are believed to be belonging to the Anuradhapura Era.
The most interesting out of these is the “Kadu ge Gala” the stone which believed to be used by the King Dutugemunu and his army to shapen the swards. This stone certainly shows very heavy use.