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|Year and Month||June, 2014 (20th)|
|Number of Days||One Day Trip|
|Crew||02-Anupama and My self|
|Transport||Motor bike and walking|
|Activities||Mountain climbing, Archeology and Photography|
|Route||Polonnaruwa -> Dambulla -> Pannanpitiya (පන්නන්පිටිය) in A9 road towards Matale -> Menikdena archeology site -> Menikdena peak -> Returned in same route to Pannanpitiya -> Lenadora (ලෙනදොර) -> Naula (නාවුල) -> Galewela(ගලේවෙල) -> Polonnaruwa|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
I have noted two big isolated mountains closer to Galewela town during my routine travel from Polonnaruwa. Later I knew one of them as Menikdena. Map reading told it can be easily approached from A9 road. Then I got to know Menikdena archeology site and arboretum are also situated closer to Menikdena Mountain.
I suggested my plan to Anupama and he agreed with me to conquer it. We didn’t have a clear idea till we reach the archeology site. On the way to archeology site we inquired about climbing to Menikdena from a villager. He answered in positive manner and caretaker of archeology site gave directions.
Menikdena archeology site and Arboretum.
How to reach there?
When you come from Dambulla in A9 road you will come across Pannanpitiya junction. In right hand side you may notice the board mentioning archeology site. Then travel along Ethabandiwewa road. After few kilometers it branches into two and archeology board would be in left hand side. Then go along left hand side road till you find another road in left side towards archeology site. It is very easy to find the place and road condition is good.
Historical back ground
The historical site of Menikdena was known in several names in the past. It was known as Menikdena Pabbata (මැණික්දෙන පබ්බත) during the second half of the Anuradhapura period (555-573 AD), and the temple complex was known as Buddhagma (බුද්ධගාම) and Butgama during the reign of King Kitsiri Mevan (කිත්සිරි මෙවන්).
King Kitsiri Mevan is believed to be the founder of the historical monastery complex here. According to the historical evidences it had been used by the monks of Mahayana Buddhism. Menikdena temple had been one of the several places, where the tooth relic of Buddha was safe guarded in the past.
The historical temple was temporarily used as a camping site for the army of King Wijayabahu (විජයබාහු රජතුමා) (1055-1110 AD). It had been the residence for large number of monks and it was provided with state patronage by many successful rulers. Then the Royal elephant of King Wijayabahu I having been rested here. It also served the same purpose during the campaign of King Parakramabahu I (පළමු පරාක්ර මබාහු) against King Gajabahu II (දෙවනි ගජබාහු) (1132 – 1153 AD). A large camp site could be seen on top of Manikdena hill above the Atha Bandi Weva tank.
The last monk of Sri Lanka, who attained the Arahathood-Maliyadewa Thero (මලියදේව රහතන් වහන්සේ), lived here. When the monk passed away, the body was put into a specially decorated container with gemstones and buried. The present name “Menikdena” is directly attributed to this incident.
Menikdena has the typical five structures found in such monastic complex-Stupa/Chaithya, Bodhigaraya, Shrine house, chapter house and Dharma Shala.
Archaeological reserve covers an area of 2 hectares (5 acres) and the Arboretum covers about 14 hectares (35 acres) of forest land.
Menikdena has been declared as an Archaeological Reserve in 1957.
What we can see there
Menikdena isolated mountain is situated close to the archeology site. Our main target was that. We got directions from care taker of archeology site and walked along the small cemented canal which lies in front of the archeology site. On our way we noticed a foot pathway in right hand side of the canal and we changed our track on to it. This foot pathway brought us to one corner of the mountain where large flat rock could be seen. We started the hike along that. After about 500m forest was started. As this was typical dry zone forest it was not difficult to climb there. After about 30-45minutes journey we reached an area in the forest seemed like the peak. But it was completely covered with forest and we noticed a view point there. It showed the view of Kurunegala, Galewela and Dambulla.
Again we climbed up through the forest about 45minutes to reach a Mana patch. Then we creped along the Mana patch and it was the most difficult task of this hike. At the end of Mana patch we were able to reach second view point which was better than first one. At this view point we could watch Dambulu Oya reservoir/ Ibbankatuwa tank, Dambulla peak, Sigiriya, Pidurangala and Ritigala far away. Then Kandalama tank (කන්ඩලම වැව), Yakkurugala (යක්කුරුගල), Dickandahena (දික්කදහේන) and Erawalgala (ඈරවලගල) were seen. Gedaragalapathana (ගෙදරගලපතන) was rising in our right hand side and Lenadora was nearby. Though we thought this is the highest point of Menikdena, it was wrong again.
Menikdena Mountain changes it’s direction after this and we climbed along it’s ridge. This part had a forest patch and bushes. It was bit difficult to walk there as forest cover was not that much tall. After about 45minutes journey we reached the highest point of Menikdena Mountain. At this point we could view southern area of the Mountain. It includes Maratuluwa (මරටුළුව) rock, Nalanda rock/ Arangala (අරoගල), Ambokka (අම්බොක්ක), Wilshire, Etipola (ඇටිපොල), Knuckles massif and Bowathenna (බෝවතැන්න) Tank.
We have spent nearly 3 hours to reach the peak and return journey got about two and half hours as we lost our way when we were coming down.
Different views of Menikdena
Lenadora Archeology Site.
Lenadora archeology site can be reached along the road which lies in front of Lenadora post office. Go along this road till you reach “Weda Gedara” (වෙද ගෙදර). Then take the foot pathway in front of “Weda Gedara”. (Better ask directions from them). After about 200-300m you will come across a perennial water spring, few stone pillars and ruins of a Stupa. But nothing much to watch there.
Panchawasa Temples (පoචාවාස විහාර) of Sri Lanka.
Temples which contain five structures- Stupa/Chaithya, Bodhigaraya, Shrine house, Chapter house and Dharma Shala called Panchawasa Temples. According to literature they have found about 40 Panchawasa temples in Sri Lanka and 38 out of them are destroyed well. Menikdena temple and Henanigala temple are still well preserved at the moment.
I thought this is the ideal place to publish some photos I have taken about 2years ago in my visit to Henanigala Panchawasa Temple.
Henanigala Panchawasa Temple (හෙනානිගල පoචාවාස විහාරය)
This is situated at Nawamadagama (නවමැදගම). Nawamadagama is a small town comes across in Mahiyangana-Pollonnaruwa road. Therefore you can reach it either from Pollonnaruwa or Mahiyangana.
We got a three-wheeler from Nawamadagama town and came to Henanigala-North temple. (Don’t get confuse with Henanigala in Maduru-Oya forest reserve as these two are different places).
Great king Dutugamunu (දුටුගැමුණු රජතුමා) has camped here with his troops on the way to Anuradhapura from Magama. “Sena+Ani+Gala” සේනා+ ඇණි+ගල ->Henanigala.
Thanks for reading