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|Year and Month||October, 2014|
|Number of Days||Four Day Trip|
|Crew||3 adults between 35 and 45|
|Accommodation||Homes of friends|
|Activities||Helping a friend move house and exploring 🙂|
|Weather||Gloomy, rainy. No sun|
|Route||Colombo –> Trinco –> Kallarawa ( on the Pulmudai road, just past Tiriyaya turn off) –> Valathamalai site (less than 50km from Trinco)|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
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This is not really a trip. It’s just one site. But thought of writing it up as it is one of those ‘hidden gems’ …and I have partiality towards it as I had been searching for it for awhile. Yes, one of those! And since it was not in Ashan’s zone he could not oblige has he so often does 🙂
First saw it as a small photograph titled ‘Nagathambarani, Tiriyaya’ in the book ‘Eloquence in Stone’ . ( Ashan renamed this book “gal potha” due to its size and contents!). This is the same book that gave us the clue to finding Budupatuna.
Followed up a few leads, but could not trace it. So mailed the Studio Times (the publisher of the book) and got further information on its location and a tip on a potential guide.
We were in Trinco a few weeks back with a day to spare, so we went looking for Mr. Dayananda Manawaduge – the potential guide. The directions we had – just by the 47/1 culvert past 46th km post on the Pulmudai-Trinco road – proved to be spot on. And what a find! Mr. Manawaduge welcomed us to his home like long time friends, though we had never met before! He proved to be a mine of information on the area with an unending supply of stories about his growing up years in a village beyond Thiriyai, the multiple displacements and trauma of war and unexpected experiences of peace. Pulled in to the conversation we almost forgot our target: Nagathambarani – the five headed naga carved on a rock.
You would need a guide for the simple reason that there are no real landmarks. If anything, I can only offer, look left when travelling along the Trinco – Pulmudai road, just past Kallarawa, between the 49th and 50th km post, you can see a small hill. You need to head to the top of it. This hill is known as Valathamalay, we were told. The longer hill to the south that you see is ‘pansal kanda’ ie where Girihandu saye is.
What we found was a potentially large and unusual site. Believe it or not – I forgot to take my camera and had to learn my friend’s camera rather unsuccessfully. Most of the photos given here are Gayathri’s.
Unusually this Naga stone is not carved by a water /irrigation site. It is right at the top of the little hill where you find a cluster of boulders.
And for the first time, we saw a figure carved next to the Naga. It is clearly a female figure, in a posture similar to the ‘man and horse’ figure above the pond at Isurumuniya.
The thirnunoor (three lines in ash) has been drawn on the figures by Hindu devotees who come here for a special puja. The bulk of the white on the naga figure also seems to be a similar colouring. Apparently the naga image is a popular place of puja, especially with Hindus living overseas. They come here to fulfill vows and usually offer milk based preparations.
In addition to the white, there is a distinct bit of colour ( orange – red – white) in the groove of the naga at the bottom. So it must have been plastered and painted at some point in the past.
The rocky peak with the naga and female carving seems to have been surrounded by buildings. There are steps leading right up to it ( below the steps nidan horu have been practicing their sub-human activities), and behind it is a low cave complete with kataram , remains of plaster, and gal andan. On the rocks that make up the cluster, there are lots of cuts and niches that indicate considerable construction. And strewn all around, and down the slope of the hill, there are stone pillars, steps, paving stones, door niches, etc.
When we were climbing up we were so focused on finding the naga stone that we did not pause to explore the mash land we crossed at the foot of the hill. On the way back, we walked around and realised it was not just a marsh that sucked us in, but the remains of a pond – one that had been built up with rows of cut stone. Not unlike what you find in monasteries of the Anuradhapura period. Something like a rala panawa. No restoration has been done, but the layout of the stones is clearly visible.
But, this apparently was just a small source of water. The real wewa had been further up, with the bund being built across two hills that were visible through the trees from the peak where the naga carving was.
All the time we were walking, Mr. Dayananda kept a sharp look out, and since there was so much fresh elephant dung around it was not hard to figure out what he was peering at! So when we saw a body in the water, we jumped to the conclusion that it was an elephant..a baby elephant..no, actually a full grown buffalo!
The day did not end there as Mr. Dayananda invited us home for a super lunch, and proceeded to extend the invitation further saying to come and stay whenever we want as there was plenty more to explore!!
Next time you are in Trinco – do take a look. And the 16 dagaba rock in Kuchchaveli is also on this road.