Kalinga Nuwara Ruins – කාලිංග නුවර නටබුන්

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Forest of the Kalinga Nuwara Island

Forest of the Kalinga Nuwara Island
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

Kalinga Nuwara is an large island in the Mahaweli River south of Polonnaruwa. The River gets divided to seven channels by a cluster of islands at this location. The largest island in this cluster is the Kalinga Nuwara. This island is over 1.5 km in length and ½ km at its widest point. It has a landmass of 3.8 square kilometers. The island considerably narrow down towards east giving the island the shape of a conch shell.

The first detailed  mention of Kalinga Nuwara Island ruins are in the book “Seeing Ceylon” by R.L. Brohier in 1965. He mentions that the whole island is scattered with clay bricks and broken granite building material and says at one time the whole island would have been packed with building of all types. Ruins of plain buildings with plain dragon arches and a foundation of a fairly large elliptical building ( 72 feet x 52 feet) is been mentioned in this book.

It is believed that the massive Upasampada Karmaya ( Buddhist rite of higher ordination, by which a novice becomes a monk, or a bhikhu) carried out by king Vijayabahu (IV ?)  in the 13th century at this island.  He is said to have built large refectories and thousands of living quarters at Kalinga Nuwara and dispatched island wide invitations to all the novice bikkus awaiting Upasampada to come to this location for the mass Upsampada Karmaya.

It it also said that Kalinga Nuwara was a ship building yard in ancient times from where, King Parakramabahu sent ships to invade Burma.

The Island can be reached by crossing the river from Damanewewa. The best time to go is the dry season when the water in the river is low.

Also See

Travel Directions to The Mystic Ruins of the Kalinga Nuwara Island

Route from Monaragala to  the mystic ruins of the Kalinga Nuwara island

Distance : 65 km
Travel time : 1.5  hour + hike
Driving directions : see on google map

Map of Mystic Ruins of the Kalinga Nuwara Island

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