It was 7.15 in the morning of June 2nd 1987 when a bus filled with Novice Buddhist Monks, their mentor Chief Priest Ven. Hegoda Indrasara and few civilians were stopped near the village of Nuwerathanne. They were going on a pilgrimage from their temple in Mahavapi to the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara. They were being stopped by 20 armed carders of the ruthless tamil terrorist organisation called the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). The bus driver was ordered to drive the bus in to the Jungles of Aranthalawa.
The moment the bus was stopped some Tamil Tigers opened fire on the novice monks and others started hacking and chopping these barely teen children of Buddha with swards and knives. Buddhist monks by Vinaya rules or canonical law cannot hold arms for their protection.
In the end there was 31 bodies in saffron robes drenched with blood including the Chief monks and 4 bodies of civilians. Four novice monks escaped death with critical injuries and Three bikkus are living with medical aid and another Bhikku is permanently disabled. This was the bloodiest bloodbath on civilians of the Tamil Tigers for years to come.
In 2003, the Helabima Organisation and the STF (Special Task Force) got to gether to build a monument near the very place that is Massacre took place. Today this monuments stands alone in the middle of the Jungles of Aranthalawa surrounded by trees of which witnessed this Massacre over 20 years ago.
In 2013, a memorial museum was built on this location using the same bus in which these monks were traveling by a local artist. The gruesome last minutes of these small novice monks has been re created inside this bus and is open to public.
How to get there
Aranthalawa lies between Ampara and Maha Oya. There is a newer monument with the statue of Chief Priest Ven. Hegoda Indrasara built by the road. In front of this monument is a gravel road which leads to the place that the Massacre took place. This gravel road is marked by a cement slab which is visible only if you travel from the Mahaoya side.
After traveling about 50 meters on this gravel path you will come across the monument which is built upon a natural rock to mark the place of one of the most cruel bloodbaths of the recent Sri Lankan history.
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Map of Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre
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Travel Directions to Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre
Route from Ampara Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre
|Through : Maha Oya Road|
Distance : 46 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : See on Google Maps