Ramba Viharaya [4] – Ramba Vihara revisited

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Ramba Rajamaha Viharago to primary root main first article

As a result of the explorations, done by the Ruhuna Central Cultural Triangle the following archaeological treasures have been conserved.

1. Starting from early 2000, during the tenure of its first Officer-In-Charge. Gamini Dodanwela, among the noteworthy but rare relics unearthed and conserved comprised a Ran Karaduwa (a gold plated Relic casket), and a Ran Kotha (a gold plated pinnacle).

This Karaduwa (relic casket), contain some tiny bone fragments which Dodanwela conjectured to be those of Sarwangna Datu (of Buddha). Both the casket and pinnacle had been turned out of clay plated with gold.

Ramba Rajamaha ViharaThose fragments were in burnt form brown in colour. Dodanwela at the time I met him for the second time, further enlightened me that these objects of the Relic casket and the pinnacle together with the bone fragments had been sent to USA for carbon testing to reckon its period of time.

At that time he told me that the carbon report relating only to the relic casket and pinnacle had been received and not those of the bone fragments. As to the inference of the carbon testing of the relic casket and pinnacle, it had been testified to belong to the period of 8th and 10th century AD.

Ramba Rajamaha ViharaAt that time Dodanwela, had with him three lively photos of the relic casket, pinnacle and the bone fragments. He explained in pointing out to the photographs of their significance. The relic casket contained three compartments together with the tiny pieces of bones (the size of (gammiris eta).

These had a lid followed by another such lid. To remove the entire components, on its top had a copper gold plated lid. Then with another such lid, it was closed having a small relic chamber.

Ramba Rajamaha ViharaIn its bottom chamber those bone relics in fragments were duly deposited. When all these objects were not in their pristine state, while the pinnacle was surmounted over it which were later restored meticulously to their prime state by the proficient officials attached to the project.

Plans are also afoot to have a herbarium of medicinal plants endemic to this region, interlaced with agricultural forests like cocoa, pepper vines, (gammiris vel), mango jakguwawa (pera) and even bananas of which a few plants are already planted as a symbolic past heritage reminiscent of those epic times, when Buddhist monks of this ancient hermitage conducted their meditation chores under the copious shade and sanctuary of those bananas groves that had thrived there, then.

Ramba Rajamaha ViharaNissankamalla Stone Slab Inscription

This particular exercise is evident in stone as etched on the above mentioned stone inscription slab (of the 12th century AD) found in the Ramba Vihara premises in the past. The interpretation of this stone slab inscription had been expounded by a reputed Archaeological Commissioner of the time, namely the late Dr. Godakumbura as hitherto mentioned in this very article.

In his authoritative paper he had given its very inference. I wish to recall that when I visited this Ramba Vihara first in the late 1970’s this Nissanka Malla stone slab inscription it was lying prone in the Vehera premises, it was cracked in the middle. But now it appears to have not been there from a long time. Rasika Bandara commented that this ongoing project would go on further for sometime.

Unique sanitary maintenance

Rasika Bandara recalled that the ancients were quite environmental friendly particularly in regard to maintaining urinals. They maintained the sanitary conditions in a hygienic state. He revealed that the urine fell into a clay pot filled with leaves of a jungle plant called Angunu, so that the urine collected in it was well filtered through those leaves and got absorbed into the earth sans any environmental hazards.

by Gamini G. Punchihewa
Sunday Observer

Also See

Map of Ramba Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Ramba Viharaya

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