Ranmasu Uyana (Royal Goldfish Park) – රන්මසු උයන

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Even before Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the mid 3rd century BCE, parks were a definite feature of city planning. Some of these parks were Mahamegha Park established by King Mutasiva in the 3rd century BCE, Nanadana Park, and the Jothivana. But with the arrival of the Great Mahinda Thero in 250 BCE, all these parks were donated to the Sanga Community by King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC). The originator of this garden is lost in history but Ranmasu Uyana was probably established as an alternative to all the parks donated to the maha sanga (Seneviratna, 1994).

The Vessagiriya inscription of Mahinda IV (956-972) gives the name of the park as “Ranmasu Uyana”, the Royal Goldfish Park. It mentioned therein that the water of the Tissa Wewa that is let out from the royal sluice must be first allowed to be fed into the Ranmasu Uyana, the Royal Park, and to Kelageya (kadaligrha), the plantain arbour and to Uyanteya, the park ponds and to Mahanel-teya, the water lily ponds and finally to rice fields around Isurumuni Viharaya (Seneviratna, 1994).

It is believed that Prince Saliya, the son of the great hero king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) met his future bride-to-be Asokamala who was of a lower cast of Chandala at this garden. If this is true, this garden would probably been established right after the other parks were donated in the 3rd century BCE (Seneviratna, 1994). However, there is no record to conclusively conclude who built this park. Today this park covers an area of approx. 40 acres and is a fine example of Sri Lankan garden architecture of the pre-Christian era.

The rocks scattered around the area were used by the architect to create this pleasure garden. In one place two rock boulders have been connected each other with stone slabs. The remains of a small building can be seen on these platforms.

Below the rocks, there are three bathing ponds and some smaller ponds, considered some of the best-preserved artistic ruins found in Anuradhapura (Weerasooriya, 1939). The smaller ponds probably held the goldfish and water lilies. The largest pond lies in the north and is 34 feet x 20-29 feet. On the western side is a stone cave-like room measuring 7 feet x 6 feet. (see photos 1 and 4).

On the sides of the cave-like room are beautifully sculptured elephants bathing on a lotus pond. (see photos 2 and 3) On the southern side of the rocks lies another pond with two units. On the inner unit, there is a chamber built with slabs of rock. (see photo 6). This probably was a changing chamber for the royal family. Pranavitana also believed that these joined ponds made a shower bath where the royals were sprayed from water jets (Seneviratna, 1994).

Towards the extreme southern end of these boulders are signs of a very ancient building, among which several shallow caves, some with drip ledges, are to be observed. On a steeply projecting side of one of the rocks facing the bund, a queer petroglyph is carved. This petroglyph has recently been proven to be pre-Buddhist and probably about five thousand years old! It is in the form of a chakra, or circle having a second inner circle, between which there are several signs. The chakra has been divided by lines into four equal quadrants, while at the exact centre, there are a number of concentric circles.

Of this petroglyph, that learned Oriental scholar, Mr. W. A. de Silva (the Hon’ble the Minister of Health) writes: ” The Yakkas of Ceylon had their own history though hardly any traces of their language and their institutions are seen now, except perhaps, an inscription on a stone near Tisa Wewa, at Anuradhapura. ….. . Professor D. M. Robison in his report on excavations of the city of Olynthus in Macedonia, which locality he estimates was inhabited from over 3000 B.C. gives a diagram of the floor of a house which he names the ‘Villa of Good Fortune’. In this diagram are seen a number of signs which bear a resemblance to some of the signs in the diagram at Tissa Wewa inscription.” (Weerasooriya, 1939).

Some believe this to be an ancient stargate or at least a diagram of one. Therefore this carving has received worldwide exposure and has been fucus of attention by many TV programs. For more information on this carvings please see here.

Ranmasu Uyana is situated north of the Isurumuniya. You can reach the park over the bund of Tissaweva and through a small path that falls to the Isurumuniya car park area.

References

  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka, pp294-208.
  • H.E. Weerasooriya, 1939. Historical guide to Anuradhapura’s ruins. Colombo: W.E. Bastian, 30-31.
  • Devendra, D.T., 1952. Guide to Anuradhapura. 2nd ed. Colombo: [Govt. Press], pp 38-40.
  • මැන්දිස්, ත., 2016. අනුරාධපුර උරුමය නරඹමු. කොළඹ 7, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව: මද්‍යම සංස්කෘතික අරමුදල, pp.27-32.

Also See

Map of Royal Goldfish Park (Ranmasu Uyana)

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Driving Directions to Anuradhapura Royal Goldfish Park (Ranmasu Uyana)

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. From Kurunegala, there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala-Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

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