Ali Besama Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු අලි බේසම නටබුන්)

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Small Reservoir at the Ali Besama Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa
Small Reservoir at the Ali Besama Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Ali Besama is a rocky outcrop hidden deep in the jungle of Wasgamuwa National Park, about 3.5 km west of the main stream of the Mahaweli River and about 2.8 km north of the eastern tributary of Wasgamuwa River, far away from the tourist jeep tracks and rarely visited by any humans.

Wasgamuwa National Park is a jungle dotted with a large number of ancient Buddhist ruins known only to few. They are inaccessible to general visitors to park as well as anybody who wishes specifically visit the sites. There are are no roads and the access is by foot many kilometers through the wildlife infested jungle paths. Currently only the treasure hunters seem to have unlimited access to these sites.


The site has cluster of rocky hills. The ruins lie on the southeastern edge of the rock know as Ali Besama meaning Elephant Basin. An archaeology team from Japan has discovered ruins of 3 stupas at 3 peaks and many other buildings at the site indicating that this area has been a populated areas during the Polonnaruwa period.

Ali Besama Ruins - Plan of the site
Ali Besama Ruins – Plan of the site
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Been located on a hill, the ruins a badly weathered after thousands of years and what ever which has been left have been destroyed by treasure hunters. Stupa marked as A lies on the highest peak. It has been standing on a platform of about 10×10 meters but the total stupa has more or less has been washed away. Stupa B lies on slightly lower peak about 70 meters southeast of A. The scale of the platform is about 10m on each side built with 40cm x 30cm x 30cm cut stones on the northeast side. Treasure hunter has dug a pit of about 2 meters in deapth at this stupa.

There is a relatively large pataha (kema) with a 13m length and 1.8m width with a maximum depth of 1.8m under the steep slope about 30m south of the B1 stupa.

The stupa marked as C is built in the center of a gentle hill, about 80m away from the center of the B1 stupa. The base has two layers remaining in a staircase style, with one side of the lower (outside) about 20m and the upper one about 17m, which is about twice as large as the A1 and B1 stupa. This stupa has also been dug by treasure hunters and brick fragments , large stone plates, stones are seen scattered around.

On the western side of the stupa lies is a rock depression that continues from the saddle on the north side creating a large reservoir which is still retaining some water. This is about 35 meters in length and 20 meters in width. Judging from the layout of the entire ruins, there must have been a passage to the pond and some coastal facilities on the north side, but this time the survey was not covered.


  • Okamura, T., 2012. Ruins of Wasgomuwa National Park – Sri Lanka — 2009/2010 Survey Report —. Tokyo: South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society (SARERS)

Also See

Map of  Ali Besama Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa

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Travel Directions to Ali Besama Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa

Route from Dambulla to Nagana Gala inside Wasgamuwa National Park Entrance
Through : Bakamuna
Distance : 121ckm
Travel time :3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map