Ruins of Alubedda Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) and Gal Amuna over Kala Oya (අලුබැද්ද පුරාණ ගල් පාලම හා ගල් අමුණ නටබුණ්)

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Anuradhapura was the first real capital of Sri Lanka over two thousand two hundred years ago. The road network was in a highly developed state during this era, with major roads leading to Trincomalee, Mannar, Jaffna and the southern kingdoms from Anuradhapura. These roads were not only used for foot traffic but carts carrying goods travelling for trade and commercial activities. With the development of the road network, the ancient kings built sturdy bridges out of granite slabs and pillars. Ruins in various bridges around Anuradhapura can be found across Malwathu Oya, Hal Pan Ela, Kandara Oya, Yan Oya, Kala Oya and Deduru Oya.

Outside the more popular stone bridges over Malwathu Oya and Halpan Oya, ruins of a few other bridges have been discovered. There may be many more still undiscovered stone bridges across the unknown ancient routes.

As you travel along the Yodha Ela originating from Kala Wewa Reservoir towards the famous Avukana Buddha Statue, you will come across the Hondungama four-way junction after passing the Avukana Statue. Turning right at this small roundabout leads to the small town of Hiripitiyagama. Travelling a little over a kilometre along this road will bring you to the bridge over Kala Oya also originating from Kala Wewa. Taking the gravel road to the right just before the bridge and travelling about 800 meters upstream from the bridge lies indications of an ancient stone bridge across Kala Oya. This bridge connected Alubedda and Palugaswewa across Kala Oya.

These ruins lie on the left bank belonging to the Aluth Udagama in Alubedda GS division belonging to the Galnewa PS division which in turn belongs to the Anuradhapura district.

The bridge is built using a flat rock plain which lies across the river. Deep cavities have been carved into the rock to fit large rock pillars. These holes are approx 45 centimetres in length and width. They are about 52 cm in depth which is more than over ½ meter. There are two rows of cavities running to a distance of about 66.5 meters across the rock surface. The distance between the rows is 2.8 meters and the cavities have been carved at 3.14 – 3.47 meter gaps.

The bridge had been connected to a natural rock surface on the southern bank. A 170 cm long 60 cm wide and 27 cm deep cavity has been caved on the vertical surface of this natural rock. The rock pillars and slabs for the bridge have been provided by a close by rock. Evidence of rock quarrying still can be seen in these places.

Since the Kala Oya is quite wide at this location, the bridge doesn’t seem to have survived for long. No rock pillars or slabs which was part of the bridge are found in the vicinity either. However, ruins of another stone bridge and an amuna are found 200 meters downstream. It is most probable that the remains of this bridge had been re-purposed to build the Palugaswewa Stone Bridge 200 meters away.

The same author discusses the existence of an ancient Amuna (weir / anicut) called Palugaswewa Gal Palama in another published paper. This amuna was used to divert water to a canal on the left bank 200 meters above the dam.

“This canal which starts from the left bank, about 200 meters above the Alubedda old dam built in Kala oya, irrigates a large area. The breadth at the bottom of the canal is almost 5 meters. It is in folklore that, this canal, runs westward and had been constructed up to Puttalama, via present Parakramapura and Rajanganaya.”

According to the author’s notes, the stone bridge / amuna lies at the GPS location 8°4’50.02″, 80°20’29.31″. However, this points to a location far off the possible area and is possibly and publishing mistake. The marker on the Google Map below is the possible area of this amuna based on the directions given.

Other Stone Bridges of Sri Lanka

There are many stone bridges discovered in Sri Lanka. These are in various states while some have been conserved to an extent. The most popular is the bridge over the Malwathu Oya.

  1. Alubedda Stone Bridge
  2. Angammedilla National Park Stone Bridge (Polonnaruwa)
  3. Ebawalapitiya Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Deduru Oya
  4. Girihandu Seya Stone Bridge (Tiriyaya)
  5. Habagama Stone Bridge
  6. Halpan Ela Stone Bridge (Anuradhapura)
  7. Kayankerni Stone Bridge  (Eastern Province)
  8. Mahakanadarawa Wewa Stone Bridge (Mihintale)
  9. Nirawiya Farm Gal Palama (Thambuttegama)
  10. Palugaswewa Stone Bridge
  11. Pavakkulam Stone Bridge (Vavuniya)
  12. Perimiyankulama Gal Palama over Malwathu Oya (Anuradhapura)
  13. Ritigala Gal Palama (Anuradhapura)
  14. Sukara Nijjara Gal Amuna and Stone Bridge
  15. Thimbiripokuna Palamgala Gal Palama
  16. Thirappane Stone Bridge
  17. Thulawelliya Stone Bridge
  18. Ullukkulama Stone Bridge
  19. Vannadi Palama (Vannadi Stone Bridge) and Amuna
  20. Weliela Mankada Stone Bridge
  21. Yanoya Stone Bridge

References

  • පුරාණ ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ශෛලමය පාලම් නිර්මාණ කිහිපයක් සහ එහි තාක්ෂණය පිලිබඳ මූලික විමසුමක් – ආචාර්ය චන්දන රෝහණ විතානාච්චි
  • Ancient Irrigation System of Dry and Intermediate Zones as Revealed from Ancient Canals – Dr. C.R. Withanachchi

Also See

Map of the Ruins of Alubedda Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Kala Oya

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
.

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

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Traveling Directions to the Ruins of Alubedda Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Kala Oya

Route from Kekirawa to Ruins of Alubedda Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Kala Oya
Through : Kalawewa – Avukana
Distance : 26  km
Travel time :1 hour
Time to spend : 30 mins to 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google maps

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