Vannadі Brіdge – The Ancient Stone Bridge at Kayankerni – කයන්කේනි පුරාණ ගල් පාලම

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Remains of the ancient Kayyankerni stone bridge

Remains of the ancient Kayyankerni stone bridge
Image courtesy of Dr. Ashan Geeganage

This stone bridge is located west of the Kayankenі Junction and it has fallen across the Kayankenі Lagoon. The bridge belonged to the Kayankenі Grama Niladhari Division of Vakare Secretariat zone. The bridge has extended from east to west and the existing length of this stone bridge is about 200m when looked at from eye level. Some pillars had fall across the lagoon. The bottom of the pillars were built vertically covered with water to some extent.

This bridge is known as “Vannadі bridge” to the people who live in the area. “Vannadі” is a Tamil term that means “butterfly”. About 2km to east of the Kayankenі stone bridge and about 200m towards land from the Kayankenі coast, there are lots of ruins spread over land of covering few kilometers.

We succeed in discovering lot of architectural items like different sized stone pillars, Kοrawak Gal and Sandakada Pahana (mοοnstοnes) from this place and the above mentioned Kayankenі bridge also appears to lead toward this land.

Local sources informed us that in the past there was a Royal School in this ruined area and they believe this road was the way used by the ancient royal princes and princesses to reach this school (Interview: S. H.Tіlakaratna, Ranjіth Bandara on 15. 08. 2012). While observing the geographical background of this Kayankenі area, we saw this place could have been a sea bay. Therefore it can be identified as a suitable location for a harbour.

These factors may suggest a new historical story regarding the polonnaruwa kingdom, where we would have an ancient harbour and an ancient religious place that was connected to the harbour. But this sit requires further study.

Extracted from : New Maritime Archaeological discoveries in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka with special emphasis on Trincomalee to Pothuwil
by A. M. A. Dayananda and Mahinda Karunarathna
Maritime Archaeology Unit, Central Cultural Fund, Ministry of Culture and the Arts
Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

There are at least 5 large scale stone bridges discovered  in Sri Lanka. The most popular is the bridge over the Malwathu Oya.

  1. Bridge over Malwathu Oya (Anuradhapura)
  2. Bridge over Halpan Ela (Anuradhapura)
  3. Bridge close to Mahakanadarawa Reservoir (Mihintale)
  4. Bridge at the Girihandu Seya  (Tiriyaya)
  5. Bridge in Kayankerni (Eastern Province)

To view the remains of the Vannadі bridge, you will need to take a ride on a fishing boat on the lagoon. For a trip report to this site by Dr. Ashan Geeganage who contributed the above photos can be found here.

Also See

Map of the The Ancient Stone Bridge at Kayankerni


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Traveling Directions to the The Ancient Stone Bridge at Kayankerni

Route from Trincomalee to The Ancient Stone Bridge at Kayankerni

Route from Batticaloa to The Ancient Stone Bridge at Kayankerni

Through : Kinniya – Mutur – Serunuwara – Verugal – Kathiraveli – Vakare
Distance : 95 km
Travel time : 2.15  hours
Driving directions : see on google maps
Through : Chenkaladi – Kalkuda
Distance : 43 km
Travel time : 1.15  hours
Driving directions : see on google maps

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Posted in Bridges, Heritage