Ruins of Dastota in the Jungles of Polonnaruwa – පොළොන්නරුව දාස්තොට බොදු නටබුන්

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Amban Ganga is one of the major tributaries of the Mahawei River. After feeding the gigantic Parakrama Samudraya it joins Mahaweli Ganga at Dastota, at the northern edge of Wasgamuwa National Park and the Southern edge of the Floodplains National Park. The Delta created by these 2 rivers have many a indications that this area being a populated area even though its covered by jungle today.

The main indication the of this civilization is the large Dastota Wewa, an ancient reservoir covering a area of approximately 121 acres (491,000 sq. meters) on this delta. 12 km upstream from this juncture lies Kalinga Nuwara, ruins of an ancient monastery on a 100 acre island in the middle of Mahaweli River. Brohier believes that Dastota to be “Sahassatittha” mentioned in Mahawansa (Brohier, 2000). According to Mahavamsa king Paeakramabahu II (1236 -1270) of Dambadeniya Kingdom had sent his son prince Vijayabahu (later king Vijayabahu IV) to rebuild the ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and had a second coronation ceremony in Sahassatittha ((Ievers, 1899).

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The delta created by the 2 rivers at Dastota is covered in thick jungle since its inside the boundaries of a National Park. No research has been published on any ruins in the area around the Dastota Wewa except for a single place in the 1:50,000 inch map. However a detailed report written in Japanese language of three ruined sites inside the jungles of Dastota has been published by an Japanese Archaeology team who had visited these sites in 2011. The infirmation below is based on this report;

Dastota Ruins Site 1

This site is located at latitude 7 degrees 51 minutes 54.8 seconds north and longitude 81 degrees 01 minutes 36.1 seconds east. The ruins are scattered in an 30mx30m area inside the jungles west of Dastota Wewa. The entire ruins are covered in a thin forest. Within these ruins you can see a stupa, two buildings and a single Buddha statue.

Ruined site 01 of Dastota in the Jungles of Polonnaruwa - පොළොන්නරුව දාස්තොට  බොදු නටබුන්
Ruined site 01 of Dastota in the Jungles of Polonnaruwa – පොළොන්නරුව දාස්තොට බොදු නටබුන්
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

you can see the remains of a pagoda, the remains of two buildings (stone pillars and tile fragments), and a single Buddha statue. The stupa lies in the east side and is about 6meters in diameter. The gaping pit has been dug at the center of the stupa by treasure hunters. A large stone slab, possibly a flower alter is found beside the stupa.

About 12 meters northwest of the stupa, there is a trace of a building where only five stone pillars remain. And all the stone pillars are about 60 cm in height (photo 3-1). Ruins of second building lies about 20 meters west of the stupa. Although the shape and area of the building is unknown, the five stone pillars are left standing are in good condition. The height of the stone pillars is a little over 2m, and there is a circular medallion pattern decoration on the top. Therefore it is assumed that this is a Upostagara and the ruins here belonged to a monastery (Photo 13-2 to 13-4).

Midway between the second building and the stupa, parts of a standing Buddha statue is found. Only the parts belonging to torso of the Buddha was found and according to Takashi Okamura, the surface of the fractures were not old and the treasure hunters had broken the statue only recently and the head taken away.

Dastota Ruins Site 2

This site lies between the Dastota Reservoir and the Mahaweli Ganga, 700 meters away from the reservoir and 400 meters from the banks of Mahaveli river. The GPS measurements are 7 degrees 51 minutes 15 seconds north latitude and 81 degrees 02 minutes 16.9 seconds east longitude.

This is an archaeological site where only some stone pillars remain in the wilderness. Many of the stone pillars are collapsed or buried, and at present, there were only about nine stone pillars whose original positions could be clearly seen. The stone pillar on the north side rise about 40 cm from the ground surface, and about 90 cm on the south side.

Dastota Ruins Site 3

This site lies about 2km east (downstream of the Mahaweli River) from the aforementioned Dastota Ruins Site 2. The GPS readings are 7 degrees 51 minutes 12 seconds north latitude and 81 degrees 03 minutes 00.8 seconds east longitude. You can reach this iste from Dastota Ruins Site 2 by heading east through the wilderness within a viewing distance of the Mahweli river left bank.

Remains of a stupa with a diameter of about 13 m lie about 100 meters away from the left river bank of Mahaweli Ganga. The stupa is severely damaged by treasure hunters and the destruction has made identifying this stupa at the first glance. From the circular shape and the weathered soil of the bricks, it can be made out the shape of stupa, but most of the bricks on the base and the surface of the dome were also broken, making it impossible to measure its size.

References

  • Okamura, T., 2015. RUINS IN CENTRAL EASTERN AREA OF SRI LANKA — at the jungle of Amban Ganga Basin and the outskirts —. Tokyo: South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society (SARERS).
  • Brohier, R.L., 2000. Seeing ceylon 4th ed., Colombo 10: Sooriya Publishers.
  • Ievers, R.W., 1899. Chapter II. In Manual of the North-Central Province, ceylon. Colombo: G.J.A. Skeen, Govt. Printer.

Also See

Map of Dastota Ruins

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Travel Directions to Dastota

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Though : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :220 km
Travel time : 4.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Matale - Dambulla - Habarana
Distance from Colombo : 145 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Though : Maradankadawala - Habarana Distance from colombo : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Chenkaladi - Valachchena
Distance from colombo :100 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Route from Polonnaruwa to Dastota
Through : Manampitiya
Distance : 31 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map
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