Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya) of Anuradhapura Kingdom

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Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya) of Anuradhapura Kingdom - අනුරාධපුර දීඝ පාෂාණ  ලෙන (සුදස්සන පධානඝරය)
Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya) of Anuradhapura Kingdom – අනුරාධපුර දීඝ පාෂාණ ලෙන (සුදස්සන පධානඝරය)

Dighapashana (Deegapashana) is a long rock outcrop stretching for over 10 kilometres in Anuradhapura starting from around current Vessagiriya ( this is the real Isurumunya before the name mixup) and extending through Ranmasu Uyana, Abhayagiri monastery and extending passing the north of the ancient Vijayarama monastery. At different times in the past, this rock outcrop has been called “Digupahana” and “Digugalvila”. Research has revealed that settlements have existed along this rock with caves which have appeared at various places since the the Early Iron Age (1200 BCE – 600 BCE). In addition, it can be observed how this rock had become a source for all the Buddhist granite structures of the Anuradhapura kingdom with the number of ancient quarries spread along the rock.

The rock cave complex known as the ‘Digapashana Caves’ is also known as the ‘Sudassana Patanagharaya‘ and lies about 500 meters west of the Abhayagiri Stupa. There are 9 caves with drip ledges in this complex that are now under excavation and restoration. Researchers have dated the habitation of these caves by Bikkus to a time before King Vatta Gamini Abhaya (better known as King Walagamba). The complex shows the remains of 4 cultural phases. The soil strata at the bottom of the excavation show the existence of holes for the erection of wooden pillars for human settlement of a very simple culture. From the time it became a monastic residence, up to the end of the Anuradhapura period (10th century AD) the place has gone through period renovations and enlargements.

Traveling to the west from Abhayagiri Stupa along the Watawandana Road you will come across the board indicating Sudassana Patanagharaya on the right with an arrow. Here you can see the Deegapashana rock slightly rising over the rock on the left, disappearing across the road and rising again on the right. Travelling 100 meters to the right along the footpath which lies along the rock outcrop, you will reach this padanaghara cave complex. This site is rarely visited and very little known the the general pilgrim.

Map of the Deegapashana Rock outcrop spreading across the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom
Map of the Deegapashana Rock outcrop spreading across the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom
source : An Archeological Study to Identify the Ancient Settlement Pattern of Anuradhapura with Special Reference to the“Deegapasana” Rock Outcrop in Sri Lanka (අනුරාධපුර දීඝ පාෂාණය ආශ්‍රිත පුරාණ මානව ජනාවාසකරණය හා පුරාන තාක්ෂණය පිලිබඳ භූ අවකාශීය දත්ත ආශ්‍රය කර ගනිමින් සිඳුකරන පුරාවිද්‍යා අධ්‍යනයක්)
Map of Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya) of Anuradhapura Kingdom - අනුරාධපුර දීඝ පාෂාණ ලෙන (සුදස්සන පධානඝරය)
Map of Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya) of Anuradhapura Kingdom – අනුරාධපුර දීඝ පාෂාණ ලෙන (සුදස්සන පධානඝරය)

References

  • Mendis, D.T.; Abeywardana, N.; Withanachchi, C.R. An Archaeological Study to Identify the Ancient Settlement Pattern of Anuradhapura with Special Reference to the “Deegapasana” Rock Outcrop in Sri Lanka; Nihal Printers:Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, 2016; (original publication in Sinhala).

Also See

Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya) of Anuradhapura Kingdom Map

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Driving Directions to Anuradhapura

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
From Anuradhapura to Dighapashana Cave (Sudassana Padanagaraya)
Through :
Distance : 8 km
Time to travel : 15 minutes
Driving Directions : click here for Google Map

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