Kuragala buddhist monastery at Balangoda – ඓතිහාසික කූරගල

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View from the Pagoda - Prehistoric Kuragala
View from the Pagoda – Prehistoric Kuragala
Photo by Dr. Ashan Geeganage

Kuragala is a vast Buddhist monastery complex 18 km’s off Balangoda on the Kaltota road. This complex covers number of rock outcrops which is collectively known as Kuragala. The ruins of the complex dates back to the 2nd centaury BC and has been declared a archeological reserve by the the government. The Monastery covers 30-40 rock caves, some capable of holding 2000-3000 people.

Kuragala buddhist monastery
image source : sinhalabuddhist.com

According to archaeologist Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thero, this monastery has been called ‘Thandulayia Pabbatha’ in ancient times.

Unfortunately this archeology reserve is now taken over by Muslim fundamentalists and in the process of systematically destroying all the evidence of the 2000 year old buddhist heritage from Kuragala.

Kuragala buddhist monastery
Concentrated acid pored on valuable Dewanagala Stone Inscription
image source : sinhalabuddhist.com

The ancient Brahmin inscriptions on the rocks are being destroyed by applying concentrated acid and two caves have already being converted mosques. The Brahmin inscriptions on these caves which is considered some of the oldest in Sri Lanka has been covered by cement and concrete. Houses has been built right next to sign boards declaring the site as a protected archeological reserve with no regards to law of the country. These muslims claim that a mullah called Dafter Abdul Jailany have stayed in the place some thousands years ago. The Buddhist priest who was in charge of the buddhist temple has fled the area due violence and threats from the muslim encroaches.

Unfortunately government is turning a blind eye to all this destruction on the Kuragala Archeological site due to pressure from small minded muslim politicians.

A documentary on the muslim encroachment at Kuragala archeological reserve is below

In 2013, the archeological department finally woke up from the slumber and have decided to demolish all unauthorized buildings, relocate all the people and reclaim the archeological land. New researches have been initiated including tracing of all the inscriptions  in rock caves and carrying out excavations.

Photos courtesy of : Dr Ashan Geeganage

Also See

Map of Kuragala Buddhist monastery

ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින් - Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map -

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.

Travel Directions to Kuragala archeological reserve

The site lies 33 km off Balangoda and 55 km off Tanamalwila

Route from Colombo to Kuragala archeological reserve

Route from Tanamalwila to Kuragala archeological reserve

Through : Awissawella – Ratnapura – Balangoda – Kaltota
Distance :170 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Angunukolapalessa
Distance :55 km
Travel time : 1.5 – 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map

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