Ruins at Erupothana Rock – එරුපොතාන ගල බෞද්ධ නටබුණ්
Erupothana is a historically important location in the Sri Lankan annals being the birth place of Nandimithra, one of the ten giant warriors of King Dutugemunu (161-131 BC). After the war with Elara, king Dutugemunu has made Nandimithra an regional ruler and allocated this area to him.
Lying off Vavuniya, Erupothana and its surrounding area was inaccessible to the public for almost 30 years due to the terrorists activities. But the area still shows signs of this being a thriving community even before Christ with Buddhist monastic ruins scattered all over the region.
Traveling from Vavuniya and passing Mahakachchakodiya you will come across the unique Erupothana Reservoir. The Erupothana Rock lying right along the road next to the reservoir. Next to the Erupothana rock, lies the Kimbulagala Rock which contains more Buddhist ruins.
The Erupothana rock consists of large number of drip ledge caves which has been used by the meditaing monks two millennia ago. A ledge inscription in one of these caves has been translated to “Parumaka Senpathi Nandimithra Lena …… ” and another “Parumaka Pusha …….” being the donors of the cave to the meditating bikkus. Pusha is believed to be the wife of Nandimithra.
Once the Elara was defeated, Nandimitra was appointed the regional ruler of this region and it is said that he converted all these rocks in to buddhist monasteries.
Henry Parker, in his popular book “Ancient Ceylon” published in 1909 has given a significant amount of time for the Erupothana area ;
” There are two other low hills to the south of it, called respectively Tevandan Puliyankulam Malei (Kimbulagala), and Erupotana-kanda, the three being nearly in a line about one and a half miles long. Erupotana-kanda is a hill somewhat like Niravi Malei, but higher, with numerous large boulders on its slopes. The other hill is formed by an immense steep-sided rock, with a high vertical precipice to the east, and a gradual ascent on the north and south-west sides. There are large boulders on its top, which extends in a long north and south line.
On the detached boulders which are scattered about all three hills numerous cave inscriptions are cut, which indicate ‘that this little known part of the island was once the residence of a large community of Buddhist monks. When we seek to learn why such a site should have been selected for cutting what must have been at the time some of the earliest inscriptions in the island, it is found that the explanation seems to lie in the fact that this place was on the line of an early highroad leading from the capital, Anuradhapura, nearly due north-east to the port from which vessels sailed for the eastern coast of India. It is not surprising to find that some of the earliest monasteries were established on this well-known line of communications. The numerous cave shelters and the traditional associations of the Naval Niravi site caused it to be chosen for perhaps the most important of them. At other rocky hills near the same line there are either early inscriptions or other Buddhist remains ; while numerous fragments of an early type of pottery and the early coins found at Mulleittivu, on the north-east coast, and described in another chapter, prove that this town also was a pre-Christian settlement.
It is said that remains of an ancient stupa and number of buildings are found at the top of the rock but after the army leaving the area after the war, these rocks have been a unrestricted hunting ground for the treasure hunters and the remains of the stupa and been completely demolished in search of treasures.
To climb and explore this rock you would need a local guide knowledgeable of the area.
Map of Ruins at Erupothana Rock
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
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Travel Directions to Ruins at Erupothana Rock
Route from Anuradhapura up to Ruins at Erupothana Rock
|Distance : 69 km|
Travel time : 1.30 hour + hike
Driving directions : see on google map