Kiri Vehera Rajamaha Viharaya Ruins at Etambagaskada – ඇටඹගස්කඩ කිරිවෙහෙර රජමහා විහාරය

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The are number of villages by the name of Etambagaskada  and may temples by the name of Kiri Vehera. But the Kiri Vehera at Etambagaskada lies in the Vavuniya district. It is said that the jungles of Etambagaskada are scattered with Buddhist ruins only known to old villagers. This village along with other Sinhalese villages around Mamaduwa had been evacuated for many years since 1983 due to LTTE terrorist attacks until the end of the war. Most of these ruins have been destroyed by the Tamil LTTE Terrorists and what ever escaped the terrorists by relic hunters after the war. Unfortunately even up to today, these sites are being plundered freely by various groups.

Limestone image from the 1983 report of Cyril Mathew

Limestone image from the 1983 report of late Cyril Mathew

The ruins of Kiri Vehera lies behind the Sri Sudharmarama Maha Viharaya.  Although not located in the jungles, this site too has not been protected by the authorities. According to historian Medhanada Thero, there should have been a stupa at this site but there is not even an indication of a stupa.  11 pillars of an ancient building has been protected by the villagers. These pillars are about 8 inches x 8 inches and rise upto about 8 feet from the ground.

A head of a broken standing Buddha statue lies on a pair of feet.  The eyes of this this statue is hollow, indicating that gems has been embedded for the eyes in the past.

Another headless granite standing Buddha statue lies among the ruins. The statues is broken in to 3 pieces but would have been about 6 feet in height.

According to the famous appeal report to the UNESCO in 1983,  to safeguard the cultural properties of Sri Lanka, this statue has been destroyed by the vandals and not by time. According to his report the is another rare limestone Samadhi Buddha statue has been found at this the site (see left picture). This statue is unique due to the fact that the halo around the Buddha’s head (Ras Walalla) too is carved out of the same rock. The statue is about 4 1/2 feet in height with a 14 inch halo. It has been discovered  in 193o’s by a villager in the remote village called Ruwanmaduwa close to  Etambagaskada  and has been brought to this temple. Today this statue takes a prime location at the new Vavuniya Musium in the town.

Sources : අපේ වැව්නියාව – වව්නියා දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ සිංහලයන්ගේ පුවත – කතෘ – එස්. පී. එස්. වීරසිංහ

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Travel Directions to Kiri Vehera Rajamaha Viharaya Ruins at Etambagaskada

Route from Vavuniya up to Kiri Vehera Rajamaha Viharaya Ruins at Etambagaskada

Distance : 7 km
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

Map of Kiri Vehera Rajamaha Viharaya Ruins at Etambagaskada


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