Galge Viharaya Ruins in Wilpattu (විල්පත්තුවේ ගල්ගේ විහාරය නටබුන්)

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Galge Viharaya is a generally known ruined area inside Wilpattu National Park. This temple has been a large aramic complex in the past with ruins covering a large area including a rocky outcrop inside the park. Several drip ledge caves with some with still existing clay walls, ruins of stupa and bricks and rocks are scattered all over this area.

IUCN who carried out an archaeological survey in Wilpattu National Park in the early 2000s reports

A total of 68 archaeologically important sites were recorded, four of which Miocene fossil sites. Twelve sites belonging to the prehistoric periods (Paleolithic and Mesolithic) were also surveyed. Several sites represent evidence of both pre-historic and historic periods. Forty-two (Black & Redware pottery sites, Burials, settlements, and monasteries) were identified as a combination of proto-historic and historical sites.”

According to Nicholas (1963), at Galge Viharaya, about 8 miles southeast of Pomparippu, a 1st-century inscription on a cave mentions the Kadahalaka tank, the breached tank near the ruins. At Patti Eliya, a few miles north of Galga Viharaya, there is a 10th-century pillar inscription containing an immunity grant. An abandoned road still leads to these two sites from Thala Vila Wildlife Bungalow.

Since it is prohibited to get off the vehicles within the National Park, you will need special permission to explore this site.

Significant Archaeological Sites Inside the Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu is one of the least archaeologically explored areas where attention has only been paid to ancient inscriptions and proto-historic sites. Much legend and history is associated with the park and its immediate surroundings.

Tammanna Nuwara, the legendary landing site of King Vijaya around 500 BCE, is believed to be situated between Kudiremalai Point and the mouth of Moderagam Ara. It’s recounted that Vijaya and his companions first set foot on this land, resting their hands upon the earth, thus staining their palms with a distinctive red hue. Modern soil analyses reveal a stretch of reddish latosols running parallel to the western coastal belt, evidence of geological formations dating back millions of years when these lands emerged from beneath the sea. According to folklore, Vijaya wedded Kuveni, the Yaksha Princess, whose palace now lies in ruins at Kali Vila, with traces of her presence said to be found near the Kokmotai bungalow. Additionally, Galbendi Neeravia, positioned northeast of Maradanmaduwa tank, is believed to have been the abode of Prince Saliya and his consort Asokamala, nearly two millennia ago, despite her low-caste status.

Some of the sites inside Wilpattu National Park with significant archaeological evidence are listed below;

  1. Tammannawala : Ruins of Stupa, Pillars, Foundation stones, bricks and Pond
  2. Ochchappu Kallu: Caves, Stupa, shrine houses and inscription
  3. Palace of Kuweni : Ruin pillars, Stupa
  4. Galbendi Neeravia
  5. Tammannawala : Ruins of Stupa, Pillars, Foundation stones, bricks, Pond
  6. Weeransole : Three Buddha statues, three image houses
  7. Hunuvila Gama : Stupas, shrine house
  8. Nai Pena Guhava : Two caves and a Stupa, a pond
  9. Galge Viharaya : Caves with brick walls, granite ruins
  10. Veli Vehera Archaeology Site
  11. Pomparippu ancient burial site
  12. Nai Pena Guhava : Two caves and Stupa, a pond

References

  • Goonatilake, W. L. D. P. T. S. de A. (2006). National Archaeological Symposium 2006. In Archaeologically important sites in Vilpattu National Park: present status and new findings (Vol. 1, pp. 57–80). Colombo.
  • Nicholas, C. W. (1963). Historical Topography of Ancient and Medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series Volume VI Special Number.

Also See

Map of  Galge Viharaya Ruins in Wilpattu

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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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 Galge Viharaya Ruins in Wilpattu (up to Wilpattu National Park Entrance)

Route from Colombo to Galge Viharaya Ruins in Wilpattu (up to Wilpattu National Park Entrance)
Through : Negombo – Puttlam
Distance :200 km
Travel time : 4 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map

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