Gamini Tissa Monastery complex in Mottagala – මොට්ටගල ගාමිනී තිස්ස ආරාම සංකීර්ණයේ නටබුන්

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How the largest Stupa of Gamini Tissa Monastery has been bulldozed by the Muslims
How the largest Stupa of Gamini Tissa Monastery has been bulldozed by the Muslims
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Gamini Tissa  Monastery is a large Buddhist monastery complex which has existed from the per-christian times  in the Ampara District.

The Brhami inscriptions found on the Mottagala Rock (aka Mottayagala Rock) in Gamini Tissa   Monastery has been published by the prominent archeologist Proferssor Senarath Paranawithana in “Inscriptions of Ceylon Part – II” and he had placed these inscriptions to be between 3rd and 1st century BC (487th inscription).  Based on the archaeological evidence, this aramic complex has flourished from 3rd century BC throughout the reigns of king Mahanaga, Gotabhaya, Yatalathissa and king Kavanthissa.

The inscription on the Mottagala Rock speaks of a ruler named Upathara Naga Naga, who is a member of the Dasabhabika royal lineage  of east establishing the monastery and the inscription is one of the very few which provides an insight into the Dasabhabika royal lineage, who had been provincial rulers under the kings of Anuradhapura. Ancient records provide very little in-depth into these proud rulers and inscriptions in Bowattegala and Mottagala are among the very few clues to this dynasty.


Gamini Tissa   Monastery complex lies in the area called Mottagala, about 10kms from Akkaraipattu on a predominately Muslim and Tamil area. The area is also sometimes referred to as Mottayagala, Mottiyawala and Mottiya Kallu. The Mottiyagala Rock lies surrounded by paddy fields all belonging to Muslims and Tamils.

Away from the public eye due the LTTE terrorists activities in the past, this complex was exposed to the public when a Muslim owner of the paddy fields around Mottiagala Rock bulldozed an ancient stupa lying at the bottom of this rock in 2012 in the pretext of expanding the paddy field. This event happened between 31st August and 3rd September. On the 3rd it was reported that the stupa which was over 2300 years old has disappeared completely and a massive public outcry of the destruction of the eastern heritage was seen.

The Buddhist priests and reporters who visited the site could not find any trace of this stupa other than pieces of ancient bricks lying everywhere. The relics which had been deposited in this stupa has also disappeared along with the stupa.

Photos of the bulldozed 1st stupa site

Meanwhile the monastery grounds still contain ruins of smaller stupas, stone pillars and foundations of ancient constructions, stone inscription of pre-Brahmin era and a well dug into the rock plateau, which is an eternal source of water.

About 3 months later after this shameful event, Sagama Seya, the largest remaining stupa in the Gamini Tissa  Monastery complex which was lying further away from the Mottagala was again Bulldozed cutting straight through the stupa and the relic chamber. This stupa too lies in middle of Muslim owned paddy fields in the area known as Urakkai. All the relics have been stolen but due to the intervention of the small Buddhist community in Akkaraipattu, the total destruction of the stupa has been avoided. By the time police apprehended 7 suspects along with a bulldozer, they have been digging through the stupa for 3 continuous days.

Subsequently, the police recovered a golden casket, a marble casket, 8 rings and 31 beads which has been stolen from the relic chambers of the stupa.

Photos of the bulldozed second stupa site

Stolen treasures discovered by the police from the second bulldozed stupa of Gamini Tissa Monastic Complex
Stolen treasures discovered by the police from the second bulldozed stupa of Gamini Tissa Monastic Complex
Image source :

To reach Mottagala, travel 8km from Akkaraipattu on the Sagama Road. Then turn right and take the road going along the steam for 1 km. From there turn right and cross over paddy fields to reach the site. Its advisable to obtain a service of a Sinhalease from Akkaraipattu or Ampara since its very unlikely that you will get any directions from the surrounding villagers.

Also See

Map of Gamini Thissa Monastery complex in Mottagala

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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

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Travel Directions to Ruins of Gamini Tissa Monastery complex in Mottagala

Route from Ampara to Gamini Tissa Monastery complex in Mottagala

Distance : 31 km
Travel time :45 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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