Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve (ගුරුගොඩ පුරාවිද්‍යා රක්‍ෂිතය)

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Gurugoda is a village which lies in the Atharagalla Grama Sewaka division in Ambanpola Divisional Secretariat of Kurunegala district. Excavation and the conservation of the Gurugoda Archaeological site was carried out by Central Cultural Fund. This site is located on an elevated area with a rocky plain. Lying on the dry zone, this area is enriched by the waters of Mee Oya river which lies 200 meters to the south to the site. There’re are number man made reservoirs around this site fed by Mee Oya indicating that this area was a striving farming community thousands of years ago.

Currently the ruins are spread over an 1.5 acre area. You can see the ruined stupa, image house and stone pillars of few other ancient buildings. All the structures of this site has been damaged by treasure hunters. The stupa is built on the highest point of this area. Thus it would have been seen from far away.

In 2013, 3 inscriptions were discovered on a sloping rock face east of the stupa. Out of the 3, only one was in a state which could be read. The inscriptions are spread over an area of 180cm x 40 cm. Each letter is about 5 cm in height. Based on characters, the inscription has been dated to 5th century.

The inscription 1 is a single line which is heavily weathered. Only the last few words can be read.

Inscription 1 of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve
Inscription 1 of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve

Inscription 2 is written just below inscription 1 in 2 lines. This inscription too is heavily weathered but the first line is more readable than the second. This inscription is the most important out the 3, as it identified the ancient name of this vihara complex as “Atharagala Viharaya”.

Inscription 2 of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve
Inscription 2 of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve

The 3rd inscription lies to the right of the 2nd insription and is written in 2 lines. This is the most well preserved inscription and has been read as follows

Inscription 3 of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve
Inscription 3 of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve

A megalithic burial site locally known as Gal Sohon Kanatta has also been discovered in the near vicinity. The burial site is of about 15 acres in extent and situated on an elevated area. This site was first reported in 1957. Thereafter a number of excavations has been carried out in 1964-65, 1970, 1997 and in 2013. The pottery found at this site is reported to be similar to the pottery of Pomparippu Burial Site.

So far all the burials that have been discovered, the dead were buried with the ash in a clay vessel, but as per a paper article in 2013, the graves that were found in Gurugoda did not have such a feature and only ashes were buried in the ground. Also, although pieces of jewelry which probably belong to the dead have been found in other graves, none have been found in Gurugoda yet. Due to these reasons, it is believed that this may be the oldest megalithic site in Sri Lanka even through no carbon dating has been done yet.

References

  1. Y.K.Tissa Bandara (2017) “Classification of Pottery From Pinwewa Megalithic Burial Site (1997),” The Journal of Archaeology & Heritage Studies, 4(3).
  2. .Jinarathana, K. et al. (no date) “First Annual Research Conference – ARHM 2013,” in අඹන්පොළ අතරගල්ල-ගුරුගොඩ පුරාවිද්‍යා භූමියෙන් හමු වු වහරල ශිලාලේඛන පිළිබඳ අධ්‍යයනයක.
  3. ජයසිංහ සකුන්තලා (2013) අඹන්පොළෙන් පුරාණ සොහොන් බිමක් මතු වෙයි, dinamina.lk. Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. Available at: http://archives.dinamina.lk/2013/12/11/_art.asp?fn=n13121117 (Accessed: November 12, 2022).

Also See

Map of Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve

ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින් – Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map –
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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 Gurugoda Archaeological Reserve

Route from Mahiyangana to Archaeological Ruins of Girandurukotte
Through : Polonnaruwa Road
Distance : 18 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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