Ruins of Habagama Gal Palama and Amuna

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Anuradhapura was the first real capital of Sri Lanka over two thousand two hundred years ago. The road network was in a highly developed state during this era, with major roads leading to Trincomalee, Mannar, Jaffna and the southern kingdoms from Anuradhapura. These roads were not only used for foot traffic but carts carrying goods travelling on trade and commercial activities. With the development of the road network, the ancient kings built sturdy bridges out of granite slabs and pillars. Ruins in various bridges around Anuradhapura can be found across Malwathu Oya, Hal Pan Ela, Kandara Oya, Yan Oya, Kala Oya and Deduru Oya.

Outside the more popular stone bridges over Malwathu Oya and Halpan Oya, ruins of a few other bridges have been discovered. The undiscovered bridges may be many more.

The ruins of such an ancient stone bridge can be found in the remote village of Habagama in Horowpathanana. The ruins lie across Yan Oya, 3 kilometres downstream from the bridge on the Horowpathana – Parangiyawadiya road. A large number of rough rock pillars and slabs are scattered across the river banks. The pillars are around 2.5 – 3.0 meters high and you can clearly observe mortises and tenons cut into the rock to fit the rock pillars to slabs of rock.  Some of the pillars are still standing in the river. They have been broken in the middle and some are jutting about 1 meter in height. The pillars are laid at about 1 meter distance. However, in some places, this varies to about 1.5 to 2 meters.

It is believed that this route was the main road from Anuradhapura to Gokanna (Trincomalee) which was one of the main harbours where goods were imported and exported. This road would have been used by the carts carrying goods to and from Anuradhapura.

It is also believed that there has been a stone Amuna (weir) at this location to divert water to various smaller canals which in turn was used for agricultural purposes. Although no historical records are available on the weir or the stone bridge, according to folklore this weir was built to divert water to the large pond known as Makarayawila (මකරයාවිල) on the archaeological site known as Brahmanayakanda (බ්‍රාහ්මණයාකන්ද) which lies about 1 km away from the stone bridge on the left bank of Yan Oya. The strongest evidence of the existence of an anicut here is the remains of ancient canals cut slightly above this site along the left and right banks of the Yan Oya. This ancient anvil seems to have used stones and cross-planks.

According the reference documents and the “මධ්‍ය යාන් ඔය නිම්නයේ කොක්එබේ මෙගලිතික සුසානය ආශ්‍රිත පුරාවිද්‍යා කැනීම හා තදාශ්‍රිත ප්‍රදේශයේ පුරාණ මානව ජනාවාසකරණය.” book by Dr. Withanachchi states that these ruins lies 3 kilometers downstream the Yan Oya Bridge on the Horowpathana and Parangiyawadiya road. However, all publications of Dr. Withanachchi provide the GPS location of 8.52082285487, 80.859557975 which places the ruins lies just 500 meters downstream of the bridge. Thus this is possibly a mistake. Therefore the marker on the map is marked 3 km downstream the bridge.

Other Stone Bridges of Sri Lanka

There are many stone bridges discovered in Sri Lanka. These are in various states while some have been conserved to an extent. The most popular is the bridge over the Malwathu Oya.

  1. Alubedda Stone Bridge
  2. Angammedilla National Park Stone Bridge (Polonnaruwa)
  3. Ebawalapitiya Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Deduru Oya
  4. Girihandu Seya Stone Bridge (Tiriyaya)
  5. Habagama Stone Bridge
  6. Halpan Ela Stone Bridge (Anuradhapura)
  7. Kayankerni Stone Bridge  (Eastern Province)
  8. Mahakanadarawa Wewa Stone Bridge (Mihintale)
  9. Nirawiya Farm Gal Palama (Thambuttegama)
  10. Palugaswewa Stone Bridge
  11. Pavakkulam Stone Bridge (Vavuniya)
  12. Perimiyankulama Gal Palama over Malwathu Oya (Anuradhapura)
  13. Ritigala Gal Palama (Anuradhapura)
  14. Sukara Nijjara Gal Amuna and Stone Bridge
  15. Thimbiripokuna Palamgala Gal Palama
  16. Thirappane Stone Bridge
  17. Thulawelliya Stone Bridge
  18. Ullukkulama Stone Bridge
  19. Vannadi Palama (Vannadi Stone Bridge) and Amuna
  20. Weliela Mankada Stone Bridge
  21. Yanoya Stone Bridge

References

  • විතානාච්චි, ච. රෝ. සහ මෙන්ඩිස්, ඩී. තු. , 2017. මධ්‍ය යාන් ඔය නිම්නයේ කොක්එබේ මෙගලිතික සුසානය ආශ්‍රිත පුරාවිද්‍යා කැනීම හා තදාශ්‍රිත ප්‍රදේශයේ පුරාණ මානව ජනාවාසකරණය. 1st ed. මිහින්තලේ: ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජරට විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය.
  • පුරාණ ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ශෛලමය පාලම් නිර්මාණ කිහිපයක් සහ එහි තාක්ෂණය පිලිබඳ මූලික විමසුමක් – ආචාර්ය චන්දන රෝහණ විතානාච්චි
  • මධ්‍ය යාන්ඔය නිම්නයේ වාරි පුරාවිද්‍යාව – චන්දන රෝහණ විතානාච්චි
    Journal of Archaeology and Heritage Studies 2015

Also See

Map of the The Ruins of Habagama Gal Palama

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.

Traveling Directions to the Ruins of Habagama Gal Palama

Route from Horowpothana to The Ruins of Habagama Gal Palama
Through :
Distance : 4 km
Travel time :30 mins
Time to spend : 30 mins to 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google maps

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