Kalagam Vehera Ruins in Kebithigollewa – කැබිතිගොල්ලෑව කලාගම් වෙහෙර

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Kalagam Vehera is an ancient temple complex going back to the per-chirstian times in Yakawewa, Kabithigollewa.  With the migration of the civilization to the South after Anurdhapura period due to continuous invasions  originating from South India, hundreds of flourishing Buddhists monasteries were either destroyed by the Tamil forces or left for nature to take its due course.

The huge Asanagara known as Gal Enda at Kalagam Vehera Ruins
The huge Asanagara known as Gal Enda at Kalagam Vehera Ruins

By the late 20th century only some stone pillars and a very large Asanagara (seat of Buddha – a slab of stone)  were left to be seen of this ancient monastery. This ruined temple complex was known as the Gal Enda Viharaya ( Temple with Rock Bed ) due the unusually large slab of stone by the the villagers surrounding Kebitigollewa.

Since the beginning of Tamil terrorism in the North, the region surrounding Kabithigollewa has been in constant threat of being attacked by them.  In October 1995 about 20 villagers in Thammennagama close to Kebitigollewa were hacked to death by the Tamil LTTE terrorists. After a relative period of calm, Tamil LTTE terrorists then stormed Kalyanapura of Gomarankadawala village and killed seven villagers. But on the morning of 15th June 2006, the biggest blow to these innocent village folk came in form of 2 claymore mine bomb attacks on a crowded bus traveling between Kebithigollewa and Thalgahawewa killing 64 innocent villagers including 15 children. Among the dead was the priest of the Gal Enda Rajamaha Viharaya.

The fate repeating itself after thousands of years on these villagers, after this massacre by the Tamil terrorists, many from these border villagers fled from their homes and lived in various refugee camps in the government controlled areas and the temple was again abandoned.

After the defeat of the LTTE terrorists in 2009,  The life at these villages were normal again.  With the effort of the then Magistrate of Kebithigollewa, the excavation and the restoration of this ancient monastic complex was initiated using the labor of Civil Defense Force under the guidance of the Archaeology Department.

Stupa of the temple has been built on a high square pedestal. This has been completely destroyed by the invading tamil forces thousands years ago. only the pedestal was preserved of the stupa. Based on the architectural features this stupa is believed to be belonging the mid Anuradhapura period. During the escavations the Yupagala of the stupa has been discovered among the ruble.

The platform of the stupa after the rubble was removed at Kalagam Vehera Stupa
The platform of the stupa after the rubble was removed at Kalagam Vehera
source : www.silumina.lk

Close to the stupa lies a large Asanagara rock slab, believed to be the largest Asanagara ever discovered. Asanagara were used as a object of worship and represented Buddha in physical form before the time when Buddhist statues were built. Thus origin of this temples probably dates hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.

During the restoration work, the Department of Archaeology discovered a broken wasted pillar inscription about 200 meters away from the site on a private land. When the 3 pieces were put together, part of the history of this forgotten complex was re discovered by the department. The Gal Enda Temple has been called Kalagam Vehera and belonged to Mangala Pirivena  belonged to ancient Abayagiriya University in the ancient times.  The inscription has been installed by the king Kassapa IV (898-914) of the Anuradhapura Kingdom.

The Bodhigara (Bodhi Tree House) found in front of the Asanagara of this complex is also unique. This is the first time that complete proof of the way a Bodhi Tree was planted and nurtured inside a Bodhigara. After conservation work of the Bodhigara was completed it has been filled with sand to stop further destruction only a small section is visible above the ground. Only a picture shows how the Bodhigaraya below the surface looked when excavations were done.

Also See

Map of Kalagam Vehera Ruins in Kebithigollewa

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Travel Directions to Kalagam Vehera Ruins in Kebithigollewa

Route from Anuradhapura to Kalagam Vehera Ruins in Kebithigollewa

Through : Mihintale
Distance : 66 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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