Kaludiya Pokuna in Dambulla – දඹුල්ල කළුදිය පොකුණ පුරාවිද්‍යා භූමිය

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Kaludiya Pokuna
Dambulla Kaludiya Pokuna

Kaludiya Pokuna in Kandalama is not to be confused with its name-sake in Mihinthale . It dates back to the period, 853 – 857 A.D., during the reign of King Sena the 2nd. The sacred precincts of this ancient site served as a meditating center for the Buddhist monks who resided there.

The approach to this ancient historical site is very pleasant, winding its way through paddy fields and vegetable cultivations – typical rural Sri Lanka, which gives way to beautiful stands of tall, dry monsoon forest. You even find peacocks crossing the road at intervals.

Kaludiya Pokuna lies at the base of a long rocky ridge on the northern periphery of the Knuckles range. As a result, the forest is more intermediate in character than dry zone. It is also home to a wide variety of birds and butterflies, as it is at the junction of different climatic zones with some species being at an extremity of their range. Clearly, it is an exciting place for birders and butterfly watchers.

The archeological site at Kaludiya Pokuna has a few ruins including a stupa, and it is very obvious to the visitor, that this ancient site screams of neglect.

Like at Pidurangala , there are numerous meditating centers or kutis used by the monks to meditate, but totally neglected and left to rot.

There are also two pokunas or ponds from which the name Kaludiya Pokuna has been derived. One is completely dry and overgrown with weeds, while the other looks more like a huge muddy stagnant puddle of water, and a haven for mosquitoes.

My genius cameraman Lal Nishantha used all his skills to capture on camera, the former glory of this once beautiful pond.

I also found two ancient rock inscriptions – one was hardly legible as letters were almost washed away by the ravages of rain, but the second was mercifully protected by the overhanging rock.

This ancient rock inscription in medieval Sinhala found at Kaludiya Pokuna, dates back to the period between 853 – 857 A.D. during the eighth year of the the reign of King Sena II. It states, that during that period, the temple at Kaudiya Pokuna was called Dakinigiri Viharaya and that a person by the name of Dhalatha donated 23 gold coins to obtain food for the monks living at the Dakinigiri Viharaya.

Yet another pathetic sight that met my eyes, were the remains of ancient artifacts mostly of clay, belonging to Kaludiya Pokuna, stashed away in a tiny shed, with no door to protect them from thieves.

I left Kaludiya Pokuna with a heavy heart, because it is obviously a place of nobody’s business. I hope the authorities concerned, would do something about restoring at least some of its glory, and give Kaludiya Pokuna the dignity it rightfully deserves.

by Sharmini Serasinghe
The Island

Also See

Map of  Kaludiya Pokuna of Dambulla

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Travel Directions to   Kaludiya Pokuna of Dambulla

The ruins are located about 15 km off Dambulla and 8 km from Sigiriya Rock Fortress. According to a 9th century rock incription the temple has been called Dakkhinagiri Vihara and based on Mahavamsa this temple has been built by King Saddhatissa (137-139 BC.).

Route from Colombo to Kaludiya Pokuna

Route Dambulla to Kaludiya Pokuna

Though : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla
distance :175 km
Travel time : 4 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
distance :15 km
Travel time : 20 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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