Kanakarayamkulama Archaeological Site in Vavuniya (කනකරායන්කුලම බෞද්ධ නටබුණ්)

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Kanakarayamkulama (Kanakarayamkulam) is a small town on the Vavuniya – Jaffna road, 33 kilometers from Vavuniya town. The site with the ruins of an ancient image house at Kanakarayamkulama lies towards Kanakarayamkulama Wewa Reservoir from Kanagarayankulam Maha Vidyalaya.

Based on the evidence, there has been a large Buddhist Monastery in existence since the 4th century CE. One ancient Image house has been converted to a Kovil by the late 1800’s.

Although very little of the remains exist today, J.P Lewis in 1895 reports;

Proceeding northwards we find that Udaiyaur possessed a Buddhist monastery attached to the large tank of Kanakarayankulam. It was established behind the southern part of the bund. The remains may be seen in the jungle. “The pilima-ge of the monastery has been converted into a Hindu temple dedicated to Andiya. It appears to date from the third or fourth century A.D.” Judging from the name of the tank and the local tradition, a petty Wanni king appears to have had his headquarters here.

Built into the bund of the tank were to be seen before its restoration the remains of a bathing-place, which was said to have been the bathing-place of the king who formerly lived here. A semicircular mound projected into the tank, and evidently a flight of steps led from the top of it down into the tank. Only two of the stones of the side walls were in position. The steps are lying about, some broken, in the bed of the tank. The stones of the side wall are backed with brickwork, the bricks having curious marks (five wavy lines) commonly found on ancient bricks in the District. The bricks are of the same size as those in the sluice at Venkalacheddikkulam, and bear the same mark, so probably that tank and this were constructed about the same date.

He also reports a large 2 foot x 2 foot Sri Pathul Gala (footprint of Buddha carved on a slab of rock) used as a stepping stone to a verandah in the rest house. This Sri Pathul Gala has been acquired from the Hindu Kovil.


  1. Lewis, J.P. (1895) ‘Archaeology of the Wanni’, Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, XIII (1893-1894), pp. 151–178.
  2. (No date) ArcGIS web application. Available at: https://archaeologysl.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html (Accessed: 05 February 2024).

Also See

Map of Kanakarayamkulama Archaeological Site in Vavuniya

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Travel Directions to Kanakarayamkulama Archaeological Site in Vavuniya

Route from Vavuniya up to Kanakarayamkulam Archaeological Site in Vavuniya
Distance : 34 km
Travel time : 40 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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