Threatened Heritage of Kanchikudichchi Aru Ruins in Ampara

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Kanchikudichchi Aru (also called Kanjikudichchi Aru) Ruins lies on the two hillocks on either side of the Kanchikudichchi reservoir embankment. The left hillock has a stupa which has been pillaged by treasure hunters. This is about 20 feet in height and is completely covered in Jungle. Few stone pillars have been found in the thickets by the stupa. Below this stupa at the bottom of the rock near the road lies a drip ledge cave with some cave art.

Cyril Mathew, then minister of Industries and Scientific Affairs in 1983 reports that a Hindu Kovil has been built at the summit of the hillock on the remains of an ancient building structure. Two flower alters or Asana stones have been used as a landing step and an altar stone of the kovil.

The other hill has 11 caves which have been used by the meditation monks.  One cave has a stone inscription with Brahmi (early Sinhala) inscriptions which can be dated to the 2nd century BCE or older. Other stone slabs are dated to be belonging to the  8th century. The presence of these slabs is proof that this temple complex has been flourishing for at least 1000 years before abandonment.

The name Kanjikudichchi may mean `the tank with broken bunds’ However, the tank would have had a name before the `bunds’ fell. The name can be also interpreted in Tamil as the `tank (where) broth was drunk’. Therefore it has been claimed that the ancient name of this tank could have been Kandegoda Wewa and the stream Kandegoda Ara.

During the LTTE Terrorists were active, this site was used as one of their camps and currently, there is an Army camp nearby. You will need to obtain permission from the camp to explore this area.

References

  1. Mathew, C., 1983. An Appeal to UNESCO to Safeguard and Preserve the Cultural Property in Sri Lana Endangered by Racial Prejudice, Unlawful Occupation or Wilful Destruction.

Also See

Map of  Kanchikudichchi Aru Ruins

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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

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Travel Directions to Kanchikudichchi Aru Ruins

Route from Ampara to Kanchikudichchi Aru Ruins
Distance :  47  km
Travel time : 1.15 hour
Driving directions : see on google map

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