Weherabendigala / Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve – වෙහෙරබැඳිගල / කිරලාගල ආරාම සංකීර්ණයේ නටබුන්

Weherabendigala / Banda Pokuna at Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve

Weherabendigala / Banda Pokuna at Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve
photo source : horowpothana.com

Kiralagala Archaeological site consist of ruins of an ancient forest monastery belonging to the early Anuradhapura era lying close to Horowpathana on the Medawachchiya – Horowpathana Road. This site was known as Veherabendigala but currently the name Kiralagala is more commonly used.

The ruins of this Aramaic complex is believed to belonging to the 5th – 4th century BC and covers over 60 acres. But due to recent Muslim invasion of the archaeological site, currently this area is said to shrunk to just 12 acres. The whole area surrounding the site has been taken over by Muslims and converted in to paddy fields.

photos by Niroshan Edirisinghe

The extent to which this Kiralagala Aramic Complex had spread in the ancient past can be judged by the ruins of Kulumiwakada (Kulumimakada)  which lies about 4 kms off Kiralagala which is believed to part of this complex in the ancient times.

Considering the remoteness of the site, the archaeology department has conserved most of the ruins and is currently well maintained.

The whole Kiralagala complex which has been conserved lies on a rocky plateau and consists of all the features of Pancha Maha Vihara. The site consists of a large articial pond, a large stupa, a finely laid Bodhigararaya, Image houses,  a Ganthagaraya, monk residencies, meditation paths and number of other buildings.

Most of the buildings have been constructed at higher elevations with elegant steps leading from ground level. The meditation paths ( sakman Malu) are constructed at ground levels.  But the most prominent feature of this site is the ancient pond called Banda Pokuna made of granite blocks. Built for the use of the bikkhus, this pond has been completely restored by the archaeology department. With a 150 feet length, 75 feet width and a 28 feet depth,  Banda Pokuna is the 2nd largest artificial pond of the Anuradhapura Kingdom , the largest being the Eth Pokuna of Abayagiriya Monastery at Anuradhapura.

One of the unique features of this site is that despite being a fully fledged aramic complex, no Buddha statues have been discovered from this site.

photos by Niroshan Edirisinghe

The Kulumiwakada (Kulumimakada) lies about 4 km from the Kiralagala Archaeology site on the Medawachchiya road. The only ruin you would find there is a conserved stupa on the left to the main route conserved by the archaeology department. This area is too dominated by Muslims and all the land surrounding this stupa has been converted in to paddy fields forever destroying any other ruins which might have existed in the area.

A November 2014 post reported that the archaeology department appointed caretaker at the Kiralagala vehemently refused to let the site being photographed and the visitors had to call the Anuradhapura Archaeology office to take the cameras in to the site. In a separate site it was reported the the Archaeology department has appointed a Muslim caretaker to protect these Buddhist ruins.

Irrespective of whether the camera issue were on department instructions or the caretaker trying to discourage visitors to the site, be ready to face this issue if you are planning a visit to this site in future.

Also See

Map of Weherabendigala / Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve

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The marker for Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve -Exact location

The marker for Kulumiwakada Archaeological Reserve – points to the approximate location at the Kulumiwakada village. Keep an eye for a board by archaeology department.

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.

Travel Directions to Ruins of Weherabendigala / Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve

Route from Anuradhapura to Weherabendigala / Kiralagala Archaeological Reserve

Distance : 60 km
Travel time :1.15 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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