Kongala Ruins in Kumana (කුමණ කෝන්ගල නටබුන්)

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The villages of Kumana and Panama, once part of an ancient flourishing civilization, today are a thick jungle teeming with wildlife. Kumana National Park (Yala East) as known today is home to a large number of sites of ruins scattered on various rocky outcrops throughout the jungle.

In the upper valleys of Kumbukkan Oya and inside the thick jungle belonging to the Ampara District, stands one of these rocky outcrops known as Konagala. This outcrop covers an extensive area. There are several caves with drip ledges indicating this was part of a large Buddhist monastic complex of the bygone era. Fourteen of the caves have inscriptions. There are 4 partly mutilated rock inscriptions as well.

The rock where the ruins are found is 285 ft. in height. Four dilapidated stupas are seen on the four rocky hillocks. All the ruins in this complex are vandalised and destroyed by treasure hunters.

In the inscriptions, dignitaries of various ranks are mentioned as donors of caves. One such cave mentions a Brahmana (Bamana Atimataka) as the donor of a cave to the Buddhist Sangha. Considering that the Brahmanas as a body could not have been very enthusiastic about providing comforts to Buddhist clergy, this is quite impressive (Paranavithana,1970).

Special mention should be made of “Utinagara” in one inscription of the 2nd century BC which probably connected with Raja Uti of the Kataragama Dynasty. Inscriptions of the 5th century at this same site mention the places Citagalaya and Mayulavila : the latter name is repeated in a 4th-century inscription at Akurukelugala, about 20 miles further north (Nicholas, 1963).

The rock inscriptions mention of a donation of “Kahavanu” (Gold coins), Vaharala, a Mangala Maha Chetiya and about some fields. Dr Paranavitana states that Utinagara may be the name of a town or of a banking corporation. The ruins date from the Pre Common Era (Medhānanda, 2005).

This site lies about 2.7 km passing Bambaragasthalawa Ruins over a rough four-wheel trail.

List of Archaeological Sites inside Yala and Kumana National Parks

References

  1. Medhānanda, E. (2005). The Sinhala Buddhist heritage in the East and the North of Shri [i.e. Sri] Lanka. 1st ed. Colombo: Dayawansa Jayakody & Co. , p.23
  2. Nicholas, C. W. (1963). Historical Topography of Ancient and Medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series Volume VI Special Number, p.61
  3. Handbook for the Ceylon traveller : A Studio Times Publication (1974). Colombo, Sri Lanka: Studio Times, p.172
  4. Paranavithana, S. (1970) The Inscriptions of Ceylon Volume I – Early Brāhmī Inscriptions. Colombo, Ceylon: Department of Archaeology of Ceylon.

Also See

Map of Kongala Ruins in Kumana

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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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 Kongala Ruins in Kumana

Entrance to Kumana is from Okanda. Although the fastest route is through the Southern Expressway, The route through Balangoda – Beragala is very scenic.

Route I from Colombo to Kumana Park Entrance at Okanda Route II from Colombo to Kumana Park Entrance at Okanda
Through : Southern Highway – Mattala – Thanamalwila – Wellawaya – Monaragala – Potuvil – Panama – Okanda
Distance :420 km
Travel time : 7.30 hours.
Driving directions : see on Google map
Through : Balangoda – Beragala – Wellawaya – Monaragala – Potuvil – Panama – Okanda
Distance :345 km
Travel time : 9.30 hours.
Driving directions : see on Google map
Route from Potuvil to Kumana Park Entrance at Okanda
Through : Potuvil – Panama – Okanda
Distance :32 km
Travel time : 1 hours.
Driving directions : see on Google map

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