Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya – Trincomalee (ලංකාපටුන සමුද්‍රගිරි විහාරය)

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Lankapatuna  Samudragiri Viharaya at Trincomalee is said to be lying in the exact location where Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala landed in Sri Lanka with the tooth relic of the Buddha. This is one of the most ancient temples in Trincomalee. Buddhist ruins scatter in an area of about 50 acres which belong to the temple.

The ancient Buddhist ruins of the Lankapatuna Viharaya were destroyed by the LTTE terrorists in the late 1990s or early 2000s and built a Hindu kovil in 2003. They have used it to erect a radio transmission tower for their clandestine operations. But with the destruction of the LTTE in 2009, a new stupa has been built and the temple is maintained with the support of the armed forces.

Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thera has recognized the ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple at this location. A ruined Dageba has been now excavated. A stony rock with six epigraphs had been demolished to fix the 120 foot high LTTE radio transmission tower. Korawak Gal and many other evidence have also been found at this site.

History of the Tooth Relic

After the parinirwana of the Buddha, the bodily remains, after their distribution among various states that claimed the relics, were enshrined in the funerary mounds known as the stupa. However, the four canine Teeth were said to have been separately enshrined and worshipped. The right canine was worshipped in the heavenly domain of the king of gods, Sakra, while another was worshipped by the king of Gandhara in modern Pakistan. The third was taken away by the Nagas and worshipped placing it in a golden shrine room. The fourth, the left canine was removed from the funerary ashes by a monk and was handed over to the king of Kalinga in Eastern India, as recorded in the Digha Nikaya.

Thenceforth, the Tooth relic of the Kalinga became an object of great veneration by generations of Kalinga kings until it earned the wrath of Brahmanical followers, and consequently, several attempts were made to destroy the Relic by the fanatical rulers. Yet, the Tooth relic was miraculously saved from such atrocities. For this reason, the kings of other states attempted to possess the Tooth relic for personal veneration. Thus, from the beginning, the Tooth relic came to be considered an important symbol of veneration. The last Indian ruler to possess the Tooth relic was Guhasiva of Kalinga (c.4th century AD).

The final attempt made by a neighboring state to make war with Guhasiva for the possession of the Tooth relic caused this venerated relic to leave the Indian shores. By this time, Buddhism was well rooted in Sri Lanka, and the island rulers maintained close relations with the Indian states that fostered Buddhism. It was for this reason that the Kalinga ruler, under imminent danger of losing in battle, decided to send the Tooth relic to his friend, the Sri Lankan king.

After about eight centuries of existence in India, the Tooth relic was secretly taken away by Danta and Hemamala, said to be the son-in-law and daughter of Guhasiva. The literary works like Dathavamsa , Daladasirita, and the chronicle Mahavamsa, record many and varied vicissitudes that the couple went through en route to Sri Lanka in order to safeguard the relic. It is recorded that the prince and the princess donned the garb of ascetics and carried the Relic hidden within the coiffure of Hemamala so as not to be noticed by passersby.

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Map of  Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya

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Travel Directions to Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya

Route from Trincomalee to Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya Route from Seruwila to Lankapatuna Samudragiri Viharaya
Through : Kinniya – Mutur
Distance : 53 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Palatoppu – Mutur
Distance :37 km ( 18 km using the Uppural -Toppur jeep road)
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map

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