Maluweyaya Archaeological Ruins in Elahara – ඇළහැර මළුවෙයාය පුරාවිද්‍යා භුමිය

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A water vessel cut on a rock at Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
A water vessel cut on a rock at Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara

In close proximity to the little known Buduruwayaya archeological site  in the Polonnaruwa district lies this unexplored archaeological site hidden in the jungle bordered Amban Ganga and Heerati Oya in 3 sides. and the Dambulla – Kalagahawela road from the western side. The name Maluweyaya is described along with the site mark in the old version of “1 inch 1 mile map”, however the name is not described in the new version of “1 / 50,000 map”. Although declared as an archaeological site, no attempt has been taken for further studies of the ruins or any conservation.

The ruins at the site spreads on the banks of the Amban ganga and at one time of history must have made a picturesque setting for its purpose. Its possible to drive quite close to these ruins in a vehicle. No methodical archaeological survey has been done at this site. However an Japanese Archaeological team (South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society) has studied this site in 2011 and documented the ruins in report published in Japanese. The below content is based on this research paper as noted in the reference section below.

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Ruins such as temples and stupas are scattered about 250 square meters in the forest, and some of them are built on small open rocks. In this survey, remains of 6 buildings, 1 stupa, and 2 stone structures that seemed to be ponds were discovered, but considering the distribution of the ruins, more ruins may exist around the surveyed area.

Fig. 2-1 Distribution map of the ruins at Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Fig. 2-1 Distribution map of the ruins at Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Ruins of Building A

 Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

There is an entrance from the road on the northwest side of the archaeological area, and the remains of this building are about 200 m east-southeast of it. The open rock is divided into three parts, but the grooves are connected. The boundary of the open rock is connected by a stone slab bridge, and a groove runs on the stone slab .

Ruins of Building B

Ruins of Building 2 - Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Ruins of Building B – Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Approximately 90m north of the aforementioned “Building Site A”, the remains were located at the northwestern end of the archaeological area in this survey. It is a building trace that remains on an exposed 3 meter high rock with postholes for pillars and a ditch that defines the site of the building. The remains of buildings on the exposed rock differ between the north half and the south half, and while the north half has only postholes on the east side, the adjacent south half has a groove carved in the bedrock. The area of ​​the building seen from the foundation is about 5.5m x 3m on the north side and about 5.5m x 4m on the south side. In addition, the south side of this exposed rock is filled to the same height as the upper part of the rock to expand the site with a retaining wall . The stones used for this western retaining wall is about 20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, and it is neatly assembled over a length of 10 m. In addition to these sites and the foundation of the building, nothing indicating the upper structure could be confirmed.

Stone Water Basin 1

Stone Water Basin 1  - Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Stone Water Basin 1 – Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

On the ground between “Building trace A” and “Building trace B” above, there is a stone structure that seems to be a water tank. The size is about 150 cm square and the height is 55 cm, and a decorative pattern imitating a pillar is embossed on the outside. The edge is 15 cm thick and has a gentle inward slope.

Stone Water Basin 2

Stone Water Basin 2 - Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Stone Water Basin 2 – Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

This artifact lies about 20m south of the above “Stone water Basin 1”. It is built directly from the bottom rock and the natural rock mass at the base is visible on the ground surface. The size is 160 cm x 130 cm, and the height of the basin itself is 70 cm, but if you include the rock at the base, it will be 120 cm. The thickness of the edge is 20 cm, and it is gently carved inward. The decorative pattern of the pillars is embossed on the outside, but unlike the above, the pillar pattern is straight and slightly thin. There was a perforation with a diameter of about 5 cm on the bottom side of the water tank, and it is presumed that it played a role of drainage. Discovery of similar stone vessels are very rare and their original use is still unknown. Archaeological official Bandara said there are some similar relics athe the Thuparama Stupa in the ancient capital Anuradhapura.

Ruins of Building C

Ruins of Buildings - Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Ruins of Buildings – Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

The ruins of this building lie on an open rock about 100m south-southwest of the above-mentioned “Building Ruins A”. The exposed rock is about 5 m high, and the remains of the building at the top, the stairs leading up from the ground. There is a rock shelter carved at the bottom of the exposed rock. It is probable that the upper part of the exposed rock is slightly rounded and sloped, and the sloped part is carved in a staircase shape, and the stone material that serves as the base is piled up to create a flat site (terrace). The size of the stone used for this purpose was about 80 cm, width 30 cm, and height 30 cm, and it was confirmed that up to 5 layers could be stacked at the steepest slope. The site constructed in this way has an irregular shape as shown in the figure, and it is estimated that there was a building with an area of ​​about 5m x 8m from the row of cut stones (foundation) remaining on the inner ground. However, it cannot be determined that the west and north sides have collapsed together with the terrace retaining wall. The remains of the steps on the northwestern foot of the rock hill is weathered, and the specific number and size of the steps are unknown. Photo 2-12 – 2-15 / Fig. 2-6)

The rock shelter at the northeastern foot of this rock hill, just opposite the stairs above, has a frontage of about 2 m (width of the back is 1 m) and a depth of 5 m 70 cm, making it a smaller cave than a rock shelter (Photos 2-14, 2-15). At the upper part of the entrance of the cave, a dripledge has been cut, and the height from the current surface to the dripledge was 1 m 70 cm.

Ruins of Building D

Ruins of Building D - Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Ruins of Building D – Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

This ruin is located approximately 90m northeast of “Building A” and approximately 90m southeast of “Building B”. Unlike the other buildings above, this building has been built on the soil and not on the rocks. Its outer wall is formed by a 15m x 15m square base. The base is made by arranging flat stone blocks of 1m x 1.2m to make one side of 15m, and the direction of the row is exactly facing north, south, east and west. There is pit dug by treasure hunter at the center of the ground inside the platform, and no trace of the superstructure can be seen. The building seems to have an entrance on the south side, and it extends about 4 m toward the south like a pier, and the remains of the entrance can be seen. There is another pit dug at the steps by treasure hunters and the steps are scattered but the balustrade and other parts are still buried in earth. The northeast corner and southwest corner of the square platform are connected to rows of paving stones that continue from east to west.

The stones are rough and do not show uniformity in size, but because they form a band, it is presumed to be a sidewalk at that time in the archaeological area. The area where the stones continue, especially the eastern side, has not been explored, but it is probably connected to the remains of other buildings. (Photo 2-18 to 2-21 / Fig. 2-7)

Ruins of Building F

Ruins of Building F - Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
Ruins of Building F – Maluweyaya archaeological site in Elahara
photo source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

These ruins lie about 250m southeast of the “Building A”, and is located at latitude 7 degrees 43 minutes 52.8 seconds north and longitude 80 degrees 50 minutes 29.5 seconds east. This is also built on the earth and not on using the rocks and an outer wall is made of masonry of approximately 50 square meters in size. However the internal structure was extremely difficult to measure due to destruction by treasure hunters except for the remains on the center of the building. The outer masonry is about 1 m high and built with rectangular parallelepiped stones of 90 cm x 90 cm x 150 cm and piled up without gaps. At the site of the building in one corner of the site, two rows of stone pillars with a height of 2 m could be confirmed, and it is estimated that four stone pillars were lined up in each row. From the length and arrangement of the stone pillars, the scale of the building is about 9m square, and it is presumed to be the remains of Uposathagara, but it is not certain. A large slab of stone of 3m x 1m was also found near this line of stone pillars. (Photo 2-22, 2-23 / Fig. 2-8)

The stupa ruins inside the outer site of the above “Building Ruins F”. It is about 40m northeast of the above stone pillars, but it seems that they both formed one temple. Although it is a small mountain of collapsed soil with a diameter of about 18 m, it was impossible to confirm the original shape or survey because there were several grave robbery holes.

Ruins of a Stupa at location G

There are indication of a stupa just above the ruins of the building marked as F. It is about 40m northeast of the above stone pillars. Today it is a small mountain of collapsed soil with a diameter of about 18 m, it is impossible to confirm the original shape or survey the ruins due to multiple pits dug by treasure hunters.

References

  • Okamura, T., 2015. RUINS IN CENTRAL EASTERN AREA OF SRI LANKA — at the jungle of Amban Ganga Basin and the outskirts —. Tokyo: South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society (SARERS).

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Travel Directions to Maluweyaya Archaeological Ruins in Elahara

Route from Dambulla to Maluweyaya Archaeological Reserve Route from Polonnaruwa to Maluweyaya Archaeological Reserve
Through : Bakamuna (B615)
Distance :33 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Giritale – Bakamuna (B112)
Distance :50 km
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map
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