Archaeological Ruins of Mandagala in Yala National Park (යාල මණ්ඩාගල පුරාවිද්‍යා නටබුන්)

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Yala National Park, including 5 blocks and the adjoining Kumana National Park consist of one of the largest land areas of Sri Lanka which wildlife roam free. Although a wildlife park now, many centauries ago, This area was covered in thriving cities of the Ruhuna Magama kingdom.

Mandagala is one of the many rocky outcrops in Yala with ruins of the ancient Rununu kingdom in the pre christian era. This rock lies inside Yala Block 2 which a Strict Nature Reserve where no visitors are allowed. Very few from relevant authorities have visited these rocky hill-tops packed with caves with ancient ledge inscriptions. These inscriptions have been dated from 2nd century BCE to 4th century CE.

Altogether about 24 inscriptions have been discovered so far at this site. According to one inscription, A Mandavapi or Pandavapi Viharaya was founded by king Mahaculi Mahatissa (76-62 BCE). If this is the same present Mandagala ruins, which are froom an earlier in date, Mahaculi Mahatissa was not the founder but a later benefactor of the Vihara. The village Mandagama was granted to the Sangha by Aggabodhi (circa 600), ruler of Rohana (Nicholas, 1963).

Mandagala Range consist of multiple peaks (see above sketch). The peak 1, which is the tallest, was a Trigonometrical Station of the British. On rock number 3, there is a flight of steps hewn on the rock surface on the western side. Beneath this is a very large cave, or rather tunnel, formed by two mighty boulders leaning one against the other. It is 50 feet long, 28 feet broad, and 30 feet high. On entering this cave from the west you find on the left-hand rock, about 20 feet off the ground with an inscription beneath the man made drip ledge (katarama).

Few hundred meters to the west, on a small rocky hill, ruins of a stupa was reported by Brohier. The diameter of the stupa was 21 feet (6.5 meters). On the western face of the rock, leading to the said dagoba, is a flight of steps, 52 in number, cut into the rock, about half a foot apart.

About forty meters off and opposite this is nother small rock and cave with a drip-ledge ; the cave has been walled up with mud and bricks ; its dimensions are 27 feet long, 8 feet broad and 8 feet high. Over the entrance and below the drip-ledge is a inscription on the donation of this cave to Sangha by the lay devotee Sumana, the wife of Saga.

Adjoining this on the west is another rock and a cave with a drip-lege. The building here, similar to that just before mentioned, is in utter ruin. Its dimensions are the same as those of the adjoining one given before. Here too an inscription records the donation of this cave by Rohaka, an accountant to the Sangha. One item of interest in this cave is a piece of movable rock 1 foot by 1½ feet, cut in the shape of an elephant’s foot, intended, probably a stool.

No. 4 is a very high and prominent rock. almost as high as No. 1. About 100 feet below the summit, and on the ridge, a number of drip ledge caves are found.

List of Archaeological Sites inside Yala and Kumana National Parks


  • Brohier, R.L., 2000. Seeing Ceylon,  4th ed., Colombo 10: Sooriya Publishers.
  • Brohier, R.L., 1980. Ancient irrigation works in Ceylon (1934). Colombo: Ministry of Mahaweli Development , part III:pp.29-32.
  • C. W. Nicholas, 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.65

Also See

Map of Archaeological Ruins of Mandagala in Yala

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

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 Archaeological Ruins of Mandagala in Yala

The park can be reached through Southern Highway. It is 275 kilometers away (shortest path through Ratnapura avoiding the Highway but travel time is longer) from Colombo.

Route from Colombo to Yala National Park  (Ruhuna) EntranceRoute from Kataragama to Yala National Park  (Ruhuna) Entrance
Through : Southern Highway – Mattala – Tissamaharama – Kirinda
Distance : 275 km
Travel time : 4.30 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through Tissamaharama – Kirinda
Distance : 40 km
Travel time : 45 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map


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