Manikkamadu Dagoba Archaeological Site in Eragama – එරගම මානික්කවඩු දාගැබ පුරාවිද්‍යා භූමිය

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Manikkamadu Dagoba Rock

Manikkamadu Dagoba Rock

Eragama (Irakkamam in tamil) is a town in the Ampara District with over a 90% Muslims population. With number of ancient Buddhist monastic sites discovered in this region, this area has become a hot bed for Muslim extremists. Tensions have arisen whenever  these site are being developed. Unfortunately these communities have no pride in the country and its heritage and the unchecked archaeological sites are slowly being destroyed erasing the traces of any archaeological values.

Traveling pass the turn off to the ancient Deegavapi Stupa on the Samanthure – Deegavapi road you will come across the ancient Eragama Reservoir. 1.5 km passing the reservoir lies on ruins of an ancient dagoba on a picturesque rock on right side the road. steps hewn on the living rock and many other ruins on this rock has been declared as a protected archaeological site by the Government with the Gazette issued on 10th October 2014, and describes the location as follows;

“Manikkamadu Dagoba mound and rock boulders with stairways situated in No. 5-2-34-005-07 Irakkamam Grama Niladhari Division in Eragama (Irakkamam) Divisional Secretary’s Division in Ampara District in Eastern Province. (latitude 7º 15′ 36” N and longitude 081º 43′ 16” E).”

This stupa is now believed to be one of the Parivara Stupa of Deegavapi Maha Seya.  One such parivara stupa of the Deegavapi was bulldozed by Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader late M.H.M. Ashraff while building a road through the Deegavapi temple land in late 1990s.  A new temple has been built where another Parivara Stupa has been. Others have been lost even before discovery.

It is said that the king Saddhatissa (137-119 BC) had stored the valuable jewels which was brought to be deposited in the Deegavapi Stupa in the Manikkamadu Temple which later derived its name from Manik – Maduwa.

Until around 1980, a small temple has been at the bottom of the rock known as the Manikkamadu Kanda. With the LTTE Tamil Terrorists invading and killing Sinhalese civilians in the area, the temple and about 100 Sinhalese Buddhists in the area had been forced to leave their land. The chief priest, Thangalle Pangnasena Thero had then passed away from an accident and the main beneficiary Rev. Hegoda Indrasara Thero too was brutally hacked to death by the Tamil Tiger Terrorist group LTTE during the Aranthalawa Massacre.

But this temple had been deserted wi until the priest But when the Residence House for a priest was commenced this year on a land offered by the government,  severe opposition from Muslims forced to halt this construction and currently this matter has been taken to the courts.

More ruins with drip-ledge caves on a rock on the opposite side of the road too has been declared as a protected archaeological site by the same gazette and describes the location as follows;

“Manikkamadu Kanda with drip ledged caves with Brahmi inscriptions belonging to Manikkamadu village (hill on the north from Eragama Lake) situated in No. 5-2-34-005-07 Irakkamam Grama Niladhari Division in Eragama (Irakkamam) Divisional Secretary’s Division in Ampara District in Eastern Province. (latitude 7º 15′ 17” N and longitude 081º 43′ 18” E).”

GPS location is marked based on the above description. However it is recommended to get more information and directions before attempting to visit the place. It is very unlikely that you would get any assistance from the predominately Muslim villagers who would rather prefer to see such sites disappear.

Also See

Map of  Manikkamadu Dagoba Archaeological Site


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Travel Directions to Manikkamadu Dagoba Archaeological Site

Route from Ampara to Manikkamadu Dagoba Archaeological Site

Through : Eragama
Distance : 8,5 km
Travel time : 20  mins
Time to spend : 30-60 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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