Deegalla Pansalgala is a large rock of more than two acres belonging to Wattahena GS Division of Dodangoda Divisional Secretariat Division in Kalutara District.
Recently, a large reclining statue of Buddha was discovered in a cave on this mountain. The cave is partly underwater and statue is half submerged in water. What’s more mysterious is that there’s no easy way to reach this old temple. Even today, reaching the cave requires holding onto ropes on steep cliffs. Why anyone would build a temple in a place near impossible to reach is a mystery.
This statue, about 15 feet in length is made of cement and lies on a concrete base. The pillow on which the head is placed, rear of the head and the left arm has been destroyed by treasure hunters.
Jagath Priyantha (Bandula), a resident of Mathugama, Panthia, had visited this place for the first time twenty-five years ago. He, who is now forty-eight years old, describes how he visited this holy place several times with his friends and worshiped the Buddha statue.
”My hobby is walking in the forests. I has been walking in the forests for thirty years now. There is no place in the Sinharaja Reserve that I have not visited. From Mahiyangana, I have walked through the forests to Ampara. That was to see historical ruins and worship Buddhist monuments. A friend told me about the Buddha statue in Deegalla Temple…”
“The person who told me about the cave with the Buddha statue is no longer in the village. He had come to this place with a group of treasure hunters. Some time after the starting to drain the water in the pond, a large cobra had appeared from the middle of the pond with a mysterious sound. All the people in the pond fainted. My friend and two or three others who were outside ran to where ever their heads turned. Anyway, some people from that group have brought some marble statues from the cave. The person who brought that statue is now gone crazy…”
”Also, I like going to mysterious places. One day, another friend and me took oil, flowers and incense sticks, climbed the temple rock, found the cave and worshiped the Buddha. After that, we cleaned the statue and drained the water in the pond and cleaned it well. The rocks on top were exposed and there was a layer of silt at the bottom. All that was taken away and the mud in the pond was removed, and the place where the statue was placed was cleaned. We heard blowing sounds and contagious sounds like lightnings coming from the cave, however We ignored them and carried on…”
“The pond had steps. As soon as I got into the pond, only my soles got wet. As we went further, it got deeper and deeper and there was water up to our waists near the statue. There was no visible natural spring to fill the pond. The pond was filled with rain water. However the pond stays filled even during drought periods. We have been to the statue during droughts. Even then the pond was full up to the statue. Also, even during heavy rains, we have gone to the cave and worshiped the Buddha. No matter how much it rains, the pond would not fill and submerge the Buddha statue. Always water stays up to waist level at the statue. “
“Even Twenty-five years ago, when we came to this place, the stone steps were broken and dispersed. While walking around the rock, you find smaller caves. The old people village have said that there used to be a priest living and meditating in one of the larger caves below this cave. Also, old people say that there is a tunnel from this rock to Balagala. They say that there are several big caves in Balagala rock. But these days, two companies are breaking the Balagala rock. About half of it is broken now. “
There are also legends that there are treasures. Local residents say that the purpose of these stone quarries are to excavate treasures under the guise of stone quarrying.
In 2012, the department of Archaeology had visited this place and one of the archaeologists Ms Manel describes this ruin as follows;
”A young man from Iddagoda informed us about this place. One day in 2012, a group of us went to that place. From the foot of the rock, we crawled along the rope and went to Gallena with great difficulty. When entering the cave, the pond was full of water. But the Buddha statue was carefully examined. The Buddha statue was created in nineteen fifties. It’s been about seventy years now. It was not registered as an archaeological monument because it was less than a hundred years old. However it was mapped and recorded. No research was done on caves and temples. Based on the notification of the Director General of Archaeology, research work will be started on Pansalgala and cave in the future. Those activities will start soon…”
“Also, upon the news that we went to that place, several elders of the village came and told a lot of details. According to them, the initiation of building a Buddha statue in this cave was by a priest meditating in a cave below the Pansalgala rock. It is the residents of area who have taken all the burdens and done the work of constructing the Buddha statue. There are three roads to reach that cave. There was a stone steps built on one route. People have made wooden ladders to climb up the rock on another route. People have built shops on both sides of these routes and sold goods to the pilgrims. At that time, even the elites have come to worship the Buddha statue. With the passage of time, the pilgrims stopped coming and the area and it was engulfed by the jungle. After that, many people have gone the cave insearch of treasures. There is no such treasure there. Stories about treasures are blatant lies…”
There are plans to build a iron hand grips and steps in difficult places for the devotees to visit the Pilima Gala Cave.
- Ratnaweera, T. (2021) පන්සල ගලෙන් සොයාගත් පිළිමය හැදුවේ වීදියබණ්ඩාර ද?, Divaina Online. Available at: https://divaina.lk/පන්සල-ගලෙන්-සොයාගත්-පිළි/ (Accessed: 20 August 2023).
Map of Pansal Gala Statue of Mathugama
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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|Route from Colombo to Pansal Gala Statue of Mathugama|
|Via : Horanna – Neboda|
Distance : 61 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map