Mavadivembu Archaeological Ruins in Batticaloa (මඩකලපුව මාවඩිවෙම්බු පුරාවිද්‍යා ස්ථානය)

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Mavadivembu Archaeological Ruins in Batticaloa
Mavadivembu Archaeological Ruins in Batticaloa

It is archaeologically proven that the Northern and Eastern parts of the island had a vibrant Buddhist civilization during the Golden eras of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms. A massive number of ruins from this golden era can be witnessed in the North and Eastern Provinces even today.

Although many of these ruins were deliberately vandalized with the shallow hope of wiping out the identity of the land, they continue to stand as silent witnesses vibrant Buddhist civilization of days gone by. While these archaeological sites are been raped by scrupulous racist groups after the end of the terrorist war, the situation has been made worse by the authorities who have been neglecting these sites.

Mavadivembu (Mavadi Vembu) is a small village between Pasikudah and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka belonging to the Eravur Pattu Chenkaladi Divisional Secretary in Batticaloa district. At this small village amidst farmland lies ruins of a Buddhist temple thousands of years old with one of the largest stupas of the Anuradhapura era in the Batticaloa district. Tamils call this location as Viharathottam.

In 2019, it was reported that a person had bulldozed the stupa, and the surrounding ruins of the ancient temple complex to plant coconut, chillies and other vegetables. Dimbulagala Priest community had made this complaint to the police against the relevant person, the Secretary of the Batticaloa District and the Assistant Commissioner of Archaeology. After this incident, the Department of Archaeology placed boundary posts demarcating the ruins. However, the damage done to this site is immense and irreversible.

This site was discovered by the Ampara Archaeology team in 2017. The diameter of the stupa is 32 meters with a circumference of 100 meters. Archaeologists believe that the stupa belongs to the 2nd or 3rd centuries. Seven more buildings in addition to the stupa have been identified at the site. The buildings east to the stupa had not been destroyed by this person.

Unauthorized excavations had been carried out about a depth of about one meter, and a length & width of about four meters by treasure hunters. A plain moonstone and two footprints of Buddha carved in stone (Siripathul Gal) are seen south of the stupa. The Yupa Gala of the stupa is seen falling east of the stupa. Large stone slabs, bricks, stone pillars and other artefacts were reported to be pilled up using machinery at a corner of the land. A Hindu Kovil has been set up close to the stupa after 2019. A statue of a Christian saint too can be seen close by.

From the above information, it is clear that this area is a site with very important archaeological evidence from an archaeological point of view. Sociologically, the land around this ancient temple is inhabited by ‘Sea Veddas’. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the Veddas living in the villages of Mavadivembu, Kaluwankarni and Palayadithona now speak Tamil but in the past, they spoke a language close to Sinhala.

Special thanks to Chandima Ambanwela, lecturer at Rajarata University of Sri Lanka for the latest information of this archaeological site and the photos.

References

  1. ada.lk. 2019. අනුරාධපුර සමයට අයත් මඩකලපුවේ තිබූ විශාලම ස්තූපයත් ඩෝසර් කරලා?. [online] Available at: <https://bit.ly/3NjfFGC> [Accessed 16 May 2022].
  2. Vanniarachchy, A., 2020. Presidential Task Force for Archaeological Heritage Management in the Eastern Province. [online] A Writer’s Diary. Available at: <https://amahvanniarachchy.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/presidential-task-force-for-archaeological-heritage-management-in-the-eastern-province/> [Accessed 16 May 2022].
  3. www.lankadeepa.lk. 2019. දාගැබක් ඩොසර් කර වගා කිරීමට එරෙහිව පැමිණිල්ලක්. [online] Available at: <https://bit.ly/3yFn0MJ> [Accessed 16 May 2022].
  4. National Audit Office (Performance Audit Division) (2019) Management of the Archeological Heritage of Sri Lanka.

Also See

Map of Mavadivembu Archaeological Ruins

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

Route from Batticaloa to Mavadivembu Archaeological Ruins
Through : Eravur – Chenkaladi
Distance :21 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Time to spent : 30-60 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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