Dimbulagala Molahitiya Velegala Archaeological Site

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Molahitiya Velegala is a long rocky outcrop in Kuda Ulpatha village in Dimbulagala, Nuwarakalaviya. The site is about 1.5 km from Kuda Ulpota and is a low rock terrain with three or four parallel narrow ridges along its length running east to west in parallel to Dimbulagala rock.

The rock is covered in small boulders and broken rock resembling a giant’s fortress. Bell in 1897 provides some information on this site. This rock had been a large rock quarry in the ancient past. Wedged stone, and longitudinal grooves in the bedrock, deep and shallow, for further “splitting”, together with many small heaps of stone refuse piled about were observed. Bell states that most of the statues and other stone requirements of the Polonnaruwa kingdom may have come from this barren rock, where the Ronkot Vehera of the Polonnaruwa kingdom is clearly visible among the green forest cover.

About the center of the main ridges stands what is left of a couple of ruined structures. Remains of a stupa, Plinth stones of a small octagonal building facing south showing on their top lotus-boss mortices for wooden pillars. This image house was approximately 8 feet on each side. Inside this building two granite slabs used as flower alters, one square and the other oblong were found.

At a higher level on the crest of the middle ridge, two long lines cut in the rock, so as to run parallel for twenty yards or more. They terminate at four inscriptions. Two of these records (carved on the rock’s surface in four lines, close together, within an oblong frame) are especially well-incised in characters both bold and deep. The swastika emblem precedes Nos. 1 and 2. All four inscriptions are from the early Christian era.

At the foot of this ridge lies 4-5 caves which 3 have drip ledges indicating their use by the ancient monks. The largest of the drip-ledge caves is 60 feet wide, 20 feet high, and 27 feet deep. This cave has been used as a vihara in the past. Here you find pillar bases, a 2-foot square flower altar, and bricks. Indications of an ancient terrace in front of the cave is found (Bell,1917).

Of the 4 inscriptions published by Bell, the oldest is number 4. It records gifts made to the ancient monastery by the chief queen of King Kutakanna Tissa (20 BC-9 AC). This reads ;

Success! The reservoir of Dubalagama (is the property) of the Community of Bhikkhus. A karisa each at Nakavili and Lodori (are the property) of the Community of Bhikkhus. The reservoir of Pidavika (is the property) of the Community of Bhikkhus. The senior wife of King Kutakanna, queen Anula, gave these to the Community of bhikkhus in the monastery of……Pilipavata (Paranavitana, 1983)

This site known as Molahitiya Welegala with drip-ledged caves, rock inscription, and a monument complex in Millana Village in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 212 of Millana in Dimbulagala Divisional Secretary’s Division in Polonnaruwa District, North Central Province was declared as an protected archeological site on 1st February 2023.

References

  • Vimalananda, T. (no date) The Epigraphy And Paleography Of Ceylon Down To the 10th Century, A.D. thesis.
  • Bell, H.C.P. (1917) ‘Dimbula-gala : Its Caves. Ruins and Inscriptions’, The Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register , III (part 2), pp. 69–792.
  • Paranavitana, S., Codrington , H.W. and Wickremasinghe , D.M.D.Z. (1933) ‘Two Rock Inscriptions of Bhatika Abhaya and Mahanaga at Molahitiyavelegala’, in Epigraphia Zeylanica Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon | Vol III 1928-1933. London: Humphrey Milford, pp. 153–157.
  • Paranavitana, S (1983) Inscriptions of Ceylon | Volume II | Part I | Containing Rock and Other Inscriptions | From the Reign of Kutakanna Abhaya (41 B.C.-19 B.C.) to Bhatiya II (140- 164 A.D.) Vol II  (part 1). Colombo: Department of Archaeology.
  • Wikramanayaka, V. (2023) ‘Monuments to be declared as Ancient Monuments’, The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka EXTRAORDINARY, 2317/57, p. 4A.

Also See

Map of Dimbulagala Molahitiya Velegala Archaeological Site

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Travel Directions to Dimbulagala Molahitiya Velegala Archaeological Site

The modern town of Polonnaruwa is also known as New Town, and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through: Central Highway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo: 230 km
Travel Time: 4.45 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred CityRoute from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: See on Google map
Through : Maradankadawala – Habarana
Distance: 103 km
Travel Time : 2 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map
Route from Polonnaruwa to Dimbulagala Handapanwila Rajamaha Viharaya Archaeological Site
Through : Manampitiya
Distance : 36 km
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map

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