Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre (අරන්තලාව භික්ෂු ඝාතක ස්මාරකය)

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It was 7.15 in the morning of June 2nd 1987 when a bus filled with Novice Buddhist Monks, their mentor Chief Priest Ven. Hegoda Indrasara and a few civilians were stopped near the village of Nuwerathanne. They were going on a pilgrimage from their temple in Mahavapi to the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara. They were being stopped by 20 armed carders of the ruthless Tamil terrorist organisation called the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). The bus driver was ordered to drive the bus into the Jungles of Aranthalawa.

The moment the bus was stopped some Tamil Tigers opened fire on the novice monks and others started hacking and chopping these barely teen children of Buddha with swords and knives. Buddhist monks by Vinaya rules or canonical law cannot hold arms for their protection.

In the end, there were 31 bodies in saffron robes drenched with blood including the Chief monks and 4 bodies of civilians. Four novice monks escaped death with critical injuries Three bikkus are living with medical aid and another Bhikku is permanently disabled. This was the bloodiest bloodbath on civilians of the Tamil Tigers for years to come.

  • shocking gruesome content
  • The bodies of brutally massacred novice priests at Aranthalalwa
  • The bodies of brutally massacred novice priests at Aranthalalwa
  • The bodies of brutally massacred novice priests at Aranthalalwa

In 2003, the Helabima Organisation and the STF (Special Task Force) got together to build a monument near the very place that is Massacre took place. Today this monument stands alone in the middle of the Jungles of Aranthalawa surrounded by trees which witnessed this Massacre over 20 years ago.

In 2013, a memorial museum was built in this location using the same bus in which these monks were travelling by a local artist. The gruesome last minutes of these small novice monks have been re-created inside this bus and are open to the public.

  • shocking gruesome content
  • Aranthalawa Massacre Museum
  • Aranthalawa Massacre Museum
  • Aranthalawa Massacre Museum
  • Aranthalawa Massacre Museum
  • Aranthalawa Massacre Museum
  • Aranthalawa Massacre Museum

How to get there

Aranthalawa lies between Ampara and Maha Oya. There is a newer monument with the statue of Chief Priest Ven. Hegoda Indrasara was built by the road. In front of this monument is a gravel road which leads to the place where the Massacre took place. This gravel road is marked by a cement slab which is visible only if you travel from the Mahaoya side.

After travelling about 50 meters on this gravel path you will come across the monument which is built upon a natural rock to mark the place of one of the cruelest bloodbaths of recent Sri Lankan history.

Also See

Map of  Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre

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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

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Travel Directions to Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre

Route from Ampara Monument of Aranthalawa Massacre
Through : Maha Oya Road
Distance : 46 km
Travel time : 45 minutes
Driving directions : See on Google Maps

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