Nawageti Ara Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )

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Buddha Statue at the Nawageti Ara (site 1)  in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa - (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
Buddha Statue at the Nawageti Ara (site 1) in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Wasgamuwa National Park is a jungle dotted with a large number of ancient Buddhist ruins known only to few. They are inaccessible to general visitors to park as well as anybody who wishes specifically visit the sites. There are are no roads and the access is by foot many kilometers through the wildlife infested jungle paths. Currently only the treasure hunters seem to have unlimited access to these sites.

`The northern boundary of Wasgamuwa National Park is specially packed with ruins of the ancient civilization in Sri Lanka. Malagamuwa Reservoir is a comparatively medium sized reservoir in this area now destroyed and absorbed in to the jungle of Wasgamuwa. Details of this reservoir was reported by HCP Bell in 1905 Archaeological Commissioners report. This reservoir called Malagommana is ranked one of the largest reservoirs in Thamankaduwa.

Numerous Buddhist sites surrounding this reservoir has been discovered and and documented by an archaeology team from Japan in addition to the detail study of the two Bisokotuwa’s of the reservoir. One of the Bisokotuwa of this reservoir is the largest ever discovered in the country.

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Nawageti Ara Site 1

410 meters east of Bisokotuwa II and 460 meters northwest of Pilimalagala Buddha carvings another site has been documented by the research team. If you walk about 500m from Pilimalagala, you will see a small rock hill with a height of about 3m. The archaeological site lies in the jungle east of this small hill in the jungle north of the riverbed of Nawageti Ara.

A partly completed Buddha statue and part of a clay lamp stand has been discovered here. There are traces of destruction by the treasure hunters on the head and chest. It can be confirmed that the left arm is bent vertically, but the parts such as the eyes and nose of the head and the details of the hands and feet are incomplete. The stone used is different from the stones of the nearby rock hills (Dolomite). It was found lying on its side with a height of 195 cm, a width of 57 cm, and a thickness of 22 cm. The head was split in two by a treasure hunter, and there are traces of a chisel marks on the chest. It is quite possible that the place where the Buddha statue was discovered is not the original location of the statue.

The area where the statue lies is elevated about 50 cm and with the scattered pieces of bricks indicates a possibly of a building underneath all the accumulated dirt.

Buddha Statue at the Nawageti Ara (site 1)  in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa - (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
Buddha Statue at the Nawageti Ara (site 1) in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka
Buddha Statue at the Nawageti Ara (site 1) in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa - (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
Buddha Statue at the Nawageti Ara (site 1) in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

Nawageti Ara Site 2

Plan of the site at the Nawageti Ara (site 2)  in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa - (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
Plan of the site at the Nawageti Ara (site 2) in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa – (වස්ගමුව වන තුල සැඟවුණු නවගැටි ආර අසළ නටබුන් )
source : Ruins in Central Eastern Area of Sri Lanka

From this statue, traveling 100 meters in the northwestern direction through the thick jungle, you will come across a open space where you would find the site number 2. At this site you will find ruins of a ancient stupa, remains of buildings, stone pillars and Buddha statues, inside a stone boundary wall scattered all over the area. Most of the ruins has been excavated and destroyed in this area too.

Stupa is covered in shrubs, is 13.5 meters in diameter and the remains are of 2.5 meters in height. Treasure hunters have dug a pit measuring 2.2 meters in diameter and 2.2 meters in depth in the center of the stupa. No moonstones or guardstones were found around the stupa.

Ruins of a building lies southwest of the stupa. Size of the building is about 5mx10 meters and 13 pillars still remain of this structure. Some pillar have been carved with grooves to lay timber beams across for a roof (photos 31,34). The building has been dug in two places by treasure hunters. some of the pillar parts with wedges are seen lying inside these pits (photos 33,35). Tile fragments that seemed to have roofed the roof of the building were found around Building, and according to archaeologists of the department of archaeology who accompanied the Japanese team, it is possibly to be from the late Polonnaruwa era based on the shape of the tile.

An unfinished standing Buddha statue is found lying 5.8m southeast of the western end of stone wall. The unfinished part of the statue is about 100cm in height, 42 cm in width and 20cm in thickness (photo 36).

A carved piece of stone is found at a position 9.5 m southeast of Stupa (photo 37). The size is 34 cm on one side on the east side, 22 cm on the west side, 98 cm in width, and 20 cm in thickness. A circular groove is carved on one side, and a groove is carved so that it extends straight from the end of the circle to the long edge. The purpose is unknown.

References

  • Okamura, T., 2012. Ruins of Wasgomuwa National Park – Sri Lanka — 2009/2010 Survey Report. Tokyo: South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society (SARERS)

Map of Nawageti Ara Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa

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Travel Directions to Nawageti Ara Ruins in the Jungles of Wasgamuwa

Route from Dambulla to Wasgamuwa National Park Entrance
Through : Bakamuna
Distance : 80 km
Travel time : 1.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
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