There is an area called Pankudaweli in the Karadianaru Police Division of Batticaloa District or Chenkaladi Divisional Secretariat Division. Adjacent to the Chenkaladi-Mahaoya road in Pankudaweli, ruins of an ancient monastery complex lie buried beneath the gravel and paddy fields. This aramic complex is believed to be built during the reign of King Saddhatissa (137-119 BCE).
The stupa resembled a mound of earth when discovered. Large amounts of stone ruins including pillars of buildings, pillar bases, Sri Pathul stones (footprints of Buddha carved in stone slabs), rock slabs, moonstones, balustrades, door frames and ancient bricks have been bulldozed to corners.
Although a small portion of the ruins had been fenced off by the Archaeological Department, villagers had even encroached on this area destroying the ruins in this area as well to extend their fields.
It was around 2008 when Ampitiye Sumanarathna Thero, the chief prelate of Mangalarama Viharaya in Batticaloa, who had been carrying out a lone crusade to protect archaeological sites in the East from willful destruction heard of this site. When he went to the site, he was deeply shocked by what they saw. From that day he started his struggle to protect this ancient sacred ground. Archaeology Department officers were dragging their feet in the protection of this site while the people continued to encroach and destroy the ruins further. When Sumanarathna Thero voiced against this inaction, it was he who was sent to courts as the authorities kept filing lawsuits against him for obstructing their duty while pampering the destructors of the archaeological site.
Due to the endless struggle of Ampitiye Sumanarathna Thero, work started to conserve the stupa a few years ago. But the fate of the other ruins remains the same. The conservation of the stupa too has stopped during the last few years and no authority has shown any interest in restoring at least the stupa of this ancient monastery despite efforts of the Thero.
This site can be reached from Chenkaladi junction on the Kalkudah-Batticaloa road. Travel 14.5 km on the Mahaoya road from Chenkaladi to find the ruins site on the right.
- Amarabandu, S. (2023) දාගැබ් වනසා අලුතින් ලියන්න හදන කරදියන් ආරු ඉතිහාසය, divaina. Available at: https://divaina.lk/දාගැබ්-වනසා-අලුතින්-ලියන/ (Accessed: 29 January 2024).
Map of Pankudaweli Rajamaha Vihara Archaeological Ruins in Karadiyanaru
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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Driving Directions to Pankudaweli Rajamaha Vihara Archaeological Ruins in Karadiyanaru
|From Batticaloa to Pankudaweli Rajamaha Vihara Archaeological Ruins
|Via : Chenkaladi – Maha Oya Road
Total Distance : 21 KM
Time : 30 Minutes
Travel Time : Around 20-30 Minutes
Driving Directions : View on Google Map