Pulukunava Raja Maha Viharaya at Ampara – පුළුකුණාව රජමහා විහාරය

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Pulukunawa - the largest "asana gharaya" in Sri Lanka at Pulukunawa

Pulukunawa – the largest “asana gharaya” in Sri Lanka at Pulukunawa
Photo by Dr. Ashan Geeganage

Ampara Pulukunava caves and ancient ruins lies at the boundary of the Galoya scheme on the Ampara – Mahiyangana road is on a large forested hill. On the southern scrap of the hill are a large number of dripledged caves. In many of these caves are pre-Christian inscriptions. At the foot of the hillock south of this hill are the remains of a number of structures. Among these are a three dagaba vandalized  by treasure hunters, some pillared structures and a pond. Buried under the earth is the torso of a Buddhist statue. The structures at the site are girt by a prakara.

Climbing up the hill, you will come across another vandalized stupa which some believe built enshrining the remains of Arhath Pussadeva. Close to this stupa is a natural pond which supplied water to the temple complex below. Remains of numerous buildings can be seen scattered around at this level.

Climbing futher six hundred steps you will come across large number of drip ledge caves used by meditating bikkhus scattered all over the hill top. Pre christian era script on one of  the caves speaks of the donation of the cave to Arhat Pussadeva.

The most important ruin of the Pulukunava Cave Temple is the massive Asanagaraya which is considered to be the largest in Sri Lanka. Asanagara was object of worship before Buddha Statue was created.

If you are traveling from Ampara, travel along the Maha Oya road and passing Piyangala Temple, you will come across a large freshly installed name broad of Pulukunava Raja Maha Viharaya. Travel about 2 km passing the board towards Maha Oya and you will come to a small road on the left which will lead to the temple. Although considered a Raja Maha Viharaya, currently this is only a adobe to one priest who is struggling to build a temple here.

Photos courtesy of : Dr Ashan Geeganage

Also See

Map of Ampara Pulukunava caves and ancient ruins

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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 Ampara Pulukunava caves and ancient ruins

If you are traveling from Ampara, travel along the Maha Oya road and passing Piyangala Temple, you will come across a large freshly installed name broad of Pulukunava Raja Maha Viharaya. Travel about 2 km passing the board towards Maha Oya and you will come to a small road on the left which will lead to the temple.

Route from Ampara to Pulukunava Raja Maha Viharaya

Through : Ampara-Uhana-Maha Oya Highway and A27
Distance : 32 km
Travel time : 20 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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