Buttala Rahathankanda Aranya Senasanaya Archaeological Ruins

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Rahthankanda, located near Buttala town in the Monaragala district, is a 450 meter high mountain with a length of more than 2.5 km. Rahathankanda Aranya Senasanaya Monastery on this mountain, covers about seventy acres. The mountain range is covered by a forest of thousands of years old trees.

According to the Mahavamsa, after the death of King Kavantissa, his son Saddhatissa performed the last rites of the king at Tissamaharama and returned to Dighavapiya with his mother Vihara Mahadevi and the royal elephant. Prince Dutugemunu came to Rohana from Malaya Rata and wearing the crown sent a message to his brother Prince Saddhatissa asking him to send back their mother and the royal elephant. When there was no response to three messages sent in this way, Prince Dutugemunu summoned the army and fought with Prince Tissa. This battle took place in Chulangani area. Today it is called Yudagana.

Prince Dutugemunu’s army suffered many deaths in this battle and was defeated by the army of prince Saddhatissa (Tissa). When Prince Dutugemunu, his minister Tissa and a mare named Dighathunika fled the battlefield, Prince Tissa pursued them. The Mahavansa mentions that this war was stopped by the intervention of the Arhats in the area.

However, according to Saddharmalankara, a big mountain suddenly appeared in the middle of the two groups. Saddhatissa, knowing that this was an act of the Arhats, stopped pursuing Prince Gamunu.

It is said that this mountain, caused by the Arhats, is today known as Rahathankanda.

The cave and environment of this mountain have created a fitting environment for the forest monks. It is possible that this mountain is called the mountain of the Rahats because the Arhats lived there in ancient times.

In one cave written in the old Brahmi script, it can be read as Gamini and Lena, and in another cave as Tissa. Also, among the ten great giants of King Dutugemunu, his name Pussadeva is mentioned in another cave as Senpati Pusadeva Cave. Therefore, this forest may have been offered to the Sangha by Prince Gamini and Prince Tissa together after the first war.

Upon entering this forest, the first thing you will see is the stupa modelled after the Thuparamaya of Anuradhapura kingdom and the Vatadage Pillars of it built by President R. Premadasa in 1992 in conjunction with the establishment of Buttala Gam Udawa.

The steps leading up from the foot of the hill through the forest take a person to a heritage back to the second century BC.

It is said that about 500 Arahats were living on Rahathankanda in the ancient past. Archaeologists have discovered about 70 caves here. Many more caves are covered by the jungle vegetation. 15 ponds, two stupas on the peaks, promenades, old steps, old Bodhi on a plinth, etc., are the marks of a proud sacred monastery of the ancient glorious days of the Ruhunu kingdom.

References

Map of Buttala Rahathankanda Aranya Senasanaya

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Driving Directions to Buttala Rahathankanda Aranya Senasanaya

Buttala to Rahthankanda Aranya Senasana
Total distance across
: 2.3 km
Time taken: 5 minutes
Travel time: Around 60-120 minutes
Driving directions:  View on Google map


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