Ranmasu Uyana (Royal Goldfish Park) – රන්මසු උයන

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Royal Gold Fish Park - The Northern Pond seen from the top of the rock
Royal Gold Fish Park – The Northern Pond seen from the top of the rock

Even before Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the mid 3rd century BC, parks were a definite feature of city planning. Some of these parks were Mahamegha Park established by king Mutasiva in the 3rd century BC, Nanadana Park and the Jothivana. But with the arrival of the Great Mahinda Thero in 250 BC , all these parks were donated to Sanga Community by King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC). The originator of this garden is lost in the history but Ranmasu Uyana was probably established as an alternate to all the parks donated to the maha sanga (Seneviratna, 1994).

The Vessagiriya inscription of Mahinda IV (956-972) gives the name of the park as “Ranmasu Uyana”, the Royal Goldfish Park. It mentioned therein that the water of the Tissa Wewa that is let out from the royal sluice must be fist allowed to be fed in to the Ranmasu Uyana, the Royal Park and to Kelageya (kadaligrha), the plantain arbor and to Uyanteya, the park ponds and to Mahanel-teya, the water lilly ponds and finally to rice fields around Isurumuni Viharaya (Seneviratna, 1994).


It is believed that the Prince Saliya, the son of the great hero king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) met his future bride to be Asokamala who was of a lower cast of Chandala at this garden. If this is true, this garden would probably been established right after the other parks were donated in the 3rd century BC (Seneviratna, 1994). However there is no record to conclusively conclude who built this park. Today this park covers an are of approx. 40 acres and is a fine example of Sri Lankan garden architecture of the pre-Christian era.

The rocks scattered around the area were used by the architect to create this pleasure garden. In one place two rock boulders have been connected each other with stone slabs. Remains of a small building can be seen on these platforms.

Below the rocks there are three bathing ponds and some smaller ponds, considered some of the best preserved artistic ruins found in Anuradhapura (Weerasooriya, 1939). The smaller ponds probably held the goldfish and water lilies. The largest pond lies in the north and is 34 feet x 20-29 feet. On the western side is a stone cave like room measuring 7 feet x 6 feet. (see photo 1 and 4). On the sides of the cave like room are beautifully sculptured elephants bathing on a lotus pond. (see photos 2 and 3) On the southern side of the rocks lies another pond with two units. On the inner unit there is a chamber built with slabs of rock. (see photo 6). This probably was a changing chamber for the royal family. Pranavitana also believed that this joined ponds made a shower bath where the royals were sprayed from water jets (Seneviratna, 1994).

Towards the extreme southern end of these boulders are signs of a very ancient building, among which several shallow caves, some with drip-ledges, are to be observed. On a steeply projecting side of one of the rocks facing the bund, a queer petroglyph is carved. This petroglyph has recently been proved to be pre-Buddhist and probably about five-thousand years old! It is in the form of a chakra, or circle having a second inner circle, between which there are several signs. The chakra has been divided by lines into four equal quadrants, while at the exact center there are a number of concentric circles. Of this petroglyph, that learned Oriental scholar, Mr. W. A. de Silva (the Hon’ble the Minister of Health) writes: ” The Yakkas of Ceylon had their own history though hardly any traces of their language and their institutions are seen now, except perhaps, an inscription on a stone near Tisa Wewa, at Anuradhapura. ….. . Professor D. M. Robison in his report on excavations of the city of Olynthus in Macedonia, which locality he estimates was inhabited from over 3000 B.C. giva a diagram of the floor of a house which he names the ‘Villa of Good Fortune’. In this diagram are seen a number of signs which bear a resemblance to some of the signs in the diagram at Tissa Wewa inscription.” (Weerasooriya, 1939).

Some believe this to be an ancient stargate or at least a diagram of one. Therefore this carving has received worldwide exposure and has been fucus of attention by many TV programs. For more information on this carvings please see here.

Ranmasu Uyana is situated north to the Isurumuniya. You can reach the park over the bund of Tissaweva and through a small path which falls to the Isurumuniya car park area.


  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka, pp294-208.
  • H.E. Weerasooriya, 1939. Historical guide to Anuradhapura’s ruins. Colombo: W.E. Bastian, 30-31.
  • Devendra, D.T., 1952. Guide to Anuradhapura. 2nd ed. Colombo: [Govt. Press], pp 38-40.
  • මැන්දිස්, ත., 2016. අනුරාධපුර උරුමය නරඹමු. කොළඹ 7, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව: මද්‍යම සංස්කෘතික අරමුදල, pp.27-32.

Also See

Map of Royal Goldfish Park (Ranmasu Uyana)

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Driving Directions to Anuradhapura Royal Goldfish Park (Ranmasu Uyana)

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttlam (Puttalama) and though Kurunegala. Traveling from Puttlam you will pass scenic Wilpattu area. the From Kurunegala there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is though Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the commonly used is the Kurunegala – Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Route 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Through : Negombo - Chillaw - Puthlam
distance from colombo :213 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
distance from Colombo : 221 km
Travel time : 3.15 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route 03 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Route from Kandy to Anuradhapura

Through : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Padeniya - Thambuthegama
distance from colombo :213 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Katugastota - Matale - Dambulla
distance from Colombo :139 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
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