Large number of Buddhist ruins in the Northern part of Sri Lanka has been destroyed by the 30 years of Civil War and most of them has been wiped out from the history even without being known of their existence.
History state that the Sangamitta Theri who brought the sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi landed in Jambukolapatana along with 18 followers and came to the Capital of Anuradhapura through Hunugama, Kadurugoda and Ambagamuwa. All these name has been tamilised with time and Hunugama has become Chunnakam, Kadurugoda has become Kandarodai and Ambagamuwa is the Ampakamam as known today. Therfore it is possible that these ruins once formed a Aramic Complex where Sangamitta Theri rested on her way to Anuradhapura.
The ruins at Olumadu, Ampakamam lies in the region called Nagalalu (නාගනාලු) and remains of a building, two stupas, number of stone carved Buddha statues, stone slabs with Buddha’s foot prints ( Sri Pathula Gal) and an ancient Bo tree can be found here. At the moment the defense forces in the area has marked this area and is maintaining these ruins as the Buddhist place of worship.
According to Ven. Ellawala Thero these ruins belong to the pre christian era. Based on the remaining ruins Ven. Thero believes this temple complex was thriving from Pre Chirstian Era up to 9-10th century. These ruins are spread over 10 acres and begins at a water stream which has been dammed in the past. Blocks of ancient rocks which formed this dam can be still observed and is believed that the water diverted from this stream has been used for farming in the past.
According to the thero, currently ruins of a building which is believed to be an image house and two stupas can be seen, The stupa’s has been plundered for treasures and one stupa with about a 130 feet diameter has been dug and used as bunker by the LTTE, the Tamil Tiger terrorists. Sadly most of the stone pillars once stood proud as monuments of ancient Sri Lankan ingenuity have been broken and has been used as materiel for bunkers while some has been used as hearthstones. When liberated by Sri Lankan armed forces only 2 stone pillars with a height of 7 feet was standing. Another 7 pillars with only 3 feet remaining can be seen. Further one 7 feet pillar and six 5 feet pillars can be seen fallen to the ground.
Until the armed forces liberated Ampakamam in 1998, this site has been a female LTTE camp. A 6 feet stone carved Buddha statue on the site has been broken off from the stone pedestal by the LTTE and and the head and the arms blasted away. Then the statue has been dragged to a lake nearby and it has been used to wash cloths of the female LTTE carders. When the armed forces discovered the statue in this form, they carried this headless statue back to the original site and stood it on the stone pedestal.
Once the area was secured after liberation, the Navy divers had searched the bottom of this lake in search of the head of the statue but failed to locate it. But later during a prolonged drought season when the lake was dried up, the armed forces managed to locate part of the head which had been blown off by the LTTE and restored this segment back on the statue. According to the thero, three bullet marks are clearly visible in the statue. Part of the pedestal which this statue originally stood also can be seen today.
Traveling 9 km from Mankulam towards Mulativu will bring you to the Karapaddamurippu town. Turn left and take the Ampakamam road and travel a further 3 km on this route and take a right turn to a by road which would take you though a teak plantation. Traveling 3 more kilometers on this route, you can reach the Olumadu Ruins.
Map of the Buddhist Ruins at Olumadu, Ampakamam
The approximate location is marked based on the directions. To visit this site you would probably require a guide who is aware of the location.
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 Buddhist Ruins at Olumadu, Ampakamam
Route from Anuradhapura to Buddhist Ruins at Olumadu, Ampakamam
|Though : Vuvunia – Mankulam – Karapaddamurippu|
distance : 115 km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map