Ruins of Ancient Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery in Vavuniya – වවුනියාව සපුමල්ගස්කඩ ආරාම පුරාවිද්‍යා භූමිය

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The northern part of Sri Lanka was inaccessible to the Sri Lankans for over 30 years due to the LTTE terrorists controlling the most of this area. After the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, this area has seen a massive development in the infrastructure and facilities enabling any Sri Lankan to travel and visit any area.

Along with this freedom to access these forbidden jungles, ruins of hundreds of ancient Buddhist sites hidden in the jungles of Mullaitivu District, Vavuniya District, Mannar District and  Kilinochchi District have been discovered by the Army. Due to 30+ years of ethnic cleansing of Tamil Tiger Terrorists supported by Tamil politicians, Buddhist villages which supported few monks in some of these temples also have disappeared.

Ruins found at Sapumalgaskada is one such ancient aramic complex now lying in middle of the virgin shrub jungle off Kalebogaswewa. According to legend, the tooth relic of Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from the port of Lankapatuna in Trincomalee and the procession had traveled though Sapumalgaskada on its way to Anuradhapura. The procession had briefly rested at this site and the relic deposited in a specially built hall and one of the ruined buildings at the site is still called the Dalada Maligawa (relic house).

According to article in June 2019, a number of artifacts at this site had been destroyed and some large Moonstones, Guard stones and Korawakgal (balustrades) has been stolen recently by Hindu Extremists. After the end of the LTTE, there has been a tendency to claim all ancient Buddhist archaeological sites in the Northern and the Eastern provinces to build Hindu Kovils fumed by racist Tamil Politicians. Recently an attempt was made to destroy the buildings used by the priests and  build a Hindu Kovil at the Sapumalgaskada Archaeological site too but few Buddhists now living this area had been able to thwart the attempt at least for this time.

Fortunately with the efforts of the Buddhists in the area, this site is gradually being released from the grips of Tamil extremists. A priest and some pious Buddhists have got to together and is this site is being cleared and the ruins restored for the future generations.

To reach the site, you need to travel to Bogaswewa which lies off Vavuniya. From Bogaswewa, take the road towards the ancient Kalebogaswewa  Reservoir. Travel another 1.5 kms passing the reservoir across the jungle on the same road to reach the turn off to the Sapumalgaskada Monastery. Then you need to travel a further 1 km on this jungle by-road to reach to site. The last 3+ km of this gravel road is through thick jungles where Elephants roam. Therefore it is not advisable to travel on this road after dark.


  • Medhananda, E. (2005) The Sinhala Buddhist Heritage in the East and the North of Shri [i.e. Sri] Lanka. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Dayawansa Jayakody & Company.

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Map of  Ruins of Ancient Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery

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Traveling Directions to Ruins of Ancient Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery

Route from Vavuniya to Ruins of Ancient Sapumalgaskada Buddhist Monastery

Through : Etambagaskada – Mamaduwa – Eropathana – Bogaswewa
Time to spend – 1-2  hours
Distance : 37  km
Travel time : 1.15 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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