Archaeological Ruins of Silavakanda in Yala National Park (යාල සීලවකන්ද පුරාවිද්‍යා නටබුන්)

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Yala National Park, including 5 blocks and the adjoining Kumana National Park consists of one of the largest land areas of Sri Lanka where wildlife roam free. Although a wildlife park now, many centuries ago, This area was covered in thriving cities of the Ruhuna Magama kingdom.

Almost all the rocky outcrops in this jungle are dotted with ruins of Buddhist monasteries. Silavakanda is the name given to a series of rock groups about one mile northeast of Magul Maha Viharaya. The highest point of this rocky outcrop is 354 feet high. The caves are not close together but are spaced fairly far apart and some of them are of large size.

On top of one rock existence of an ancient stupa could be barely made out. Much of the ruins have been washed away with time. No other ruins remain other than rock-cut steps to the top of the rock.

Two of the caves bear pre-Christian inscriptions:–

  1. Upasaka Vel[u]sa lene upasika Tisaya lene Gamini-Abayasa rajhaso sagasa dine
    The cave pf lay devotee Vel[u], the cave of female devotee Tissa is given to the Sangha in the reign of Gamini Abaya
  2. Ganaka-Rakiya. upasika-Tisaya aghata-anagata-sagasa
    [The cave] of the accountant Raki, and of the female lay-devotee Tissa, [is given] to the Sangha, present and absent.

There is no other evidence to which Gamini Abaya the first inscription refers but Paranavithana in the Annual Report of Archaeology Department for 1930-31 states that the palaeographical evidence would, however, justify this to be Duttagamini Abhaya (161-137 BCE) better known as king Dutugemunu or Wattagamini Abhaya (89-77 BCE) better known as king Walagamba.

The location marked on the Google map below is approximate.

List of Archaeological Sites inside Yala and Kumana National Parks


  1. Nicholas, C. W. (1963). Historical Topography of Ancient and Medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series Volume VI Special Number, p.64
  2. Nicholas, C.W. (1952) “Text of the Brahmi Inscriptions in the Ruhuna National Park,” Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, II(2), pp. 126–140.
  3. Handbook for the Ceylon traveller : A Studio Times Publication (1974). Colombo, Sri Lanka: Studio Times, p.172
  4. Paranavithana, S. (1970) The Inscriptions of Ceylon Volume I – Early Brāhmī Inscriptions. Colombo, Ceylon: Department of Archaeology of Ceylon.

Also See

Map of Archaeological Ruins of Silavakanda in Yala

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

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 Archaeological Ruins of Silavakanda in Yala

The park can be reached through Southern Highway. It is 275 kilometres away (the shortest path through Ratnapura avoiding the Highway but travel time is longer) from Colombo.

Route from Colombo to Yala National Park  (Ruhuna) EntranceRoute from Kataragama to Yala National Park  (Ruhuna) Entrance
Through : Southern Highway – Mattala – Tissamaharama – Kirinda
Distance : 275 km
Travel time : 4.30 hours
Driving directions : see on Google map
Through Tissamaharama – Kirinda
Distance : 40 km
Travel time : 45 minutes.
Driving directions : see on Google map


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