Ruins of Kotte Kingdom in Siri Parakumba Pirivena (සිරි පැරකුම්බා පිරිවෙණ තුල කෝට්ටේ රාජධානි නටබුන්)

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Siri Parakumba Pirivena, a learning center for Buddhist monks, was established in 1875 on a land called Gabadawatte in Kotte by Hingulwala Sri Janaratana Thero. Gabadawatte which literary means Storage Estate is believed to be the location where the Royal Storage / Treasury of King Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467) of Kotte Kingdom.

Kotte was the capital of Sri Lanka from 1411 to 1597 CE, for almost 200 years until the puppet king Dharmapala presented the Kingdom to the Portuguese by a deed on his death. Kotte went back to being a wild marshland until the Dutch gradually connected Kotte through a canal system built by them for the transportation of goods. However it was during the British time that Kotte became prominent as a suburb of Colombo for the expanding population.

According to Portuguese Chronicler Couto, the fortification had 7 passes in to the city.

  1. The entrance to Kotte over the bridge from the direction of ambalama [Welikada]
  2. The pass in front of the islet that the river formed there, called the islet of challenges [Kontagantota]
  3. The pass of Mosquito [Angampitiya]
  4. The pass of Andre Ferandez
  5. The pass of Pachas [Veddahs]
  6. The pass at the Wall of Pita Kotte [land access].
  7. The pass of Mainotos [the washers – this should be
    connected to the area where the people of that caste lived]

Due to rapid urbanisation and commercialisation of Kotte, the ruins of this great kingdom had vanished very rapidly but few locations, some inside private lands still show little remains of the granular of this great kingdom.

Inside the Siri Parakumba Pirivena you would find part of a rampart of the ancient Kotte Kingdom which is now protected as an archaeological monument. Close by lies an ancient Ura Keta type well. This terracotta ring  The inner wall of the well is covered with terracotta rings and has a decorative ring at the top. Parts similar to this type of well had also been found during an extension work of a building at the Kotte Telecommunications Center premises and they are now displayed at the Kotte Archeological Museum.

It is believed that the 2nd pass to the Kotte Kingdom [The pass in front of the islet that the river formed there, called the islet of challenges – Kontagantota] lies at these ramparts. Perhaps the well was built to quench the thirst of travellers.

This pass was the closest to the palace as could be identified from the Salalihini Sandesaya (v.2l and v. 22). The poet instructs the bird Salalihini to first worship the king and leave from the Kontagantota. This shows it was situated close to the palace. As such Kontagantota could be identified as the pass near the palace.

De Alwis states that a foundation of a tower [circular] has been restored by the Archaeological Department. A photograph of the circular foundation is given by de Alwis but at present, no foundation could be seen. It is doubtful whether it was one of the towers built by Alakesvara since the foundation appears to be of cabook. There should have been a well-fortified bastion at this point being closer to the palace. Perhaps the bastion was fully destroyed as in the case of some others (Fonseka, 2010).

It is said that eminent scholar Ven. Thotagamuwe Rahula Thero (1408 – 1491) used to live hereabouts and and during excavations in 1971, Department of Archaeology unearthed 2 stone pillars belonging to the Arama of the Ven. Thero and these two pillars too has been brought and placed in the Siri Parakumba Pirivena premises (Manathunga,2020).  

References

  1. Urugodawatte, B. (2022) ‘Church Missionary Society School of Kotte’, Archeo Sri Lanka – Newsletter of the Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka, 2(2), pp. 3–4.
  2. Fonseka, P. (2010) ‘The Ancient City of Kōṭṭe and its Fortification’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 56 (new series), pp. 57–117.
  3. Manathunga, S.B. (2020) පෞරාණික ස්ථාන හා ස්මාරක කොළඹ දිස්ත්‍රික්කය . 3rd edn. Colombo: Department of Archaeology, Sri Lanka.

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Map of Siri Parakumba Pirivena in Kotte

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Driving Directions to Siri Parakumba Pirivena in Kotte

Route from Colombo to Siri Parakumba Pirivena in Kotte
Via : Rajagiriya
distance : 10 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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