Anuradhapura was the first real capital of Sri Lanka over two thousand two hundred years ago. The road network was in a highly developed state during this era, with major roads leading to Trincomalee, Mannar, Jaffna and the southern kingdoms from Anuradhapura. These roads were not only used for foot traffic but carts carrying goods travelling for trade and commercial activities. With the development of the road network, the ancient kings built sturdy bridges out of granite slabs and pillars. Ruins in various bridges around Anuradhapura can be found across Malwathu Oya, Hal Pan Ela, Kandara Oya, Yan Oya, Kala Oya and Deduru Oya.
Outside the more popular stone bridges over Malwathu Oya and Halpan Oya, ruins of a few other bridges have been discovered. There may be many more still undiscovered stone bridges across the unknown ancient routes.
Ruins of such an ancient stone bridge can be found at across the Kala Oya bordering Anuradhapura and Puttalam Districts some kilometres downstream from the Rajanganaya reservoir in the remote village called Thimbiripokuna. According the the research paper “පුරාණ ශ්රී ලංකාවේ ශෛලමය පාලම් නිර්මාණ කිහිපයක් සහ එහි තාක්ෂණය පිලිබඳ මූලික විමසුමක්” the ruins lie at the Rajanganaya left bank Yaya I area. It is located about 1.5 miles downstream of the Neelabemma Ancient Weir (Amuna) which has been renovated. The location of the map uses this direction to mark it on the map.
This ancient bridge has been built on a rocky surface on the river bed. This rock surface spread across the river from the bank to the bank and four rows of square holes have been dug on this rock. The holes are drilled in sizes between 24x23x13 cm to 25x25x22 cm. This is considerably smaller than the holes found in bridges across Malwathu Oya and Mahakanadarawa bridges. Thus the pillars would have been smaller.
Unfortunately, no rock pillars are found in the vicinity. However, a large number of blocks of rock which would have been used to reinforce the bridge are found downstream Kala Oya indicating an extensive flood destroying the bridge and carrying the rocks downstream.
On the left bank of the river near the rock surface, you can still find part of the reinforcing wall built with large blocks of rock. This retaining wall has been extended towards the rock surface to build the bridge. This rock wall has been damaged towards the rock bed leaving only 3 rows of rocks at this end.
An amuna (weir) too seems to have been built here along with the stone bridge. Ruins of a canal which diverted water can be found about 250 meters above the Amuna. Today known as Raja Ela, this canal has been completely destroyed with later human activity. The canal has been 3.5 meters wide at the bottom and the walls have been reinforced with clay bricks. The size of a brick is 40x20x6 cm. The gradually sloping brick wall has been built on both sides of the canal. The upper sections have been further strengthened by a layer of rock. This wall is about 4 meters high.
Based on the technology and bricks used in the stone bridge as well as Amuna, both these constructions have been dated to the mid-Audradhapura era. Ruins at this site were been gazetted as a protected archaeological site on 6th June 2008.
The renovated Neelabemma Amuna lies 2.8 km from the Kala Oya bridge on the Puttlam – Anuradhapura road. The Amuna can be reached by taking a left turn from Saliyawewa. After the Amuna, a gravel road continues along the Kala Oya for the next few kilometres. The ruins lie approx 1.5 miles (2.4 km) according to the reference documents.
Other Stone Bridges of Sri Lanka
There are many stone bridges discovered in Sri Lanka. These are in various states while some have been conserved to an extent. The most popular is the bridge over the Malwathu Oya.
- Alubedda Stone Bridge
- Angammedilla National Park Stone Bridge (Polonnaruwa)
- Ebawalapitiya Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) over Deduru Oya
- Girihandu Seya Stone Bridge (Tiriyaya)
- Habagama Stone Bridge
- Halpan Ela Stone Bridge (Anuradhapura)
- Kayankerni Stone Bridge (Eastern Province)
- Mahakanadarawa Wewa Stone Bridge (Mihintale)
- Nirawiya Farm Gal Palama (Thambuttegama)
- Palugaswewa Stone Bridge
- Pavakkulam Stone Bridge (Vavuniya)
- Perimiyankulama Gal Palama over Malwathu Oya (Anuradhapura)
- Sukara Nijjara Gal Amuna and Stone Bridge
- Thimbiripokuna Palamgala Gal Palama
- Thirappane Stone Bridge
- Thulawelliya Stone Bridge
- Ullukkulama Stone Bridge
- Vannadi Palama (Vannadi Stone Bridge) and Amuna
- Weliela Mankada Stone Bridge
- Yanoya Stone Bridge
Note that the location marked below is approximate based on the directions given.
- පුරාණ ශ්රී ලංකාවේ ශෛලමය පාලම් නිර්මාණ කිහිපයක් සහ එහි තාක්ෂණය පිලිබඳ මූලික විමසුමක් – ආචාර්ය චන්දන රෝහණ විතානාච්චි
- Hydro Heritage of Sri Lanka
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of the Ruins of Thimbiripokuna Palamgala Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) and Gal Amuna
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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Traveling Directions to the Ruins of Thimbiripokuna Palamgala Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) and Gal Amuna
|Route from Puttalam to Ruins of Thimbiripokuna Palamgala Gal Palama (Stone Bridge) and Gal Amuna
|Through : Karuwalgaswewa – Saliyawewa
Distance : 41 km
Travel time :45 hours
Time to spend : 30 mins to 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google maps