Thonigala Inscriptions at Anamaduwa (තෝනිගල සෙල්ලිපිය – ආනමඩුව)

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There are several places called Thonigala (Tonigala) in Sri Lanka. Two of them have the same historical significance. One of the Thonigala is located on the Vaunia – Horowpathana Road which is famed for the rock inscription which describes a banking system during the during the 4th century.

Thonigala in Anamaduwa is also popular for the inscriptions found on the rock and the folklore surrounding the rock and Kuweni (කුවේණි), the local queen of Vijaya.

Said to be the largest inscriptions, the two inscriptions of the rock are about 100 feet long and each letter is about 1 foot in height and carved about 1 inch deep into the rock.

Henry Parker has given a detailed description of the inscriptions of the Rock in “Ancient Ceylon”

“There are two other inscriptions near the same hill, both on a low rock called Thonigala, the Boat Rock, at the side of a small tank, Galawaewa, the Rock tank. Their cutting is by far the boldest of any inscriptions in Ceylon. Each is about 100 feet long, with excellently chiselled and quite upright letters a foot high and cut an inch deep in the rock. ……….”

These inscriptions belong to the period of King Mahaculi Mahathissa (76-62 BC) son of King Vattagamini Abaya (Walagamba). The inscriptions speak of grants made to a Buddhist Monastery is considered an important instance of the origin of Sinhala letters. This Monastery is believed to be the Pramakanda Monastery which is located on another rock formation close by.

It’s said that the steel fence around the inscription put up by the Department of Archaeology a few years ago has now become corroded and the cement which was used to fix the fence to the rock has caused discoloration of the ancient inscription.

The rock itself is buried deep in folklore. It’s said that this area is the homeland of Kuweni (කුවේණි), the queen of the Daemon Tribe. Once the Vijaya chased away Kuweni (කුවේණි) she fled to her ancestral home area and cursed Vijaya from the top of the Lathonigala which is a rock just before the Thonigala. The history states that the Kuweni (කුවේණි) left her two children at the rock and came to the ancestral village alone and her tribe members killed her for her betrayal of the clan. The current “Veddhas” ( the indigenous hunters in the area) are believed to be the direct descendants of these children. But their folklore tells that the Kuweni (කුවේණි) committed subside by jumping off the Lathonigala (literally meaning lamenting rock).

Travel Directions to Tonigala

The turn-off for Thonigala is about 24 km from Puttlam on the Puttlam-Kurunegala Road. The left turn off is passing the town of Kottukachchiya between the 104-105 km post. A signboard of the Department of Archaeology shows off the turn off to the Thonigala. The location lies about 300 meters from the Puttlam-Kurunegala Road.

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Map of  Thonigala Inscriptions at Anamaduwa

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Travel Directions to Thonigala Inscriptions at Anamaduwa

Route from Colombo to Tonigala Inscription
Through : Negambo – Chilaw – Anamaduwa
Distance : 134 km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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