Yala Block 5 was opened to the public as a separate national park called Lunugamvehera National Park in 2005. Lunugamvehera NP separates from the main Yala NP by the Kataragama – Buttala road bisecting Yala park to 2 sections. Galge entrance which lie 13 km from Sella Kataragama on the Buttala road, provides entrance to Yala main park (block III, IV) as well as access to Lunugamvehera National Park (Yala Block V).
After the 13the century, the the dry zone the civilization in the northeastern part of Sri Lanka collapsed and the civilization in this region too fell in line. As a result of the loss of people’s livelihoods due to the war, decease and the devastation of irrigation systems, villages migrated to other areas and all the great Buddhist monasteries in these areas too collapsed. Traces of this great civilization was eventually swallowed by the jungles of Ruhuna and lie hidden to be discovered.
There a many temple and and ancient ruins named Weheragala (or Veheragala). The name simply means the rock with a temple. The Weheragala rock inside the Lunugamvehera National Park is common site for anybody taking a safari in the park. Unfortunately even though you pass this rock at a close distance on the route to the Weheragala Dam, you are not allowed to get down or visit this site. All you will see is the half built stupa on a massive rock outcrop. Nothing much had been written on the Buddhist ruins of this site either. Weheragala Rock is also referred to as Veherahathagala in some documents.
Weheragala rock hill is about 40m high and 200m long east to west and 300m wide north to south. Ruins of a Stupa and traces of 2 buildings remain at the top. Stupa lies near the northwestern corner of the rock which is the highest point of this rock. The stupa has been built on a square platform of about 15m in length. The height varies 50cm to 150 cm due to the unevenness of the rock base. This is built in cement and decorated with a concrete cloud wall (walakulu bamma) design. The stupa dome is newly built with bricks , has a diameter of 7 meters and a height of about 6 meters. Ruins has been excavated some decades ago by the archaeology department but the current structure has been built on top of the ruins more as a tourist attraction without the involvement of the archaeology department or using any archaeological restoration principles.
There are traces of 2 other buildings on the eastern part of the flat bedrock. This lies about 20m below the stupa peak. The building marked as B is a square building with side 15 meters long. Only part of the foundation stones remains today with pieces of clay bricks scattered all over. Since no complete bricks are found, size of the bricks cannot be assessed, neither they can be used to date the site. The only interesting artifact here is a broken stone pedestal where a Buddha statue once stood. This disc shaped pedestal is 45cm in diameter with a 15cm square hole at the center. The pedestal is about 20cm in height and the hole about 10cm deep. There is no trace of the Buddha statue which once stood here possibly due to destruction by the treasure hunters.
The second building (marked as C) is also similar in its status and no significant ruins are found here. There are about 10 kema spread over the rocky surface collecting water from rain. Five of them are apparently water-storing kema, most of which are 1.5m to 2m long, 1m wide and 1m deep, but the largest is 3m long and 1.5m wide.
- Okamura, T., 2021. Ruins in and Around Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. 1st ed. Tokyo: NPO-SARERS – South Asian Ruins Exploration and Research Society.
- MINISTRY OF WILDLIFE AND FORESYT CONSERVATION, 2022. Rehabilitation of Abandoned Water Tanks Lunugamwehera National Park (Phase I, Phase II and Phase III) – ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT PLAN ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PROJECT. Battaramulla: Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Map of Weheragala Ruins inside Lunugamvehera National Park
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 Weheragala Ruins inside Lunugamvehera National Park
|Route from Colombo to Weheragala Ruins (upto Galge Entrance)|
|Though : Southern Expressway – Kataragama – Buttala Road|
distance :275 km
Travel time : 4 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map