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Cave Temples in Sri Lanka

Kongala Cave Temple

  Province Eastern
  District Ampara
  Nearest Town Ampara
  Period 192-194 AD
  Ruler King Kanista Thissa
 

The ruins of the Kōngala Vihara are located about 1 ½ km south to the Nelumpath Pokuna on a mountain which is about 275 feet toll. There are piles of bricks of about 04 Stupa . The most important archeological ruins found in the place are cave inscriptions and rock inscriptions. There are 14 caves inscriptions and 04 rock inscriptions. The cave inscriptions say that donors belonging to different standings in the society donated the caves to the Maha Sangha. Another inscription mentions a donation of a cave by persons belonging to 08 casts who were from Uthi Nagraya (Uthi city). Another inscription mentions about a donation of gold coins while another says about donation of gold coins for 'Vaharala'. The third inscription mentions about having a place called Mangalachethiya built. This inscription also says about donation of gold coins and paddy lands. The sheer volume of ruins strewn around the area and the inscriptions suggest that the temple had once been a magnificent place of worship for the Buddhists in the island.

This ancient temple too is located in Ampara District in the Kumbukkan Oya basin. There is no proper road to reach the place. The Kumana village can be reached from Panama through Ōkanda, Yodalipa, Kuluwana, Bagurekalapuwa, Andarakalapuwa and Atikalapuwa. When the village Kumana was in existence there was a gravel road to reach the place. The Kōngala ruins comprises of two sites.

Nelumpath Pokuna (Lotus petals pond)

The pond is located on the top of a Rock Mountain which is 286 feet toll. There are two large ponds on the top of the rock which has constant flow of water even in the dry season, which has turned into a favorite water hole for wild animals. The extensive damages caused to the two stupes (pagodas) on the top of the rocks suggest that they have not been spared by the treasure hunters. The remnants of stone pillars of some buildings, base stones (Padamgal), some remaining parts of brick walls can be seen in the location. Most of the ruins are covered with thick jungle. One of the inscriptions found in the place belongs to the king Kanista Thissa (192-194). As per the inscription the ancient name of the Nelumpath Pokuna (Lotus pond) was Gosagalamahavihara. The inscription says that the Water Revenue collected from the place called Manakaraka has been donated to the temple for its maintenanc.