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Cave Temples in Sri Lanka

Paramakanda Cave Temple

  Province North Western
  District Puttalam
  Nearest Town Anamaduwa
  Period Unknown
  Ruler Unknown

Distance from Colombo Galle Face to Paramakanda Cave Temple Though : Chilaw distance :140 km Distance From Kandy to Paramakanda Cave Temple Though : Kurunegala distance :105 km This serene temple, situated close to the Mudhouse in Andamaduwa, sits on a rock outcrop. It has ancient frescoes, rock inscriptions and Buddha statues..

History

The historic Paramakanda Temple and the cave monastery lies on the majestic and mysterious Paramakanda Rock in Anamaduwa belonging to the Putlam District.

Currently there is a Budu Ge only on one side of the upper rock. If you look carefully at the picture you can see the kataram line. The ruins indicate that the once the complex covered the whole rock formation. The cave temple is believed to be the work of King Walagamba ( 89-77 BC ). The inscription at Thonigala states this temple was built by a priest called Mahatissa thero during the King Walagamba's time. The Temple complex contains number of caves and the rock it self is interesting due to the peculiar formations in different parts of the Rock. The temple can be reached passing the Anamaduwa town, traveling from Kurunegala.

Even before you get there it becomes very obvious that it is a very unusual formation. What you see in this picture is the part of the rock that is visible as you approach it.

There seemed to be bits and pieces stuck together, a combination of different types of rock. And across

The comparative size of the monkeys (hope you can see the family!) give an idea of the spread of the rock – and this is just a small tip of it! Look at the texture and colours of the rock in the foreground A sliced bread look, of a different colour to the main rock Before you enter the temple compound there is a flat space with a lake/swamp and some caves. Obviously very old meditation caves as the Kataram indicate. According to some villages we spoke to, it is still used on poya days by those who observe sil.

This one was large with space on three sides, AND an attached rock pond – I think it would qualify as a ‘suite with attached bath and toilet’! We met the in-resident monk and he told us the history of the site, the folktales associated with it (the rock formations were unique and have foot prints embedded where monks had walked when it was still soft, but no one can comfortably step on the same prints now) and encouraged us to climb to the top first and then see the caves below.

What we found on top was a huge rock balancing on the main rock. It was certainly not like anything we had seen before. See how small a person looks and as you can see this is only part of the rock which is connected to the lower rock by a relatively small area.

The odd formations, textures, colours of the rock. At points it looked like mud that dried on a lake bed, at others like sand. The odd rock was difficult to walk on but even though the sun was very hot, the rock it self was not as hot as they normally are.

More odd formations, textures, colours of the rock

More odd formations, textures, colours of the rock There was certainly a lot of evidence that this had been a major monastic site in the early periods of our history. As always the natural rock formation had been used to maximum benefit with minimum disturbance.

A slight drain cut in the rock to lead the water away from the cave.

Multiple levels, differing depths of kataram ( drip ledges) and niches – both square and round - to hold cross beams around the main boulder.

One of the two Siri Pathla under the upper rock. The way it is placed it makes you think that the other print must be on the planes below.

A slight drain cut in the rock to lead the water away from the cave.