Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dimbulagala: Over 7000 years in the making.

The rocks of Dimbulagala: believed to be the weapons facility of Ravana.

Dhumraksha, an uncle of King Ravana was believed to have lived on these rocks. He overlooked the sophisticated weapons facility built here by Ravana, where the weapons he used for long wars against his enemies were developed and stored for safety. Because of Dhumraksha, this rock came to be called as Dhumraksha-Giri, which became Dumrakgala that eventually became Dimbulagala.

To the top of Dimbulagala...
Ravana fought with Rama in 4000 BC with weapons that shook the earth. The chronicle Rajavaliya says that 24 palaces of Ravana built along the coast sank in the sea after taking these shocks.

Time passed in thousands of years. Dimbulagala was covered by the jungle and became a hideout for the remaining Yakkhas of Lanka. When Prince Pandukabhaya was fighting against his uncles before 437 BC a Yakkha queen called Chetiya helped him. Chetiya was said to be the queen of the slain king of Lanka by Prince Vijaya. Chetiya lived in Dimbulagala, where Prince Pandukabhaya met her and requested help in his war against the uncles.

Hideout of the Yakkhas.
182 years after King Pandukabhaya, Emperor Asoka's Buddhist mission arrives Lanka. Thereafter, Dimbulagala became a Buddhist monastery. 11,000 Arhats were said to have lived in the forests of Dimbulagala those days.

A very long time after, that is in the 1950s, Ven. Kithalagama Seelalankara Nayaka Thero arrived in Dimbulagala looking for a sanctuary for his meditation practices. While staying in the forest sanctuary, he promoted a small settlement with twelve families.

Ven. Seelalankara Nayaka Thero developed this village to support the viability of Dimbulagala Buddhist Monastery. The recent history of Dimbulagala is entwined with the name of Kitalagama Seelalankara Nayaka Thero's life, until it was tragically ended by LTTE terrorists on 26th May 1995.

Janaka and I on the way to the top of Dimbulagala.
Reaching Dimbulagala is easier from Polonnaruwa. Take either a Mahiyangana or Nuwaragala bus from Central Bus Stand Kaduruwela. The bus travels along Maradankadawala-Habarana-Thirukkondaiadimadu Highway (A11) through the Flood Plains National Park. After passing about 4km from Manampitiya Bridge, the bus turns to Manampitiya-Aralaganwila-Maduru Oya Road (B502) and drives about 3km to Dalukkane. From Dalukkane it turns to Mahiyangane-Dimbulagala-Dalukkane Road. After a little more than 5km the bus arrives at Dimbulagala.

From Dimbulagala junction it is a 650 meter walk up to the monastery entrance.

Take enough water and some biscuits or chocolate to quench thirst and hunger while climbing the rock. It is a tedious task, and you must not try this if you are not feeling well. It is better to wear good, gripping shoes than slippers because when you climb halfway the concrete steps end, and from there have to continue on a rugged rock trail.

Thanks to my friend Janaka, I can give you these pictures. The hand rails are available at some places only. Most of the way have to be climbed by clinging on to roots and tree trunks.

Ahas Maligawa Temple built on top of Dimbulagala rock.

The view from top of the rock near Ahas Maligawa.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Season of Robarosiya.

Sidewalk at Katugastota.
Kandy has gone pink once again. The season of Robarosiya flower has arrived. The breeze slightly shakes Robarosiya branches and makes the pink flowers rain down.

Kandy Lake Round.
The number of flowers in a tree are immense, you can barely see its green leaves.

George E. De Silva Park, Kandy.
In front of Sri Dalada Maligawa.
The city of Kandy and its suburbs like Peradeniya and Katugastota are under siege by Robarosiya, the April Flower.