Travel in Kuragala Ancient Buddhist Monastery
Kuragala is a very important place for people living in Sri lanka. This is how you hear about Kuragala at various times in history. Sometimes it becomes a place for king Ravana Indragiri state and at another time for the invaders during the king Valagamba period, where battles were organized with the Valagamba king. Some people also mention that for thousands of years the real Asura was a king and his capital was Kuragala. Also, there is another opinion that Kuragala is the location of the Diva cave where Gautama Buddha visited Lakdiva. However,
Kuragala is a Buddhist sacred ground made up of cave monasteries where arahants lived as meditative yogis with archaeological value belonging to the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD.
Therefore, we are ready to go today after finding the said Kuragala. When we left Kurunegala and came to Balangoda via Avissawella Ratnapura, it was past noon. After about 23 km from Balangoda on the Kalthota road, turn left at Thanjanthan to the Kuragala road. Previously, that means five to six years ago, we had come to Kuragala, but then we had to hear about the way to get to Kuragala from Tanjanthanna junction because there was no name board about Kuragala at this place then.
I am happy to say that today, people coming from Balangoda to Kuragala can easily find it and the people have been informed by name boards along the way. After a journey of about one and a half kilometers, we reached the Kuragala shrine. Actually, the Kuragala that we saw then is not what we see in front of our eyes today. Today it has completely changed, today this sacred ground is only a working ground.
It is a matter of happiness that today we have developed the infrastructure in such a way that we can travel by vehicle to the Kuragala sacred site instead of that road where we stopped the vehicles and climbed the pad for about 500 meters and entered under the thoran of the proselytes. We went to Kuragala Park which is under construction along New Mawatha. On one side of the park under construction is a container box. Yasasu and I went there as we saw from a distance that a Lord was working there.
We have heard of the sacrifices made by our monks to protect the Buddhist religion and the Vehera temples. We are now standing in the presence of a leader who is engaged in a practical mission to protect our Buddhist heritage. It is not other poets, but the Ashgiri Viharavasi Karmacharya Yatihalagala Viharadhikari Nelligala International Buddhist Center President Waturakumbure Dhammarathana Nayaka Swamin, who dictates to the needs of the resurgent Kuragala nation. He first worshiped Him and got His permission to visit the resurgent Kuragala shrine.
We first went along the under-construction park and climbed up to the Kuragala Maharaja Saya are. When we went up along the stone staircase, we used the old stone starecase road to go up. In some places, there are steps made of iron for the convenience of walking, but with experience, we used the path that lies in the middle of a rock formation that can be walked in a single line because there was a bit of adventure in that journey. Kuragala is a beautiful heritage and a place full of nature. Actually, it is clear from the view after reaching the top of Kuragala rock. On the left, you can see the mountains of the Central Highlands stretching from Balangoda to Haputale. Also, the Kalthota plain seen from below is a charming sight, adding the small lakes that feed the paddy field.
Udawalawa reservoir which can be seen from a distance adds a strange beauty. These days, with the monsoon rains, in the Kalthota plain, the colorful patterns along with the first plantings of the paddy fields are creating a charming line of views. It is said that on a clear day you can see the ships coming to Hambantota port as well as the planes coming to Mattala. It is said that Maraya defeting on the top of the Sakwala rock. There is also a story that the gods came to this Kuragala to see Lord Buddha vanquish the maraya.
When you look down from the top of Kuragala rock, you can see plains all the way to Hambantota. There is another story in the folklore that the sea was as far as this Kuragala at that time. But we can’t dismiss it as a myth, because in the Bellanbedi area near Kuragala, we meet a species of oyster with artifacts older than 13000 years, which clearly shows the close relationship between human being and the sea.
Also, the people of Lower Kalthota came to Kuragala to hold a new rice festival and offer food from the harvest they harvested from their crops. There is a belief of the villagers that Kuragala, where there are miracles, has a view of Lord Mangara and Lord Sumana Saman. This maharaja saya has been destroyed several times when this place was occupied by infidels. Later, it was from the Department of Archeology that the present condition was prepared in 1987. Anyway, with the resurgence of the Kuragala program, a 130 feets high Asadisi Shakya Sugatha Maha Seradun is being built to the south of this Maharaja Saya. After this was built, this pagoda is the tallest pagoda in Sabaragamuwa.
Pagoda is being constructed using concrete pillars near the steep slope, and a statue of Saman Deva with a height of about 50 meters is going to be built there. Actually, after the completion of the work here, our Buddhist people as well as tourists will be able to get a new experience. Kuragala is a land made up of three rocks, Kuragala rock, Hituwangala and Lagumgala. This land is spread over 54 acres. The Lagumigala rock is shown in front of this rock, the lion statue, the shrine and the Sanghawasa are built on this rock. A 130 feet high Buddha statue is going to be built in front. We have seen cases where the natural beauty is lost with some constructions, but with the constructions being built on this Lagumgala, we felt a strange beauty when we looked at it from the Kuragala rock. That’s why I didn’t forget to take some photos on the Yasas camera. We spent a long time enjoying the beauty of the Kuragala rocks and started descending again.
Soon the work on this Kuragala shrine will be completed. In the future, you will be able to start this tour of Kuragala in front of the statue of a lion looking majestically at the distant mountain ranges. After that you will reach the House of Relics. After paying respects to the relic house, you can visit the statue of Buddha, who sat in this lodge, pay respects and take a walk down the steps to take a rest in the garden. After that, you can reach the Kuragala rock, where Maharaja saya on the rock and offers a 130 feet high and Saman Deva statue, creating an environment suitable for experiencing the beauty. In fact, a lot of people raised their voice for Kuragala that day to get back our heritage. It will be fulfilled today, so as a tribute to those people, a lion statue will be built in this holy place.
The army, the civil defense force, the Buddhist philanthropists, the youth group and everyone else wiil be making Kuragala a suitable place to worship the Buddhist people.