Nuwaragala, Mahaoya

An ancient fortress and monastery in Vedda country.

Believed to be the hideout of Prince Saddatissa during his time of rancor with his brother the great King of Sri Lanka King Dutugamunu.  

A stone paved pathway with a width of nearly 20 feet leads to the top of the mountain and to a large drip ledged cave, which can comfortably house nearly 150 people. The cave has been partitioned with brick walls and had a plastered and decorated interior but the walls and the inner plaster is in ruins today.

Further uphill is a pond, an eternal water source to the creatures of the wild today, but would have been initially built to cater hundreds of arhant monks, who whiled away in meditation. The ruins of monastery spread in and around Nuwaragala as witness to the prosperity of monastery during the first century BC. One of the most prominent among is the ruins is a statue house, which would have been built nearly three hundred years after the initial construction of the monastery. 

According to some archaeologists,  Nuwaragala could have been the Girinuwara, the famed city of Prince Giri Abaya, the partner of Princess Soma, the sister of King Kawanthissa. Sinhala historical chronicles Datuwansa records Prince DutuGamunu visiting the site with a Minister named Dava. A confrontation between the uncle and nephew broke up the kingdom and Prince Giri Abaya eventually left to SeruNuwara abandoning his mountain fortress.

Today this mountain fortress turned monastery is in the homeland of a Vedda community, who lives in and around Pollebedda, few miles away from Nuwaragala, in a well-known vedda village immortalized in Dr. Spittel's books. 

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Latitude: 7.792647 Longitude: 81.003682 Elevation: 201 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Udana Wickramasinghe

Hours Open

Can be visited during daylight hours

Time Period Represented

First century BC.

Seasons Open

All year round

Visitor Fees

Not applicable

Accessibility Notes

Colombo - Kandy - Mahiyangana - Mahaoya - turn right at 69th Mile Post Junction onto Ampara main road - continue onto Ampara road (7.7 km) - Borapola Junction - turn left - Akulloba (6km) - Nuwaragala Forest reserve. (approximately 260 km and 6 hours drive from Colombo)

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