Dimbulagala, also known as Udumbaragiri and Dhumarakkhapabbata in the Pali chronicles and as Gunners quoin or Gunners Rock in the British colonial period, is the most significant rock formation in the Polonnaruwa District of Sri Lanka. Inhabited by Buddhist monks since the earliest times of the island’s Buddhist era, Dimbulagala became of utmost importance for the history of Theravada during the 12th century, when this monastery’s chief monk, Mahakassapa Thera, became the high priest of the order under the rule of Parakramabahu the Great. This was a decisive period for Buddhism in Sri Lanka, because it was then that the Theravada tradition became predominant or even exclusive. In the 12th and 13th century Dimbulagala played also an important role in establishing the Theravada Buddhist tradition in the newly established Thai kingdoms in the centre of mainland Southeast Asia.
Dimbulagala is an isolated small mountain range offering full-day trekking opportunities. To see all its heritage attractions, visitors from Polonnaruwa or Passikudah will definitely need a full day, too. There are four places of interest for heritage tourism:
1. Namal Pokuna, the ancient moanstery, is at the northern slope of the hills.
2. Today’s monastery, Dimbulagala Rajamaha Viharaya, is located in the south-west.
3. Ancient cave temples at the southern slope can be reached from there.
4. Rock paintings in the Pulligoda cave are at the southern foot of the hill.
We will describe all these 4 heritage sites in separate articles this month.
all Sri Lanka blog articles
by region, by topic
and A-Z here...