Menikdena, declared as an Archaeological Reserve in 1957, is situated not far from Dambulla but a little bit hidden. Menikdena is a rarely visited excavation of an ancient aramic complex from the Anurahapura period. Part of the archaeological zone is an arboretum covering about 14 hectares.
The history of the Menikdena aramic complex supposedly dates back to the 3rd to 4th century C.E. But the earliest evidence is from the 5th century, from the short-lived reign of King Kittisiri Meghavanna. The area played an important role as a military base of Kitti during his campaign against the Chola invaders in the 11th century. After repulsing them he ascended the throne in Anuradhapura as Vijayabahu, first king in the then dawning Sinhalese Polonnaruwa period.
The Menikdena monastic complex is a rectangular, almost square compound with a ceremonial centre consisting of four typical structures of a so-called Pabbata-Vihara. This kind of monastic architecture belongs to the second half of the first millennium.
A dagaba is built on a high platform. Some carvings such guardstones are still in situ, but only one Buddha statue. Opposite the dagaba is a so-called “bodhigara” where the sacred tree of a monastery used to stand. The other two buildings in the centre of such a Pabbata Vihara can be studied in Menikdena, too, namely an image house, called Pathimagara, and the chapter house, called Uposathagara, which has quite impressive massive stone pillars.
all Sri Lanka blog articles
by region, by topic
and A-Z here...