You have visited Sri Lanka many times and think you know all the amazing sites? But what’s this? Where is that boulder shown on the photo above? No, it’s not in Myanmar/Birma, the famous balancing rock of Kyaiktiyo is a gilded granite boulder and, admittedly, even more spectacular than that one shown on this photo.
Of course, it is in Sri Lanka. But don’t think, you only missed it, because it is in a too remote part of the island! Not at all, it is in only 10 m distance from Yakkala, which is a village at the Colombo-Kandy mainroad A1. Pettagangala - that’s the name of rock and temple - is only 40 km away from Colombo’s town centre. It is one of the attractions in the surroundings of Maligatenna, one of the four interesting destinations in the wilderness of Gampaha District near Colombo we promised to describe this month.
The word “Pettagangala”, stressed on the first syllable, does simply mean “rocking stone” or “balancing boulder”. Indeed, the granite boulder lies on a slope in very short distance to a vertical slope. Like the Kyaiktiyo “Golden Rock” in Myanmar, Sri Lanka’s Pettagangala balancing rock carries a small dagoba (chedi) on top of it. The forest temple’s full name is transcribed “Petta gam gala aranya senasnaya”.
As with other Sri Lankan boulders with spaces of free air between them and the ground, small branches were attached by pilgrims to the Pettagangala rock, which apparently help to keep it in balance (photo). These “pillars” are votive offerings of faithful pilgrims, who symbolically help to balance the rock and this way earn spirtual merits and share the aura of the sacred place. Of course, the balancing rock can remain stable in this position only by miracle!
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