Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ruins of the 'Pidurangala' monastery, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka.

Ruins of a building.

Ruins of a Stupa.

A pleasant walk among the trees,
Overshadowed by the glamour of the Sigiriya rock fortress, the equally ancient Pidurangala cave temple is neglected by the authorities as well as visitors
Sigiri Pidurangala Raja Maha Viharaya is just a short distance from the Sigiriya Rock fortress. Although its origins date back to the same period this site does not share the same glamour and renown of Sigiriya.
Not even 10 percent of the visitors who flock toSigiriya, spare a glance at this ancient shrine.
Located down a dusty gravel track off the road leading to Sigiriya, the Pidurangala monastery, according to Dhaniyagama Ananda Thera, the chief priest of the temple, was built by King Kashyapa in the 5th Century A.D.
"There is a strong connection between Sigiriya and Pidurangala," Ananda Thera says. "Sigiriya is only a kingdom. King Kashyapa's religious service is seen at Pidurangala. Kashyapa is known for the patricide he committed but his good works are forgotten. A tour ofSigiriya is incomplete without visiting Pidurangala."
When Kashyapa discovered Sigiriya, there was a monastery where bhikkus lived and meditated in the lower levels of the rock. Kashyapa built a new aramaya for these bhikkus at the Pidurangala site nearby, before he started work on the Sigiriyafortress.
Spread over 13 1/2 acres, the monastery gave sanctuary to 500 meditating bhikkus. The monastery was said to be 'panchavasa', complete with the five major ritual buildings, the Chapter House, Image House, the Bodhiya (Bo tree), Chaitya and the Sangharamaya or Sabha for the monks.
According to a legend Bhikkhu Mahanama, the author of the Mahavamsa had lived at Pidurangala, Ananda Thera said. There is a brief reference to this in the Mahavamsa.