Security Delegation Evaluates Encroachment Issues at Pottuvil Muhudu Maha Viharaya

Friday, 15 May 2020

A few minutes after the discussions at historic Deegawapiya Raja Maha Vihara, the top-level security delegation, led by Secretary Defence, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne on Thursday called at the nearby Manikkamadu Viharaya and met Ven Ambagahapitiye Seelarathana Thero, Incumbent at this ancient temple.

The incumbent monk explained the challenges and legal implications that surround against the existence of this Manikkamadu Parivara Stupa mound of the historic Deegawapiya Dagoba, rich with ancient ruins and artifacts of archaeological value, situated in the Eragama (Irakkamam) Division Secretariat area. The delegation gave a patient hearing to the issues that plague this Buddhist place of worship in the East.

As the next stop of the day’s agenda, the delegation then flew to the ancient Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil where the encroachment issue has turned more pressing. Ven Warakapola Indrasiri Thera, Incumbent briefed the delegation on the historic significance of the sacred place and how the temple lands, comprised of ancient ruins had been vandalized and grabbed by encroachers.

Major General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne, Defence Secretary on hearing of the issues, pertaining to the very survival of this sacred site instructed the acting IGP, Senior DIG for Ampara and the accompanying Commander of the Navy to provide maximum security to the place in order to ascertain no more encroachment is possible in future. The delegation also assured that further onward arrangements would be implemented shortly in consultation with the Department of Archaeology and other respective agencies.

Ven Ampitiye Sumanaratana Thera of Batticaloa Sri Mangalaramaya, was also among the monks who had a brief interaction with Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva during the day’s itinerary. The delegation during the tour also paused near a housing scheme that was half-built after tsunami struck in Batticaloa area on their way to Muhudu Maha Viharaya.

The historic Muhudu Maha Viharaya marks the landing place of Vihara Maha Devi, the daughter of Kelani Tissa , who was destined to become the queen of King Kavan Tissa of the Rohana kingdom. The ancient chronicle Rajavaliya states that in the second century BC after Kelaniya was submerged by the sea due to a natural disaster Devi, the daughter of King of Kelani Tissa was cast to sea in a Golden Vessel to appease the gods, and washed ashore near the Muhudu Maha Vihara in Pottuwil. Later, she became the main consort of king Kavan Tissa of Ruhunu Kingdom, under the name Viharamaha Devi.