Posted by: lrrp | May 19, 2006

The historical significance of Sabaragamuwa by P. D. A. S. Gunasekera

Sabaragamuwa abounds in some of the most famous places, known from the pre-historic periods closely bound up with the earliest civilization of Sri Lanka comparatively older than that of her neighbours, including the sub-continent of India with the mainland and archipelago around according to the latest archaeological evidence unearthed.

The exploration and findings of the sources of the earliest, “Man and Woman” confirmed by scientific-tests, have left no doubt that the oldest living man from the whole of South East Asia hailed from Sabarawamuwa in Sri Lanka.

In the search for the earliest historical origin of Sri Lankan Civilization, among others, prominent places of worship, Sri Pada Sankapala, Kuragala and Kirinda, invariably figure without exception.

Both Sri Pada in Ratnapura and Kuragala in Balangoda seem to have, in common, traditional belief that Lord Baddha visited both places and left, the imprint of the ‘Sacred-foot’ are on the top of ‘Samanala-Kanda and the other on the Kuragala hills.

All nationalities and followers of the main religions, treat, both as the foot-prints of their ‘mentor’ Buddhists as the foot-print of Lord-Buddha, Muslims as the foot-print of the Prophet Mohammed, Hindus as the foot-print of Siva (Sivanadi-Padam) and the Catholics as that of the Adam.

The presence of the sacred-foot on the top of both mountains (Mount Samanala and Kuragala) therefore pointed to a close connection with the Buddhist civilization and deserved to be pursued further for possible historical relations to establish the claims of the Buddhist or the followers of other faiths.

The presence of a Buddhist monastery dating back the second century B.C. a foot print’ according to traditional belief to be that of Lord Buddha, covered over by ‘a stone-slab’ as in Sri Pada on Mt. Samanala, the peaceful and quiet atmosphere conductive to the ‘Arahat’ with the series of rock-caves to match and the spacious, cave, identified as the ‘Diva-guhava’ (the divine hall) in which Lord Buddha with his retinue of Arahats partook of the mid-day ‘Dhana,’ all point, in no uncertain terms, to the possibility of finding more positive clues to the real identify of ‘Kuragala’ by intensive excavations.

The archaeological evidence establishing a civilization, as old as 30,000 years in Sabaragamuwa, as established by the findings of the former archaeological Commissioners, in Sri Lanka, might still be found buried in and under the caves and the rocks, if systematic excavations were undertaken in the interest of ‘civilization’, even at this later stage.

Besides, Balangoda, being the original abode of the ‘Balangoda-man’, the earliest known inhabitant of Sabaragamuwa or for that matter, of the whole of South East Asia, it was, indeed time, more teeth were added to the search of his (Balangoda Man’s) evidence in the Salubrious air and the atmosphere of the Kuragala-hills, caves and rocks, as no better place could be found by a living being for settlement, than that, in the ages past, when ‘rock-caves’ provided shelter for the living.

(http://www.dailynews.lk/2004/09/14/fea06.html)

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