Posted by: lrrp | February 10, 2013

Remains of the Citadel of Raigama Kingdom

Located off the Panadura – Ratnapura A8 Road about 3 km from Bandaragama town, the rectangular precinct that is fortified by a thick rampart of laterite (cabook) masonry was the 15th century citadel established by Rayigam Bandara for the regional kingdom of Raigama.

It was from here that the father of Parakramabahu VI (1412 – 1467) was taken captive to China, as he refused to hand over the sacred Tooth and Bowl relics to the envoy, Zhen Ho, of the Chinese Emperor.

Raigama Citadel 4

The citadel is a rectangular precinct of 4.5 acres in extent. The kabook rampart, which defended the citadel, is 2.5 m wide at its base and is still in a fair state of preservation. Due to the presence of a large rectangular pond located to the north-east of the citadel, the only structure that has survived from the historical period is the large pond also built of laterite.

Raigama pool

The site is presently referred to as Pathahawatta in Sinhala (literally meaning: the land with the pond) by the village folk, due to the presence of a large rectangular pond located to the north-east of the citadel. This is the only structure that has survived from the historical period. The interesting feature of this pond, which could have been a royal bath is that it was constructed upon a raft foundation using timber beams.

Raigama Citadel 3

At present, the site is occupied by a modern Buddhist temple with an image house and a large preaching hall of the mid 20th century, built in the architectural style of the period. Carved stone elements such as an elephant gargoyle, a urinal cum latrine slab etc. are some of the sculptural embellishments of the historical period, seen lying within the citadel.

Raigama Citadel

The former palace base seems to have been used for the preaching hall.

(National Trust)

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