Just few miles away from Kothmale Canal Settlement on the Galoya Valley is one of Digamadulla’s oldest monasteries with remnants of murals as old as the tenth century BC.
Found inside a cave, once used as a shrine room, the murals are on vaultceiling of the cave and had being drawn on a special plastered and polished surface. The remaining murals depict a scene of a young woman, alleged to be of Naga origin, veneratingAvalokitesvara Bodhisattva. The Bodhisattva seems to be holding a lotus flower with a long stork in a vase in veneration to a Buddha statue, which had long gone missing. The red, orange, green and brown shaded earthly colours used in the picture are of natural ingredients and belongs to the Polonnaruwa era although the other constructions in the monastery belong to the third century BC.
The cave entrance is still adorned with carved rock pillars, which still stand crooked while the remains of stupa, of Anuradhapura era of architecture, are scattered all around the cave, ravaged by the treasure hunters too. Three parallel rows of rock pillars standing further indicated the presence of large scale construction on monastery grounds, now destroyed by time, weather and humans. A rock stairway, which too is destroyed in the middle leads to the top of a rock plateau, which is scattered with ruins of various buildings. The bricks used for the construction belong to the centuries BC but only the rock pillars stand up right today.The construction on the top of the plateau is believed to be a preaching hall used to the chanting of AriyawansaSutta. In the ancient practice of dhamma AriyawansaSutta was preached to the gathered masses during the vas season or period of retreat during the rainy period. Many an ancient monasteries in Digamadulla were in possession of special podiums built on a higher ground for the chanting of AriyawansaSutta to the devotees, who gathered in thousands.
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