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The legend that surrounds the birth of King Dutugamunu relates a story of a novice monk, who lived in a temple called KotapabbathaVihara, who was building a road to the ‘AkasaChethiyta’ or the stupa in the sky. The monk had fallen gravely ill due to his exercise and was later transferred to ‘Seelapassaya Pirivena’, where at his death bed he was bade by the King of Rohana, Kawanthisa and his queen Maya to be born as their first son, after his demise.However the mythical and supernatural form of this story had not prevented the archeologists from searching the fabled ‘Kotaweheragala’ temple with a Stupa built on a mountain peak and Kotaweheragala in Yalpotha, Lahugala is a leading contender to be the fabled home of the novice monk, who was born again to save a nation.
Few miles from the Yalapotha village standing amidst the forest is the Kotaweheragala, a ruined temple with a derelict stupa standing on a rocky mountain. The stupa vandalized by treasure hunters is a pile of bricks today. Yet the bricks are identified to be of third to first century BC and are similar to bricks used in Shasthrawela and other temples found in the area. However the link between the mythical ‘KotapabbathaVihara’ and the ruins in Yalapotha is made through a small stone inscription found at the foot of the 150 steps long stairway leading to the stupa on the top of the rock. The inscription states that the rock stairway was made by a novice monk ‘wachigamakahiTherasa’. Is this the stairway built by the novice monk leading to the ‘Akasa chetiya’? Some archeologists believe so, although yet to be ascertained through further archeological investigation.
Things to do: Archeology, History, Pilgrimage, Sightseeing, Photography.
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