Ritigala (Sleeping beauty mountain) is an especial national Buddhist heritage in Anuradhapuraya, Sri Lanka. There is a Buddhist building complex which have a sacred archeological value in Ritigala. According to the Mahavansa, it is called as “Attagiri” and “Attari Pabbatha”. There is a temple called “Makulana” is at the bottom of the Ritigala mountain. This is a contruction which belongs to the king Soorathissa at C.E 187-177. As well as the great king Sena I contributed to this temple by sponsoring.
According to the historical stories, the king Wijayabahu I used this area to build forts and to organize the forces to attack the king Mahanaga. The bird view of this Ritigala mountain looks like a beautiful sleeping lady. So the foreign people call this as “Sleeping Beauty Mountain”. The height of this mountain is 766 m (2513 feet) from the sea level. This also consists of another few small mountains.
Myths on this mountain
There are several myths about this Sleeping beauty mountain. One of this is that, this was an area of devils in past. According to the famous Ramayanaya story this mountain is a part of Himalaya Mountain, which was carried by Hanumantha to treat the younger brother of prince Rama. However this sleeping beauty mountain is very famous among both local and foreign tourists as a heritage of Sri Lanka. Some thinks that this is a demonic jungle due to its huge tress and the darkness. Though this is situated in the dry zone, this has both dry and wet zone characteristics. We can found lots of different species of butterflies, birds, local flowers, trees and animals in this mountain.
During the era of English administration in Sri Lanka, at 1872 James Manival surveyor did a survey on the measurements of this mountain for three months. Thus it is mentioned that a government agent R.W. Ayivars used this place to make a house. And he spent the time by feeling the natural coldness of the climate around the mountain.
Archeology of the Monastery
We can find the evidences to prove that there were few monasteries at Ritigala. We can see the complexes which were used by the monks who were in the above mentioned temple. At the very first of the entrance of RItigala, we can find a “Banda” pond. This is made of black stones and stone planks. These planks were arranged as a staircase to help the users to enter the pond. The area of this pond is about eight hectares. In addition to the main large pond, there are few small size ponds around it. It is mentioned that there was a Stupa in this area. Some believes that it was a Stupa for the pilgrimages to worship. But some believes that this was a house which had ashes of a great Thero. That cannot be said certainly.
When passing this pond, we can see the “Peth Maga”. It is made of stones. This may be a walking track which was used by monks when they were walking meditations. Thus we can see the buildings that were used for bathing and medicinal treatments, grinding stones which were used to make medicinal syrups. In addition to them there are lot of stone caves in this temple premises. As well as there are some stone epigraphs with “Brahmiya” letters. Though lots of momentous bars could be found, we cannot see them due to the jungle. The all buildings are the constructions of the king Sena for the hundreds of monks lived there.
Source: The Book “Ritigala Urumaya” by Mandaramnuwara Chandanandha Thero
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