Panduwasnuwara is an ancient capital located in the Kurunegala District of Sri Lanka. Situated approximately 19 km (12 mi) away from Wariyapola town, this historical site is believed to have been the controlling centre known as Parakramapura of Dakkhinadesa during the 12th century, under the rule of King Parakramabahu. Today, visitors can still witness the remaining ruins of this ancient kingdom, primarily located in the Kotampitiya area along the Wariyapola-Chilaw main road.
Name and Misconceptions
The current site of Panduwasnuwara has been identified as Parakramapura, the city of Dakkhinadesa, founded by King Parakramabahu the Great when he was the sub-king of the territory. However, it is essential to note that Panduwasnuwara has led to certain misconceptions among the locals. They mistakenly associate this site with the ancient capital of King Panduwasadeva, who ruled the country from 504 BC to 474 BC.
According to local beliefs, the structure known as Chakrawalaya, situated within site, is considered the extreme or circular tower where Princess Unmada Chitra was confined by her brothers. Additionally, the nearby village called Dorabawa is believed to be the Doramadalawa village where Prince Pandukabhaya spent his childhood. However, it is crucial to understand that these stories lack archaeological evidence to support their claims.
Another belief regarding the name Panduwasnuwara suggests that it originated from an old tank called Panda Wewa, located nearby. While the exact etymology of the term remains speculative, it is clear that Panduwasnuwara holds an important place in Sri Lanka's historical landscape.
History of Panduwasnuwara
Prince Parakramabahu, the successor of his uncle King Kirti Sri Megha, assumed rulership of Dakkhinadesa in 1140 A.D. Panduwasnuwara became the first capital of Parakramabahu and one of the three distinct kingdoms into which the island was divided at the time. Historical evidence indicates that King Parakramabahu actively worked to develop the infrastructure and common facilities within his ruling territory.
During his reign, Parakramabahu constructed a separate tooth temple at the Panduwasnuwara Raja Maha Vihara premises to house the tooth relic of Buddha, ensuring its safety and significance. After a series of successful battles with his enemies, Parakramabahu extended his dominion over the entire nation and eventually moved his capital to Polonnaruwa, accompanied by the revered tooth relic.
Ruins and Archaeological Significance
The ruins scattered across approximately 20 hectares of land in Panduwasnuwara belong to the 12th century A.D. Within these ruins, visitors can explore remnants of a palace, monasteries, image houses, dagobas, monks' living quarters, carved pillars, guard stones, and other ancient constructions. The palace's remains are encircled by a moat and a brick rampart, bearing a ground plan strikingly similar to King Parakramabahu's castle in Polonnaruwa.
One unique artifact within the palace premises is the Stone seat inscription. This slab inscription records a visit by King Kirti Sri Nissankamalla (1187-1196 A.D.) to the palace during one of his tours. The note adds further historical context to the importance and prominence of Panduwasnuwara.
The ruins also encompass several monasteries built in the Panchayathana architectural style. These monasteries contain stupas, image houses, Bodhigharas (tree shrines), and dwelling houses. In addition to Sinhalese inscriptions, one monastery premises also houses a Tamil inscription dating back to the reign of Nissankamalla.
The modern temple, Panduwas Nuwara Raja Maha Vihara is situated in the heart of the ruins. Within the temple grounds, visitors can observe a small Tempita Vihara (temple on pillars) and several pillar inscriptions from the 9th to 10th century A.D., offering glimpses into the rich historical tapestry of the region.
We encourage you to embark on a journey to Panduwasnuwara and immerse yourself in its rich historical tapestry. Witness the remnants of palaces, monasteries, and other structures that stood witness to a bygone era. By visiting Panduwasnuwara, you will gain a deeper appreciation of Sri Lanka's ancient past and the significance of this great site.
1. What is the best time to visit Panduwasnuwara?
The best time to visit Panduwasnuwara is during the dry season, typically from May to September. During this period, you can enjoy pleasant weather and explore the ruins comfortably. However, checking the weather conditions before planning your visit is advisable.
2. Are there any accommodations available near Panduwasnuwara?
While Panduwasnuwara is not widely developed as a tourist destination, accommodation options are available in nearby towns such as Wariyapola and Kurunegala. These towns offer a range of hotels, guesthouses, and resorts to suit different budgets and preferences.
3. Can tourists explore the ruins freely, or are there restrictions?
Tourists can explore the ruins of Panduwasnuwara freely. However, it is essential to respect the site's historical significance and adhere to any rules or guidelines set by the local authorities. Furthermore, not damaging or removing artifacts is crucial to preserving the site's integrity for future generations.
4. Is there any transportation available to reach Panduwasnuwara?
Yes, you can reach Panduwasnuwara by various means of transportation. Buses and private vehicles are the most common modes of travel. However, if you prefer a more convenient option, you can hire a taxi or join a guided tour with Panduwasnuwara in its itinerary.
5. What are some other nearby attractions worth visiting?
When visiting Panduwasnuwara, you can explore other attractions in the Kurunegala District. Some popular nearby sites include the ancient rock fortress of Yapahuwa, the Ridi Viharaya temple known for its rock caves and ancient murals, and the iconic Rambadagalla Viharaya temple. These sites offer a glimpse into Sri Lanka's rich historical and cultural heritage, complementing your visit to Panduwasnuwara.