Kumana National Park & Culture of East coast
Complete Guide On Kumana National Park & Attractions Near Arugambay
Kumana National Park is situated in southeast corner of Sri Lanka and it boasts of a bird sanctuary and is a well-known eco-tourism attraction. Kumana has its large estuary called "Kumbukkan Oya". These estuary mangroves are largely used by migratory and residents birds to build nests and raise their young.A,mongst these birds you will find bird species such as pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets and little cormorants. Kumana also has its own mammals such as ‘’Asian Elephant “ ,“The Sloth Bear “and the magnificent “Leopard”.when you are in a safari ride in Kumana National Park be prepared with with your camera because you will never know when you will meet with this magnificent creations of mother nature will come face to face with you. Other than the Safari ride of Kumana National Park east coast area is filled with cultural and heritage monuments that dates back to ancient Kings of Ruhuna.
At your stay at east coast on your Sri Lanka holiday you can visit the ancient monastery complex called the kudumbigala. To this day it is inhabited by Buddhist monks that meditates in the rock caves in the area.At around 4:30 am in the morning you will be guided by a villager that has thorough knowledge about the area and he will take you on a jeep ride where the Kudumbigala ancient monastery is situated. You can witness villagers and pilgrims form the area brings the”alms giving “to the resident monks. On top of the monastery is an ancient ruined Pagoda where you could witness stunning sunrise. Kudumbigala monastic complex was built in 246 BC, during the time of King Devanampiyatissa. It was first established as a refuge for the Buddhist monks who wanted to get away from the busy Cities. Archaeologists had recovered over 200 rock caves belonging to this forgotten monastery.
The next place that you should explore while your stay in east coast is the”Okanda Murugan Kovil”.It is another most venerated place in the area with a long history. This is a relatively small Hindu shrine in the area and has a colorful Gopuram. It is one of major point of Pada Yathraa pilgrimage to Kataragama.If you arrive at Sri Lanka late July and early August you will have the chance of witnessing the “Pada Yahtraa” pilgrimage. The temple is of great spiritual importance as it marks the supposed point at which Murugan (Skanda) and his consort Valli have met.
In the evening you could join on exploring more cultural sites in the area such as “Muhudu Maha Viharaya”.This is a temple near a wide beach and dated back to the days of King Kawanthissa of Ruhuna.Currently the ruins and remains of ancient “Avasageya” “ Seemalamakaya”the main Stupa and stone carvings of Lord Buddha and statues of two King and queen or gods can be seen. This viharaya marks the landing place of Viharamahadevi. daughter of Kelani Tissa , who was destined to become the queen of King Kavan Tissa of the Rohana kingdom. According to the ancient chronicle Rajavaliya it is stated that in the second century BC after Kelaniya was submerged by the sea due to a natural disaster, Devi the daughter of King of Kelaniya was cast to sea in a Golden Vessel to appease the gods, and washed ashore near the Muhudu Maha Vihara in Pottuwil. Later she became the main consort of king Kavan Tissa of Ruhunu Kingdom and was named as Viharamahadevi. The next heritage place that you could visit is “Magul Maha Viharaya”this temple lies on the northern edge of Lahugala National Park. The ruins of Magul Maha Vihara are one of the major tourist attractions of the Eastern province. This temple is also an archaeologically protected monument of the country.
The history of Magul Maha Vihara possibly dates back to the period of King Kavantissa who ruled the Kingdom of Ruhuna in ancient Sri Lanka. There are evidence that suggests that the king has built this temple in the 2nd Century BC on the exact location where he married the princesses Viharamahadevi the daughter of king Kelani Tissa .Other sources claim that King Dhathusena built this temple while many other monarchs renovated it through the centuries later. There is a stone inscription at the site of this temple that dates back to the 14th century which supports the latter view.
The next stop of exploring the east coast past will be Neelagiri stupa.Neelagiri Stupa or maha seya is the largest Buddhist stupa in the Eastern Province. The stupa, located in the Lahugala Forest Reserve and is believed to be made by King Kawanthissa. This massive stupa has a circumference of 600 feet and 72 feet high in the current status. This has been called “Uttara Seevali Pabbata Viharaya’ in the ancient times. The restoration of the Stupa begin in 2011 . In addition to the stupa you will find a large amount of artifacts of the ancient temple complex which stood here thousands of years ago. An old stone quarry, a chapter house, many conical holes, 3 Inscriptions, two drip ledged caves and remnants of a small stupa on a rock is found on the north eastern sector of the monastery.
In exploring the heritage of east coast the next most important place is Tharulengala Raja Maha Viharaya. Tharulengala Raja Maha Viharaya on a 633 feet high rocky hill called Karadahela in Lahugala Divisional secretariat in Ampara district is a fine example of the grandeur of the ancient Digamdulla heritage. Built by King Kanvantissa before the 2nd centenary BC it has been developed constantly throughout the ancient Eastern history.Before becoming a forest hermitage these caves has been dwellings of Vedda community in Sri Lanka and you can till today see the paintings of Veddas in these caves.
The Tharulengala Viharaya Currently functioning as a forest hermitage, today this temple covers over 20 acers of thick jungle scattered with stone ruins long since buried with time. Unfortunately no proper excavations have been carried out on this site by the Archaeology Department.
After exploring very depth of east coast of Sri Lanka you can satisfy your taste buds with a private seafood BBQ dinner in Panama Beach