- All Nature Worships Here -
The road was ever winding as we kept descending steadily from Balangoda towards Kalthota some 30 kilometres or a little more. The scenery was refreshing with long stretches devoid of the contraptions of man.
The road etched as it were on the edge of the mountain afforded a distant view of the plains below melting into misty greens. It was good driving.
After the descent we seemed to be traveling on flat terrain. And now we were accompanied by a gushing canal of the Walawe waters, which ran closely parallel with the road. Here and there we met with old world edandas spanning the canal to give access to the properties on the opposite bank. It seemed as if the canal and the road were inseparable and we had quite got used to the idea too, when we lost sight of it momentarily, only to find it raised into a bridge like contraption making way for a branch road to travel under it. A peculiar sight.! And the canal joined the road again making a merry waterfall down some cemented steps back to its happy partnership with the road. These waters seemed to be the source of the people living here. We passed ideal bathing spots and shallow washing spots where the locals relaxed after attending to their daily chores, the surrounding trees giving excellent shade.
Our destination was the Budugala ruins in Kalthota. After a while we stopped at an Archaeological Department sign board, and parking the vehicle on the side of the narrow road hardly enough for two vehicles to pass, we crossed the canal which by now had succumbed to a narrow deep drain.
The site that met our eyes did seem interesting, but little information was available on it.
Haphazard ruins seemed to litter the environs.
Two large rectangular foundations of buildings could be seen connecting each other at the centre by a narrow bridge. Huge polished granite slabs comprised its construction. Quaint little stone stairways with simple balustrades led to them. A few stone columns bravely seemed to stand the test of time while a medley of others littered the area around.
A steep granite stairway led uphill at first seemingly into the heavens. The steps sometimes accompanied by balustrades and embankments at different levels were built of stone in perfect geometrical harmony, with boulders littering the sides and the surrounding tree-scape creating an idyllic frame to a picturesque setting .
We climbed further on the stone steps and suddenly came upon a clearing with yet another ruin of the same design but maybe of a slightly smaller proportion..
It is believed that the Budugala ruins are those of an ancient hermitage and the constructions found here have been dated to the 1st century BC.
When we visited the ruins it was well into noon and the day was sweltering hot. But the forest of trees shaded the site. And the sun filtered through the trees freckled and dimpling at our feet. while the air rang with sweet bird calls.
To my mind came a little poem I had read earlier .
The Budugala temple is almost adjoining this site. Here it is believed was a Buddha sculpture on a rock and hence the name Budugala. The temple premises is littered with huge boulders. A modern shrine room under one of these boulders is under construction.
The boulder may be climbed to reach a daboba on its summit. A curious rock tunnel or umaga is found in these premises Local legend attributes it to an hideout of King Walagamba.
There is also a belief that this tunnel connects with the Kuragala site. However the tunnel is blocked to dissuade the adventurous. A picturesque rock arch comprising two huge boulders leaning on each other can be seen at the entrance to the temple which has served as an ancient resting place to the traveller or a weary pilgrim to the area. The area abounds in fertile paddy lands and fruit groves.
by Kishanie S. Fernando
February 3, 2007