Senanigala Raja Maha Vihara
- The ancient grounds of King Dutugamunu, where he gathered his men -
Senanigala Raja Maha Vihara has a long history dating back to the days of King Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) when he was on his way with his army to wage war against Elara who reigned supreme in Anuradhapura.
The ruins scattered over 10-15 acres were found 17 years ago when settlers began to live in the newly-cleared land in Dehiaththakandiya, in the Mahaweli 'C' Zone.
The Vihara can be reached on Mahiyangana Dehiaththakandiya road and from Medagama town, turnning left and proceeding 4km. From there the picturesque Raja Maha Vihara on a rocky surface can be seen from a distance.
Senanigala literally means the rock on which the armies were recruited. This was done by King Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) on his final onslaught to gain control of Rajarata and become the supreme ruler of Lanka.
Among the findings and the ruins are: compound laid with stone slabs, a cave with drip ledges, five feet tall Buddha image, pieces of broken images, six feet statue believed to be Datugemunu's, 22 rock inscriptions, ruins of four buildings, moonstone only with figures of elephants, Koravakgal, devala, guard rooms and a number of other buildings.
The stone pond in which the figure of a cobra is carved, is nine feet deep. Close to it lies the Bodhighara where devotees came to worship in their numbers now no more except the ruins scattered about for the place. Around the Bo tree there had been stone slabs paved round it.
There had been a wewa to irrigate the fields and also a road paved with stone slabs for horse carriages. The place had been called Acenagala in ancient times. It has been established that King Datugemunu (161-131 BC) gathered his men and formed into a formidable army under his 10 giants.
The rock inscription in which King Udaya had mentioned that there had been market towns surrounding Sorabora Weva. There are references to Senanigala where king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) organized his army under ten giants to fight Elara. In ancient times the area between Maduru Oya and Mahaweli Ganga was referred to as the interim area of the rivers.
It was through this area that linked the northern part of Lanka with Rohana.
By D.B. Kappagoda
Updated April 6, 2007