Places to go in Sri Lanka – Panduwasnuwara short-lived capital of Sri Lanka
Panduwasnuwara is an ancient city in the region of Kurunegala, which functioned as the capital of Sri Lanka for a very brief period. King Parakramabahu set up his temporary capital in this city during the 12th century. This shortly lived capita is not a top-notch tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and rarely included in Sri Lanka road trips.
During this period, Panduwasnuwara was the city housing the sacred tooth relic which was brought back to Sri Lanka from India by King Parakramabahu. Panduwasnuwara is not included in ost Sri Lanka tour and holiday packages as an important tourist attraction. But it’s worth exploring this fascinating historical city alone with other sites in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa.
Panduwarnuwara archaeological site spreads over 20 hectares and a large number of ancient construction can be seen here. Apart from the archaeological site is still not explored. The visitors to the site should go through the moat which has the width of six meters. There are a large number of remnants of the historic buildings can be seen here such as dagobas, image houses, palaces, meeting places, living quarters etc
One of the primary features of the site is the restored temple of the tooth relic with a Bo-tree, which is outside the fortified walls. The foundation of the tooth relic temple is still visible here. but the roof is replaced in the latter half of 1970’s.
Even though the temple is one of the most important features of the ancient city, the highlight Is the round shaped palace situated inside the circular moat. It is believed to have had several storeys during its heyday and is still a sight to behold. Many legends have been woven around this palace and about the people who said to have lived there. Some believe that it imprisoned a princess, the then king’s daughter, who had to be shielded from the eyes of men.
It was said that if she married and bore a son, he would kill his seven uncles and ascend the throne. Another story said that the palace housed the king’s wives and that there once was a secret tunnel between this palace and the king’s palace, which ran right underneath the moat. Although these are some of the many stories built around the palace, no one knows for sure who built or who lived in the palace.
Panduwasnuwara is identified as a capital of the Kurunegala district in ancient Sri Lanka. According to the historical information it had been the capital city of King Panduvasdeva, who ascended the throne after King Vijaya (circa 5th century B.C.). The site comprising many historical places such as Ektemge the tower with a moat where Unmada chithra was hidden. The place where the king Vijaya was buried also located on the site.
According to the chronicles, Panduwasnuwara comes fore again in the 12th century. The city was called after great King Parakramabahu and was known as City of Parakrama or Parakramapura. The city was used by the king as a stepping stone to the second capital of ancient Sri Lanka Polonnaruwa.
There are many historically important ruins in the city such as walls and moat, king’s palace which is adorned with carved pillars and guard stones, an ancient Bo-tree and a Bodhigara. Shrine room, a monastic complex, stone inscription and man-made lake can also be found in the city that is dating back to 12th century A.D.
There are many archaeological important artefacts are housed in the archaeological museum. Bronze statue and sculpture of King Parakramabahu are among the valuable items in the museum. Panduwasanuwara is an ideal location to have an idea of the ground plan of a medieval Sinhalese royal palace with meda midula or courtyard and fortifications.
Development of Panduwasanuwara
Hettipola and Panduwasanuwara sacred area will be developed attract more tourists in the future. Panduwasanuwara is a very valuable archaeological site with historical value. The program will be launched by the Ministry of Local Government and the Panduwasnuwara Pradesheeya Sabha. Panduwasnuwara is located in the Kurunegala district in the western province.
Kurunegala district has the potential to become an important tourist destination because there are many archaeological sites around Kurunegala. Kurunegala is being used for adventure tourism already there are few locations that are suitable for adventure tourism. Poor infrastructure is identified as a challenge to develop the city. Therefore the cities in the district will be developed by the respective Provincial Councils and Ministry of Local Government. Under the program, local government institutions are helped to improve the infrastructure.
The permission for the program given by the ministers of the cabinet in a meeting held recently. A sum of twenty million rupees allocated for the project and funds are allocated from the 2012 budget.