DambakolaPatunaViharaya- A temple built in reminiscence of a great arrival.
Built in the third century BC in memory of the arrival of the Bo sapling from the Sri Maha Bodhi of India in the hands of none other than ArahantSangamitta, the daughter of Emperor Asoka of India, DambkolaPatuna Sangamitta Viharaya stood by an ancient port in the north of Jaffna which was used during the pre- Christian times.
The temple then known as the Samudrasanna Viharaya was built commemorating the arrival of the Bo sapling by King DevanampriyaTissaandwas housed one of the first eight shots of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, which was planted on the same place where the original tree was kept beforebeing conveyed to Royal Gardens, the Mahamewuna of Anuradhapura.
The arrival of the Bo sapling, ArhantSangamitta and artisans of eighteen varieties to attend every need of the Bodhi Tree saw a cultural upheaval in Sri Lanka resulting in greater advancements in agriculture, irrigation, arts, literature, sculptor, architecture and town planning, engineering, medicine and many other.
Due to the great social, religious and cultural importance of ArhantSangamitta’s arrival SamudrasannaViharaya was considered an important land mark in ancient Buddhist culture in Lanka. Yet with the fall of Anuradhapura Kingdom and Mahavihara the legend surrounding the temple and port were soon forgotten. After losing it glory with time and loss of importance of the JambukolaPattana port to Mahatitta in Mannar the temple was rebuilt in 11 th century AC by King Vijayabahu the first.
The Old chronicles of Lanka,Mahavamsa records pilgrims as far as West Asia, then known as ‘Yonakapura’ arriving in Sri Lanka as pilgrims to Samudrasannaviharaya as late as 12 th Century
However the few remains of the old temple and the old Bo tree has long ceased to exist today and the temple found on the location is new structure built by the Sri Lankan Navy. Yet the newly built stupa stands tall amidst the Palmyra groves and the young Bo tree as a memory of a of a Port, which welcomed the golden era to Lanka and of a Bikkhuni turned Princess, who brought one of the greatest gifts from India to Sri Lanka.
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