Omunugala, a cave monastery built in the third century BC which later flourished into a monastery complex under the patron ship of kings and peasants of Eastern Sri Lanka lies destitute in the midst of Mahaoya jungle
Spreading around the Omunugala Mountain, named such for an ancient dam constructed around a water fall, the monastery had declined with the Eastern Kingdom as was revived in 1973 yet was lost to the jungle again with separatist war ravaged the Eastern Province.
An ancient Bo tree and a tamarind tree stands near the ruined stupa at the foot of the mountain, although the Bodhigara, or the housing around the Bo tree, had been reduced to mere stone pillars few centuries back.
Just beyond the Bo tree is the famed ‘Nai Pena Ella’ or the waterfall of cobra hoods named for the sign of seven hooded cobra marked on its rocky banks. The seven hooded cobra is an ancient sign depicting an eternal source of water as the ancient believed the cobra to be the guardian of all water sources.
More drip-ledged caves with Brahmin inscriptions detailing donation and donator could be found on the way to the top. The most important inscription is within the largest cave in the monastery. It speaks of the donator as ‘Guptha, the daughter of NadikaMitha and the wife of Thilakana’ and is believed to a cave donation made by the daughter of Nadimithra, one of the ten great warriors of King Dutugamunu.
A shrine roomhad been created within a thirty seven meter long cave. The cave remodeled with bricked walls and had been plastered and adorned with murals although few of the adornments remain. A siting Buddha has graced the wall opposite the main entrance but today only the ‘hettuthorana’ or wall pandal built around the statue remain. Although partially destroyed the drawing of the panadal still remain clear
Things To Do: Archeology, photography and hiking
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