The events of the epic poem the Ramayana, which supposedly took place in Sri Lanka, have permeated the nation's psyche; there are an extraordinary number of places – jungle shrines, mountains, plains, streams, ponds and hot springs among them - associated with the epic listed below. Pick up a map and plan an individual itinerary that will take you on a fascinating journey on the trail of a legend.
Under its Sanskrit name of Lanka, the island figures prominently in the Ramayana, written around 2,000 years ago by the sage Valmiki. Although the setting of the Ramayana is Ayodya, capital of the Kosala Kingdom in North India, the story mainly concerns an invasion of Lanka by Rama, a prince of that kingdom. Legend usually stems from historical fact and so it is with the Ramayana, for it is believed to be a dramatization of the first of many Aryan invasions of Lanka.
The relevant part of the story centres on Ravana, the 10-headed, 20-armed king of the Raksha or demon tribe of Lanka, 10-headed because he was an expert on 10 different subjects. It seems that Ravana had worshipped Lord Shiva with such devotion that the god had promised him that he could not be destroyed. Secure in this knowledge, Ravana started to abuse his powers, which caused the gods to confer and make a request to Vishnu to resolve the problem. Vishnu agreed, descended to earth, and manifested as Rama, one of the four sons of King Dasaradha. A brother, Lakshman, also features in the story.
|43 Site of Ramayana|
|1. Ashoka Vatika, Sita Eliya-Nuwara Eliya
Ashoka Vatika was a garden in Lanka, the Kingdom of demon king, Ravana, as mentioned in the Vishnu Purana and Hindu epic. It was the location, where Sita, the wife of Rama was held captive by Ravana, after her abduction, also because she refused to stay in Ravana's palace, andpreferred to stay under the Ashoka tree, hence the name. It was here that Ravana's wife Mandodari came to meet her and also where Hanuman met her for the first time, and identified himself with the finger ring of Rama. Sita stayed at Ashok Vatika, till the end of the epic battle between Rama and Ravana, which resulted in the destruction of Ravana himself and most of this clan. Much of the Ashoka Vatika was destroyed by Hanuman, when he first visited Lanka, searching for Sita. Also destroyed was the Pramda Van at the centre of the Ashok Vatika.
|2. Panchamuga Anjaneyar Temple, Colombo
This is the first Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka and also the only Panchamuga (five faced) Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka. It's the only temple in the world to have a chariot for Anjaneyar. The chariot festival is held annually end Dec/ beginning of January. Hanuman's mother is Anjan. Hanuman is known as Anjan +Aiyar = Anjaneyarin South India (Hanuman in North India).
|3. Munneshwaram Temple, Chilaw
Lord Rama after his victorious battle left for Ayodhya in one of King Ravana's vimana's. He felt he was being followed by "Brahmahasthi Dosham" as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin. He stopped the vimana at this juncture because he felt at this place the "Brahmahasthi Dosham" was not following him. He ascended from the vimana and asked God Shiva for a remedy. God Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised him to install four lingams at Manavari, Thiru Koneshwaram, Thiru Ketheshwaram and Rameshwaram in India and pray, as the only remedy to get rid of the "Brahmahasthi Dosham".
|4. Manavari Temple, Chilaw – Puthlam Road
Manavari is the first place where Lord Rama installed the Siva Lingam and prayed after the end of the war with King Ravana. This Lingam is called Ramalingam because it was made by Lord Rama. Apart from this, the Lingam in Rameshwaram is the only Lingam in the world which is named after Lord Rama. Note: The annual festival takes place in July for 10 days.
|5. Sri Shankaridevi Shakthi Peetam, Trincomalee
Lankayam Shankaridevi starts the sloka of Ashta Dasha shakti peethas. Written by Sri jagadguru Aadi Shankaracharya. Shankaridevi temple in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka is a prominent temple for Hindus, but it is most rarely visited and it is very least popular in all Asta Dasha Shakti Peethas. Shankaridevi temple Situated in an east coast town of Sri Lanka Trincomalee. Along with the temple of Shankaridevi, there is a temple of lord Siva. Thirukoneshwaram temple.
|6. Thirukoneshwaram Temple, Trincomalee
Thiru koneshwaram was built by sage Agasthyar as per the instruction of Lord Shiva who was impressed by the devotion of King Ravana. This place has the uniqueness of the Lord building a temple for his devotee as a reward for his devotion. Lord Rama also offered his prayers on his return to get rid of the Brahmahasthi Dosham.
|7. Vilundri, Trincomalee Town
It is believed that on his return Lord Rama stopped at this place to reach Thiru Koneshwaram. He rested his bow on the ground here. Bow meaning "vill" and "undri" meaning "to place" or "rest" in Tamil gave this place Vilundri its name.
|8. Rumassala Sanjeewane Drops, Unawatuna-Galle
During the war, both Lord Rama and Lukshmana were hit by powerful arrows, fell unconscious and bring them back to life Lord Hanuman was instructed to fetch the life saving herbs from Himalaya. Lord Haniman went to Himalayas, lifted the whole hill and brought it. As he was not able to identify the life saving herbs alone. It is believed that part of the hill fell on five places in Sri Lanka, namely, Rumassala in Galle, Dolu Kanda in Hiripitiya, Ritigala on the Habarana Anuradhapura road, Thalladi in Mannar and Kachchathivu in the north.
|9. Dolukanda Sanjeewane Drops, Hiripitiya|
|10. Ritigala Sanjeewane Drops, Habarana- Hill Climb|
|11. Kachchative Sanjeewane Drops, Jaffna|
|12. Thalladi Sanjeewane Drops, Mannar|
|13. Laggala, North of Matale
The cartel of rocks behind the Dunuvila lake are called Laggala which means target rock. Laggala served as a sentry point to the King Ravana's army and it was from this rock the first Glimpse of Lord Rama's army was seen and reported to King Ravana. This hill is geographically the highest part of the northern region of King Ravana's city and on a clear day north east side that is Thiru Koneshwaran and North West side that is Talai Mannar could be seen. It is believed that King Ravana meditated upon Lord Shiva at Thiru Koneshwaram from this rock.
|14. Dunuwila, Near the 40 Km on the Hasalaka-Wasgamuwa Road. outside of wasgamuwa National park (MataleDistric)
It is said Dunuwilla is the place from where Lord Rama fired the Brahmaasthram at King Ravana and killed him. Dhunu means arrow and Vila Means Lake. This place got its name because Lord Rama fired his arrow from this lake.
|15. Yahangala, Mahiyanganaya-Wasgamuwa Road
It is believed that King Ravana's body after his death was kept upon this rock Yahangala- meaning bedrock. His body was kept here for his countrymen to pay their last respects to their dear departed king. Geographically this rock is visible from miles away on its 3 side.
|16. Lord Rama Temple (Rattota), Rattota- Matale Distric
There are only a few temples for Lord Rama is Sri Lanka and this is one of them.
|17. Gurulupotha, Lankapura
It is believed that there was an aircraft repair center in the capital city of King Ravana. In Valmiki's depiction King Ravana's Vimana resembled a huge peacock. The Vimana in Singhala language means Dandu Monara which is known as flying peacock, and hence the name Gurulupotha, which means parts of bird.
|18. Weraganthota Lanka Pura (Capital city of King Ravana), Weragantota
Means 'a place of aircraft landing' in Sinhala language, is believed to be the first place where Sitadevi was brought into Lanka in King Ravana's Vimana. These jungles are the place where the city of Lankapura once stood .The city had a beautiful palace for queen Mandothari surrounded by waterfalls, streams and varieties of flora and fauna.
|19. Kondakalai (Kondagala)
Kondakalai like many other cities and villages in Sri Lanka also derives its name from the Ramayana, when King Ravana took Sitadevi in a chariot to Ashoka Vatika her hairs got deranged because of the speed of the chariot. Konda kalai in tamil means deranging of hair. Till date the villagers live with legacy of this event.
|20. Sita Kotuwa, Gurulupotha Hasalaka (Archaeological Site)
The city had beautiful palace for queen Mandothari surrounded by waterfalls, streams and varieties flora and fauna. Sitadevi was kept in this palace until she was moved to Asoka Vatika. Sita Kotuwa means Sita's fort & got its name because of Sita devi's stay here.
|21. Sita waka, Closer to Avissawella
An interesting as well as shocking took here. To shatter Lord Rama's confidence and halt his progress during the war, Indrajith eldest son of King Ravana played a trick, with Sitadevi's look alike. Indrajith beheaded the look alike in front of Lord Hanuman thinking that it will stop the advancing forces of Lord Rama. There is a stone in this area called "Rampatha" with one foot mark which is believed by the people as Lord Rama's foot mark. This place is known as Sita Waka
|22. Chariot Path & Sita Tear Pond, The Jungle on the Top of Ramboda Hills
The summit of the mountain next to the mountain range overlooking Frotoft Estate in Pussallawa is the place where Lord Hanuman first set his foot on mainland Lanka. This mountain known as Pawala Malai is visible from this mountain range. These hills stand tall in-between King Ravana's capital city and Ashoka Vatika.The barren land atop themountain range is believed to be the route in which King Ravana took Sitadevi from his capital city Lankapura to Ashoka Vatika, which was a paradise on earth. Till date no vegetation grows on this passage except grass. King Ravana is believed to have taken this passage on top of these hills to show Sitadevi the beauty of his kingdom.
|23. Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple, Thawalamtenne-Ramboda
It is believed that Lord Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi from these hills of Ramboda. Note: Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka has built a temple with Lord Hanuman as the presiding deity on this hill. On every full moon day special poojas are conducted and witnessed by thousands of devotees. The status of Lord Hanuman here is carved out of granite and is 16 feet in height.
|24. Mani Kattuer, This is the Rock Labookalle estate. Kondagala, Labookelle
It is believed that after meeting Sitadevi, Lord Hanuman rested on this hill top on his way back to Lord Rama with the happy news.
|25. Gayaththri Peedam, Nuwara Eliya Town
It is believed to be the place from where King Ravana"s son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and poojas and in turn was granted super natural powers by lord Shiva.
|26. Sita Amman Temple, Sita Eliya- Nuwara Eliya
The stream that runs from the hill, catered to the needs of Sitadevi during her stay at Ashoka Vatika. She is said to have bathed in this stream. Now there is a temple erected for Lord Rama, Sitadevi, Luxshmana and Hanuman by the side of this stream. It is interesting to note that foot prints akin to Lord Hamunams are found by this river -some small and some large Note: Not accessible freely due to restriction from Department of Wildlife Conservation
|27. Gavagala (GhousHala), Walapane Road- Nuwara Eliya
King Ravana had his dairy farm here. Milk was air lifted to the capital Lankapura from here using Vimana's. The stone pillars here have the worn out marks cast by constant use of tying ropes on them.
|28. Divrumpola, Welimada Road- Nuwara Eliya
This is the place where Sitadevi underwent "Agni" test. Sita reached her husband. Meeting him after such a long time, she was overcome by joyous emotion. But Lord Rama appeared to be lost in thought. At lenth he spoke "I have killed my enemy. I have done my duty as a true king. But you have lived for a year in the enemy's abode. It si not proper that I should take you back now." Sitadevi was shocked. It is my fault that the monster carries me off by force? All the time, my mind, my heart, and soul were fixed on you and you alone, my lord!" she said and turned to Lukshman and said with tears streaming from her eyes, "Prepare for me a fire that is the only remedy for this sorrow of mind." Lakshman in suppressed anger, looked at Lord Rama's face, but saw no sign of softening. He lighted a big fire. Sitadevi reverently went round her husband and approached the blazing fire. Joining her palms in salutation, she said, "If I am pure, O fire, protect me." With these words she jumped into the flames, to the horror of the monkeys who stood on all sides watching the tragic sight. Then arose from out of the flame Agni, the fire-god, whom she had invoked. He lifted Sitadevi from the flames unharmed, and presented her to Lord Rama. "Don't I know that she is spotless and pure at heart?" cried Lord Rama, standing up to receive her. "It is for the sake of the world that I made her go through this ordeal of fire, so that the truth may be known to all.
|29. Sita Pokuna, Top of the Haggala Rock
The barren piece of land in the midst of the jungle where Sitadevi was kept as a captive is called Sita Pokuna, which means Sita's pond in Sinhalese. It is believed that a pond existed at this site during the captivity of Sitadevi. Local folklore says that the pond dried up after the departure of Sitadevi from this site. To-date no vegetation grows on this particular piece of land which surrounded by dense forests on all sides.
|30.Ishtripura / Kondakatugala Location: Kirivanagama, Lunuwatte-Welimada Ishtripura means an area of women in Singhalese. It is believed that this was one of the palace to which King Ravana shifted Sitadevi as a precautionary measure after Lord Hanuman advent. It is said that Sitadevi took bath in nearby steam and dried her hair sitting on a rock and put clips to her hair, hence this rock is known as Konda Kattu Gala.|
|31. World's End or Pathala Lok, In Horton Plains- Closed to Nuwara Eliya
World's end or Pathala Lok is the palace where Mahi Ravanan had hidden both Lord Rama and Lakshmana who were later rescued by Lord Hamuman who carried them back on his broad shoulders. Note: Involves 8 km of walking
|32. Ravana Goda, Kotmale Area Opposite to Ramboda Rock
It is a place where Sitadevi stayed during her transit. This area is also linked with tunnels and caves, which runs through to other parts of King Ravana's kingdom. This is situated in the Kotmala area opposite to Ramboda rock. The main cave entrance was closed by an earth-slip in 1947. Locals believe this part of the complex was used as a prison by Ravana. The cave complex has not been fully explored.
|33. Ravana Cave, Ella- Wallawaya Road
These tunnels prove beyond doubt the architectural brilliance of King Ravana. These tunnels served as a quick means of transport through the hills and also as a secret passage. These tunnels networked all the important cities, airport and dairy farms. A close look at these tunnels indicates that they are palace and a tunnel existed. Existing tunnels mouths are situated – Ishtripura at Welimada, Ravana cave at Bandarawela, Senapitiya at Halagala, Ramboda, Labokelle, Wariyapola, Mataleand Sitakotuwa Hasalaka. In addition there are many more tunnels.
|34. Ravana Water falls, Ella- Wallawaya Road
A breathtaking waterfall, 1080 feet high (cascades into several falls) close to the road from Ella to Wellawaya about 6 Km south from Ella. The stream, a tributary of Kirindi Oya plunges with a foaming spray over a series of ledges into the valley close to a bend in the road. The waters rise from Wewatenna highland above the rocks. In general the rocky underground of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka consists of hard gneiss or granite, but here the material is khondalite, a kind of limestone which undergoes decay faster. This has resulted in many caves being formed near the falls. King Ravana of Ramayana legend is said to have lived in one of the caves above the waterfalls.
|35. Yudaganawa, Wallawaya- Monaragala Road
It is said that this particular piece land can never bear any vegetation as this served as the battlefield and had borne the brunt of destruction.
South East of Sri Lanka This is the temple of the Lord Karthikeya Subramaniam at Kataragama. Lord Karthikeya was requested to go to the battle field by Lord Indra on the last day of the war. This was done to protect Lord Rama from the wrath of Brahmaastharam shot by King Ravana which otherwise would have weakened Lord Rama. Brahmaastharam aimed at Lord Rama for the second time was rendered useless by the presence of Lord Karthikeya.
|37. Ussangoda, On the southern coast of the country
According to Ramayana, after meeting Sitadevi lord Hanuman decided to test the strength of the mighty King Ravana and his army of Rakshasas. In the event that infolded lord Hanuman's tail was set on fire by Rakskasas, who in turn went on to torch some parts of King Ravana's empire. It is believed that Ussangoda is one of the torched areas, which is said to have been an airport use by King Ravana.
|38. Dondra / Seenigama Temple, Hikkaduwa
It is believed that from here Sugreeve king of the Vanara's started his onslaught on King Ravana's forces.
|39. Kirinda Ravana's Fortress, End of the Yala National Park
The temple of the Kirinda marks the place where Princes Viharamaha Devi landed when her Father, a King of Kelaniya, set her adrift on a Golden Boat in the Indian Ocean. The King who tortured to death a member of the Sanga believed that the subsequent sea inundation that consumed a great part of his Kingdom was the punishment that came as Roth of the Gods, which could be atoned only by sacrificing his Daughter. However the princes who survived and came Ashore in the Southeast Point of Kirinda was wedded by the King Kawantissa who ruled in that region and their son was the famous King Dutugemunu who succeeded in liberating Sri Lanka from the Indians and also repulsed many invasions.
|40. Naga Pushani Amman Temple , Jaffna
The annual festival of the Sri Nagapooshani Amman Kovil on Nainativu Island was held from the 04th to the 19th June 2008 under the patronage of the Sri Lanka Navy. This year's festival, attended by a large number of Hindu devotees from and around the Jaffna Peninsula, was a grand success.
|41. Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya Wimada Road
Hakgala botanical garden was one of the pleasure garden of king Ravana,this garden was expanded during the British period and has a wide variety of flowers including an excellent collections of orchids,this is the exotic pleasure garden where king ravana kept the depressed sita,insisting that she marries him,it was here where the heat warming meeting took place between her and hanuman, who brought her rama's ring with the news that rama was looking for her,he offered to carry her back ,but she refused saying it would be an insult to rama's honor it she did so,part of this majestic garden still exists ,it is also said that hanuman Nealy destroyed it in order to prove to ravana of the forces a gains him.
|42. Pulasthi Statue, Polonnaruwa
In Polonnaruwa to the north of the Pothgul Vehera is a granite boulder, adorned with a large statue. This is one of the finest statues in the Island and measures 11 feet 6 inches in height. The historians and the archaeologists have not confirmed its identity to date. Some refer to it as the statue of King Parakramabahu because its closeness to one of his major irrigation works; others refer to it as Rishi Pulasthi's statue. The presence of a Brahmanical sacred thread that runs from the left shoulder across the body and the Ola leaf book that he carries confirms that it is of Rishi Pulasthi. The third option is because Polonnaruwa was referred as Pulasthipura in primeval times. Prof Anuradha Seneviratna says that there is a worn out Rock Inscription which reads as 'PULA THA SA' behind the head of the statue. It proves that this statue is of Rishi Pulasthi.
|43. Rishi Visravasmuni , Anuradhapura
This stone monument placed at the celebrated Vessamuniya presently known as Isurumuniya Viharaya is of a bare bodied personality in deep meditation and significant bearing. A head of a horse can be seen behind the right shoulder. This sculpture has a head dressing and a "sacred thread" (poona noola)- a thread which is worn by ancient monastic personnel can be seen. The histories of these monuments are not properly explored by the archaeologists. They have a very irregular view about this outstanding sculpture and have named it as "Man and Horse". How they have come to these conclusions are not known. This celebrated sculpture is of Rishi Visravasmuni and his white horse.
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