Gamini-Thissa Monastery complex in Mottagala


Built in the third century BC by a provincial ruler Upathara Naga Naga, a royal member of the tenfold dynasty of the Eastern Sri Lanka Gamini-Thissa monastery complex in Mottagala is being savaged by treasure hunters and extremists.

Situated in the Akkaraipattu-Sagama road the ruins of the complex spreads across a vast land as far as the eyes can see. Today the playground of elephants these ruins have never received the attention of archeologists nor have any authority had taken any steps to protect them.

The main and the largest stupa of the complex were recently destroyed using bulldozers under the pretext of preparing a paddy field while treasures inside the stupa had been ransacked. Although action was taken after immense protest by the Buddhists in the area, the stupa today lays a pile of bricks, a lost heritage.

The destruction was followed by the demolition of an another stupa of the same monastery complex, yet situated closer to Sagama tank,  despite the countrywide protest due to lethargy of law enforcement authorities, which even refused to accept the moments for their archeological value.

According to the archeologists, the Gamini-Thissa Monastery built in third century BC had developed into an immense monastery complex surrounding the Sagama tank. The inscriptions found at site had been recorded by the prominent archeologist Senarath Paranavithana himself. The most important inscription of all is the rock inscription on Mottayakallu rock written in pre-Brahmin letters.

The inscription speaks of a ruler named Upathara Naga Naga, who is a member of the Tenfold Royals of East establishing the monastery for the Sanga of past, present and future, who were present and not present at the occasion.

The inscription is one of the very few which provides an insight into the Tenfold Royal dynasty in East, who had been provincial rulers under the Kings of Anuradhapura. Ancient records provide very little in-depth into these proud rulers and inscriptions in Bowattegala and Mottagala are among the very few clues to this dynasty.

Meanwhile the monastery grounds still contain ruins of smaller stupas, stone pillars and foundations of ancient constructions, stone inscription of pre-Brahmin era and a well dug into the rock plateau, which is an eternal source of water.

The villagers speak of many more ruins lying hidden under the earth uninvestigated while attempts are made daily to erase the Buddhist heritage of the Eastern Lanka. 

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