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Dambadeni Viharaya

In 1215, an invader named Kalinga Magha, took control of Polonnaruwa with a large army. The city of Polonnaruwa and the entire Raja Rata area came under his control. Fearing the invasion, some Buddhist monks removed the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, the symbol of kingship, from Polonnaruwa. They hid it for safety in Kotmale in the upcountry. Meanwhile, Sinhalese leaders fled Raja Rata and established themselves in other areas as regional rulers.

One of these regional rulers was Vijayabahu at Dambadeniya. He established his palace by the Dambadeniya rock, which is called the “Palace rock” or “Maliga Gala” today. The remains of the palace are still there. But the main attraction of the ancient Dambadeniya kingdom is the main Buddhist Temple he built, which is named in his name as “Vijayasundararamaya.”


Ethagala or the Elephant Rock is one of the seven giant rocks that overlook the town of Kurunegala in Sri Lanka. With a face reaching over 316m; the rock has a shape of a crouching elephant, and is called Ethagala or Hasthisailapura in Sinhala. It also has the much historic significance in the form of the giant Samadhi Buddha statue on its summit.

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

Yapahuwa was one of the ephemeral capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. The citadel of Yapahuwa lying midway between Kurunagala and Anuradhapura was built around a huge granite rock rising abruptly almost a hundred meters above the surrounding lowlands.

In 1272, King Bhuvenakabahu transferred the capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa in the face of Dravidian invasions from South India, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic with him. Following the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the Pandyans of South India invaded Sri Lanka once again, and succeeded in capturing Sacred Tooth Relic. Following its capture, Yapahuwa was largely abandoned and inhabited by Buddhist monks and religious ascetics.