Poson Aloka Pooja at Situlpauwwa

21 June 2018 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Annual Poson Illuminations of the historic Situlpauwwa Raja Maha Viharaya, situated inside the Yala National Park will be held from June 22 to 28.  Situlpauwwa is one of the most ancient shrines in the South and dates back to the reign of King Kavantissa, who ruled over Ruhuna in the Second Century BC.  

Though little is known, Situlpauwwa holds monuments of immense historical, archaeological, religious and scientific value. Legend has it that when king Kavantissa married Queen Viharamahadevi, their wedding was held here - an event that led to the construction of the Magul Maha Viharaya or the Great Wedding Monastery at this site.  

History records that in ancient times Situlpauwwa was patronized by several Sri Lankan kings, including Gajaba, Vasabha, Dappula and Parakramabahu I. The shrine and its surroundings cover an area of over 100 acres. The place owes its name to the huge 400 feet tall rock on which two Buddhist Stupas (One large and the other small), a cave monastery and many other ancient structures are found.  

 

Looking after the area today with great dedication is Venerable Pandit Mataramba Hemarathana Thera, who is the Chief Incumbent of the Situlpauwwa Raja Maha Viharaya.

 

These include the ruins of a 100-foot long ‘Pohoya Ge’ (The monks meeting hall) and two statues of two Bodhisattvas (Buddha hood aspirants) and nearly 1,700 stone inscriptions, though only a few of the inscriptions are clearly seen today.  

It is said that in ancient times, 12,000 ‘Arahant Bhikkhus’ (Buddhist monks who attain the highest mental stage) lived in the many caves located in this area. One of the man-made marvels here is the stone umbrella, built during the reign of King Vasabha. Around 200 persons can easily find shelter from rain under this umbrella, which is about four square feet in extent.  

Found on the way to Kuda (small) Situlpauwwa - the site of the smaller stupa - this stone structure is believed to have given shelter to Arahants. Another wonder found here is the pond that does not go dry even during a severe drought. It is located on a hillock, east of Magul Maha Viharaya. The archaeological authorities have undertaken a full research of Situlpauwwa that serves greater attention of scholars and historians. 

 

History records that in ancient times Situlpauwwa was patronized by several Sri Lankan kings, including Gajaba, Vasabha, Dappula and Parakramabahu I.  

 

The credit of rediscovering this shrine in 1918 - thousands of years after the jungle claimed it - goes to the Venerable Ratanajothi Gunaratana, the Chief Incumbent of the Yatagala Viharaya, Galle.  

He braved mosquitoes and wild elephants to reach this site through the thick jungle at a time, when not only motor vehicles, tractors and other equipment but even humans were hardly available in that part of Sri Lanka. Only a few people, including two of the monks, assisted him in this arduous task in a remote corner on the island.  

 

Looking after the area today with great dedication is Venerable Pandit Mataramba Hemarathana Thera, who is the Chief Incumbent of the Situlpauwwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The Incumbent at these Poson Pinkama, pride of place will be given to Seela, Bhavana, Bana Sermons, Dhamma discussion, Buddha Poojas, Bodhi Phoojas and other religious rituals.  

 

The archaeological authorities have undertaken a full research of Situlpauwwa that serves greater attention of scholars and historians

 

On the Poson Full Moon Day there will be an all-night Pirith chanting to bring blessings to the country. As in the past, the Upali Group of Companies will do the illumination of Situlpauwwa from 22 to 28 June 2018. Mr Nimal Welgama, Managing Director Upali Group and Mr Dhammika Attygalle, the Vice President of the Situlpauwwa Dayaka Sabha will switch the lights on the Poson Poya day.  

It is expected that as usual, over 10,000 devotees will observe Sil and an equal number will visit the Viharaya for the observance of religious rites.  


 

 

Special plans for devotees

Necessary steps have been taken to provide special bus services from Tissa town to Situlpauwwa Raja Maha Viharaya for the duration of the Poson Pinkamas. The Southern Road Development Authority for convenience of the devotees has constructed the Kataragama to Situlpauwwa Road. Necessary steps have been taken to provide health, water and sanitary facilities to the pilgrims.  

Various NGOs and voluntary Organizations have organized Dansalas and will provide alms to the devotees who will observe Sil.


On the Poson Full Moon Day there will be an all-night Pirith chanting to bring blessings to the country.  
As in the past, the Upali Group of Companies will do the illumination of Situlpauwwa from 
22 to 28 June 2018

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