Ritigala

On March 26 last, on my way down from trigonometrical station (where I had been taking observations), I spent a couple of hours wandering over the ruins at the foot of the hill, and noted down a few particulars regarding those I saw.

Descending the path the first ruins noticeable are two double buildings alongside the path, lying one above the other, called by the villagers “Maligawas.” They are each formed of two sixteen pillar buildings, lying east and west of one another, and connected by a raised pavement made of a single slab of stone, from which steps descend on the southern side. They are built of square stones, which are very carefully jointed.

From the lower of these maligawas there rims the stone causeway, five feet wide, mentioned by Mr. D. G. Mantell in his report, which is about 260 yards long, and descends the hill to some ruins below. At about 100 yards from the top there are the remains of a doorway or porch. In two or three places, where the slope of the hill is steep, there are about half a dozen steps, with stone balustrades on each side.

I think that only two maligawas are mentioned by Mr. Mantell, but I must have seen at least twenty,  most of them facing the east, that is, towards the foot of the hill.

I started from the above mentioned maligawas in a north westerly direction, and noticed, close to the path, that one of the hill streams had made its way through a building and washed away some of the stones. Here I found, in the bed of the stream, half covered by a slab of stone, a circular stone basin, and a moulded stone socket for a post (?), about eight inches square at the top.

North of this place I came upon what is apparently a privy. It consists of a slab of stone with a rectangular hole, about 12 inches by 7 inches, cut in it. The stone is covered with earth, and I could not get at its size, Under the stone there is a stone well, circular in shape, I think about eight feet deep and four feet in diameter (All my measurements are approximate, as I had no measure with, me at the time).

North west of this place, and close to it, there is another , the finest that I saw. It is built of moulded stone and is of the usual double shape; but there is a detached building on the south of it, facing the main building, and there is an outer verandah (?) running all round the two buildings with only one opening on the east, opposite the steps of the maligawa. As far as I can remember there are some buildings outside the verandah which belong to this maligawa, of which the privy is probably one.

Near this there is a ruin which looks like half a rough arch. It is about six feet high, and is built of rough stone, each course being projected further than the one below. It may be a road over one of the streams, the other half having been washed away.

East of this there is a building which makes me think, that the stones now in the Kachcheri grounds, which were found below Basawakulam (Archaeological Survey (Sessional Paper V., 1890, p. 2), and which at the time were not unreasonably supposed to form the top of a well, are not really so. The building is a small square one, and has a stone ring in the middle of it, 10 feet in diameter, and a quarter circle in section. The circle is not complete, there being an entrance on the east, which would correspond to the piece missing in the ring in the Kachcheri grounds. From this ring steps lead down on the east, then a little further down there is another flight of steps, and then a small square building with steps leading down from it.

I did not particularly notice any other of the buildings north of the footpath. In the centre of the back wall of the back building in each of these maligawas there is a large rectangular hole left underneath the top slab, the purpose of which I do not understand.

In the raised stone slab connecting the two buildings in these maligawas there are two curved grooves cut, apparently to carry the rain off the slab.

South of the footpath I wandered about so much that I did not know the exact locality of any of the ruins I saw. I got on to another paved causeway, about 7 feet wide, and followed it along, seeing a good many ruins on either side of the causeway, most of them built on tops of rocks. The ground here is covered with huge boulders. I saw several gal gewal (caves) but only one with an ; and not much of that is legible.

The gal ge had three square holes cut below the katarama (drip line) for pillars to fit into. Another gal ge that I saw, rather a large one, is formed by a large rock, which has been cut away underneath and is supported at the end by a small rock. On top of this small rock are cut an elephant, in rough outline, and several other things which I could not make out.

Another gal ge I saw has two figures of in it. One is a small sedent figure and the other a life size standing one. The heads of both of them are gone. There is a brick wall at the northern end of the gal ge, and under cover of a rock close by there are a great quantity of tiles. On top of the rock forming the gal ge in which the Buddhas are there is a stone building of some kind.

Near this gal ge, to the south east of it, there is a ruin with a kessakuttiya (urinal).

I saw a building on top of a rock by the side of a stream which flows into the pokuna (pond) mentioned by Mr. Mantell The building is a square one, and the rock not being level at the top, the stones are fitted into grooves about an inch deep, cut into the rock, to prevent them slipping. Across the stream there is a single span stone bridge, fifteen feet high, leading from the building. The bridge is formed of three large slabs of stone, which rest on the rocks on either side of the stream. These slabs are about 14 feet long and 18 inches thick. Two are about 3 feet wide, and the other about 18 inches.

The ground all about here is covered with ruins; and there seem to be steps by hundreds leading all over the place.

It is impossible to get any idea of the place until the jungle is cleared; and even when it is cleared it will not be easy on the south of the footpath, on account of the huge boulders which cover the ground.

I do not think that I particularly noticed anything else at the foot of the hill.

I saw two gal gewal on the plateau about 800 feet below the Ritigala bungalow. Neither of them have any inscription that I could discover, but on a rock in front of the bigger gal ge there is a mark cut into the face of the rock. There are also in this place some very rough stone boundary walls, and some rough stone stairs leading for some way up the side of the hill.

At the top of the hill, against the east side of the rock on which the trigonometrical station is built,  there are two maligawas (terraces) one above the other. At the north end the maluwa is about ten feet high.

About 5 chains south of the trigonometrical station I saw the remains of a brick building, but there is not enough left to make anything out of it.

I came across a moulded stone by the side of the path about half way up the hill, from which I gather that there are some ruins near the top of the hill which have not yet been discovered.

At Galapitagala there is a big rock, which was apparently once a gal ge, on top of a slab rock. There is an inscription on the south side.

 

  • J.B. M. Redout