|Cave Church Erosional Cave
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|Gonawatta Ancient Caves, Kandy.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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ගෝණවත්ත ලෙන් (Gonawatta Ancient Caves) is neithe a typical archaeological cave not a typical cave temple. The huge cave resembles a massive slab of rock which is supported on two sides, and has opening on the other two. In other words it's a natural through cave, most likely created by the nearby Mahweli Ganga river, which eroded the lower layer, which was obviously softer than the cap rock. This huge natural cave is located at the important ferry across the river, not far from Kandy, which was the capital of Sri Lanka from the 15th century. Like always the cave was used to build a temple inside, but actually it is more or less destroyed today. To get an impression we cite the historic description by Lawrie, who was the District Judge of Kandy between 1873 and 1892.
Close by the road, opposite the toll station is a large Bo Tree and a vihare, a new pansala, and a vihare partially rebuilt.
The new vihare consists of two chambers : that under the rock is intended as the vihare; the other the incumbent Rambukwelle Unnanse intends for a Saman Devale.
A sitting image of Buddha, formerly placed under the overhanging rock is in the pansala; the rock under which the image stood is painted to imitate cloth. Offerings are made at the bo-tree. Some yards higher up is a dagoba 60 ft. in circumference on the ground and about 30 fr. high. The upper square base of the umbrella is comparatively modern, and its weight has thrust out the sides of mason work. The dagoba is of stone, or atleast coated with stone.
In the pansala garden, on the steep hillside above the road, are cave of a very ancient settlement of Buddhists. There are several caves with Katara, an on the face of the one not far above the dagoba is a Nagara inscription, which has been deciphered by Mr. Nevill, c.c.s., to be a grant to the priesthood by Gamini, the son of …… , detailing a pedigree of several generations. The inscription is probably 2nd century before Christ. (see Gurudeniya) The cave commands a charming view across the Mahaweli Ganga to Pallekele estate and most distance range of hills.
The river was dammed some time ago, and the old temple was mostly destroyed, however, this cave is located higher up. There are some walls inside, remains of foundations, and an inscription above the portal, but no actual temple anymore.