Lankapatuna, a place worth visiting | Sunday Observer

Lankapatuna, a place worth visiting

26 June, 2022

Another popular tourist destination in the Trincomalee District is Lankapatuna.

Lankapatuna, the place where Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala landed in Ceylon with the Sacred Tooth Relic, was used as a camp during the war. However, a small dagoba was built shortly after the end of the war in 2009 and the temple has recently become a popular pilgrimage site.


Lankapatuna Vihara which is also known as the Samudragiri Vihara is in the Uppural Grama Niladhari Division of the Serunuwara Divisional Secretariat in the Eastern Province. This temple is built on a rocky outcrop like a high hill bordering the sea. Located at a distance of about 300 kilometres from Colombo, this historic site can be reached by taking a bus from Arippu Junction. It is said that Ven. Dambagassare Sri Sumedhankara Thera discovered this sacred place around 1940. After 1984, the area was under LTTE control and no one was allowed to visit Lankapatuna. After the end of the war, monasteries were once again built in the premises.


The Buddhist revival that took place with the arrival of Arhat Mahinda in the Third century BC also affected the Eastern Province. Brahmi inscriptions found at several places such as Tiriyaya, Seruwila, Ichchalanpattu and Nachchiyaramalai indicate that Buddhism was prevalent in the area at that time. It is certain that Lankapatuna was one of the areas where Buddhism was established at the time.

Prince Dantha, the son of King Udeni and Princess Hemamala, the daughter of King Guhasiva, boarded a ship and arrived in Ceylon hiding the Sacred Tooth Relic. This incident is mentioned in books such as Datha Vamsa, Dalada Siritha and Mahavamsa. The Mahavamsa states that they landed in Ceylon from Lankapatuna, where there was a famous port at that time. The Mahavamsa also states that they boarded the ship from Tamralipta and suffered immensely due to the storm in the high seas. However, they eventually arrived in the country and at that time there was a devalaya at Lankapatuna. Later, they had taken the Tooth Relic to the Meghagiri temple near Anuradhapura and then to Anuradhapura, which was the capital at that time.

Beautiful view

The remains of an ancient dagoba can also be seen at Lankapatuna. The rest of the dagoba have been destroyed by treasure hunters.

The mortar used to plaster the remains of the dagoba is still well preserved. Remains of three chambers have also been found inside the dagoba, which was destroyed by treasure hunters. It is speculated that there may have been nine chambers in it as in many other dagobas. It is clear that the construction technology belonging to the Anuradhapura period was used to build this dagoba. After the archeological excavations, part of the dagoba has been preserved.

Devotees can reach the top of the rock on which the said dagoba is located, by climbing the stairs. There is also a beautiful view of the ocean on the foothills. Ancient Seruwila Dagaba can also be seen from the mainland. The small dagoba on the recently built arches at the site of the old dagoba does not seem to match the antiquity at the premises.

Near the courtyard is a recently built shrine room and a standing Buddha statue.

Below the rock where the dagoba is located, there is a cave and it is believed to have been used by Bhikkhus who practised meditation.

The cave is about four feet wide and about 20 feet deep. There is a pond built at the foot of the rock for the benefit of the monks who lived in the temple. The pond is 188 feet long and 76 feet wide.