Nov 11, Colombo: The Prime Minister and the Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa laid the foundation stone for the inaugural ‘Deegawapiya Stupa’ restoration project auspiciously at the Deegawapiya premises in Ampara today (11 Nov).
‘Deegawapiya Stupa’ restoration process will be done under the guidance of the Chief Prelate of Sacred Deegawapiya Temple Ven. Mahaoya Sobitha Thero.
Defense Secretary and Chairperson of ‘Archaeological Heritage Management Presidential Task Force’ (PTF) for Eastern Province, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne was also present at the ceremony.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa planted a ‘Na’ (Mesua Ferrea) sapling at the prestigious Buddhist site to symbolize the ceremony.
The Defense Secretary said the restoration will be continued with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Army and the Civil Security Department (CSD) personnel.
The technical proficiency and archaeological recommendations for this enormous task would be provided by the veteran archaeologists and professionals of the Archaeology Department, Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the reserves generated through ‘Deegawapiya Trust Fund’ would be utilized for the process and it is expected to raise funds through the sponsors and devotees in Sri Lanka and abroad to complete the renovation project. State funds wouldn’t be used for this.
‘Deegawapiya’ which is also famous as one of the sacred religious sites among the sixteen places of worship, remained dilapidated amidst lack of attention for a long spell.
The process of renovation was activated following the matter being brought to the notice of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the Chief Prelate Ven. Mahaoya Sobitha thero.
Several attempts initiated to renovate the Deegawapiya Stupa in the recent past were also halfway arrived to a standstill.
However, under the directives of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the renovation of this ancient temple site will be completed within three years as scheduled.
According to the Mahawansa, Deegawapiya Buddhist temple and the site with archaeological importance dating back to 3rd century BCE was built by King Saddhatissa in the past.
Annals confirmed that this mega Stupa was built by depositing a precious ‘Nail Relics’ of Lord Buddha.
This famous sacred site is not only for locals, but also for religious devotees all around the world due to its significance associated with the arrival by the Lord Buddha himself during the era, according to Mahawansa.
Afterwards the Prime Minister Rajapaksa accompanied by respective high officials of the Archaeological Heritage Management PTF visited ‘Muhudu Maha Viharaya’ on a request made by the Defense Secretary to discuss issues related to the sacred place of worship.
The Defense Secretary pledged to preserve the archaeological value of Muhudu Maha Viharaya in the same vein during the session.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne stating that a discussion was held with the Ven. Maha Sanga during the visit said, “Issues related to Muhudu Maha Viharaya land survey were also taken and it is planned to have discussions with the regional community too”.