Bogoda Bridge

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Bogoda Bridge

 

At Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya
 

 

 

 

 

Bogoda Raja Maha Viharaya is most famous for its Wooden Bridge of the Kandyan Era. This bridge is built over the Gallanda Oya river which is a tributory of Mahaweli River and is only surviving bridge of such nature of this Era. The bridge initially made out wood without a single nail was in a very depleted state few years ago. This has been now renovated by Department of Archaeology. This bridge is thought to be lying on one of the ancient pilgrims paths from Kandy Kindom to the Uva province where there is a large number of important Buddhist shrines such as Muthiyanganaya.

 

 

 

 

 

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Source-www.angelfire.com/planet/heritagesl/bogoda/bogoda_bridge.htm

 

 

 

 

Bogoda Roofed Bridge

 

Source-www.lankalibrary.com/heritage/bogoda.htm

(by Tharuka Dissanaike) The Bogoda bridge is believed to have been constructed by a father and son team of wood craftsmen who were also responsible for the ambalama at Panapitiya. Folklore has it that the son was entrusted with the task of completing the bridge and was told not to leave until the father came to add finishing touches. But impatient with waiting, having completed his task, the son had set forth to meet the father. Since the ritual finishing touches were not made before he left the site, the son was cursed and died prematurely.

Ven. Rahula said there were two reasons for the roof over the bridge. One for shelter and second for protection from the wilderness. The bridge was also used as an ambalama during the old days when travelling took weeks of hard walking.

Bogoda, with its ancient temple and wooden bridge lies some 30 kilometres from Bandarawela and 10 km from Badulla, off the Hali-ela junction. Believed to be the oldest surviving wooden bridge in the world, the Bogoda bridge dates back to the 1600s, but the temple just by it, has a much longer history, going back to the 1st century BC.

The bridge built across the Gallanda Oya, as it gushes down the mountain to meet Uma Oya in Uva Paranagama (a tributary of the Mahaweli Ganga) is on an ancient route, which linked Badulla and Kandy.

In the famous literary work, Sandesha Kavya (1612-1624), a chapter called Maga Salakunu spells out the route from Badulla to Kandy by foot, and invites other travellers to worship at the Bogoda temple on their way. Across the bridge lies the hamlet of Mahakumbura and the route then leads to Uva Ketawela. The bridge is still the road link used by many villagers around.

The first bridge was probably a few logs thrown across the stream, said head priest, Ven. Attampitiye Rahula Thero. The base consists of a single standing log, a huge kumbuk tree 35 feet in height. Three huge jak trunks were flung across the stream to form the platform, on which, during the Kandyan era the elaborate wooden structure came into being. The roof has distinctly Kandyan style tiles and even the modest decor on the wooden pillars holding up the roof is reminiscent of that era.

Ven. Rahula, 44, who came to the temple when he was just 11 years has a deep attachment to the place. He remembers a time, in 1984, when the waters of the Oya rose and the bridge tilted to a side. Unable to summon any kind of official support to resurrect the bridge in a hurry, Ven. Rahula turned to a British planter from an estate nearby. With strong cables, he and the priest managed to sustain the bridge until the Department of Archaeology came in and concreted its base.

The Bogoda bridge is believed to have been constructed by a father and son team of wood craftsmen who were also responsible for the ambalama at Panapitiya. Folklore has it that the son was entrusted with the task of completing the bridge and was told not to leave until the father came to add finishing touches. But impatient with waiting, having completed his task, the son had set forth to meet the father. Since the ritual finishing touches were not made before he left the site, the son was cursed and died prematurely.

Ven. Rahula said there were two reasons for the roof over the bridge. One for shelter and second for protection from the wilderness. The bridge was also used as an ambalama during the old days when travelling took weeks of hard walking.

The priest's dwelling too is an old crumbling building of the Kandyan era, complete with a meda midula and pillared verandahs. But dating beyond all these is the temple itself, its history going back a good thousand years to the Anuradhapura era.

A stone inscription by the temple in Brahmin scripture says the drip-ledged cave behind the temple was donated to a priest called Brahmadatta by Tissa, a provincial leader in Badulla. King Valagamba, in exile from Indian invaders had sought refuge here for two and a half years. Behind the temple, by the drip-ledged cave is the entrance to a tunnel. But so dark, bat-infested and wet is it that you cannot really venture in more than a few metres. Ven. Rahula said the tunnel ends in a near-by estate, Tudumale. From that end one can travel about 500 metres into the cave. According to history the tunnel measures 12 miles and ends at Naranwala, which is now the estate.

It was under King Valagamba's instructions that a temple was built incorporating the cave and several statues which were already there in the cave. Built with the King's patronage, it soon became known as the Bogoda Raja Maha Vihare.

The Vishnu Devale had existed before the temple was constructed, Ven Rahula said. The standing statue of a blue God Vishnu is now partially covered by a wall built separating the cave into two chambers.

A large statue of the reclining Buddha, in Samadhi posture with an elaborate makara thorana (a dragon-like mythical creature combining features of elephant, bear, lion and crocodile) over it and a standing Buddha are also old statues dating even before the vihare, Ven.Rahula said.

"This Makara Thorana is an unusual structure. It shows the makara in a different posture from the conventional one in other ancient temples. This is the only temple where the mouth and trunk of the dragon is not depicted sideways, but facing and directly above the statue."

The temple like many others had not escaped the greed of treasure hunters. The base of the samadhi statue and makara thorana was damaged badly and a statue of Rev. Muppane Dhammananda who had served the temple for long years, was broken in two by vandals in 1993.

Ven. Rahula laments the neglect of the temple. Continuous efforts to get the Department of Archaeology interested in rehabilitating the broken statues had come to naught, he said.

 

Useful links

 

amazinglanka.com/heritage/bogoda/bogoda_bridge3.php