Ranmasu Uyana - Anuradhapura
Pictures by Nishan Weerasooriya
Even before Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the mid 3rd century BC, parks were a definite future of city planning. Some of these parks were Mahamegha Park established by king Mutasiva in the 3rd century BC, Nanadana Park and the Jothivana. But with the arrival of the Great Mahinda Thero in 250 BC , all these parks were donated to Sanga Community by King Devanam Piyathissa (250-210 BC).The originator of this garden is lost in the history but Ranmasu Uyana was probably established as a alternate to all the parks donated to the maha sanga.
It is believed that the Prince Saliya, the son of the great hero king Dutugemunu (161-131 BC) met his future bride to be Asokamala who was of a lower cast of Chandala. If this is true, this garden would probably been established right after the other parks were donated.
Today this park covers an are of approx. 40 acres and is a fine example of Sri Lankan garden architecture of the pre-christian era. According to a inscription found in Vessagiriya, the water to the park was supplied by Tessa wa va and then released to rice fields around Isurumuni Vihara.
The rocks scattered around the area were used by the architect to create this pleasure garden. In one place two rock boulders have been connected each other with stone slabs. Remains of a small building can be seen on these platforms.
Below the rocks there are three bathing ponds and some smaller ponds which probably held the gold fish and water lilies. The largest is to the northern side with room cut in to the stone. This room measures 7 feet x 6 feet. (see photo 1 and 4). On the sides of the cave like room are beautifully sculptured elephants bathing on a lotus pond. (see photos 2 and 3)
On the southern side of the rocks another pond with two units. On the inner unit there is a chamber built with slabs of rock. (see photo 6). This probably was a changing chamber for the royal family. Pranavitana also believed that this joined ponds made a shower bath where the royals were sprayed from water jets.
Each of these ponds are designed with precision irrigation techniques so that the water form tissa weva passed through all the ponds and tanks in the garden before releasing them for irrigation work.
Ranmasu Uyana is situated north to the Isurumuniya. You can reach the park over the bund of Tissaweva and through a small path which falls to the Isurumuniya car park area.