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 Post subject: Pahiyangala, the largest natural rock in Asia
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:35 am 
Pahiyangala, the largest natural rock in Asia

By Yohan Perera
DM


Yatagampitiya is a remote village in Bulathsinhala in Kalutara District. In this village lies Pahiyangala, the largest natural rock in Asia. The significant feature of the rock is the cave belonging to the stone-age dating back 30,000 years. This is also known to be the most ancient pre-historic human settlement in Asia.


With its base at an elevation, 400 feet above sea level, this crescent rock itself rises up further to a height of 610 feet. At its mouth the cave is 175 feet high. According to Yatagampitiye Chandima Thera, the chief incumbent of the temple, the common belief is that over 3000 people can shelter within the cave.

Excavation carried out by eminent scientists and archaeologists supported by Professor of Human Science, Kenneth Kennedy of the University of Cornell, USA, in 1986, recovered artefacts and five human skulls. The carbon dating tests have found out that these skulls and bones are over 34,000 years old thus unfolding the story of ancient ancestors of Mesolithic times in the pre-historic middle ages.

Biologically this cave dweller known as Pahiyangala Manawakaya (Pahiyangala Man) had a short vertebral structure, wide jaw bones , a large palette and big grinding teeth. These cave dwellers have shown a propensity to adornment of their bodies using various actuated clays and other materials.

Some weapons were also recovered during the excavation and these are known to be used for hunting. These weapons were of stone and animal bone. It has been found out that these were used to kill monkey, deer, porcupine and others. They have also consumed acavus, a species of edible snail and wild breadfruit.

The massive rock is part of 75 acres of jungle, a reserve for fauna and flora which includes rare orchids, numerous endemic and transitory species of birds and butterfly.

The cave has been the resting place of Fa-Hsien, a Chinese Mahayana Buddhist monk and scholar who had come to Sri Lanka 1595 years ago. He stayed here on his way to pay homage at Sri Pada. A vessel which was supposed to have used by him was discovered during the excavations.

Later the cave had become a place of worship after Porogama built a vihara over 450 years ago. Today there are over 50 Buddhist monks living in the vihara. An ambitious plan is underway to develop the place and in that context it has been planned to build a museum and to build staircases on both sides of the rock to make it easier for people to climb. A replica of Sri Pada will also be set up here in the near future


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