Attractions

A DESTINATION OF RELAXATION UNAWATUNA SRI LANKA

Japanese Peace Pagoda In Rumassala

History




Rumassala , known to colonialists as Buona Vista, is the subject of many legends. It is featured in the Ramayana, as the home of the beautiful Queen Sita.

According to the Ramayana it is also said that Hanuman dropped a chunk of 'Himalaya' at Unawatuna (Onna Vetuna – 'here it fell') to form the present mountain, where many medicinal plants still grow. There is a major magnetic anomaly near Unawatuna, which Arthur C. Clarke attributes to a meteorite strike, and it is said that satellites lose their orbits with unusual frequency overhead. The Portuguese had a dreadful reputation in Sri Lanka as looters and pirates, are said to have given false light signals from Rumassala to lure unsuspecting Arab trading ships onto the rocks.

Mythical Legend

According to legend the Monkey-warrior Hanuman was sent back to India to fetch the four medicinal herbs, mritasanjeevani, vishalyakarani, suvarnakarani and sandhani from Himalaya in mountains to heal Lakshman who was wounded in his great battle with Ravana to save the abducted Princess Sita as he failed to identify the herbs he uprooted the mount and ferried it to the battlefield and a chunk of that "fell-down" forming theRumassala Hillock , and the name of the village derived from Unna-watuna meaning "fell down".

How does one reach Rumassala ? One has to pass Galle Town from Colombo towards Kataragama and in about 10 minutes a sign board to Rumassala "Rumassala Sama Ceitya" comes into view on the sea side. After five minutes from the sign board on the narrow road you reach the Sama Ceitya.

Sama Ceitya is the stupa which was built by the Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji Nikaya in 23rd February 2004. It is called "Peace Pagoda". There are four stupas of this kind in Sri Pada, Bandarawela, Walapane and Ampara. In addition to these you can see this type of stupas in America, India, Australia, Japan, Nepal and Italy. By 2000, 80 Peace Pagodas had been built around the world in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Purpose

"We must not forget that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. We want to protect this country and Buddhism. It is for this purpose that five stupas were built in Sri Lanka. When we look at history it proves this country has pure Buddhism. There were many kings who built many stupas in their kingdoms. For example king Dutugemunu built Ruwanweli Maha Seya, the largest stupa in Sri Lanka.

"But during the period of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British we lost our religion, culture and other good values. The stupa is a symbol of Buddhism. We want to develop our religion day by day. It is mainly for this purpose that we decided to build five Peace Pagodas in Sri Lanka," said Venerable Asami who is the Japanese representative from Nipponzan Myohoji.

Venerable Asami has been living in Sri Lanka for 27 years and in Galle 11 years. The 59 year old Thera Reverend can speak fluent Sinhala and has a very good rapport with the people in Galle.

Those on ships calling at the Galle port can see the stupa. It is a very good sign to say that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country.

This Peace Pagoda is designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. Most (though not all) have been built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan – Myohoji Buddhist Order. Fuji was greatly inspired by his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 and decided to devote his life to promote non-violence. In 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines of World Peace.

The first Peace Pagodas were built as a symbol of peace in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the the atomic bombs took the lives of over 150,000 people during the World War II.

Staircase

There is a staircase to the stupa and we can go around it. There are four Buddha Statues around it and they indicate the birth of prince Siddhartha, His Enlightenment and the attainment of Parinibbana.

From this place we could see the magnificent view of the sea. There's a beach track from Sama Ceitya to the sea with fully grown trees on either side.

Travelling further pass the Peace Pagoda is another temple call Sri Vivekaramaya of Rumassala. The temple contains some interesting structures. One is the image of Hanuma carrying the piece of the himalaya mountain in its hand. The other is a figure of Maithree Bodhisattva