History of Gampola

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Gampola was once an important medieval kingdom (1341 – 1408 AD) and marked the period when this area was the capital city of ancient Lanka. There is historical evidence present to date that to marks this area as having being inhabited even at the beginning of the Christian era.

Evidence of Brahmin presence is marked with original inscriptions on the drip ledges of caves found in the neighbourhood of Gampola.

The Niyangampaya Viharaya with a history dating back to the 9th century A.D. is the earliest known Buddhist shrine on record to have been built in the Gampola area.

Other Viharas worth mention are the Lankathilaka,Gadaladeni and Embakke Viharas. They are three of the most outstanding religious worship sites built by the Gampola Kings. These sites had an amazing integration of Buddhist and Hindu religions and culture fostering unity of all the people under the rule of king. These amazing temples with outstanding frescoes and sculptures can be seen even today. (Visits can be arranged from the hotel, only 45 mins away) The last important King to have ruled the empire was Parakramabahu IV (1341 – 1353 A.D.)

According to historic evidence, after the reign of King Parakramabahu IV several other monarchs ruled after him until 1408. However, these monarchs were notably weaker and more prominence was given to their generals who subsequently move the capital to Kotte.

The most unique wood carvings in a temple from that area are found at Embakke viharaya.