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Velgam Vehera

Dating all the way back to the 3rd century BC, during the reign of King Devanampiytissa of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, the Velgam Vehera in Trincomalee is one of the more overlooked ancient temples that showcase how the island’s first kingdom thrived with Buddhism as the major religion. Although built during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, subsequent kings took the responsibility of maintaining the place of worship, which even stretched to the time in which the Polonnaruwa Kingdom came to be the seat of power in the country. Intriguingly though, even after the Chola invasions that took place in the country, this temple was one of the few structures that were not razed to the ground, making the ruins we see now a result of neglect over the centuries.

According to archaeological excavations conducted over the years, it is believed that the complex was called ‘Nanatar Kovil’ in which Hindus would perform their rituals. This is confirmed by the stone slabs found in the site that contain Tamil inscriptions. In addition to the stone inscriptions, other features such as brick dagobas, guard stones, ruins of image houses, balustrades, and moon stones can be witnessed. The overall design has a stark resemblance to the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, as it is built with several entrances leading to the enclosure.