May 17, 2022
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    HE the President Enshrines Offerings to the Restored Kuragala Pagoda During His Surprise Visit

    January 17, 2022

    HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, instrumental in conservation of the archaeological site at Kuragala Monastery in Kalthota and the driving force behind the realization of the
    project which dates back to prehistoric times of Balangoda Homo Sapiens made an unannounced visit to the sacred site yesterday (16) for enshrinement of offerings, images and
    artifacts in the restored Kuragala Pagoda (Esi Disi Maha Seya), together with the First Lady, Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa, to be received by Ven Waturakumbure Dhammaratana Thera,
    Incumbent for both Kuragala Temple and Nelligala International Buddhist Centre, together with Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Parliamentarian Akila Ellawala, Chief of Defence
    Staff and Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva and Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit.

    Kuragala monastery, the Buddhist religious site of archaeological value that speaks a legacy running into the prehistoric times, thanks to the dedicated incumbency of Ven
    Waturakumbure Dhammaratana Thera and tireless and committed contribution, being made by devout Buddhists, Army troops for major share and Civil Defence Service
    personnel, has now turned a new lease of life under the project, 'Yali Pibidena Kuragala' (Revival of Kuragala) which saw its initiation and the birth of it when HE the President was
    serving the office of the Secretary Defence before the year 2015, together with active patronage, lent by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the incumbent Hon Prime Minister.

    HE the President during his near three-hour stay inside this largest sacred place, brought to revival within a record period of eight months, climbed to the upper layer of the restored
    pagoda in the company of the First Lady and distinguished invitees, including General Shavendra Silva enshrined it symbolically with gold-plated Buddha statues as 'Pirith'
    chanting, joined by some 500 monks reverberated around the temple premises. Army troops made up the major share of the manpower for this gigantic task, in addition to about
    150 hired labourers who used to traverse sets of high and rocky cliffs with several caves, two inscriptions and a deep cleft, almost on a daily basis in the past 8 months.

    Showing a keen interest towards the ongoing restoration work of this archaeological place of worship, HE the President, visibly impressed with the remarkable revival of the
    location evaluated the progress of the development and shared a few thoughts with the incumbent monk and declared that his government along with Hon Prime Minister as
    Minister of Buddha Sasana has decided to hold this year's state 'Vesak' commemoration in Kuragala monastery in order to elevate and recognize the premises to its pristine glory.
    HE the President also assured further support to the sacred place and inquired into shortcomings, if any.

    HE the President at the same time freely mingled with the devotees and the public present at the location and assured them that a new road patch between Kaltota and Balangoda
    would be a reality soon as they requested from him before the dawn of Vesak, this year. At the same location, HE the President instructed the Road Development Authority to
    undertake the project without any delay in collaboration with other agencies.

    Governor for Sabaragamuwa Province, Hon. Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Major General Kithsiri Liyanage, Commander, Security Forces - West, Major General Swarna Bothota, General
    Officer Commanding 61 Division and few senior Officers were also associated with the occasion.

    A monastery, a sacred Relics House (shrine), a huge Buddha statue and a Bodhi Maluwa (pavilion) are also to be built in this ancient site, along with a 500 feet high staircase and a
    reservoir, called ‘Kuragala Wewa’. In 2013, the Department of Archaeology reclaimed the archaeological land and traced all the inscriptions in rock caves and began carrying out
    excavations and the reconstruction of this sacred area under the theme ‘Yali Pibidena Kuragala’ (Reviving Kuragala) on an initiative of HE the President. The sacred site was
    formally vested in the custodianship of the present incumbent in February 2021 whose tireless dedication bore fruit with the unfailing support of Army troops.
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