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this expedition, and it is not till he turns to descend that he becomes fully sensible of his danger. Arrived at the summit, a height of about five hundred and fifty feet above the surrounding plain, a wide and interesting view of the level country beneath repays the adventurer for his toil. In the east, rising in the distance to a considerable height, will be seen the rock Seeqiri (pronounced Heeqiri by the natives) to which Kassapo, the son of Datusens, fled to fortify himself against his brother, after he had murdered his father and usurped the kingdom, A. D. 477. The hill called Dahiakande, near the rock last mentioned, points out the position of the fort of Vigittapoora, visited and described by Major Forbes and Mr. Turnour, and memorable for its seige by Gaimono tbe first, in the second century before Christ. To the south may be faintly distinguished the outlines of some of the Kandy hills, whilst to the north a wide and level plain extends itself, bounded by the rocks of Miwara Kalawia.
On the summit I saw the remains of an edifice which formerly existed there, consisting of stones and bricks, and on examining the vicinity for some other indications of human labour, I found a hole cut in the rock, one foot square and about a foot and a half deep, into which I imagine the beam or pillar on which the building rested had been inserted.
The entrance to the caves is as I have said, about one hundred feet below the level of the highest summit of the rock, and at the distance of about a mile from the village to which the rock gives its name. A rough tiled building, built principally of wood, affords a passage to the more immediate precincts of the caves, and on entering this the visitor finds himself standing on a ledge of rock covered with a slight coating of mould, out of which a few cocoanut trees and many shrubs glean a scanty supply of nutriment. To the right rises the perpendicular mass of the rock, which to a height of about thirty feet, has been excavated, partly by human labour and partly by nature, a wall being built up in front of the caves, which reaches to the overhanging mass of rock above. To the left the hill descends very steeply, covered with herbage of various kinds, amidst which hundreds of monkeys disport themselves, secure from the violence of man in a scene hallowed by the temples and images of the bloodless prophet of Maghada. The ledge of rock, covered with a slight mould on its eastern side, on which I am now
supposing the visitor to be standing, runs in front of all the caves, a distance of about five hundred feet, varying much in breadth, but gradually becoming narrower towards the western side, where are situated the two aluth or new caves. In front of all the temples a narrow verandah extends, which projects from their front wall, and above which may be seen the marks of the wedges used in excavating them.
I have said that the rock temples of Dambool are partly natural and partly artificial.
So long ago as one hundred years before our era, they had served as a refuge to a Ceylonese monarch when escaping from the Malabars, who had invaded his kingdom, and in gratitude for his deliverance and for the shelter they had afforded him, Walagambahu piously increased the caves to a much larger dimension, placed in them images of Budha, appointed priests to take charge of them, and dedicated certain lands for their support. The invasion of the kingdom by the natives of the continental coast, the flight of the monarch, and his subsequent success, are thus related in the Rajavali.* “After his (the previous king's) death, Walagambahu Rajah succeeded to the throne. When he had reigned five months, seven Malabar chiefs with seven thousand men from Sollee, made a descent on Ceylon, and drove Walagambahu from the throne, and one of the Malabars taking the king's wife, went away with her. Another of them seized the patrya cup
of Budha, and likewise went away. The other five Malabar chiefs remained, and succeeding one another in the government, reigned as kings for the space of thirty years.” (The Mahawanso, with more probability, computes their reigns at fourteen years in all); " about the expiration of which time the king, Malagambahu, who had been living amongst the rocks in the wilderness, left his solitude, raised an army, and attacking the city of Anuradhapura, destroyed the Malabars, again ascended the throne, and caused the houses of stone or caves of the rock in which ḥe had taken refuge in the wilderness to be made more commodious.” In the Mahawanso, as translated by Mr. Upham, the caves of Dambool are particularly mentioned as having been constructed by Walagambahu, although in Mr. Turnour's version, which is generally so much fuller, strange to say, this notice is altogether omitted.
The next notice which Ceylonese history affords us of these caves, is in the account of the reign of Kirti Nissanga, A. D. 1187 to 1196.
• Part 3, p. 223, in Mr. Upham's translation.
The Rajavali,* after informing us that that prince went, with many followers, to Adam's peak, and worshipped there the print of Buddha's foot, adds that“ in order to perpetuate his name in Ceylon, he caused the dagobah at Dambool to be built, and having gone there, cansed to be made 72,000 figures of Buddha, and the said place he called by the names Rathinda and Boolhinda.”
The word thousand, in the above extract, is probably an embellishment of the historian's own, seventy-two alone being mentioned in the incription on the rock, which records that monarch's benefactions, and of which we shall now speak particularly.
The visitor has been supposed to stand on the ledye of rock immediately in front of the caves, after having passed the rough building which serves as an entrance. So situated, the first object which presents itself to him is this inscription on his right hand, deeply graven in the rock in the old Cinghalese character, differing but little from the character now used. The inscription itself occupies a space about six feet broad, and four in height. It commences by describing in the usual eastern style the monarch whose actions it records, Kriti Nissanga. He is stated in it to be “an invincible warrior,” to be endowed with "might, majesty and wisdom,” and to be “like the placid moon, radiant, with cheering and benignant qualities.” These necessary preli. minaries being ended, it proceeds to inform us that his subjects having been impoverished by inordinate taxes, he enriched them by relinquishing his revenue for five years, and by granting to them lands and cattle. It then asserts that besides all this, he rendered all those who cultivated jungle, and thus increased the quantity of cleared land, exempt from all taxation for a considerable period--a provision strikingly wise and excellent. The remainder of it, as being less tedious and redundant, I shall quote entire. “He (Nissanga) also made it a rule that when permanent grants of land may be made to those who had performed meritorious services, such behests should not be evane. scent, like lines drawn upon water, by being inscribed on leaves, a material subject to be destroyed by rats and white ants, but that such patents should be engraved on plates of copper so as to endure long unto their respective posterities. “Thrice did he make the circuit of the island, and having visited the
Part 4, p.
villages, the towns, and the cities, and having explored the places difficult of access, the fastnesses surrounded with water, the strongholds in the midst of forests, and those upon steep hills, he had as precise a view of the whole as if it was an amlaca (a kind of prism) on the palm of his hand, and such was the security he established, as well in the wilderness, as in the inhabited places, that even a woman might traverse the country with a precious jewel, and not be asked, what is it? When he had thus ensured safety in the island, he longed to engage in war, and twice dismayed the kings of Paandi,* and having accepted the royal maidens, and also the elephants and horses, with other tributes of homage which they sent him, he formed friendly alliances with such of the princes of Choda, of Gowda, and of many other countries as duly appreciated his good will, but by his personal valour struck terror into those who esteemed not his friendship ; and he caused princesses to be brought to him from each of those countries, with other tributes of homage, and as then there remained no hostile kings throughout Dambadiva to wage war against him, he tarried at Rammisseram, where he made donations of balanced weights, consisting of valuables, and thus enriched the poor and satisfied the needy. He then caused obelisks of victory formed of stone to be set up as lasting monuments, and having built a devale consisting of five divisions, departed thence with his army, composed of four regular bodies, and returned to Ceylon. Then reflecting that albeit he had no enemies here, he might possibly encounter enemies hereafter, he caused alms-houses to be erected in many places in Dambadiva, as well as in this island, and caused alms to be distributed constantly. He also caused gardens and fields to be cultivated and dwellings for priests to be formed upon the hill Rankohokalooheene, wherein is situated the cave of Dambula Sena.
“Having a perfect knowledge of the doctrines of Buddha, he promoted the cause of religion, and also the interests of science; he restored the ruined fanes, and the roads which were destroyed in consequence of the calamities which had befallen the land, during former reigns, and rebuilt the wihares in the city of Anuradhapura, in Kelania, Mewooyone and many other places; he expended vast riches, and within this wihare he caused to be made seventy-two statues of Buddhu, in the recumbent, the sitting, and the standing posture, and having caused
• An ancient kingdom on the Coromandel coast. Its capital was Madura.
them to be gilt, celebrated a great puja at the cost of seven lakhs of money, and as is thus recorded upon this stone, gave to this cave the name of Swarna Giriguhaaya," (i. e. the cave of the goldeu mountain.)
Such are the contents of the lengthened inscription which prominently strikes the eye of the observer on first advancing to the caves of Dambool, and the picture which it gives us of the government of Ceylon in the twelfth century is far from contemptible. The caves themselves are five in number—the first three stretching from east to west, are the older, and the more laboured structures, the remaining two, forming an obtuse angle with the others, being much more recent and comparatively insignificant. The excavations are separated from each other partly by remaining portions of the rock, and partly by artificial walls, and they stretch into the heart of the mountain to various distances from fifteen to one hundred and thirty feet. The ground plan of them which I annex will perhaps give a better idea of their relative positions than a mere description.
In height they vary from ten to thirty feet, being generally more lofty at the entrance, and gradually decreasing in height as they advance into the rock. The cave usually called the first, as being the first the visitor reaches, is also the most easterly, and is but a few yards distant from the inscription just treated of. It is called the Maha-Deva-Devale, (the temple of the great god,) the title not referring to Buddhu, of whom there is a gigantic colossal statue in the cave, but to Vishnu, a statue of that deity also placed in it being considered of superior sanctity. On entering the Maha-Deva-Devale, the visitor at first sees but little difference between it and the interior of the other wihares scattered in such profusion over our island. It is not till his attention is directed to the fact that the gigantic recumbent image before him is a portion of the rock around that he becomes sensible of the peculiar uature of the cavity in which he stands. The figure of Buddha is forty-seven feet long, his head rests in the usual manner on his right hand, the right arm being bent beside him, the hand again rests on a pillow, in which is apparent the impression supposed to be made by the weight of his head and arm—the whole being cut out of the solid rock around, together with the bed on which he lies. Being rather doubtful of this fact of which the priest had just informed me, and being anxious to be certain about the matter, in a moment of thoughtlessness, I knocked