Velgam monastery, (near) Kanniyai/Trincomalee, Eastern Province, SL

Raw data

"Velgam Vehera ancient Buddhist monastery is located 16 km north-west of Trincomalee off the Trincomalee - Horowupothana road. An inscription on a rock halfway up the hill on the summit on which are the remains of a stupa belongs to the reign of Batiya Maharaja or King Bhatika Tissa II (circa 149 A.D.). It records the gift of revenue from certain fields to the Abagara Vihare (Abhagiri or Amaragiri Vihare) at Velgama by a General named Abaya. Dr. Paranavithana was of the view that this record proved that the name by which the shrine was known in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It was Dr. Paranavithana’s view that the date of the original foundation of the vihare was no doubt considerably earlier than the reign of King Bhatika Tissa II."

"Hindus know it as the Natanar Kovil, and in 992 AD the invading Cholas from India who were enemies of the Buddhist faith destroyed the temple. It was later rebuilt with contributions and donations of the very people that destroyed it, restoring it as Buddhist Temple. […] Some of the Tamil inscriptions found at the site record donations to this shrine and are dated in the reigns of the Chola Kings, Rajaraja and Rajendradeva. […]

Velgam Vehera was first inspected by the Archaeological Department in 1929. It was declared an archaeological reserve in 1934 but it was only 20 years later that clearing was undertaken. Two conspicuous mounds at the site proved to be a stupa in ruins and a brick built image house. As clearing was extended, the ground plan of a fascinating building complex and architectural remains of an impressive character were uncovered."

Input by: GitaG Aug 04 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 25 Aug 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Velgam monastery, SL.

General location of the Velgam monastery, SL
Lat 8.64572 Long 81.17087
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2013.

Google Map link:,%20SL)&ll=8.64572,81.17087&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Sri Lanka: Eastern Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 8.64572 Long 81.17087 - based on visual identification of the Velgam/Vilgam monastery site in maps/satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 05 Aug 2013.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Theravada

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag: <=0200 - GitaG 04 Aug 2013
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32p 1133-66p 1167-99p 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Known monks and nuns associated with this monastery

19. Available Printed Literature

  • Paranavithan, Senarath. 1972. Glimpses Ceylon's past. Colombo: Lakehouse Investments.
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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