Kurunegala is the capital of the Wayamba Province in Sri Lanka and the Kurunegala District. Kurunegala was a royal capital for only 50 years, from the end of the 13th century to the start of the next, though even before this it was strategically placed in the middle of other majestic strongholds such as Yapahuwa to the north, Dambadeniya to the south and Panduwasnuwara in the east. Ethagala a rock reaching 316 meters, towers over the town, which is located at an altitude of 116 meters above sea level. The shape of Ethagala resembles an Elephant.A transport hub, it has a railway station, and several main roads linking important parts of the country. Kurunegala is situated about 94 km from Colombo, and 42 km from Kandy.
|Land area |
|4,624 km² (1,785 sq mi)|
|Inland water area|
|192 km² (74 sq mi)|
|4,816 km² (1,859 sq mi)|
Most of Kurunegala's residents belong to the Sinhalese majority. Other ethnic minorities include the Sri Lankan Moors, Sri Lankan Tamils, Burghers and Malays. Residents from ethnic minorities live in all parts of the city, however, sizeable communities of Moors and Tamils also live in the areas of Teliyagonna and Wilgoda.
Topographically Kurunegala town is based on a plain area with the exception of the surrounding rock out crops. The northern part of the town is slightly higher than the south. The Kurunegala Lake is the primary geographical feature of Kurunegala and adorns the town. The region comprising the Kurunegala town is located well above the sea level compared to the coastal areas of Sri Lanka. However, the region is not as high as the central hill country of the island. The nearest beaches to Kurunegala are to the western coastal areas and include Negombo and Chilaw.
Kurunegala's climate is fairly temperate and tropical all throughout the year. However during the month of April the temperature can rise up to about 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). #1# The only major change in the Kurunegala weather occurs during the monsoons from May to August and October to January, this is the time of year where heavy rains can be expected. In general, temperatures experiences during late November to mid February period are lower than the rest of the year. The annual rainfall in Kurunegala is about 2000 millimeters.
Special Places in Kurunegala
Buddhism is the main and the most widely practised religion in Kurunegala. The town is also home to a wide range of other religious faiths and sects including Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Prominent Buddhist temples located in Kurunegala include:
- Athkanda Raja Maha Viharaya
- Bauddhaloka Viharaya
- Angangala Cave Temple
- Wilbawa Purana Viharaya
History of Kurunegala
Kurunegala had a citadel in the thirteenth century. It's ascendancy as an ancient capital of Sri Lanka, began with a series of events that took place during the late 12th century at Yapahuwa. The sacred tooth relic which was in the Yapahuwa Kingdom was taken away by a warlord Arya Chackrawarthi to the Pandyan country during the rule of Buwaneka Bahu I from 1272 to 1284. The tooth relic was brought back by King Parakrama Bahu III who ruled from Kurunegala between 1287 to 1293. Over the next half a century Kurunegala was the capital and the governing centre for three other kings of Sri Lanka.
After the death of King Parakrama Bahu III, Kings Buvanekabahu II (1293–1302) who was followed by Parakramabahu IV (1302–1326) ruled from Kurunegala. The ruler in Kurunegala from 1326 to 1335 was Buwaneka Bahu III alias Wanni Buwaneka Bahu. He was the son of Pandith Parakrama Bahu II and is believed to be the last king to rule the country from Kurunegala.
After the reign of Buwaneka Bahu III, the newly throned king Vijayabahu V ruled from Dambadeniya and Yapahuwa from 1335 to 1341 before once again the kingdom of Sri Lanka shifted to Gampola.Few remains of the Palace of the Tooth relic that housed the tooth of the Buddha have avoided natural destruction, including few stone steps and a part of a doorway.
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