Gal Messa, a dolmen in Padavigampola, Sri Lanka

Gal Massa, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to a small number of megalithic monuments, of which the largest is Gal Messa. It stands in the middle of a tiny village around 6 km north of Rambukkana and its local name is Maliyadeva Guharamaya, which means the dwelling of the last great adept of Buddhism on the island.

There is no written record of this structure but it was probably built during the Iron Age and is regarded as the largest structure from this period in Sri Lanka.

The has ony three sides, each one consisting of a massive block of gneiss roughly formed into a rectangular shape. The left wall and the roof, which consists of one large slab, are split by a soft vein in the hard stone.

The local popular name for this dolmen is Gal Messa. Nearby is a small temple also called Gal Messa Pansala. The site can be reached by travelling 1.5 km from the Deliwala Kota Vehera Temple in Kegalle in the direction of Bulugolla. An almost invisible steep road on the left leads to Padavigampola but there is no signpost and no mention of the Gal Massa. The only indication is a bus shelter built of cement across the road.

If you follow this road for 1.5 km you reach a small temple close to the road which is very easy to miss. There is also a community building just past a tree. The dolmen lies on a small piece of land behind this tree but cannot be seen from the road. A small gate by the building in the centre of the village leads to this Stone Age monument.

Text                 Harrie Wolters

Translation     Alun Harvey


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