One more phase of the ‘Sanda Hiru Seya’ (pagoda dedicated for fallen War Heroes), now under construction at Anuradhapura sacred area, close to Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises, commenced Tuesday (5) morning with the participation of the project’s pioneer, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence and Urban Development as the Chief Guest, together with tri-service Commanders and the IGP.
The day’s auspicious ceremony saw the cornerstones for erection of the Salapathala Maluwa (layer paved with stone slabs) of the Pagoda were laid and a marble-made Buddha statue with a tray for offerings was unveiled for public veneration in the Sanda Hiru Seya Bo tree premises by distinguished guests for the occasion. The Buddha statue was a gift from the resident Burmese monk at Anuradhapura, following coordination done by Ven. Pallegama Siriniwasabhidana Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent in charge of all eight sacred places and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.
The new Ranaviru stupa of 257 feet in height is to be completed within three years with the use of 260 lakhs of bricks, 170,000 bags of cement, 9000 tonnes of limestone. Both the Navy and the Air Force are to supply required metal and sand stocks for completion of the entire project.
9 Engineer Service Regiment (ESR) Corps troops have undertaken the construction work of the symbolic object of veneration in consultation with the State Engineering Corporation and the Department of Archaeology.
On arrival at the Sanda Hiru Seya site, Mr Rajapaksa was received by Chief Minister for North Central Province, tri-service Commanders, IGP, coordinator of the project, Major General (retd) Palitha Fernando, Military Liaison Officer at Ministry of Defence and a large gathering of civilians and school students.
Before the new 3-ton weighty marble Buddha statue, donated by the Burmese monk, was unveiled by Mr Rajapaksa, amidst beating of drums, religious observances, performed by Ven. Pallegama Siriniwasabhidana Nayaka Thero and a group of Buddhist monks including Ven. Nugathenne Pannananda Nayaka Thero of the Anuradhapura Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Vihara preceded.
Later on, Mr Rajapaksa, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army, Navy and Air Force Commanders and the Inspector General of the Police laid the cornerstones for the Salapathala Maluwa as the auspicious minute struck, signaling the symbolic start of the second stage of the construction. Afterwards, the Chief Guest at the invitation of the organizers unveiled a plaque on the occasion and marked the commencement of the next stage of the construction.
The foundation stone for construction of the Sanda Hiru Seya, a tribute to the memory of fallen War Heroes, began in December 2010 following a concept, mooted by Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa and HE the President gave all his blessings to the project.
On the sidelines of the main ceremony on Tuesday (5) morning at Anuradhapura, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, together with tri-service Commanders and the IGP inaugurated a Dansela (for free distribution of cooked manioc) in the area at the invitation of the organizers before the entourage left for Colombo.