Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation

08th May 2022 18:20:12 Hours

Ceremonial Enshrinement of Relics at Kankesanthurai Historic Tissa Vihara Pagoda Takes Place

The historically significant Tissa Raja Maha Vihara in Kankesanthurai in the Jaffna peninsula, one of the major places of Buddhist worship, established during the reign of the king Devanampiyatissa turned a new leaf of life on Sunday (8) when the temple premises on the verge of the forthcoming Vesak week became equipped with the construction of its new Dagoba (pagoda) reliquary after absence of many years.

The ceremonial enshrinement of sacred relics in the newly-erected pagoda (stupa), one of the objects of Buddhist veneration occurred at the auspicious minute on Sunday (08) with General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest at the invitation of Ven Binthota Nandarama Thero, residential incumbent at Tissa Raja Maha Vihara. Amid 'Pirith' chanting, General Shavendra Silva enshrined those relics and sacred treasures in the new hemispherical pagoda in the presence of a gathering of laymen of the Tissa Temple Development Foundation, devotees, members of the armed forces and other invitees.

The guidance and close supervision of Major General Sujeewa Senarath Yapa, Commander, Security Forces-Jaffna and the unfailing commitment of Major General Chandana Wickremasinghe, General Officer Commanding, 51 Division, together with 5 Corps of Engineer Services troops, Security Force Headquarters Jaffna-affiliated battalions and troops of the Forward Maintenance Area-North tirelessly carried out the Stupa construction task with financial patronage, made available by the Tissa Temple Development Foundation.

Construction of the Stupa, 100ft in height has been designed by the Faculty of Architecture at University of Moratuwa and further technical expertise for the construction is extended by Professor Samitha Manawadu and Professor Nimal de Silva of the University of Moratuwa. Professor Samitha Manawadu, Professor Nimal de Silva, Miss Thushara Thenuwara and a few others followed suit and placed relics in the new pagoda.

Soon after the day's main segment was over, General Shavendra Silva was invited to lay the cornerstone for erection of the new Shrine in the temple compound where he shared a few thoughts with the troops, engaged in the construction, inquired into their welfare and discussed possibilities of expediting the construction work.

The auspicious corner-stone laying ceremony for erection of the new pagoda and the monastery at the historic Tissa Raja Maha Viharaya in Kankesanthurai began in January 2021 amid religious formalities and blessings of the Maha Sangha as a result of the cooperation, extended by the Jaffna Security Force HQ, Navy, Air Force and the Police. General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army laid the foundation stone for construction where the Bhikkuni Sangamitta some centuries ago waited for a pause en route to Anuradhapura after landing at Dambakola Patuna from Jambudeevpa during the reign of the King Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC).

In the most recent past, Security Forces in Jaffna on the instructions of respective Jaffna Commanders cooperated with the temple incumbent for its sustenance which also resulted in the conduct of the ancient ‘Katina Pooja’ after absence of nearly 67 years in the year 2019. A few months ago, Major General Senarath Bandara (Retd) contributed to the growth of this historic sacred place, providing a huge Buddha Statue with the support of General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary Defence.

Major General Sujeewa Senarath Yapa, Commander, Security Forces-Jaffna, Major General Vinditha Mahinkanda Commander, Forward Maintenance Area - North, Major General Chandana Wickramasinghe, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 51 Division, Brigadier Udaya Herath, GOC 52 Division, Brigadier Prasanna Gunarathne , GOC 55 Division, Senior Officers, representative members of the Navy, Air Force, Police, STF and officials of Tissa Temple Development Foundation and Other Rankers participated in the day's religious arrangement.