Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the Deegawapiya Trust Fund would be established to expedite renovation of Deegawapiya Stupa, an ancient Buddhist sacred shrine and an archaeological site in the Ampara District.
He said Deegawapiya Buddhist temple and the site with archaeological importance, built by King Saddhatissa, were neglected in the past.
“This is a sacred site not only for local devotees but for Buddhists around the world,” he said.
Defence Secretary noted that the government funds would not be utilised for renovation but would raise funds from contributions made by Buddhists live in Sri Lanka and abroad to complete renovation.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force appointed on Archaeological Heritage Management in the Eastern Province, has visited the Deegawapiya Raja Maha Viharaya in Ampara to discuss commencing of its renovation work, today (Aug 29)
He said several initiatives were taken to renovate the Deeghawapiya Stupa in the past but those were halfway came to a standstill due to some reasons but under the directives of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the government would fully complete renovation of this ancient temple site before three years.
“According to advice from archaeologists and officials of the Archaeology Department, we expect to complete the restoration work of this Stupa within two to three years for Buddhist devotees to worship,” he said.
According to Defence Secretary, the Armed Forces and Civil Security Department (CSD) will provide labour and the expertise of the Sri Lanka Army Engineers.
“The technical contributions and knowledge will be provided by the archaeologists and experts of the Archaeology Department. Therefore, we will be able to commence the renovation of Deegawapiya Stupa, which is one of the prominent archaeological sites in the Eastern Province, soon, he said.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said Deegawapiya Stupa would be renovated to give a similar outlook of the Ruwanweli Stupa in Anuradhapura.
“I invite people of our country to support this great charity in any possible way once the fund is established,” he said.
Venerable Maha Sangha including Deegawapiya Raja Maha Viharaya Nayaka thero, Ven. Mahawewa Sobhitha, Aranthala International Buddhist Centre Ven. Kirindiwela Somarathne thero , Buddhist Television Channel Director and the Chief Prelate of Sri Sambodhi Viharaya Colombo Ven. Boralande Wajiragnana and Matikotuwa Ancient Temple Rajakeeya Panditha Ven. Yatihana Wimala Buddha had the discussion with the top delegation, including Parliamentarian Dr. Thilak Rajapakse, Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath, Sri Lanka Army Chief Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Chairperson of Defence Ministry’s Seva Vanitha Unit Chithrani Gunaratne, Army Seva Vanitha Unit President Sujeewa Nelson, Security Force Commander (East) Maj. Gen. J.C. Gamage, 24 Divisional Commander Maj. Gen T.D. Weerakoon, CSD Deputy Director Rear Admiral Udeni Serasinghe, Commander South Eastern Naval Area Rear Admiral Senerath Wijesooriya, Commissioner General of Archaeology Department Prof. Senarath Dissanayake, on commencing of renovation work of Deegawapiya Stupa and the site.