This year’s Eastern Province Poson festival will be held at the sacred Deegawapiya temple premises while giving prominence to the Poson Poya rituals on full moon Poya Day on June 24, the Defence Secretary and the Chairperson of ‘Archaeological Heritage Management Presidential Task Force’ (PTF) for Eastern Province, Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) revealed today (Mar 17).
Plans are afoot for sacred relic exposition for public veneration at the Deegawapiya premises on the forthcoming Poson Poya Day while fetching both recently unearthed relics from the site and those preserved at the Archaeology Department, the Defence Secretary pledged.
“All the relics associated with the sacred site would be placed in the hemispherical dome of the Stupa once the project is completed, he also affirmed.
The Poson Poya Day programme would be held amidst Dhamma preaching sessions and pirith chanting led by Maha Sanga and respected Buddhist Chief Prelates in the country, he said.
Responding to media during a visit made to Deegawapiya Stupa in Ampara, Gen. Gunaratne pledged that the former glory of the Stupa would be restored within 3 years, while recalling several futile attempts propelled to renovate the Stupa in previous occasions.
Illustrating on developments in the pipeline, he said “A fully-fledged Pilgrims Rest (Vishrama Shala) would be constructed while setting a charming environment which is surrounded by Sal and ironwood trees for meditation”.
Citing the immense support extended by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), Civil Security Department (CSD) and the Department of Archaeology, he went on saying “The manufacturing of 30,000 standard bricks daily to cater to the demand is carried out by the SLA and CSD including the transportation”.
“Devotees, donors, well-wishers and all those who wish to contribute to this magnanimous effort are also invited”, he said while mentioning about the ‘Deegawapiya Aruna’ bank account dedicated to the purpose.
Setting of third level basal rings of the Stupa, connection to national grid for lighting and bricks production were also extensively discussed during a meeting convened at the venue.
Meanwhile, Gen. Gunaratne reviewed the stages of brick manufacturing while arriving at the production site since the standard brickwork is occupying a pivotal role in the process.
Avenues for the restoration and conservation of dilapidated Neelagiri Stupa in Lahugala were also inspected by the visiting delegation under the guidance of Lahugala Magul Maha Vihara Chief Prelate Ven. Indigaswelle Pungnasara thero.
Ven. Maha Sanga including the Chief Prelate of Deegawapiya temple Ven. Mahaoya Sobitha thero and Colombo Sri Sambodhi Viharaya Chief Prelate Ven. Boralande Vajiragnana thero, Public Security Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis (Retd), Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Gunawardana, Ampara Government Agent D.M.L. Bandaranayaka, Director General of Archaeology Prof. Anura Manatunga, Military Liaison Officer of the Defence Ministry Brig. Dinesh Nanayakkara, Secretary to the PTF and Senior Assistant Secretary to the President Jeevanthie Senanayake, PTF members, regional senior military officers, architects, archaeologists, engineers and surveyors were also present during the visit.