President inspects project as it nears completion | Daily News
Sanda Hiru Seya:

President inspects project as it nears completion

A heartfelt tribute to all who strove for peace

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the weekend inspected the construction work on the Sanda Hiru Seya in Anuradhapura, which is a tribute to all those who worked tirelessly to bring peace to the Motherland which faced a 30-year-long war.

Sri Lanka has experienced the brutality of the 30-year-long ethnic conflict which was finally eradicated in 2009. In the history of Sri Lanka, these 30 years will remain as the most troublesome period for the country.

The liberation and peace we experience today is a result of the untiring dedication of our contemporary leaders and our heroic soldiers. To express gratitude and to remember those who sacrificed their lives and adding a new chapter to the history of Sri Lanka, a spiritual symbol of gratitude – ‘Sanda Hiru Seya’ – is under construction in the sacred city of Anuradhapura ‘Mahamewna’ premises. This represents the beginning of a new era of peace, national reconciliation and development.

According to the legend, the first pagoda (Stupa), Thuparamaya, which enshrined the relic of Lord Buddha’s Right Collar Bone was built with the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, parallel to the arrival of Arahat Mahinda Thera (Mahindagamanaya) in Anuradhapura. These Stupas are an outstanding architectural creation of ancient Sri Lanka. The art of building a Stupa in Sri Lanka became popular 2,000 years ago.

The construction of the Sanda Hiru Seya is being carried out solely by troops of the Ninth (Volunteer) Engineer Services Regiment. The Stupa is being built on a concept of former President and current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and with the entire supervision of the then Defence and Urban Development Secretary and current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The construction of this majestic pagoda commenced at the auspicious moment on November 11, 2010 amidst the blessings of the Chief Incumbents of the Atamasthana in memory of all fallen war heroes of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the Civil Defence Forces.

The Sanda Hiru Seya which is 282.6 feet tall from the ‘Salapathala Maluwa’ has a circumference of 800 feet. The construction of the Seya commenced with a 45-foot heavy dugout of the granite rock under the ground. Later a 6.9 inch granite layer was plastered above it. There are more than 200 inscribed stone walls around the Stupa. This great architectural creation is the most sacred construction ever built by the military under the guidance of the Defence Ministry and with the technical assistance of the Archaeology Department and the State Engineering Corporation. According to the estimated reports, 12,308 sand cubes have been provided for the construction by the Army and the Navy.

Moreover, a special brick project (16 inches x 8 inches x 2 inches) is being carried by the Army personnel in several brick factories located in Anuradhapura, Galkadawala, Elayapaththuwa, Mahiyanganaya, Ampara, Embilipitiya, Narammala, Bingiriya and Yatiyana. The provision of the limestone and slaked-lime bricks for the entire pagoda is also being manufactured in the Elayapaththuwa area by the Army troops.

This is one of the largest stupas being built in the present era with the estimation of 16,773,278 bricks, 139,689 cement bags, 7,969,603 kgs of slaked-lime, 1,292,641 sand cubes, 50,103 cubes of metal and 6439 cubes of granite.

Not only is the military engaged in the construction of this great pagoda, but they also funded a portion of it from their monthly wage.

On instructions of the Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and with the guidance of the Commander Security Forces - Wanni, Major General Dhammika Jayasinghe and General Officer Commanding 21 Division, Major General H.L.V.M. Liyanage a technically and skillfully qualified military staff has been deployed to accelerate the construction work of this stupa.

The Sanda Hiru Seya will be a great victory achieved by the Armed Forces in the recent history in appreciation of the noble service rendered by the military to defeat terrorism and bring lasting peace to the Motherland, said Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.

Pictures by K.K. Chitraratna, Hidogama Group Corr.