Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A visit to Queen Kuveni’s Palace
I was fortunate enough to be taken to this spot last week, and doubtless the photos here will show that what remains are just a bunch of stone pillars. This is supposed to be the spot where Kuveni had her palace. I personally have my doubts, but with modern techniques if the facilities are available they can use carbon dating techniques to verify the age of the site and when these pillars were actually hewn and transported here, to verify the age before taking this guesswork any further.
Inside the boundaries of the Wilpattu National Park are over 35 places of archeological interest that have currently been discovered, and no doubt numerous place that have yet to be discovered. Knowing the resources available (the Wildlife Department has only 15 staff to administer a park of over 350K acres) and the lack of coordination with the Archeological department which is also probably under resourced considering the potential of SL, there has been a wholesale slaughter of and pillage of items of value from these places.
Instead of manning such a huge defense force, I suggest some of the trained and disciplined forces are hived off into an archeological defense force to protect the areas of archeological interest and another force to protect the flora and fauna, especially that which is endangered and under threat of extinction. They can then instead of manning checkpoints and harassing me in the middle of the night when I am transporting rice and paddy from Polonnaruwa to Meegoda, actually do something useful.
In the villages I live folklore has it that so many holes in the ground are those that have been dug by treasure hunters who have excavated items of value in the past. (nidhahan hambavela thiyanawa) My properties also have so many stories of these treasures being found and removed. I wish I was able to look into the past to know actually what was here and how it really was. We will never know the truth.
With such a treasure trove of history we are left to wonder, and still have no proper course action to preserve, prevent from further pillage, and protect from the elements and vandalism, these historic sights as there is no clear plan or commitment. The resources are available, and as it is currently mis- allocated the worthy causes suffer.
I challenge the powers of the nation to realize how holistic all their actions are as a correct approach, enhances the attraction of SL to high-end tourism which will help defray the costs of what I have proposed, so we always carry out actions that enhance value and not just perform pointless tasks of protection from development.