Sandahiru Seya, a tribute to the valiant war heroes - Defence Secretary

Defence Secretary Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne and the Prelates at yesterday's event in Anuradhapura. Pictures by Sulochana Gamage.

The erection of the Sandahiru Seya is purely a tribute to the valiant war heroes, Defence Secretary Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said.

"It is a pride for us to vest this Stupa for the future generation as adept by the ancient Sri Lankan kings, Gen. Gunaratne said, recalling the large number of fallen, injured and permanently disabled war veterans.

The depositing of treasures and sacred relics at the Sandahiru Stupa Square Chamber was held auspiciously amidst religious blessings of Maha Sangha at the Stupa premises in the sacred city of Anuradhapura yesterday.

A large collection of precious artefacts and sacred relics offered by Ven. Maha Sangha and devotees around the country along with an engraved stone inscription depicting comprehensive details of the Stupa with its dimensions were deposited during the historic religious ceremony.

The driving force behind the project, Defence Secretary and the Chairperson of ‘Archaeological Heritage Management Presidential Task Force’ (PTF) for Eastern Province, Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) offered a coffer containing sacred relics to Maha Sangha while arriving at the Square Chamber of the Maha Stupa.

The Theras deposited all the relics and treasures accordingly while observing the religious proceedings during the occasion.

The sacred recitals were chanted by Ven. Maha Sangha to invoke blessings for the mammoth construction.

The three and a half-foot high crest-gem designed to be placed at the tip of the Conical Spire embedded with precious stones and gold was offered to the Atamasthana Chief Prelate Ven. Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Thera by Arthur Senanayake, a devotee and a patron of sacred construction.

The precious crest-gem was handed over to the Defence Secretary afterwards by the Atamasthana Chief Prelate for onward constructions.

Tri-Forces and the Civil Defence Force (CSD) were also offered precious artefacts to be placed at the square chamber during the ceremony. The event was organized on successful completion of the hemispherical dome of the gigantic Stupa and the portion of Square Chamber erection would be initiated following the depositing of treasures today.

Accordingly, the assembly of square chamber, erection of conical spire and minaret, placing of sacred symbolic crest-gem at the pointing tip, engravings, carvings and art work will be the other associated work in the pipeline.

Sandahiru Seya construction was a concept of the fifth Executive President of the country and the present Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa built in appreciation of the noble services rendered by the Security Forces personnel to rid the country of terrorism.

Afterwards, the construction process was steered under the directives of the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is the current President.

Venerable Maha Sangha including Malwathu Chapter Lekakadhikari Most Ven. Rajakiya Panditha Dr. Pahamune Dharmakirthi Sri Sumangala Thera, Government Ministers, the North Central Province Governor, Parliamentarians, Ministry Secretaries, Navy and Air Force Commanders, Inspector General of Police, Director General of CSD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and a large gathering of devotees and invitees were also present at the event.

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