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National Physical Planning Dept to gazette 20 more religious sites as sacred areas

May 14, Colombo (LNW): The National Physical Planning Department has announced plans to gazette an additional twenty places of religious worship as sacred areas this year, with nine places already gazetted thus far.

Among the sites slated for gazettement are the Uddhakandara Rajamaha Viharaya in Hambantota, Dambadeniya Rajamaha Viharaya in Kurunegala, Kotasara Piangala Rajamaha Viharaya in Moneragala, and others spanning various regions across Sri Lanka.

The upcoming National Vesak festival, scheduled from May 21 to May 27 in Matale, will witness the inauguration under the auspices of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

During this event, the President will present the communique, known as Sannas Pathra, for the development of the Kshetrarama Rajamaha Viharaya in Matale as a sacred area to the temple authorities.

Notifications for the Henekadua Rajamaha Vihara in Hambantota and the Gonnawa Sri Vishnu Dewalaya in Kurunegala have been forwarded to Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga for approval.

Minister Ranatunga underscored the three criteria guiding the declaration of a sacred site and instructed relevant departments to assess requests for such declarations, address any existing issues, and initiate necessary measures to resolve them.

To date, Sri Lanka has gazetted 130 places of worship as sacred areas, with Kataragama being the first such designation on October 16, 1961.

The impending gazettement of the Kshetrarama Rajamaha Vihara in Matale will mark the 130th sacred area in Sri Lanka.

Approval from the Department of Archaeology, the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, and survey plans of the respective areas are imperative for the publication of gazettes designating them as sacred areas.

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