Abhayagiriya - Sri Lanka - UNESCO
Cultural Triangle Project

Abhayagiriya in the Sacred City of Anuradhapura ( N8 20 E80 23 ) #200 on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is one of six sites of Cultural Triangle Project (CTP) of Sri Lanka

SPECIFICATIONS
Alloy Brass
Type Struck
Diameter 59.8 mm
Thickness 7.4 mm
Weight ~113 gms
Shape Round
Edge Plain
Die Axis
Mint USSR
ccf_Abhayagiriya_obverse ccf_Abhayagiriya_reverse
Obverse : An adaptation from the Anuradhapura Moonstone. Annulus of flower petals around a blank center circle. A procession of twenty geese, with lotus flowers hanging from their beaks, within a procession six sequences of elephant, horse, lion and bull.
Small Mint signature B.T.P. (AM) at bottom outer circle.
Reverse : ABHAYAGIRIYA on top and HELP SAVE THE GLORY THAT IS LANKA on bottom along the periphery. UNESCO SRI LANKA - CULTURAL TRIANGLE PROJECT at center below the CTP logo all in highlight. Incuse DONATED BY THE USSR below in an upward cresent.

Abhayagiriya was built by Vattagamini ( 88-76 B.C. ) and later restored by Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186). A Buddhist Monastary at which visiting 5th century Chinese traveler/monk Fa hien noted that 5,000 monks were in residence. It attempted to weaken the political hold of the Hinayana Buddhist and to give shelter to monks of the Mahayana school.

Note that the Moonstone as shown in photograph, is conceptually never full like stamped on this Medal.

International Council on Monuments and Sites. in it's 1981 evaluation of Anuradhapura said

Anuradhapura, founded during the 4th century B.C. The Chronicles of Mahanama, a narrative written a thousand years later, affirms that it was founded in 380 B.C. by the prince Pandukabhaya), quickly became, on the island, both the capital of Lanka and the sacred city of Buddhism, Toward 250 B.C., the king Ashoka sent his son Mahinda to convert Tissa, the grandson of Pandukabhaya, and the latter became, thereafter, the first Buddhist sovereign (devananpiya) of Lanka. A second mission, led by Sanghamitta, Buddhist nun and daughter of Ashoka, brought Tissa a cutting from the Ashvattha, the sacred fig tree of Bcdhgaya, under which Siddharta attained spiritual enlightenment and supreme wisdom.

With the exception of the brief period of the invasion of the Tamil princes, at the beginning of the 2nd century B.C., Anuradhapura remained the political and religious capital of Lanka during ten centuries. Its apogee was reached under the reign of Dutthagamini who, in 161 B.C., expelled the Tamil invaders, re-established Buddhism in the place of Brahmanism and endowed the Site with extraordinary monuments: Dagaba Mirisaweti, Dagaba Ruvanwelisaya, the "Brazen Palace", etc.

Anuradhapura was sacked and taken by the Pandyan kings during the 9th century and then returned against payment of a ransom. The majority of the monuments were restored but the City never recovered from a final seige (993 B.C.), during wtuch the king Chola Rajaraja I destroyed it. Having lost its position as capital, it was deserted in favor of Polonnaruwa.

ICOMOS recommends the inscription of Anuradhapura on the World Heritage List on the basis of criterion II, III and VI.

Criterion II - The sacred City exerted a considerable influence on the development of architecture during several centuries. It includes remarkable monuments, particularly the Dagabas of colossal size, placed on circular foundations and surrounded by a ring of monolithic columns, characteristic of the Sinhala stupas.

Criterion III - Anuradhapura attests a unique and specific way to the Sinhala civilization, On numerous occasions the City was submitted to the assaults of invaders from southern India: the Tamils, Pandyas . Cholas. It stands as a permanent manifesto of the culture of Lanka - impervious to outside influences.

Criterion VI - The city is one of the principal shrines of Buddhism. The cutting from the fig tree of Buddha, brought there in the 3:d century B.C., has flourished and, today, the Bodhi-tree spreads out over the center of the site from a sanctuary near to the "Brazen Palace". The relics of Siddharta have, moreover, shaped the religious topography of Anuradhapura, where the Dagaba Thuparama was built by the king Tissa in the 3rd century B.C. to house the clavicle of Buddha, an important religious relic presented by Ashoka.

For a beautiful interactive spherical panoramic views of Moonstone at Abhayagiriya look at images which is one of 9 images for Ancient city of Anuradhapura Heritage site.

The medal which is one of a set of six were minted in 1987 and donated by USSR, to Central Cultural Fund (CCF) probably as a fund raiser.

The Medal was scanned at 300 dpi and displayed at 100 dpi. It was purchased in 2005 March from CCF office in Kandy.