October 5, 2015
As part of its continuing efforts to preserve Sri Lanka’s cultural and religious heritage, the Embassy of the United States of America is pleased to announce new grants totaling $300,000 (42.1 million LKR) to help restore the ancient Buddhist Rajagala Monastery and improve preservation of artifacts at the Anuradhapura Archeological Museum.
“The United States recognizes the importance of preserving Sri Lankan religious and cultural heritage sites and has committed 100 million Sri Lankan Rupees to this effort since 2005,” said U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap. “We hope that our cooperation with Sri Lanka to preserve cultural heritage sites will help raise international awareness and provide a boost for tourism and people-to-people understanding.”
Under the new grant, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura will receive $150,000 from the U.S. Embassy through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) to continue its restoration of the Rajagala Monastery. The funding will support a detailed ground survey of the monastery and conserve some of the most important monuments used by early Buddhist priests. This is the second phase of U.S. assistance on this project, adding to an initial $100,000 grant from 2013.
“Our partnership with the United States is important to help us learn more about the lives of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka,” said Professor P.B. Mandawala, Head of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura’s Department of History & Archeology.
A separate $150,000 grant to Sri Lanka’s Department of Archaeology will improve the storage and preservation of artifacts at the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum. The U.S. Embassy previously supported the Museum, one of Sri Lanka’s most visited, with grants in 2009 and 2012.
“Lack of funding and poor storage conditions threaten to destroy a priceless part of our history,” said Anusha Kasthuri, an archaeological conservator working on the Anuradhapura project. “Now we can preserve it for future generations.”
Since 2005, the U.S. Embassy through AFCP has funded eleven conservation projects in Sri Lanka, representing a total commitment of over $730,000 (over 100 million LKR).