Govinda Hela (West Minsters Abbey) situated in Siyambalanduwa, on the border of the Ampara District in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

Govinda Hela holds a strategic position approximately 500 meters above sea level. This elevated location likely contributed to its historical role as a natural sanctuary for protection from enemies, dating back to ancient times.

 

The rock formation Govinda Hela known as "Westminster Abbey" gained its name from British colonial influences. According to legend, during British rule, when the island of Sri Lanka came under British control, the rock was named "Westminster Abbey" due to its resemblance to the famous Westminster Abbey in England. This naming reflects the intersection of local geography with colonial perceptions and nomenclature.

 

Access to Govinda Hela, or "Westminster Abbey", is facilitated through a nearby temple. Visitors are required to obtain permission from the temple authorities and may need to purchase tickets for entry, typically for a small fee. This process ensures the preservation and management of the site while allowing visitors to explore its historical and natural wonders.

 

During the reign of King Buwanekabahu, temples were constructed in the vicinity of Govinda Hela, leaving behind ruins and archaeological evidence that attest to this historical period. Specifically, the Sri Buwanekabahu Purana Rajamaha Viharaya and associated temple grounds bear witness to the cultural and religious practices of the time.

 

Govinda Hela holds significant cultural and religious importance within Sri Lanka's historical landscape. Its association with ancient temples and legends contributes to its cultural heritage, attracting visitors interested in exploring the country's rich history.

 

As a national heritage site and a point of interest for both locals and tourists, Govinda Hela likely benefits from conservation efforts aimed at preserving its historical, cultural, and natural features. These efforts ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate and learn from this unique site.

 

Govinda Hela, or "Westminster Abbey", stands as a testament to Sri Lanka's diverse cultural and historical heritage. From its ancient origins as a natural sanctuary to its colonial-era associations and contemporary significance as a national heritage site, it continues to captivate visitors with its beauty and intrigue. Through efforts to preserve and protect sites like Govinda Hela, Sri Lanka honors its past while embracing its future as a custodian of cultural treasures.