Addition of two cents to a traditional pilgrim (Day 1 : Colombo to Dikwella)

By : Viraj Rathnapriya
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Year & Month Number of Days Crew Weather Transport
Mar, 2009 4 Days 3 Male – 4 Female Excelent Nissan Vanette
Trip Route
Day 1 : Colombo/Veyangoda ->Galle-> Matara-> Dikwella

Day 2 : Dikwella -> Hambantota -> Bundala -> Magama ->

Kirinda -> Thissa -> Kataragama

Day 3 : Kataragama -> Buttala -> Passara -> Badulla

Day 4 : Badulla -> Bandarawela-> Haputale -> Veyangoda

Pilgrims rests @ Dikwella, Kataragama & Badulla
Travel Tips, Travel Notes and Special remarks
  • It’s wise to carry sufficient amount of water for drinking purpose.
  • Keep extra attention when you bath in unknown water.

While the war was in progress, Pilgrim on Kataragama was known as the only multi day safe journey. Though the 30 years civil war is over now & all the civilians have got equal opportunity to travel where ever they wish, Katharagama is still one of the most popular travel destinations. Thus situation is encouraged me to offer you this travel story, to memorize you a bit of the situation there, few years back.

It was just 5.30 am when we left from Veyangoda & stopped for the brake fast at the bank of the village tank at Bandaragama. The gravel road at the far end of the dam, took us to an ideal shady location for the same.

The village tank at Bandaragama

The first travel location of the day was Kaluthara Bodhi. We parked our vehicle at the parking place located at the Delta of Kalu-River which offered basic facilities for pilgrims in satisfactory manner. The pagoda at Kaluthara was known as an engineering excellence of late Dr. A.N.S. Kulasinghe, popular as “Concrete Kulasinghe” former Chairman of the Engineering Corporation of SL. The pagoda was built as an egg-shell with a concrete wall of 11 inches in thickness. The set of windows at the dome offered pilgrims not only the comfortable inner atmosphere, 360o view of the country side, sea, the river & the outfall.

The pagoda was built as an egg-shell with a thin concrete wall

The small Pagoda inside of the large one @ Kalutara Bodhi

Kande vihare at Beruwala was our second destination. As a tradition added in Kandy era (for the benefits of South Indian wives of our Kings), many Devalaya(s) had added to Buddhist temples. Kande Viharaya was such a Buddhist Temple become popular due to presence of Devalaya(s). How ever a giant statue of Lord Buddha had been added recently & art works of the new house of statue was in progress.

Image house at Kande vihare

art works in progress

Oil lamp

A giant statue of Lord Buddha added recently

Our next location was the beach at Kosgoda. This was important due to two reasons. One was presence of relief conservation centers for tortoise. The other; which was a hidden thing was availability of high quality “Jadi”.

The Beach at Kosgoda

When we reached Seenigama, the ancient Devalaya in the Island was opened for her day time function. That gave us a golden opportunity to visit the same with a traditional Oruwa. No safety measures for pilgrims but faith.

Makara Thorana at the Entrance of Devalaya

The ancient Devalaya in the Island

Reaching the ancient Devalaya in the Island

Row… row… row the boat

Since we had paid much visits to the fortress at Galle earlier, we ignored the same. The beach at Unawatuna, Marin wickramasinghe museum @ Koggala & the Madol duwa were also added to the list of ignorant. If you are interest on the fortress at Galle, Click here for a nice travelogue made by Dinesh.

The Island in the bay of Weligama

Once we reached the bay of Weligama, we paid a visit to the “Kushtaraja Gala” at Weligama. To reach there we had to drive nearly a kilometer to the land side until we reached the Buddhist temple known as Agrabodhi Viharaya where 1/32 daughter Bodhi of Sri Maha Bodhi was planted. The 12 feet tall statue was dated to 6 or 7 centuries of AD and identified as a statue of “Sinhanada Awalokitheshwara Bodihsathwa”. This was a Mahayana statue & believed built by a King who had recovered from a skin disease. Even today, the holy oil emitted from the statue is used by villagers for skin diseases.

statue of “Sinhanada Awalokitheshwara Bodihsathwa” – Kushtarajagala

Sadly we missed visiting the Star fortress at Matara. The folk museum of Martin Wickramasinghe & Madol Duwa were ignored since all the crew members had visited there previously.

The giant statue of Lord Buddha at Purvaramaya temple – Veherahena, Matara

Having visiting the Purvaramaya @ Veherahena – Matara, where a giant statue of Lord Buddha was located, we reached Dondra (Dewundara). In the next moment we paid a visit to the light house at point Dondra the most Southern place in Sri Lanka. If you are further interest on the same, click here for a nice travelogue made by Dinesh.

the light house at the point Dondra

We reached back to the town of Dondra in the dusk. An inscription found at the historic temple (Rajamaha Viharaya) at Dondra was proven it as the “Kihirali Pirivena” done by the King Dappula-I in Anuradahapura era.

The Upulwan Devalaya at the same premises was our last travel location of the day. Some historians believed that the Upulwan Deviyo was a local God and miss-replaced later with the Hindu God Vishnu. The Vishnu Devalaya at present was built by King Rajasinghe-II after destroying the ancient Devalaya by Portuguese.

Upulwan Devalaya at Dondra

Click here to view the third part (Day II) of this travelogue

Have a Safe Journey!

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