Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya

The Buddha image house
Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya and Purana Viharaya (or Sri Sugatha Bimbaramaya) are located in Nawagamuwa village, Colombo District, Sri Lanka. The site can be reached by travelling along the Kaduwela-Avissawella road about 4.5 km distance from Kaduwela town. The site is popular among the people as a place where they can receive the blessings of Pattini, the patron goddess of fertility and health.

The most popular legend links the history of Nawagamuwa Devalaya to the period of King Gajabahu I (114-136 A.D.) of Anuradhapura (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). According to the legend, King Gajabahu, after invading South India, brought the anklet of Pattini with him and also a large number of Chola men as prisoners (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). On his return to Sri Lanka, the ship was hit by a storm and the king finally landed at Nawagamuwa where he built a Devalaya by enshrining the Pattini anklet (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

The preaching hall
During the Kotte Period (1412-1597 A.D.), this place was used as a jetty on the road connecting Colombo with Hanwella, Malwana, and Gurubewila (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

As mentioned in the Godagama Sannasa, the Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya has been called during the early period as Pattini Kovila. According to the Sannasa, King Buvanekabahu VI (1472-1480 A.D.) had offered a gift of oil for the Perahera ceremony of Nawagamuwa Pattini Kovila (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

It is said that King Mayadunne (1521 - 1581 A.D.) had stopped at the Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya to make a vow prior to his departure to war against the Portuguese in the Colombo Fort. In 1576, the Portuguese made a military establishment on the site by destroying the Devalaya but it was recaptured and rebuilt by King Mayadunne. However, the Devalaya was again destroyed by the Portuguese in 1594 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Sarma, 2007).

Later renovations have been done to the temple during the period 1813-1920 by caretakers of the temple including Sri Sumanatissa Thera.

Excavations around the Devalaya premises have unearthed a number of artifacts including building materials, Dutch coins, Ura Keta Lin (a special kind of wells)  and metallic statues, etc. (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

A protected site
The old image house, Galkanu Devalaya, Sri Maha Pattini Devalaya, Vishnu Devalaya, Kataragama Devalaya, Dedimunda Devalaya, the monks' dwelling, and the yard with the grove of ancient Na trees in the premises of Nawagamuwa Devala situated in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Kaduwela are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 February 2002.

See also
#) Historical and Memorial Trees in Sri Lanka

1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.105-106.
2) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. pp.63-64.
3) Sarma, B.S., 2007. History of Munneswaram Temple. Sri Sankar Publications. p.21.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1264. 22 February 2002.

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This page was last updated on 14 January 2023

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