Monday, October 25, 2021

Kurunegala Lake

Kurunegala Lake
Kurunegala Wewa, popularly known as Kurunegala Lake, is a reservoir situated in Kurunegala town, Sri Lanka. Located at the verge of the Ethugala rock, it is used for recreation and sometimes as a drinking water source.

History
Kurunegala Wewa is also called by locals as Ranthaliya Wewa as there are some legends around this tank associated with Vathhimi Bandara, a prince born to a Muslim consort of King Buvanekabahu I (1272-1284 A.D.) or Vijayabahu IV [(1270-1272 A.D.) Borup et al., 2019]. 
 
The treasure & the origin of the Gale-Bandara cult
As mentioned in the legends, a treasure in the form of a golden pot began to float in the Kurunegala lake during the time of Vathhimi and his all attempts to acquire it proved futile (Borup et al., 2019). Ritual specialists (Kattadiyas) who were engaged to retrieve the treasure by Vathhimi are said to have been killed after they failed to grab this floating treasure (Borup et al., 2019). This action finally made Sinhala elites feared who thought that Vathhimi was planing a gradual annihilation of the Sinhalese starting with the Kattadiyas (Borup et al., 2019). 
 
To prevent this as well as to finish the non-Buddhist ruling, a Pirith chanting ceremony was organized on the summit of Ethugala located at the verge of the Kurunegala lake and Vathhimi was invited to it by making him believe that by participating in this event he would be able to recover the treasure floating on the lake (Borup et al., 2019). The greedy Vathhimi, without knowing anything, participated in the event as the chief guest and he was sitting on a special stand built towards the cliff of the rock (Borup et al., 2019). At the midnight, Vathhimi was pulled down the rock by a group of secret agents who had been assigned this task (Borup et al., 2019). 
 
The legends say that, following his assassination, Vathhimi was born as a demon and began to terrorize the people in the area (Borup et al., 2019). The deity Kataragama, responsible for the protection of Sri Lanka, came to meet this demon and agreed to make him a deity if he stops the violence against people (Borup et al., 2019). The demon agreed with it and after that, a shrine named Gale-Bandara Devalaya was built in his honour (Borup et al., 2019).

Attribution
 
Reference
1) Borup, J., Fibiger, M.Q. and Kühle, L. eds., 2019. Religious diversity in Asia. Brill. pp.255-256.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 1 November 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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