Bolthumbe Saman Devalaya is a rather unknown place for the average visitor of the Balangoda area. What is unique about this devalaya is according to legend, the history of this place goes as far as Ravana Era. Even today, a prominent place is given to King Ravana in all its activities. During the annual possession which is held in August, the Ravana Flag is carried at the front of possession. The most priced possessions of this devalaya is an ancient Ravana Flag and the supposedly Ravana vehicle which are never exposed to outsiders.
According to local legend, the final war between Rama and Ravana took place over the mountains of Dethanagala which lies close to the Bolthumbe Saman Devalaya. In the end, King Ravana’s body was severed from the head by an arrow shot by Rama and his body fell the devalaya grounds and its head to Oluganthota near Walawe River. People covered the body of King Ravana with a large mound of earth and this area became known as Bahala-Thumba which became Bolthumbe over time. Even today the ancient hymns sung at this devalaya describe how this temple was built in honour of King Ravana.
The current Saman Devalaya at Bolthumbe was built by King Seetawaka Rajasinghe I in the 15th century to move the holy valuables of the Ratnapura Maha Saman Devalaya from the Portuguese invaders. Therefore the Bolthumbe Devalaya had been built in the same fashion as Ratnapura Maha Saman Devalaya.
After visiting this temple dedicated to the Saman deity on 10th February 1886 Mr. H. Wase has noted the description below. “The entrance to the long hall of devale is magnificent and attractive. The surface line of the doorpost made of ebony has been battened with chiselled ivory belts. Outwardly thin brass cleats have been fixed in every direction.” A report written by Mr W. H. Codrington on 8th January 1922 documents that the devale was not in good condition at that time and there was a deep wooden chest that would measure 4 ft. long and 2½ wide. He evaluates the bronze chariot of the deity as the most precious entity in the entire terrain.
This historic Bolthumbe Saman Devalaya can be reached by travelling 12.2 km on the Balangoda – Bogawanthalawa road and taking the Bolthumbe Devala Road. Travelling 1 km on this road will bring you to the devalaya grounds.
Map of Balangoda Bolthumbe Saman Devalaya
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites
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Driving Directions To Bolthumbe Saman Devalaya
|Route from Balangoda to Bolthumbe Saman Devalaya|
|Through : Bogawanthalawa Road|
Distance : 13 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map