On top of the mount overlooking Kalu ganga, the Portuguese built a fort in the 16th century A.D. The Portuguese destroyed the Gangatillake Vihara built by King Vikkam Pandya in the 11th century when they invaded Kalutara.
After Portuguese once took possession of the site of the mount where the Gangatillake vihara stood, decreed the area out of bounds to the public. Even the present Sacred Bodhiya below by the main road was declared as a prohibited area (thahanam pradesha).
Upasaka Sendanayake the crusade
The British in the early 19th century, transformed Kalutra into a rubber, coffee and cinnamon plantations area. With the construction of the rail-road bridges over Kalu ganga in 1877 by the British, the Kalutara Bodhiya by the main road came into limelight and motorists, devotees and others who passed it, paid homage.
A pious and dedicated Buddhist layman, Upasaka Sandanayake regularly cleared the shrub jungle around the Bodhiya. The public helped him and it became a popular place of worship.
The British Assistant Government Agent of the time, Mr. Brodhurst (an engineer himself) found the Bodhiya a real obstruction when constructing railroad bridge and ordered the tree to be axed.
Immediately Upasaka Mahatmaya Sendanayake planned a protest with posters against the cutting down of the Bodhiya.
When the ‘D’ day dawned for the cutting the Bodhiya. The Assistant Govt. Agent, Mr. Brodhurst arrived with his officials to the the scene only to face an angry mob armed with clubs, kathties, mammoties. The Assistant Government Agent sought police aid from the Kalutara police station. The police warned them to disperse. But the protesters did not move and had to face charges of unlawful obstruction but the Bodhiya was saved from the axe.
Map of Kalutara Bodhiya
Travel Directions to Kalutara Bodhiya