The Pattini cult, it is said, had its origins in either the Chola or Pandya kingdoms, but it is strongly associated with Madu Ganga and its environs, as our travels revealed.
Most of us are aware of legend of King Gajabahu I (2nd century A.D.) journeying to Chola country with his warrior Neela Maha Yodaya to bring back 12,000 Sinhalese prisoners.
He is also said to have brought back the sacred ornaments of the Goddess Pattini, namely the ran salamba (golden anklets) and the Buddha’s begging bowl together with the insignia of the gods.
King Gajabahu and his retinue, the story goes, set sail for Lanka, determined to build a Pattini Devale at Anuradhapura . But their ship encountered stormy weather and had to change course landing on the west coast. They sailed down the Kelani Ganga and the king came ashore and kept his precious cargo in a grove of Na trees.
The following day to his astonishment, he found that the spot where he had placed Pattini’s salamba – was surrounded by huge cobras. Hissing at him they would not allow him near. Thwarted in his efforts to take the anklets to Anuradhapura, the king had to leave them in the grove of Na trees where he is said to have built a devale dedicated to Pattini. The main Pattini Devale is located at Navagamuwa (close to Kaduwela along the low-level road off Colombo) .
A Similar Pattini story is associated with Maduwa. During the reign of King Parakrama Bahu II his warrior Prime Minister Devapathiraja and his strong army were in charge of the maritime southern province (from Kalutara to Bentota and Balapitiya) to prevent any foreign forces from entering the coastal area.
In this period the southern coastal belt was invaded not only by forces from the Pandyan kingdown but also by troops from Malaya. Minister Devapathiraja thanks to his army garrison at Velitota was able to repel such invasions. In fulfillment of a vow, after victory over his foes, Deva pathiraja built two Pattini Devales at Velitota /Weliwatta and Maduwa
The Maduwa Pattini Devale was built in an ancient spot called Kalinga Uyana . This shrine was later rebuilt by late Simon de Silva, an exponent on this Pattini cult, who narrated many miracles that happened during his lifetime and that of his ancestors at these sacred sites.
The festival of the Pattini Devale at Maduwa is held annually on a grand scale during the Esala season (July-August). As the golden salamba (anklets) are the sacred ornaments of Pattini, Kapuralas still wear such anklets whilst making incantations to the goddess invoking her blessings and performing the traditional Pattini rituals and dances. In time of illness and distress, supplications are made to the Goddess at these devales.
Spread over the Velitota basin are a multitude of devales and kovils dedicated to Goddess Pattini, and other guardian deities. Among them are the the Godagedera Devale, Maduwe Devale, Nurugala Kovila, Galmaduwa Kovila, Galmangoda Kovila, Gotakapola Kovila, Waturugama Devalaya, Doka Welikanda Palliya. Usweli Kanda Devale, Kosgoda Devale, Duwe Modera Kovila, Devage Kovila and Gappumulla Aliya Kovila. On Poson Poya in June, kiribath (milk rice) is served at all these devales.
The other well-known Pattini Devales are at Wilbawa (Kurunegala), Dedigama, Medagoda (Sitawake), Seenigama (Hikkaduwa) Saman Devale (Ratnapura ) and the Purana Ranakadu Pattini Maha Devale (Kaduwela).
Sunday Times, 21st May 2000
Map of Maduwa Pattini Devale
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.
Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.
Travel Directions to Maduwa Pattini Devale
Route from Colombo to Pattini Devale at Maduwa
|Through : Panadura Aluthgama – Balapitiya|
Distance : 78 km
Travel time : 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map