Sandarawala is an ancient pond on the Baddegama-Galle Road. Rather neglected now, this pond and the adjoining mystic hill called ‘Hedi Demala Kanda‘ is buried deep in the history of Sri Lanka.
In 1215 Kalinga Magha, an invader from India captured the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa and the city was under his iron grip for 21 years until Parakramabahu II defeated him in 1236.
According to the publication “Hedi Demala Kanda ha Sandarawala Ithihase Bindhak” (හැඩි දෙමළ කන්ද හා සන්දරවල ඉතිහාසයේ බිඳක්) by the Most Venerable Ganegama Saranankara Thero, the hill at which the Sandarawala lies at its foot was occupied by soldiers of Magha under a general called Sandara. During this time this hill be came to known as “Hedi Demala Kanda” due to the Tamils living on the hill.
Then Parakramabahu II began his war with Magha and the Sinhalese soldiers surrounded the hill to capture the Tamil soldiers. When they were surrounded, Sandara collected all the valuables he had and jumped into the pond at the bottom of the hill. It was after that the pond became known as Sandarawala.
Even today, Sandarawala carries a mystic fear among the villagers. Filled with treasures of Sandara, it is believed that Sandara was born as an eel wearing golden earrings at the pond to protect its treasures and some old people will wow that they had seen it with their own eyes.
According to folklore various golden objects such as jugs and containers had appeared at the pond and those who had taken away these objects had fallen to many hardships and had been ultimately destroyed. The same had happened to people who had tried to fish in this pond.
Another folklore states that when the current bridge over the Sandarawala was built, a supervisor discovered a figure of a god with two heads buried in the mud. He had taken it home and his whole family had been gradually destroyed thereafter.
It is also believed that emptying the pond during droughts will bring rain to the area. The pond had been drained at least thrice in the past with successful results. The first time had been about 175 years ago and the second time about 125 years ago, by an Englishman called Bowman who was the first to introduce tea plantations to the Baddegama area. His Makurugoda plantation had faced a severe drought and listening to his workmen, he started to drain the pond. Halfway draining the pond, the area received a heavy downpour enough to flood the Gin Ganaga River. It is said that a stone inscription lies by the pond recording this event by Bowman.
The third time the pond was drained was around 1960 by a well-known businessman called Gangabada Mudalali during another severe drought. With the blessing of the temple, he had started to drain the Sandarawala with electric pumps and halfway down it had rained again flooding the area.
Today this pond has been neglected and reduced due to illegal landfills and has lost its beauty with garbage filling it.
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Map of Sandarawala at Baddegama
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|Route from Colombo to Historic Sandarawala at Baddegama|
|Through : Matra Expressway|
Distance : 106 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map