Kalutara Bodhiya [5] – Gateway to the South

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Kalutara Bodhi
The ornamental pandol that stands at the entrance to the Sacred Tree

primary root main first article The Kalutara Bodiya which is venerated by all Buddhists in this country and specially the ones that travel to and from the South, compels every one of them to stop over at the Sacred Shrine to pay their respects by way of worshipping and offerings.

The giant Dagoba and Bo-Tree that has spread out and stands up to a height that is visible from a vast distance as one approaches the Shrine from Colombo, The Bo-Tree is believed to be a sapling of the Sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya of Anuradhapura.

According to the General Manager of the Bodhiya Trust K.M.C. Bandaranayaka, during the 2nd century AD the Venerable Mahinda Thera has directed that 32 saplings taken from the Sri Mahabodhiya be planted at certain points around the country. [h]

The present Bo-Tree in Kalutara is supposed to be one of the 32 saplings. It is also believed that King Devanampiyatissa the 2nd nurtured and paid special attention to see that the sapling grew without hindrance.

Even at the time the Portuguese invaded the country in 1505 and later converted the Sacred Site into a fort the tree was left intact. The Dagoba itself is supposed to contain the Sacred Relics of the Buddha which is another reason why most Buddhists are attracted to this shrine.

Devotees visit this holy shrine for a multitude of reasons. As at other temples and shrines the place is devoid of resident Buddhist Clergy though the temple has many organised events during the year of the Buddhist calender with some of the leading monks from all over the country participating.

The Kalutara Bodhi Trust was established by Sir Cyril de Zoysa in 1951, which has seen to the the preservation, management, maintenance and welfare of the Sacred Bodhi Tree which has become an important landmark in the country.

Sir Cyril de Zoysa Elders’ Home is located at the founder’s residence in Bombuwala Kalutara and presently managed by the Trust. The Yatiyana-Agalawatte Elders’ Home for Women accommodates and cares for 20 inmates over 70 years of age.

by W. L. PIERIS, Panadura
letters to editor
Sunday Observer

Also See

Map of  Kalutara Bodhiya

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Travel Directions to Kalutara Bodhiya

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