13 kilometers from Ulapane towards Thawalantanna bordering the Kothmale Reservoir lies the ancient Morape Kataragama Devalaya of Kotmale. According to legend, this Devalaya has colorful history going back to the Gampola Period (14th to 15th century). It is believed to be built on the place where the Queen Henakanda Biso Bandara resided during this era.
Based on the ‘Kothmale Purawurtha’ written by a P. B. Kehelgamuwe in 1935, the legend of the birth and life of Henakanda Biso Bandara is an interesting one. During the Gampola Era, an unusually large Beli fruit was grown on a Beli tree in the Beligala Temple.
One day, a deity appeared in a dream of the head priest and stated that a lucky child will be born from this fruit and the Beli fruit should be plucked and kept on a alter in the temple. The priest followed the instructions and one night the fruit cracked making a sound of a heavy thunder. When the priest and the villagers went in, they saw a baby girl had be born out of the fruit. Since this baby came out to the world making a sounds of thunder, she was named Henakanda Biso Bandara.
The villagers looked after this baby and she grew to woman of unparalleled beauty. She was a devoted buddhist and supported many temples in the area. Many princes came in hope of marrying this beauty but nothing but bad luck came upon them. Finally she left the village and went to live in Hindurankanda mountain.
She used to visit the Embakke Devalaya often to worship the Kataragama deity. Kataragama deity was mesmerized by her beauty, he too started visiting her frequently. To avoid the advances of this deity, she moved to Kothmale Morape area.
Forlore says that a Nilame came hunting to this area and realized that this was the adobe of the legendary queen and made a offering of some clean water and ‘Mora’ fruits. When the king was informed of this place, he instructed to build a Devale at the place and donated 50 amuna of land each from dry fields and wet fields.
The Morape Sri Kataragam Devale Premises and its Ancient Buildings and other Archaeological remains situated within the limits were declared as protected archaeological site in 2009. Annual Perahara at this devalaya is held on July.
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Map of Morape Sri Kataragama Devalaya
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Travel Directions to Morape Sri Kataragama Devalaya
Route from Gampola to Morape Sri Kataragama Devalaya
|Though : Ulapane|
Distance : 22 km
Travel time : 45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map