Seethavaka Barandy Kovil

June 29, 2011

According to popular folklore this kovil is dedicated to the Barandy god. The designer of this kovil is unclear. It is said that King Rajasinghe the 1st of Seethawaka (1581-91 AD) who had become a Hindu after having converted from Buddhism, built this kovil when he became the king of the hindu priests. This Kovil was restored in 1890 by HCP Bell after being identified as a place of special artistic value. It is interesting to note that the way the kovil is built is by having the stone blocks interlock one another like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. According to local folklore it is said that a group of 6 men known as the Arishtakas who had come from India also had some involvement in the design and building of the kovil. The Arishtakas due to their skill at war craft i.e. bow and arrow skills etc, were as a result very close to King Rajasinghe the 1st. The king had killed his father king Mayadunne of Seethawaka and was trying to find a way out of the eternal damnation of patricide that he had brought upon himself but unfortunately in Buddhism there was no possibility of ever repaying the sin and being forgiven for this crime. At this time the Arishtakas who were very close to the king advised him to become a hindu and worship at this temple as this would result in his sin being washed away gradually with time. Upon hearing this Buddhist priests of the kingdom had revolted saying the king could not do such a thing to escape his sin at which point they were apparently chased away from the royal court. Later while Rajasinghe was building the kovil the same priests came and began revolting at the site of the kovil which was being built. King Rajasinghe the 1st consorting with the Arishtakas devised a plan to eradicate the priests who had by now become a cause for great annoyance. When the kovil constructors informed the king that they could not build it owing to the constant trouble caused by the Buddhist priests this spelt the impending demise of the priests. King Rajasinghe the 1st without thinking too much about the terrible crime of killing Buddhist priests summoned them and killed them at the premises of the kovil. The priests were tied together in pairs. As there were 119 priests it is said that to make up for the missing partner for the last priest a wild monkey had been captured from a nearby tree and tied together with him before he was drowned. The particular spot that the priests were drowned in is to this day known as ‘kala madiri wala’(firefly hole) which basically means that it is so deep in this particular spot of the river that when one is at the bottom no matter how bright the light taken down is it will always seem only as bright as the glow from a firefly when viewed from the surface.

Drirections and location

Coming from Avissawella turn to Nuwareliya road then before Thalduwa junction just after the bridge over the Kelani river you will find a narrow road which will have signage to indicate the direction of the kovil. If you are coming from Colombo turn to nuwareliya road after the Kelani bridge and before Thalduwa Junction you have to turn to your right where you will find the narrow road which goes off the main road to the kovil. This road is not accessible by huge vehicles like buses and lorries but can be accessed by vans, cars and other similar light vehicles.


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