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Travel: Mahiyangana

Despite controversies on the rights of the veddas, the Maduru Oya National Park has been declared as a vedda reservation site. With a history so rich and possibly the only connection Sri Lankans have to their ancestors, the well-being of the veddas should be taken into consideration. It's true, the veddas have means of living and their children are being educated in a vedda school while some veddas have graduated to being business people and talking on mobile phones. However, the veddas do like it when tourists and domestic travellers visit them. Having a different language where one might hear names like 'Kekuli' and 'Kekuli-pojji', it is good to know that history is still preserved in places like Dolagahawela, Muthugalwela passing Mahiyangana.

You can even see a vedda Museum where ancient artifacts and African-like paintings grace its mud walls. The vegetable dyes used to create the paintings are evident since they are very soft in colour with dark tones right around. Don't be scared if the veddas themselves make an appearance, they dance and sing on your request and if you're a local, Rs. 100 is more than enough to make them happy. The bones and skulls of the animals in the museum look like the work of taxidermy, but the horns really give you something to think about.

The surroundings of the museum are for display with tree-houses and thatched roof tied together with coconut leaves. The reservation site is like a village in the jungle; so be careful if animals pop into greet you.

The veddas do look like normal villagers as they wear sarongs and shirts but the only thing that gives them away is the language and the way they behave and reveal their body language.

Around 7km east from Hasalaka, the bustling town of Mahiyangana is recorded in the great chronicle of Sri Lanka as the first of the three places in Sri Lanka which the Buddha visited. The others are Kelaniya Royal Temple and Sri Pada (Adam's Peak). Following the launch of the greatest modern irrigation scheme of Sri Lanka, the Mahaweli Ganga (Mahaweli River) Scheme, the town was laid out to serve the new irrigation districts.

Opposite the temple, north of Kandy Road, six statues of Sinhalese leaders have been erected: three ancient kings and two of modern stalwarts of the nation namely King Devanampiyatissa, King Dutugamunu of Ruhuna, King Parakramabahu the great, King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe, the first Prime Minister of Ceylon Rt. Honourable Don Stephen Senanayake. Along the way, you'll witness the glory and beauty of the Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara Stupa which is believed to be the spot where the Buddha preached. Enshrined in the stupa is a lock of blue-black hair of Buddha and a relic of the Buddha's collarbone.

The area is very attractive as the park with the Dagoba is well-maintaind with beautiful scenery overlooking the far bank of the Mahaweli.

Also, the Sorabora Wewa where the Sorabora rainwater reservoir gushes with crystal clear water, is on the outskirts of Mahiyangana on the road to Bibile. According to the legend; a giant is said to have created the dam.

So Mahiyangana is a great place to discover your roots and witness history, culture and human advancement in one place!

Courtesy: SundayObserver

Posted on Sunday, December 06, 2009 @ 07:57:48 LKT by

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