Our History Our Heritage – Seruwila

Are you aware that there is a lake that comes only 2nd to anothaththawila? It is majestic and sacred and that is none other than Seruwila located in Trincomalee District, East Sri Lanka. The lake is 7 ½ km in length, There are 3 historical accounts mentioning this lake.

  1. Sinhala dhathuwansaya
  2. Pali dhathuwansaya
  3. Jinakalimaliya

Why is this Seruwila so important? It can be seen to the naked eye. According to Dhathuwansa, Kavantissa Kings’ sister Princess Somadevi, Viharamahadevi’s brother Prince Giriabhaya came & settled in the town of Soma on the edge of Seruwila. It was in Soma town that Somawathi Seya was built. Archaeologists confirm that this is the Ruhunu Somawathiya known today as Wilgamvehera temple. It belongs to the Anuradhapura era & its dagoba architecture resembles the Ruwanweliseya.

Giriabhaya belongs to the Sakkya clan. Somadevi also belongs to the Ruhunu Sakkya clan. The Sakkya clan ruled the entire coastal belt of this island.

A place where Buddha offered flowers is located in Seruwila Mangala Maha Seya where remains of Buddha is enshrined. This is mentioned in the above 3 chronicles. The written history of Seruwila goes back to the time of kakusanda Buddha.Seruwila Maha Seya is to the East of the lake. To the north was the Sudukuda dagoba, this dagoba was bulldozed by extremists and has been turned into a kovil. These ancient sites belong to the Anuradhapura era & should be returned to its rightful owners. North West of the lake is Muttur where some ancient sacred antiquities have been. There are also some sel lipi found belonging to the Anuradhapura era. There are many caves too. These draw our attention to many chronicles about our ancient kings – King GIriabhaya, King Kavantissa, King Walagambha, Prince Dutugemunu, Prince Manabharana,


West of the lake is the Kiliveddy Bodiya a branch from the SriMahabodhi. This bodiya became victim of extremists who cut the bodiya in 1950s. This account is given in Cyril Mathews book which photos of the bodiya. Today in place of the bodiya is a kovil. Should this not be returned to the Buddhists?

To the South of the lake is found Kumbanachchi. This is an ancient & valuable Buddhist site.

South East of the lake is found Mahadatika Maha Naga – this is another ancient viharaya. The exact historical & archaeological importance of this site needs further investigation. This area was damaged by LTTE. Also near this site is where Princess Hemamala & Prince Dantha who travelled with Sri Daladawahanse and descended to lankapatuna. This place is also referred to by Tamils as Elankaturai. The number of antiquity sites and artefacts surrounding Seruwila is immeasurable. The rich history of this lake and the Sinhala Buddhist artefacts and antiquities surround Seru wila is something that needs to be treasured by all. Its historical significance must be valued by all & it must be preserved by all.

Sri Lankans must travel to see these ancient sites and take pride in them & affirm to help preserve and foster them. A country’s cultural heritage is valued by those who do not have a culture and ancient history to be proud of. The tourists that arrive and are awe-struck by our ancient treasures know the value of cultural heritage. It is time Sri Lankans also began valuing what is ours instead of trying to take over and replace ancient sites and aretefacts and create bogus history.  This is where Sinhala & Sakkya clan merged to create the civilizational history. Be proud of our heritage & our history.

Arunasiri Kottegoda

LTTE attacked the Ruhunu Somawathiya temple on 02/08/1985

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