Kalutara Bodhiya – A Sacred Tree with a Unique History

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On your journey to the south coast of Sri Lanka, you will come across the charming town of Kalutara where you will find an ancient tree steeped in history; this is known as the Kalutara Bodhiya and it has quite a story to tell.

A sacred tree

The Kalutara Bodhiya is revered by Buddhists since it is believed to be one of the thirty two saplings taken from Anuradhapura’s Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree; the latter is said to have originated from the right-wing branch of the sacred tree in Buddha Gaya, India where enlightenment was attained by Lord Buddha.

During colonial times

While the site of the Kalutara Bodhiya was taken over by the Portuguese in the 16th century and turned into a fort, the tree was not harmed. Subsequent colonial powers, namely the Dutch and the British also took over the site. After independence, the site was restored due to the efforts of the Kalutara Bodhi Trust and today it can be easily visited while staying at Kalutara hotels in the area.

Kalutara Temple | Image Credit - Yoshan Bisanka, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons
Kalutara Temple | Image Credit – Yoshan Bisanka, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons

Important site close by

Near this sacred tree is the town’s main temple and stupa; a 10 minute drive from Mermaid Hotel & Club, this temple is one of the first things you will see when you enter the town and is well worth exploring as well.

Panning your visit

A visit to the Kalutara Bodhiya will give you a chance to not only see this tree but also soak up the calm atmosphere at this site. Head to the nearby stupa which is hollow; on the inside is a collection of murals depicting scenes from Lord Buddha’s life.

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.

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