While Kalutara in Sri Lanka may be known for its beach and huge temple, it is also home to a sacred Bodhi tree that has much significance to Buddhists.
Around 44 km from the commercial capital, Colombo, Kalutara can be reached by car, bus or train along the southern coast. Within a 10-minute drive from Turyaa Kalutara, the sacred tree can be found near the main temple which can be seen when arriving at the city and which is worth visiting too.
Upper Terrace Tree
Before heading to this attraction from one of the hotels in Kalutara, do keep in mind there are two sacred Bodhi trees! The Kalutara Bodhiyacan be found at the upper terrace near the temple and is said to date back to the 2nd century B.C; it’s believed to be one of the 32 saplings of Anuradhapura’s Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi originating from the Bodhi tree that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Lower Terrace Tree
At the lower terrace is another sacred Bodhi tree that dates back to 1052 A.D; a Pandyan prince named Vickrama Pandya who was ruling the city had a sapling from theSri Maha Bodhi tree in India planted here. While the area was subsequently turned into a fort by the Portuguese, the Bodhi trees thankfully were not harmed.
A Place of Meditation
Today, the Kalutara Bodhiya is visited by devotees who can be seen offering flowers and reciting Buddhist chants (gatha)especially on full moon (Poya) days. Amidst the sight of worshippers and the sound of theleaves rustling in thebreeze, one can take time to meditate and feel a sense of serenity.