A lone mountain stands in the district of Kegalle named “Uthuwankanda” that was one the home for a man that is now more legend than human: Saradiel. A learned bandit who evaded the iron arm of the British, the legend of Saradiel is something that all Sri Lankans are fond of discussing over a cup of plain ginger tea.
The story takes place in the late 19th century when Queen Victoria was ruling England, and by extension, the island of Sri Lanka. There was a boy by the name Saradiel, who was well schooled and joined the barracks. He learnt his craft at the barracks, until one day he was caught stealing. He was ordered to be arrested, at which point he stabbed a police officer fatally. This caused Saradiel to be denounced by his father and is marked as the starting point of numerous prison breaks, attempted recaptures and a reign of terror for the authorities. Uthuwankanda is where escaped Saradiel called home, and it is from here that he conducted his business of waylaying merchants, robbing traders, and being a constant pain for the police officials. The legend of Saradiel also speaks of a dagger – an enchanted dagger that was made out of a meteorite – that had the ability to make its wielder bullet-proof. According to the legend, at the time of Saradiel’s final capture, after two whole years of evasion and trickery, the dagger was under his pillow. The local legend says that this was the reason Saradiel was able to be captured.
Uthuwankanda is visited by many locals, but only a few foreigners on Sri Lanka tours are in the know about this. If you do wish to see the hideaway of this infamous man, fondly dubbed the Robin Hood of Sri Lanka, you can talk to an agency like Walkers Tours who arrange bespoke tours. Alternatively, you can find a local guide to take you there. This legend’s hideaway is not only spectacular but is also quite a task to find without expert knowledge on the matter.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+