Sri Lanka has a culture made vibrant by its long and eventful history. The island has many historical and cultural tokens gifted by its history, and one is Kalutara Bodhiya. Believed to be a fig of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Kalutara Bodhiya is respected and visited by Sri Lankans and tourists every day.
Before the colonial rule
As per Sri Lankan historic records, Kalutara Bodhiya is a sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, which was planted in Anuradhapura in the 2nd century under the instructions of King Devanampiyatissa. It is said that 32 saplings were planted all over the country and one is Kalutara Bodhiya.
The colonial rule
The sacred tree remained untouched until the 15th century. However, when the Portuguese first gained control of the coastal regions of Sri Lanka, they made the site of Kalutara Bodhiya an administrative centre, owing to its geographical importance. Later, when the British took over the country, they decided to remove the tree in order to build railroads; however, the decision was thwarted by the protests led by the locals. After Sri Lanka was declared a self-governing country in 1948, the first prime minister of Sri Lanka, D.S Senanayake, declared the site sacred, at which point, its importance became permeant in the minds of Sri Lankan Buddhists.
Kalutara Buddhist Society and Kalutara Bodhi Trust
The society was formed in 1931 as a measure to safeguard the site and promote Buddhism in the Kalutara region. And Kalutara Bodhi Trust was implemented to offer a lending hand to struggling families and promote education and health in the area; however, today, the reach of the trust extends beyond the area of Kalutara.
As a tourist attraction
The site is also among the most popular places to visit in Kalutara. Located in proximity to Anantara Kalutara Resort, Kalutara Bodhiya is considered a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka that boosts tourism in the region.