Trip To Dambana (Wedi Gammanaya) – Sri Lanka 2017
Dambana is a village within the Badulla District in Sri Lanka. It is closest to the town of Mahiyangana. It is known as the refuge of the indigenous Vedda people as well as their moribund Vedda language. It is well known for its eco-tourism projects, operated by Eco Team. 2010 it had population close 1000 individuals all belonging to Vedda families.
The closest town to Dambana is Mahiyanganaya. It is said that Gautama Buddha visited Mahiyanganaya on the full moon Poya day of January in order to settle a dispute arose between Yakkas and Nagas (two tribes then inhabited this area) and this was his first ever visit to Sri Lanka.
How to reach Dambana Wedi Gammanaya
There are two main routes to Dambana from Colombo by car,
- Fastest is via Kandy-Mahiyangane-Padiyatalawa Highway – 5 h 57 min (234 km)
- via Kandy-Mahiyangane-Padiyatalawa Highway – 6 h 3 min (211km)
The Vedda are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka who, among other self-identified native communities such as Coast Veddas and Anuradhapura Veddas, are accorded indigenous status. Most speak Sinhala and Tamil instead due to the near-extinction of their indigenous languages.
According to the 5th-century genesis chronicle of the Sinhala people, the Mahavamsa (“Great Chronicle”), the Vedda are descended from Prince Vijaya (6th–5th century BCE), through Kuveni, a woman of the indigenous Yakkha whom he married.
Anthropologists such as Charles Gabriel Seligman believed the Veddas to be identical to the Yakkha. Veddas are also mentioned in Robert Knox’s history of his captivity by the King of Kandy in the 17th century. Knox described them as “wild men”, but also said there was a “tamer sort”, and that the latter sometimes served in the king’s army.
We visited Damabana during April 2017. Thanks to Mr. Vivek we were able to take some great photos of their culture, religion and society.
Let’s start the journey….
Driving towards Wariga Mahagedara (Wedi Gammanaya) which means Village of Veddas .
One of the Vedda, selling their products. “Rings and pendants made by Elephant Horns, bee honey and some medicine timbers.
Wedi Naayakaya and Tourist Meeting Center
Below are the place present wedi Naayakaya uses to meet tourists. Unfortunately we couldn’t meet him cause He was out for cricket match in Kandy. However picture with Wedi Naayakaya is prohibited.
Previous Wedi Naayakaya’s Shrine
Vedda Marriage Ceremony
Vedda marriage is a simple ceremony. It consists of the bride tying a bark rope (diya lanuva) that she has twisted, around the waist of the groom. This symbolizes the bride’s acceptance of the man as her mate and life partner. In Vedda society, women are in many respects men’s equals.
Mahiyangana Dagoba, Sri Lanka
Replica of Bodhgaya at Mahiyanganaya.