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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 28, 2019
Headline for Things to Know about Kalutara Bodhiya – A few Facts to Peak Your Interest
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to Know about Kalutara Bodhiya – A few Facts to Peak Your Interest

History dictates the historical and religious importance of Kalutara Bodhiya – it is said that Kalutara Bodhi was a sapling of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi which was planted in Anuradhapura in the 2nd century BC.



Kalutara Bodhiya is a sapling of Sri Maha Bodhiya, which was a sapling of the Bo tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. The locals consider the tree to be part of their culture and hold the tree in the highest esteem.


Jaya Sri Bodhi

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was the original tree which was later destroyed. After Buddha attained enlightenment under the canopied shade of the tree, the tree became quite venerable to Buddhists.


King Asoka

During King Asoka's reign, with his support, Buddhism started thriving in India. The part of the king's regime was to spread the religion all over the world. To that end, he sent his daughter, who was a Buddhist disciple, to Sri Lanka with a sapling of the main tree. The tree was planted in Anuradhapura in 288 AD, and it is the oldest tree in the world with recorded history.


The sapling

Sinhalese literary Bo Tree, which is a classic, records all of the history of the tree. As per the book, the tree sprouted eight fruits, and they grew four saplings each, totalling it up 32 saplings. The designated places for the tree were decided by the monk Mahinda and Kalutara is one of the designated places. Even after all that careful consideration and the process, the tree died in the 15th century AD.


A Portuguese colony

Sri Lanka became a Portuguese colony in the 15th century. The Portuguese invaded the country, and the tree wasn't much cared for during that period. The tree died, but after decades, it regrew. The Portuguese noticed that the locals held the site in high esteem and saw it as a way to inhibit religious activities in the country. Due to its strategic positioning, the site was converted into a fort later on.


The Dutch and the English

They saw the same use for the site and used the site as premises where they ran their administrative and military proceedings from. In the 19th century, the British started constructing railroads, and the tree was to be removed. But after many protests, the tree was left unharmed.


Tourism in the area

As a religious site, Kalutara Bodhiya attracts many people into the city, including both locals and tourists. The site bears significance as a tourist magnet. There are many hotels in Kalutara scattered around the site; one such place is Anantara Kalutara Resort.


Kalutara Buddhist Society

After the country gained independence, the locals in the area formed Kalutara Buddhist Society with the ambition of promoting and preserving Buddhism. Protecting Kalutara Bodhiya was one of their goals. They urged the government to relieve the site of all the other functionalities and revere the place as a religious site. In 1942, the constructions of the shrine began. By 1976, the shrine was open to the public. There were many historical figures who did their utmost to protect the site, and thanks to them, the tree has gone onto becoming one of the most important historical and religious sites in Sri Lanka.