Pilgrimage, a tribute to Ananda’s past teachers
The Old Anandians Group of 1982, which has many ‘firsts’ to its
credit, scored yet another first by taking their teachers on a
pilgrimage to the most sacred city of Anuradhapura.
Teachers pose for a group picture
Early in the morning of Saturday the 23rd July we left Ananda
College, Colombo, premises in two luxury coaches filled to full
capacity. Accompanying us were members of Group ‘82 led by its President
Rajiv and Secretary Kusal. Our first stop was at Palliyagodellawatte, a
hamlet off Kandy Road, past Yakkala. It is the village where the
principal sponsor of the pilgrimage Sumith Gomes was born and bred. We
had our breakfast there hosted by him amidst the luscious greenery of
the paddy fields. Next to the paddy field stood the Chaithya built by
Sumith in memory of his beloved parents. What a great deed. We saw it
and we worshipped it.
We reached Anuradhapura in the afternoon. We were met by Old Anandian
Tilak Galagedara. He had undertaken to look after the arrangements at
that end on the request made by Mrs. Soma Suriarachchi on behalf of
Group of ‘82.
We were accommodated comfortably at Ratnamali.
In the evening we were taken to the Sri Maha Bodhi Maluwa. Gilan Pasa
Pooja was conducted on our behalf by the Venerable Ankumbure Revatha
Thera. Later he delivered an interesting sermon at the Bana Maduwa.
Two students help a teacher
At the end of the sermon Sumith offered a valuable Dhamma gift to us
- Mahapiritha in eight CDs. The Buddha’s saying, ‘Gift of Dhamma excels
all other gifts’ came to our minds. We returned in the morning to offer
“Kiripindu Pooja”. Again Ven. Revatha Thera conducted the pooja.
On Saturday night we had dinner at the Senapura Army Camp on the
invitation of Army officers belonging to Group of ‘82. On Sunday morning
we went to the Basawakkulama Army Camp. Again, it was organised by Army
officers of Group of ‘82 attached to that camp.
On the way back we went to Nimal Chandrasiri’s residence for tea.
Nimal is an Old Anandian who had been the Mayor of Kurunegala for the
past 20 years, which I presume is a world record. It turned out to be a
social event as many Old Anandians gathered there to greet us.
It was very late in the night when we returned. But that did not
become a problem as the group had arranged transport to take teachers to
The pilgrimage was a great success. We were looked after well with
loving kindness. We were happy and contented. It will linger in our
This batch of students was the first to form a group of their own in
any school. That was in 1984. As a group they organised a felicitation
for their teachers in 1991. Again it was the first its kind in any
school. Since then the Group ‘82 had been felicitating their teachers in
various ways. Last year they donated Rs. 250,000 to the Past Teachers’
Association. Recently they organised a bana preaching by an eminent
Buddhist monk at Ananda College, premises. It was followed by a
reception and a distribution of gifts.
I had the opportunity of relating this story to Most Venerable
Dauldena Siri Gnanissara Uttaritara Mahanayake of the Amarapura Nikaya.
He appreciated it very much.
The writer is a former teacher of Ananda College, Colombo.