Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 12 June 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya:

Abode of Goddess of fertility and health

Sri Lankans, irrespective of religious beliefs, seek divine intervention at many stages in their lives. Goddess of fertility and health Pattini is a pivotal figure in the lives of many people who ardently believe that she has the power to lead them to a happier, healthy life.

Paying homage to Goddess Pattini has become a ritual followed by Sinhala Buddhists, Hindus and other communities in Sri Lanka as they believe that Goddess Pattini can fulfill their wishes and provide divine protection for pregnant women and also adults and children infected with communicable diseases sometimes called “deiyange leda” (Gods’ diseases).

It is a common ritual among the Buddhists to make a vow in the name of Goddess Pattini, one of the guardian deities of Sri Lanka and Buddhism as believed by Sinhala Buddhists, to seek her divine protection to make a delivery of a child a safer one for mothers and to get the children and adults protected when they are infected with communicable diseases like chicken pox and measles.


Married couples who are not blessed with children also seek the blessings of Goddess Pattini while women suffering from various complexities during their pregnancy also seek the blessings of Goddess Pattini and make vows at this Devalaya.

The historic Pattini Devalaya in Nawagamauwa is believed to be the principle Devalaya dedicated to the name of Goddess Pattini in Sri Lanka. It has become a centre of attraction for the faithful devotees who believed in the protection and blessings of Goddess Pattini.

Devotees carrying trays of fruits (pooja watti) with yellow colour garlands (the colour dedicated to Goddess Pattini) to make their vows and show their gratitude towards Goddess Pattini for fulfilling their wishes, is a common scene for those passing this historic Devalaya situated on the 13th Mile Post of the Old Colombo Ratnapura Road or Low Level Road a few kilometres from the Kaduwela town.

Located in a rock like land in a thicket of Na trees or ‘Na Gomuwa’ that later gave the name to the area Nawagamuwa according to the people and historians, the surrounding environment of Pattini Devalaya gives a sense of relief for the people visiting this historic Devalaya as they reach the cliff where the Pattini Maha Devalaya is located in the centre of other Devalayas dedicated for other Gods and Goddesses.


Buddhists believe that Goddess Pattini is a Bodhisatva aspiring to become a future Buddha and had graced this land with her presence, meditating for years at the place where Pattini Devalaya is located. This has made this place a divine one.

“Even today we feel the presence of Pattini Maniyo in this land and that makes this place a divine one to fulfill all the wishes made by the people here at this Devalaya with good faith”, Maralanda Bandara the incumbent Kapurala of Nawagamuwa Pattini Devalaya said.

Many believe that Devalaya was built by King Gajaba I, who brought 12,000 prisoners from India after fighting the Chola kingdom, had also brought the anklet of Goddess Pattini, also known as Kannaki according to Hindu belief and the bowl relics.

“There is a belief the King Gajaba I, and his group had rested here at this place Nagomuwa on their way to Pihiti Rata after keeping the anklet of Goddess Pattini and bowl relics on a secured place on the rock but could not move the anklets when they tried to take it with them. Therefore, it is believed that the king had constructed this Devalaya enshrining the anklets of Goddess Pattini here and kept people from nine castes brought from India to make the offerings to Goddess Pattini at this Devalaya,” Bandara added.

Maralanda Bandara,
Kapurala of Nawagamuwa
Pattini Devalaya

There is also another belief that Goddess Pattini herself had arrived with 12,000 people and had lived here after creating nine villages for different castes of people engaged in different work. Therefore people believe the area is called Nawagamuwa because of these nine villages.

Apart from these folklore and legends related to Nawagamuwa Devalaya, the stone pillars in the centre of Devala premises which are protected by the Kapurala’s in veneration gives historic value to the place.


The archaeological studies about the Devalaya cite that the stone pillars near the Devalaya belong to the Portuguese period (1505-1658) and the location was used by them as a school to teach Christianity and also as a seminary.

According to the historical studies on Nawagamuwa Devalaya, the first historical mention is found during the Kotte period in the ‘Godagama Sannasa’, by Buwanekabahu V (A.D. 1521 - 1580), of a royal decree for a gift of oil to be made for the Nawagamuwa Pattini Kovil Perahera.

That gives the impression that the Devalaya had been maintained as a Kovil in the past and it had Hindu influence as Goddess Pattini is also known as Goddess Kannakee by Hindus. Thus the same God is shared by Buddhists and Hindus and it has now turned into the principal Devalaya dedicated to Goddess Pattini believed to be in charge of the territory of Kelani river valley in Sri Lanka.

As the Devalaya is now located along with Sri Sugatha Bimbaramaya, the Buddhist temple which controls the premises, people visiting the Pattini Devalaya worship the Buddha before making their visit to Pattini Devalaya to make their vows and wishes.

The Buddhists believe that Goddess Pattini who seeks to get the soul of a male in her aspiration to become Buddha one day, is in need of merit. People invoke merit on Goddess Pattini after offering flowers and worshiping the Buddha at the temple.

According to Bandara who is in charge of all rituals at the Devalaya since the 1990s they are conducting certain rituals every day and in the month of August they perform the Perahera ritual at Devalaya.


People make various offerings to Goddess Pattini, mainly trays of fruit, either cut or uncut, to make their vows before the Goddess and they hope to be blessed by the Goddess on hearing the Kapurala’s pleading for blessings.

The gilded statue of the Goddess Pattini placed in the palace of the Goddess Pattini, is unveiled to the public only during “thevava” rituals conducted at the Devalaya at specific times between 6 am to 8.30 p.m. The ritual Muluthan pooja to make offerings to Goddess Pattini is performed at 9 am and people believe that it is blessing to offer ‘muluthan pooja’ to the Devalaya which is a rare chance.

After making the offering the Muluthan pooja is distributed among the devotees at the Devalaya to invoke blessings on them.

“Goddess Pattini is always there to fulfil the wishes made by people in good faith and give protection to the people seeks her blessings. More than 99 per cent of the people visiting this place are contended in their life as Goddess Pattini has fulfilled all their wishes,” Bandara added.


The Pattini Devalaya is undergoing rapid changes with a canopy made of copper being constructed over Goddess Pattini palace as an offering to the Devalaya by the Steel Corporation and also certain changes inside the Devalaya by the State Timber Corporation.

“With these new changes people will be able to see Pattini Devalaya with a new look by August this year before we perform the Perahera ritual with the blessings of Chief Incumbent of Sri Sugathabimbaramaya temple who guides us in the right direction,” Bandara said.


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