Kirinda - Legend of Queen Viharamaha Devi
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Author:  Nissanka [ Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Kirinda - Legend of Queen Viharamaha Devi

Legend of Queen Viharamaha Devi
Kirinda's legendary attraction

@ SO

Kirinda is a small but beautiful village on the southern coast of Sri Lanka close to Kataragama. It has a beautiful beach and a Buddhist shrine built on a huge round rock. The area is also close to the Great and Little Basses reefs which provide some of the most spectacular scuba diving in the country.


One of the most well-known attractions in Kirinda is the statue of Queen Viharamaha Devi. This is situated on the spot where she is said to have landed after being set adrift on the sea from Kelaniya. The rock temple mentioned above is largely believed to be the site of her landing.


Queen Viharamaha Devi was the daughter of King Kelanitissa who ruled Kelaniya in the days gone by. The king punished a monk once by boiling him alive in a cauldron of oil. It is said that the gods, angered over this cruel deed, made the ocean rush inland and flood the land. Soothsayers said that if a princess is sacrificed to the sea, the raging waves will stop. The young princess paid the ultimate sacrifice to atone for the sins of her father. She was placed inside a beautifully decorated boat and set adrift on the sea.

As soon as she was set off, it is said, the sea suddenly turned calm again and the water receded. However, the king was very upset, the queen was wailing and the citizens were very angry over the loss of their brave princess. They all started heaping the blame on the king.

Meanwhile, the young princess finally reached the shore, at a spot known as Dovera in Kirinda. This was in the southern part of the country, then known as Rohana (now Ruhuna) which was a quite prosperous area during this era. A fisherman who first spotted the boat is said to have run to King Kavantissa, who was the ruler of the area, and informed him about the cast- away princess. The Thupavamsa says birds who first spotted the floating boat informed the king.


The princess was brought before the king in a procession. And the king, on hearing her story, was so impressed that he decided to marry the princess who had been so brave and patriotic to sacrifice her life for her country. As she reached the shore at a spot close to the Lanka Vihara, she was named Viharamaha Devi. The place where she landed is marked with an inscription laid there by Prince Mahanaga.

She bore the king two sons, Dutugemunu and Saddhatissa. The former is one of the greatest heroes of our country, while Viharamaha Devi herself is recognised as a great heroine of our motherland.

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