Diving to Kotmale
By Bhagya Alwis
It was a sunny and bright Saturday morning and I was at Kandy this morning. I and my friends Oshini, Melani & Yasith planned have a pilgrimage to Mahawali Maha Seya at Kothmale. We drive all the way from busy Kandy city to Gampola and took a turn from Ulapane to the Kotmale. The total distance is around 40 km and that was a superb drive with the escalating sharp bends.
The Mahaweli Maha Seya will be an achievement development of epic scale sited on a slant sitting above the Kotmale Reservoir. This will be the greatest and the Largest Stupa to be developed following 2350 years in Sri Lanka. The work of Mahaweli Maha Seya started on March 20 1983, with the investment of the late President J. R. Jayewardene and Gamini Dissanayake.
According to ancient geographical and historical data, Sri Lanka was divided into three domains Ruhunu, Maya, Pihiti. Kotmale ranked number one out of 42 administrative areas or shires. Legends has it that Prince Gamini was stowing away at Kanda Uda Kotte, Urupelesse Village Headman’s home, camouflaged, the Mahaweli Maha Seya is situated inside of a short separation of one kilometer. He had an adoration illicit relationship with a town maid named Ranmenika, the little girl of Village Headman.
After visiting to Mahawali Seya, we went to see the massive Kothmale Reservoir, the Kotmale project is one of five major projects being undertaken under the Accelerated Mahaweli River scheme. 16 Grama – Sevaka Divisions, 66 Villages, four tea estates and 18 temples and two devalayes went under the water of Kotmale Reservoir.
The late Gamini Dissanayake to compensate the loss of these religious shrines, decided to construct magnificent bubble shaped stupa which was second only to the famous Ruwanveli Maha Seya of Anuradhapura on the right bank of the Kotmale dam facing the reservoir. The Mahaweli Seya also which is a towering 289 feet in hight, is built at an elevation of 950m (4,150ft) above sea level. The base of this great seya is 600 metres. Featured here are some of the spectacular ruins of Kadadora Vihara which are visible only during the drought season, the Seya and scenic views of the reservoir.
There is a view point to see the Kothmale dam and that will gives about 270 degree view of the reservoir. There is a informative center in the viewpoint building and you can see the structure of the dam and also some of the old photographs taken while building the project and also the opening of it. As entrance fee they charge Rs. 20/- and this will allow you to go to viewpoint and also to the top of the Dam.
After walking on the kothmale dam we came home thinking what a major construction that was and its generating significant amount of electricity to national power grid. And the magnificence of the Kothmale Seya and Reservoir.
By Bhagya Alwis