It is believed that the Dedimunda Deiyo is the guardian deity of the Buddha Sasana. The name of the deity suggests that he was firm, hardhearted with a strong and powerful personality.

To reach Aluthnuwara Devale one has to travel to Hingula, two miles away from Mawanella on the Kandy-Colombo main road which was once a busy bazaar where people from Aranayake, Rambukkana and Mawanella came daily with their garden produce. They either walked or used bullock carts. Trade was dominated by the Chettiars who bought coffee, pepper, arecanuts and bananas in exchange for provisions. This was the scene before the World War 2. About two miles away from the Hingula bazaar, there is a road to the interior of Aluthnuwara which leads to the shrine of the deity Dedimunda Deiyo. Passing paddy fields and homesteads, one comes to an Ambalama with high stone wall pillars, a resting place for weary travelers in the days gone by. Travelling further, a flight of steps lead to the ‘Maluwa’ (compound). A short distance away is the Aluthnuwara Dedimunda Devale.

This devale is considered a special place of worship. On Kembura days, which are Wednesdays and Saturdays people come to offer pooja and make vows to the deity. People afflicted by illness which they consider is mostly due to evil spirits of Yaksha or Bhutha, have faith that the deity has the power to cure them of their maladies. They come from many parts of the country to seek the blessings of this deity.

Originally, the place of worship was built during the Dambadeniya period. This was situated close to the hillock where Galgane Purana raja Maha Viharaya is mentioned in the Nampotha.

It is believed that when King Parakramabahu II was passing through Aluthnuwara on his way to Sri Pada, he was very impressed with the place. He then decided to donate the property pattu village of his Queen Giriwasa Sunethra Devi, to the temple.

At this time a monk had come to reside here from Galaturumula Viharaya in Devinuwara. The monk was known as Assaddana Pirivenhimi as he founded the Assaddana Pirivena close to the temple. His successors reside at the present Kirthi Sri Raja Maha Viharaya.

It is said that King Parakramabahu II was taken very ill and found it difficult to speak. His chief minister Devapathi Raja visited Devinuwara and made offerings to Upulvan deiyo for the speedy recovery of the King.

In a dream, the chief minister was informed that the king’s illness cannot be cured. He returned to Dambadeniya with the ornaments of the deity and informed the king of his strange experience. The King died. The gods’ King Bhuvanekabahu and the chief monk of the Assaddana Pirivena too had a dream.

A deva had informed them to build a devale for Upulvan Deiyo. Accordingly, a devale was erected close to the cave temple. A statue of Upulvan deiyo was sculptured out of Sapu wood by a famous sculptor and the statue placed in the newly built devale.

The place where the Sapu tree stood came to be known as Sapugathtara. The ornaments of the deity were brought from Devinuwara and deposited in the devale at Aluthnuwara.

Buildings were added on to the devale during the reign of King Panditha Parakramabahu IV. The place was known as Nawatilakapuraya and later it became Aluthnuwara.

Another belief is that a chieftain was defied as Devatha Bandara after his death and was also the chief minister of god Upulvan.

A small devale was built in close proximity to the main devale. Upto the time King Wimaladharmasuriya I of Kandy, kings and chieftains donated lands and other valuable items to maintain the devale.

When the Portuguese invaded Kandy they looted the devale on their way. Hence, for safety the Upulvan deiyo image was housed close to the Sri Dalada Maligawa during King Senarat’s reign. At this time Hindu beliefs and worship became popular.

Thus, Upulvan Devale in Kandy came to be known as Maha Vishnu Devalaya. With the shifting of the Upulvan Devale to Kandy, now only the Dedimunda Devale remains at Aluthnuwara.


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