Footprints of Guru Nanak's Travels in Sri Lanka ~ Part III of IV

When Guru Nanak reached there, Jaffna was ruled by a Shaivite king named was Pararajasekhran (1478-1519 AD) with his cap...





These details confirmed that Guru Nanak entered Sri Lanka by a boat/small ship from Nagpatnam, an old port and reached Japapatnam (modern Jaffna) in Sri Lanka. Jaffna is at the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka. With a population of 88,138 Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th largest city.[43] Jaffna's suburb, Nallur served as the capital of the four centuries-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people have started to return to their homes and government and private sector reconstruction has begun. The majority of the city's population is Sri Lankan Tamils. There are number of ancient temples which are centre of attraction of the general public.

This Northern part of Sri Lanka was a "flourishing" settlement even before the birth of Prince Vijaya, the legendary founder of the Sinhalese.[43] Prince Vijaya was a Gujrati or Bengali prince banished from India by his father and put into a boat into sea which landed in Northern Sri Lanka in Jaffna area. Jaffna has been the base of Tamil struggle against the central rule of Sri Lanka in nineties of twentieth century. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees have begun to return and visible reconstruction has taken place. The average rainfall is 50 inches in the western part of Jaffna peninsula.[44] In earlier period Jaffna remained a Sinhalese settlement; for sometime Nagas inhabited it and afterwards Tamil (Chola) dynasty occupied it. In Jaffna and the surrounding areas there are several Hindu, Bodhi and Naga temples of note, out of which the most famous are Kandaswamy Kovil, Nallur; Negatanbrim Kovil; Nagarkovil; Nagelese Kovil. Keerimali, Sellasannathi Kovil, Tondaimanar, Perumal Kovil, Vallipuram, Nagapooshani Ammal Koval on the island of Nayinativu, etc.

JaffnaTemples (83K)
Jaffna temples:

When Guru Nanak reached there, Jaffna was ruled by a Shaivite king named was Pararajasekhran (1478-1519 AD) with his capital at Nallur.[45] The details of Guru's visit to Jaffna are available in Janamsakhi Bhai Mani Singh (SGGS, p.353-4): "He then reached Japapatam people worshipped a yogi there who used to meditate for six months and come out only for a day. That day was celebrated as a fair in the whole country. Babaji (Guru Nanak) reached the place, on the fair day and met the yogi, Yogi told Babaji, "When I take my breath to the tenth gate, I get information of the entire world. I have won over this country. But if you have discussions with me and win me over, you can enter this world. Baba ji then sang a hymn in Rag Maru:

Burn your fiery nature and foster your cool and calm disposition.
Put your breath in right channel and establish good relations with the Lord.

Yogi then said, "I have knowledge of all the three yugas. I can drag out the internal feeling of the heart. I take 4 sarsahia grains in 6 months". Baba ji said, "This expertise has bound you." The Yogi went into the 'Matth' and closed the door. Babaji stayed there. Everyone started reciting Guru's hymns and attended the congregation regularly. Their minds were enlightened. When six months passed living there and yogis's fair filled up again, Babaji said, "No one will go to the Yogi. Have this fair after some days." There was no fair on that day. The gate of the matth was opened after eight days. The Yogi had breathed his last. Babaji said: "Those who get into ridhi-sidhi are involved in life and death." All the saints, siddhas, kings and the public fell to the feet of the Guru. The Bhatda disciple of Yogi also fell at Guru's feet and requested, "Please give us advice so that we attain salvation." Baba opined, "You should wash off dirt of selfish-ness and ego and recite the name of the True Lord." (SGGS, 353-4)

From Jaffna, Guru boarded a ship and reached Nainativu. There is a memorial named 'Guruka' at Bagherey in the island of Nayinativu.[46] He then travelled to Trincomalee by boat where he visited an old Tamil Hindu temple. This temple was destroyed in 1622 by the Portuguese when they captured Trincomalee and Fort Frederick was constructed at that place.[47]


From Trincomalee, Guru Nanak reached New Batticaloa by ship. Batticaloa (Tamil: Ma??akka?appu; Sinhalese: Madakalapuwa) is a major city on an island in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka and its former capital. Batticaloa name was given by the Dutch. It was the capital township of Parkarmbahu kings and was known as Maticaloa or Mattokkulampur or Mattakulam or Madakulapa. It is the administrative capital of the Batticoloa district, on the east coast, 314 km from Colombo and 111 km from Trincomalee. On a flat coastal plain boarded by the Indian Ocean in the east it occupies a central part of the eastern Sri Lanka. Its average elevation is around 5 meters[48]. Ancient map drawn by Egyptian cartographer Ptolemy shows the Eastern Province and Batticaloa as Nagadiba. The people of the Eastern Province were called Nagas. Madakulapa has been an old settlement of Tamils and as per Skandpuran the story of burning Sri Lanka actually happened at this place. In the Chapter in Ancient History of 'A Monograph on Beticloa', it is mentioned that in the beginning of 16th Century AD, 7 kings ruled Sri Lanka as given above. In additions there were 6 small kingdoms i.e., Mulaitivu, Trincomalee, Beticloa, Kotiar, Panam and Yela.[49] The lush-green paddy fields, the vast meadows, cool breeze, grooves of trees, the lovely landscapes, farmers working in the fields, reaping crops, chirping of birds and sights at once elevating and cheerful. As People in Batticaloa are near to nature, they are near to God.[50]

According to the 2012 census, the total population was 525,142. Of which 381,285 were Sri Lankan Tamils, 133,844 Moors, 6,127 were Sinhalese, 2,794 Burgher, 1,015 Indian Tamils, 58 Veddah, 16 Malay, and 3 Sri Lanka Chetty.[48] Hinduism is the major religion of Batticaloa. Eastern Province is a place of Amman temples. Shri Mamangeshwarar Kovil is one of the main holy places for Hindus in the country is located in a place called Amirthakally which is 6 Kilometers away from Batticaloa town. Hindus believe that by bathing in the water of sacred water of Mamangeshwarar tank, the departed souls of their family will be receiving better attainments in their cycle of its transmigration. There are a large number of mosques in the region.[49] Christianity is present and Catholic churches are found everywhere as the coastal community has some Catholics.[50] The latter is a historic harbour and ancient Buddhist shrine, mentioned in the "Dhathu Vamsa". While the Dagaba and shrine in the Dutch Fort is the oldest (1st century CE), Mangalaramaya is a well-known modern Buddhist temple in Batticaloa. Mukkuva is a coastal community from Ancient Tamil country.[51][52] They are of mixed origin and migrated at various periods in history.

When Anuradhapura was destroyed, the capital moved from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. When Pollonaruwa was destroyed the capital moved to Kotte and then to Kandy. Anuradhapura was destroyed by Raja Cholan who established Polonnaruwa. Even though Pollonaruwa had a few Hindu temples it was a great Buddhist city full of beautiful Buddhist architecture matching Angkor Wat.

Batticoloa's kingdom was the subkingdom under Kotte. The king was the worshipper of Lord Shiva. There is a mix up in identifying Shivnabh. Some chronicles believe him to be the king of Kotte and other believe him to be the king of Batticaloa. Since Batticaloa had a large population of Hindus and the king himself a follower of Lord Shiva Janamsakhis may have recorded the name of Batticaloa's king as Shivnabh. The Guru had known about this king from Bhai Mansukh of Lahore. The Guru stayed in the deserted garden where the king had made Guru's place. The details are well recorded in Janamsakhi Bhai Mani Singh:

"There after they went across and reached Singhladeep, the kingdom of Shivanabh (i). They stayed there in the garden of the king. King Sivnabh's garden which was lying deserted and dry became green at the arrival of the Guru. Fruitless trees got fruits, leafless got leaves and flowerless plants bloomed with flowers. Many people then reported to the King Shivnabh (i), "Please come out and see. The garden has become green at the arrival of a saint." King Shivnabh then sent his Padmini lady servants. Padminis started dancing. They created juvenile atmosphere, (Walait Wali Janamsakhi p. 47). The version given by Meharban and by Bhai Mani Singh appears closer to the truth: 'When the dames started passing remarks on Baba ji, Baba ji replied, "These bodies of yours can only be beautiful if you have a decent soul. The body is otherwise of bones, flesh, blood and refuse, which cannot be beautiful. Even the multi-variety food which is taken also becomes refuse." The Padminis then prayed for a discourse.

BabaNanakSang (21K)

Baba Nanak sang, "Jag kaua naam nahin cheet (i) Naam (u) bisar (u) girai dekh bheet (i).
                                                                                         (Basant Mahalla 1, S.G.G.S. p.1187)
"The world is like a crow and does not cherish the lord's name. Forgetting the name it falls on the bait. The mind wobbles through evil intent. So I have surrendered my love to the false world. One carried the unbearable load of lust, wrath and other sins. Without the Name, how can one obtain meritorious conduct? You see that the body is like the house of sand in the whirl-pool and is formed into bubbles, when it rains. When the Lord's wheel turns, the human body can be formed from a mere nubble. All the souls are hand maidens of the Lord. My great and supreme Lord has created all."

On hearing this, the Padminis went to Shivnabh and said, "O king! You had sent us to mesmerize the saint but we have lost all pride or our body to him. Why don't you go and see for yourself? You will get peace of mind on seeing him." The king then called the Queen and said, "First you go and see the saint. I will follow you." The queen took a necklace of gems and bowed before the Baba ji placing this along with a plate of prasad. She gave one part to Mardana as well. The Guru asked her to take the necklace and prasad away. The queen said, "Each gem cost one thousand rupees". The Guru spoke, "These gems will not go with you. Only Lord's Name will, and that wealth is with us already."

The queen moved away her companions, fell at the feet of the Baba and prayed, "O Lord! Two years before, I gave birth to a girl child. I Feared that the king may marry again hence I informed him wrongly that I am blessed with a son. I also told him that the Pundits have said that the king should not see the child for four years. Now, two years have passed and two years are left. I am extremely worried. The saints find solution of worries" The Guru then said, "The Lord is capable of everything. He can change a woman to a man and man into a woman. You must keep him in your heart, look after the saints and never do such evil again, as everything is visible to the invisible. Make the child to have a bath in the nearby tank." When the child's clothes were removed for a wash, the child appeared as a boy. The queen distributed all gems and ornaments in the Name of the Lord. On return she told the king, "Whatever we heard of Baba Nanak, he is the same. I have told you that a son had been born to me while it was a daughter. Baba has converted the girl into a boy."

Hearing this, the king distributed wealth and walked naked feet and bowed before the Satguru. Baba asked, "O man! It is because of your devotion that I have come here. Whatever question you have to ask please go ahead." The king enquired, "Which is the best type of fast?" The Guru replied, "The best type of the fast is the fast of worldly pleasures, while reciting Lord's Name." He further enquired, "Is not the fast of Ikadashi the special one?" "Ikadashi is also special, but factually the best is the one in which you remember Lord's Name. It is not the fast of the body, it is the fast of the heart from desires which purifies the impure body." The king was pleased by the discussions and requested the Guru for a sermon. Babaji sang a hymn in Asa Rag.

kwieAw kwgdu mnu prvwxw ]
kaaeiaa kaagadh man paravaanaa ||
The body is the paper, and the mind is the inscription written upon it.

isr ky lyK n pVY ieAwxw ]
sir kae laekh n parrai eiaanaa ||
The ignorant fool does not read what is written on his forehead.
Raag Dhanaasree on Pannaa 662

Having heard the sermon, the king prayed, "Sir! The mind cannot be depended upon. It hears from one side and forgets from the other. If you are present here forever, we will be redeemed," Baba said, "We have two parts; the body which has a form and the word which is formless. You cannot see the body for ever but the word is everlasting." Babaji then recited Pransangli. Having written in a book form, he gave Pransangli to Shivnabh and advised, "Read this regularly and use your breath sparingly." The king said, "If the medicines are readily available but the doctor is not there to tell as to what medicine is to be used, the disease cannot be cured. So when I hear shabad along with you then only my ignorance will be removed. If you are not there, then it cannot be." The Guru said, "If the doctor is not there even the compounder can give the medicine after checking the veins. The actual disease goes with control. You should practice Pran Sangli. You should have open langar and serve all the saints. Multi-variety food should be fed to the saints and followers. Consider the saints my own form".[53]

When Guru Sahib visited the town, Raja Shiv Nabh's joy knew no bounds. He requested Guru Sahib to stay at his palace. A dharamsal (place for congregation) was stated to be there where continuous kitchen (langar) served food to the sangat (congregation).

According to Travels of Guru Nanak by Dr Kohli 'from Batticaloa Guru Nanak proceeded southwards and reached Dibar eight kms from Batticaloa on an island. There is a memorial to Guru's visit at the place. There is a Sikh temple which is named Udasi Math. Since the Guru set his foot here, it is also known as "Charan Padak". It is also recorded that there is a free kitchen at this place. On one of the pillars in this temple the Guru's great sermon Japuji is inscribed in Sinhalese characters. The famous Sikh Changa Batra is said to have raised this memorial.[54]


From Kurukalmadam Guru Nanak proceeded to Katargama according to Gyani Gyan singh and Dr Kirpal Singh[56][57] while according to Dr Surinder Singh[54] he went to Kandy. Since both Gyani Gyan Singh and Dr. Kirpal Singh visited Sri Lanka personally there version appears more realistic. He went to Katargama either by road or by sea, the more plausible preposition. Passing through Kalmunae, Tiukoil, Patuvil and Panam the Guru reached Katargama which lies in the south-eastern mainland between Pottuvil, Hambatota and Rakwana on the banks of Manak Ganga.[56] There are interesting stories about Shiva's son Skanda Subramaniam whom Sinhalese call Kandakumara or Katargama. Guru Nanak stayed in Swami Kartik bagh on the banks of river Manik Ganga. People were the followers of Swami Kartik. The Guru explained to them the True path and turned them towards the worship of the True Lord. Guru Nanak visited Swami Kartik temple. Lord Vishnu and Ganesh temples.[57] A picture of 'Manik Ganga river in Kataragama, Sri Lanka', in the destination of Kataragama in the district of Uva in the country of Sri Lanka

KatargamaTemple (43K)
The Katargama temple

(Sinhalese: Katharagam Tamil: Katirk?mam) is a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. Kataragama is in the Monaragala District of Uva province. It is 228 km ESE of Colombo. Although Kataragama was a small village in medieval times, today it is a fast-developing township surrounded by jungle in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka. It houses the ancient Kiri Vehera Buddhist stupa. The town has a venerable history dating back to the last centuries BCE. It was the seat of government of many Sinhalese kings during the days of rohana kingdom. The general vicinity of Kataragama has yielded evidence of human habitation at least 125,000 years ago. It has also yielded evidence of Mesolithic and Neolithic habitations.[58]

Based on archeological evidence found, it is believed that the Kiri Vehera was either renovated to build during the first century BCE. There are number of others inscriptions and ruins. There is a related shrine called Sella Katirkamam dedicated to the beloved elephant-faced God ganesha nearby, who is known as Lord Murugan's elder brother. The local Manik Ganga or Manika Gangai (River of Gems) is a place of ablution where a sacred bath is taken to purify oneself. Local residents declare that one can be healed of ailments by bathing in it from its high gem content and the medicinal properties of the roots of trees that line the river through the jungle.

Karthikeyan (Tamil: K?rttik?ya?) also known as Murugan, Skandan or Kandan, the Hindu god of war and the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the devasand the son of Shiva.[1] is adored as Katargama deviyo (Lord of Katarghama) or Murugan by both Tamil Hindus and Sinhalese Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Numerous temples exist throughout the island. Katargama has the Ruhunu Mhaha Katargama devalaya, a shrine dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as katargamdevio. People from South India also go there to worship. By the 16th century the Kataragamadevio shrine at Kataragama had become synonymous with Skanda-Kumara who was a guardian deity of Sinhala Buddhism.[59] The Nallur Kandaswamy temple, the Maviddapuram Kandaswamy temple the Mandur Kandaswamy temple in Batticaloa and the Sella Channithy Temple near Valvettiturai are the foremost Murugan temples in Jaffna. The late medieval-era temple of the tooth in Kandy, dedicated to the tooth relic of the Buddha, has a Kataragama deiyo shrine adjacent to it dedicated to the veneration of Skanda in the Sinhalese tradition. Almost all Buddhist temples house a shrine room for Kataragama deviyo reflecting the significance of Murugan in Sinhala Buddhism. Scholars such as Paul Younger and Heinz Bechert speculate that rituals practiced by the native priests of Kataragama temple betray Vedda ideals of propitiation. Hence they believe the area was of Vedda veneration that was taken over by the Buddhist and Hindus in the medieval period.[60] The town was popular as a place of pilgrimage for Hindus from India and Sri Lanka by the 15th century. The popularity of the deity at the Kataragama temple was recorded by the Pali chronicles of Thailand such as Jinkalmali in the 16th century. There are Buddhist and Hindu legends that attribute supernatural events to the locality.[59]

By the 16th century, the Kataragama temple had become synonymous with Skanda-Kumara who was a guardian deity of Sinhala Buddhism.[61] The town was popular as a place of pilgrimage for Hindus from India and Sri Lanka by the 15th century. The popularity of the deity at the Kataragama temple was also recorded by the Pali chronicles of Thailand such as Jinkalmali in the 16th century. There are number of legends both Buddhist and Hindu that attribute supernatural events to the very locality.[61] Scholars such as Paul Younger and Heinz Bechert speculate that rituals practiced by the native priests of Kataragama temple betray Vedda ideals of propitiation. Hence they believe the area was of Vedda veneration that was taken over by the Buddhist and Hindus in the medieval period.[62]

It is said Kartikeya never hesitates to come to the aid of a devotee when called upon. Local legend holds that Murugan alighted in Kataragama and was smitten by Valli, one of the local aboriginal lasses. After a courtship, they were married. This event is taken to signify that Murugan is accessible to all who worship and love him, regardless of their birth or heritage.

The deity at Kataragama is indigenous and long-celebrated in Sri Lankan lore and legend, and originally resides on the top of mountain called Wædahiti Kanda (or hill of the indigenous vedda people) just outside the Kataragama town. Since ancient times an inseparable connection between the katargama God and his domain has existed. At one time the local deity was identified with God Saman, a guardian deity of Buddhism and Sri Lanka.

Many Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka believe that Katargama deviyo is a guardian deity of Buddhism and he is the presiding deity of Kataragama temple. It functioned as the capital of number of kings of the Ruhuna kingdom. It provided refuge to many kings from the north when the north was invaded by South Indian kingdoms. It is believed that the area was abandoned around the 13th century.[63]

ManikGangaRiver (184K)
Manik Ganga river in Kataragama, Sri Lanka.

Most of the many thousands who visit Kataragama travel by vehicles. Even today, despite the lure of modern transport, hundreds of dedicated pilgrims stick to the ancient practice of journeying to Kataragama on foot.[64][65]


From Katargama, Guru's next stop was at Badulla.[66]Badulla is a major ancient city situated in the lower central hills of Sri Lanka and the capital city of Uva Province of Sri Lanka. It is about 230 km away from Colombo towards the eastern slopes of the central hills of Sri Lanka. It is located 60 km southeast of Kandy, almost encircled by the Badulu Oya (River), about 680 meters (2200 ft) above sea level and is surrounded by picturesque hills and mountains of the Namunukula range (highest peak 2,016 meters above sea level), most of which have tea plantations. It was a base of a pre-colonial Sinhalese local prince (regional king) who ruled the area under the main King in Kandy before it became part of the British Empire. Later, it became one of the provincial administrative hubs of the British rulers. The city was the end point of upcountry railway line built by the British in order to take mainly tea plantation products to Colombo. It has Muthiyangana temple, an ancient Buddhist temple located in the middle of Badulla and is regarded as one of the sixteen sacred places in Sri Lanka, by Budshists and stated to have been visited by Gautma Buddha. Dhowa temple; a 2,000-year-old rock temple, is located on the Badulla-Bandarawela Road. The Dhowa temple contains a 12 meter (39 ft) unfinished Buddha statue carved into the surrounding rock. Dunhinda Falls, a 64 metres (210 ft) high waterfall, located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of Badulla. [67][68] Dr Kohli (p. 90) mentions: "After visiting Kandy, Guru Nanak visited Nuwara Eliya, Saffragam (or Sabargamuwa or swaram), Badula Ratanpur and Kotte".[69] There are multiple routes to Badulla from Colombo, Kandy and Galle. From Colombo, one can travel via Ratnapura, Balangoda, Banderwela and Haliela along A4 and A16 to Badulla which may take about 5-6 hours.

Nuwara Elya

Gyani Gyan Singh[68][69] mentions that from Badulla Guruji proceeded to Pushalpur, or Sita Eliya near Nuwara Eliya, on the banks of Champa river (because Sita was interned at Sita kund in this place) and Nuwara and Ratnapur the capital of the province of Sabargamuwa.[58]Nuwara Eliya a city developed later than Guru Nanak's visit means "city on the plain (table land)" or "city of light" is a district headquarters in the hill country of the Central province of Sri Lanka. It is at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate considered most suited to tea plantation as it is settled under the shadow of Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Guru Nanak visited Sita Eliya near Nurwara Eliya. It is also called Ashok Van and has a beautiful temple commemorating Sitaji was interned at the place by Ravna.

SitaTemple (130K)

Seeta Temple is located approximately 5 kms (3.1 mi) from Nuwara Eliya in the village of Seetha Eliya (also known as Sita Eliya). Ravna transported Sita to the island of Lanka where she was held captive. As per a local legend the place of her incarceration was where the Sita Eliya Temple now stands. As per Hindu epic Ramayana she prayed daily for Rama to come and rescue her. [62][63] On the rock face across the stream are circular depressions said to be the footprints of Ravana's elephant. There are two depressions in the river bed rock, now highlighted with yellow paint. The locals believe that these were caused by the Ravna mount. Like other Sri Lankan Hindu Temples there are a lot of colourful statues. The temple is on the side of the road. There is also a belief that in the stream passing close by, the taste of water changes from sweet to salty due to Sita's tear having fallen into it. Sita was eventually rescued by her husband Ram with the help of Hanuman, after killing Ravana. Next to the main temple is another temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey-god for his help in the rescue.

Adam's Peak

From Nuwara Eliya Guru Nanak went to Ratnapur from where he climbed Adam's Peak considered sacred by Hindu, Buddhsm, Islam and Christianity.[70][71][72] Adam's Peak (also Sri Pada; Sinhalese Samanalakanda, "Butterfly Mountain"; Arabic Al-Rohun, and also "Sri Paadaya"; Tamil Sivanolipatha Malai), is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura and 32 km southwest of the city of Hatton. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve, housing many species varying from elephants to leopards, and including many endemic species. Adam's Peak is important as a watershed. The districts to the south and the east of Adam's Peak yield precious stones-emeralds, rubies and sapphires, for which the island has been famous, and which earned for its ancient name of Ratnadvipa.[73]

MountainAndSriPada (42K)

It is well known for the Sri Pada, i.e., "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Islamic and Christian tradition that of Adam, or that of St. Thomas.[65[66]

The famous Chinese pilgrim and Buddhist traveler Fa Hien stayed in Sri Lanka in 411-12 CE and mentions Sri Pada although it is not made clear whether he actually visited it. The Italian merchant Marco Polo in his Travels of 1298 CE noted that Adam's Peak was an important place of pilgrimage but did not mention a footprint in the rock. [74] The Arab traveler Ibn Batuta climbed to the summit of the mountain which he called Sarand?b in 1344 CE. In his description he mentions a stairway and iron stanchions with chains to help the pilgrims.[67][68[69] John Davy brother of the noted chemist Sir Humphrey Davy visited the peak in 1817. He recorded observing an oversized foot print carved in stone and ornamented with a single margin of brass and studded with gems.[75] It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint.

As the 1910, Encyclopedia Britannic notes:[76] "For a long period Sri Pada was supposed to be the highest mountain in Ceylon, but actual survey makes it only 7353 ft. above sea-level. This elevation is chiefly remarkable as the resort of pilgrims from all parts of the East. The hollow in the lofty rock that crowns the summit is said by the Hindus to be the footstep of Shiva, by the Buddhists of Buddha, by the Muslims Adam, whilst the Portuguese Christians were divided between the conflicting claims of St Thomas and the enunch of Candace, queen of Ethiopia. The footstep is covered by a handsome roof, and is guarded by the priests of a rich monastery half-way up the mountain, who maintain a shrine on the summit of the peak."[76]


Dr.Kohli[54] (p.91) mentions his next journey from Adam's Peak to Kotte while Gyani Gyan Singh and Dr Kirpal Singh[56][57] consider it to be after Sitwaka. The term Kotte means fortress in Sinhalese. The term derives from Indic word k???a[77] which means fort or fortified town. So it is accepted that name refers to the fortress founded by Alakesvara. Originally founded as a fortress by Minister Alakesvara (1370-1385) of the Alagakkonara clan of the Kingdom of Gampola during the reign of Vikrambahu III of Gampola to checkmate invasions from South India on the western coast, Prakramabahu VI later made Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte his capital city in 1412. It was well protected by the large swamp which surrounded the area.[78]

Kotte, Sinhala K???e, Sinhalese kingdom that flourished in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during the 15th century. The Kingdom of Kotte, centered on Sri Jaywardaenepura Kotte (located just outside present-day Colombo), was a kingdom that flourished in Sri Lanka during the 15th century. Its king, Parakarmbahu VI of Kotte was the last native sovereign to unify all of Sri Lanka under one rule.[79][80]

Its king, Parakramabahu (1412-67), was the last native sovereign to unify all of Ceylon under one rule. By 1450, Par?kramab?hu VI had, with his conquest of the kingdom of Jaffna in northern Ceylon, unified all of Ceylon. By 1477, however, 10 years after the death of Par?kramab?hu VI, both Jaffna and the other powerful kingdom, Kandy, had thrown off the suzerainty of Kotte.

People were worshippers of Lord Buddha and followed Buddhist tenets strictly. Guru Nanak held discussions with various Buddhist priests and won them over. The Guru explained, "Satyug sat sat sat bole. Punhari man mahin dole ..." In satyug everyone speaks truth. The man (living on air) has the stability of mind. In Treta Yug, the saints by reciting His Name, deep meditation and control over their bodies got tuned to Him. In Dwapar, the saints did four types of worship. In Kalyug, the singing of Lord's name is the only saviour. Again, the Satyug. Tretayug and Dwaper, four types of worshipping will continue. All these three ages are firm but the Kalyug has to have a base of Lord's Name." The king was very much impressed by Guru Nanak especially because of the teaching of One God and common brotherhood of all. He wanted to be a permanent follower of Guru Nanak which caused loud bells in Boddhi circles. The chief religious proctor was the Sangh Raja who did not favour Guru Nanak's following 'Ikishwarwad' and proposed a discussion with the Guru. King agreed to convert if Guru Nanak defeated Sangharaj. Guru Nanak was able to defeat Sangharaj in the discussion but the courtiers and the religious leaders who felt their ignominy once Guru Nanak's Ikishwarwad is accepted manipulated to save the king from conversion. The Guru left the place for the next journey. The details of this discussion are said to be recorded on a stone inscription M-111 according to Dr S.W Karunaratna who read a paper to this effect in Punjabi University Patiala on 5 September 1969.[81] Staying for some time at Kotte, he travelled to Sitwaka.


Sitwaka is mentioned as Sitawada in Haqeeqat Rah Muqeem.[20] Possibly 'k; is wrongly written as 'd' in Gurmukhi Script. The modern name of Sitwaka is Aviswela. It is about 50 kms from New Colombo. According to 'Haqeeqat Rah Muqeem' Guru established a Sangat at Sitwaka and his followers were seen in large numbers.

'……..The offsprings of Shivnabh are at sadavid (also mentioned Satavid and Satawak and as accepted by the researchers as Satwaka). The king on the throne there is Mayadaune. He is son of Raja Rai Singh and grandson of Shivnabh. There is a dharamsal of the Guru at the place. There congregation is held, singing of hymns is done and in the cookhouse (langar) 20 maunds of salt is cooked daily. …."[20]

Sitawaka, once a royal residence, and a place of considerable consequence, is now merely a name. No traces of what it once was, are now to be seen by the traveller passing along the road; and for a time none were supposed to exist; only the platform remains, quite small within a moat crossed by a bridge of massive slabs.[82]

It was once the capital of the Kingdom of Sitawaka located in south-central Sri Lanka. It emerged from the division of the kingdom of Kotte following the spoiling of Vijaybahu in 1521, and over the course of the next seventy years came to dominate much of the island. Sitawaka also offered fierce resistance to the Portuguese, who had arrived on the island in 1505. Despite its military successes, Sitawaka remained unstable, having to contend with repeated uprisings in its restive Kandy territories as well as a wide-ranging and often devastating conflict with the Portuguese. Sitawaka disintegrated soon after the death of its last king Rajasimha I in 1594. The Kingdom of Kotte had been the major power in western Sri Lanka since its foundation in the early 15th century; under Parkarmabahu VI, the polity has been the last to unite the entirety of the island of Sri Lanka under one crown. By 1467, however, the Jaffna kingdom to the north had asserted its independence. In 1505 the first Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka; by 1518 a large fleet of Portuguese ships had landed at Colombo and begun to construct a fort known as Santa Bárbara. To the east, the client kingdom of Kandy was by this time operating with a considerable degree of independence as well.

Vijaybahu VII of Kotte (1509-1521) was deposed in a palace coup known as the Spoiling of Vijaybahu in 1521 by his three sons who feared their succession to the throne was about to be overlooked in favour of Vijayabahu's fourth son, Devaraja. The eldest succeeded him to the throne as Bhuvanekabahu VII, whilst the other two claimed parts of Kotte for themselves-Mayadunne ruling from Sitawaka and Pararajasinha establishing the kingdom of Raigama. The kingdom of Kandy was effectively outside of the control of any of these three successor states. The kingdom of Sitawaka initially covered a relatively small area. The terrain was hilly, bordered to the east by Kandy and with no access to the sea. The capital city-modern Avissawella-was situated on a steep hill at the base of bluff hills rising around 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding jungle cover.[83]

Sitwaka is now known as as Avissvela and is 54 kms from Colombo. He went to Sitawaka and spent considerable time with the king discussing the Yogic practices. These included control of birth and stated to have been recorded in Pran Sangli which was recorded by Saido and seeho, the two companions of the Guru.[84] Dr Kirpal Singh visited the place in 1969 and did not find any Sikh, sangat or gurdwara then. [85]

From Kottee Guru Nanak possibly visited Gampola a town located in Kandy District encroute to Kandy being famous for its temples. Gampola was made the capital of the island by King Buwanekabahu IV, who ruled for four years in the mid fourteenth century. The last king of Gampola was King Buwanekabahu V. He ruled the island for 29 years. A separate city was built in Kotte during this time by a noble known as Alagakkonara. The longest sleeping Buddha statue in South Asia is located in Gampola, the Saliyalapura temple. Among the remnants of Gampola era, the most famous temples are Lankathilka, Gdaladeniya and Embekka Devalaya. The ancient stone scripts (Shila Lekhana) of Lankathilaka temple helps to reveal a considerable amount of vital information regarding the Gampola era. The statue of Buddha of the temple indicates style of South Indian arts.

Gdaladeniya-LankathilkaTemples (65K)
Gdaladeniya and Lankathilka, and Temples

The town is located amongst Sri Lanka's central highlands, hence the climate stays mild throughout the year. Located 3,567 ft. above mean sea level, Ambuluwawa mountain hosts a hill top tourist spot that houses a biodiversity complex celebrating environmentalism and cultural and religious diversity. A notable feature of this complex is a large winding tower resembling a Buddhist stupa, which is located on the mountain peak.


Guru stopped at Katleshman near Kandy. From this place Ram sent Angad as an ambassador to Ravna. [81] Kandy (Sinhalese: Maha nuwara; Tamil: Kandi) the second largest city after Colombo in Sri Lanka is the capital of central Province. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka.[87] Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world and declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.[88] The original name of Kandy was Katubulu Nuwara but the more popular historical name is Senkadagala or Senkadagalapura, officially Senkadagala Siriwardhana Maha Nuwara (meaning 'great city of Senkadagala of growing resplendence'), generally shortened to after a brahmin with the name Senkanda who lived in a cave nearby. It was also called 'Maha Nuwara' on the name of queen of Vikrambahu III.

KandyTemple (147K)
Kandy temple of the tooth and Buddha Statue

The English name Kandy originated during the colonial era, is derived from an anglicised version of the Sinhalese Kanda Uda Rata (meaning the land on the mountain) or Kanda Uda Pas Rata (the five counties/countries on the mountain). The Portuguese shortened this to "Candea", using the name for both the kingdom and its capital. In Sinhalese, Kandy is called Maha nuwara, meaning "Great City" or "Capital", although this is most often shortened to Nuwara.[81] Historical records suggest that Kandy was first established by the Vikramabahu III (1375-1374 CE), who was the monarch of the kingdom of Gampola, near the Watapuluwaareaarea, north of the present city, and named Senkadagalapura at the time. Sena Sammantha Wickrambahu (1473-1511) was the first king of the Kingdom of Kandy, he was a royal from the Kotte Royal Blood line and ruled Kandy as a semi-independent kingdom under the Kingdom of Kotte, making it the new capital of the Kandyan Kingdom. His son Jayweera Astana (1511-1551) and then by Karaliyaadde Bandara (1551-1581).[89]

As the capital, Kandy had become home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolizes a 4th-century tradition that used to be linked to the Sinhalese monarchy since the protector of the relic was the ruler of the land. Thus the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth were placed in close proximity to each other. Kandy being the gateway to the Central Highlands[90] of Sri Lanka, the city can be reached by major motorways in every direction of the island. The railway line from Colombo, the sea port on the western coast runs via Kandy to the farthest point of Badulla[91] in the Central Highlands. The main roads Colombo-Kandy and Kandy-Nuwara Eliya[92] are two of the most scenic roads of Sri Lanka; Colombo-Kandy[93] road passes through rubber plantations and rice paddies, Kandy-Nuwara Eliya road cuts through paddy fields and seamless tea plantations. Both roads claw their way up winding, rounding over the rings of hills. Currently feasibility studies are afoot for another highway between Colombo and Kandy via Kadawata and the scenic city of Katugastota.


While returning from Sitawaka the Guru proceeded towards north. On this route Kurunegala is a major city and the capital city of the North Western Province which the Guru might have visited since it was an ancient royal capital for 50 years, from the end of the 13th century to the start of the 14th century and famois for 'tooth relic'. It is about 94 km from Colombo and 42 km from Kandy. It is at the junction of several main roads linking to other important parts of the country. Located at an altitude of 116 meters above sea level, Kurunegala is surrounded by coconut plantations and rubber estates. There are eight very noticeable large rocks that encircle and dominate the city. Kurunegala's rocks rise from the plain below and have characteristic names of animals they look like largest looking like an elephant rock from whom the city derives its name Kurunegala. Kurunegala's old name was Hasthishaila-pura, which can be translated as 'The City of the Elephant Rock' in Sanskrit.

Karungeela (56K)
Kurungeeela seen from elephant top, 88 feet Buddha statue on top of elephant rock

KarunegalaMap (3K)
Kurunegala is the royal capital for only half a century, starting with the reign of Buvanekabahu II (1293-1302) who was followed by Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326). There is little left of the Tooth relic temple save few stone steps and part of doorway. The sacred tooth relic which was in the Yapahuwa Kingdom was taken by Arychakravarti from the Jaffna Kingdom to the Pandyan country during the rule of Buwaneka Bahu I from 1272 to 1284.[94] The relic was brought back by King Parakrama Bahu III who ruled from Kurunegala between 1287 and 1293.[95] Over the next half a century Kurunegala was the capital and the governing centre for three other kings of Sri Lanka. After the death of King Parakrama Bahu III, kings Buvanekabahu II (1293-1302) who was followed by Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326) ruled from Kurunegala. The ruler in Kurunegala from 1326 to 1335 was Buwaneka Bahu III alias Wanni Buwaneka Bahu. He was the son of Pandith Parakrama Bahu II and is believed to be the last king to rule the country from Kurunegala. After the reign of Buwaneka Bahu III, the newly throned king Vijayabahu V ruled from Dambadeniya and Yapahuwa from 1335 to 1341 before once again the kingdom of Sri Lanka shifted to Gampola. Buddhism is the main and the most widely practised religion in Kurunegala. The town is also home to a wide range of other religious faiths and sects including Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Prominent Buddhist temples in Kurunegala include Athkanda Raja Maha Viharaya, Ibbagala Raja Maha Viharaya, Angangala cave temple, Wilbawa Purana Viharaya and Bauddhaloka Viharaya. An ancient replica of Buddha's footprint that is found on the summit of Sri Pada (Adam's Peak), a little dagoba and some paintings depicting the Buddha and his disciples can be seen at the Ibbagala Raja Maha Viharaya. Few remains of the Palace of the tooth relic that housed the tooth of the Buddha have avoided natural destruction, including few stone steps and a part of a doorway.[96]

Karunegala1 (33K)


From Kotte Guru Nanak had travelled northwards and reached Anuradhapur,[79] also known as Anurayapur.. Dr Kohli writes, "It is probable that he visited this important ancient city on his return journey…He might have visited it during the beginning of his visit to Ceylon, if he travelled by land from Mannar to Trincomalee. It is called 'the buried city of Ceylon' and is famous for ancient ruins. It has several dagobas and monastic buildings. A most important object of interest is the sacred Bo-Tree, which was brought from Bodh Gaya. It is learnt that the Guru is remembered even now in the area surrounding Anuradhapuram as 'Nana Buddha.'[80]

He debated and spread message of God to humanity all around the district and to the Buddhists who did not believe in God. The biggest Buddhist Stoop in the world is located there. Mr Modi wrote , "We went to Anuradha Pura Museum. In the museum, we found inscriptions in Punjabi language in one, word Nanak written. It was mix of scripts of 1400-1600 AD languages i.e Landa, Takri, Sharda, Gupta and Devanagiri which were used in North India. We tried to decode the script but did not succeed".[97]

Dr Saddhamangala Karunaratna (Sri Lanka) quotes a Sanskrit writing written on the order of King Dharam Parakarambahu XI in the fifteenth year of his becoming king (1493+15=1508) and preserved in Archaeological Museum Anuradhapura (Museum Register No : M111).

This document records Guru Nanak's (mentioned as Jnankacharya) visit to Jayvardhana from a village in the vicinity of Samantapattana (Sammanturai). He met the king, expounded his doctrine to Parkarambahu and requested the monarch to embrace it. Parakarambahu promised to embrace Nanakacharya's creed if the later defeated in debate Dharamkirtistthavira, who was Sanghraja, or Sanghraja-Designate. Debate was organised at Jayvardhanpura in front of the royal palace on Supreme Personal deity and an Eternal Soul in which Nanakacharya (Guru Nanak) was winner. The Guru asked the king to keep the promise of accepting his doctrine. The king, however, backed out and asked for another debate. This debate was manipulated and rigged by the Brahmins.[98]

It is learnt that the Guru is remembered even now in the area surrounding Anuradhapura as "Nanak Buddha" [80] Guru Nanak re-entered India after boarding a boat from Manar, reaching Setbandhu known as Dhanushkodi port and then Rameshwaram a place 14 km from Setbandhu.

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