Posted by: lrrp | January 10, 2009

Padduka – where the defeated Portuguese army rested there until they settled their minds

Padukka is a town in the district of Colombo in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. It has a population of roughly 8,000. nnb Padukka, which is part of the Avissawella electorate is situated 33 kilometers east of Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, and on the bank of Pusweli Oya on a high ground surrounded by marshland.

The town of Padukka is thought to have been founded as a camp site by the forces of the Seethawaka Kingdom in the 16th century CE, on the banks of the Pusweli Oya (a major tributary of Kelani Ganga river), at a location where the Arukwathu Oya (stream) joins the Pusweli Oya. It was a well-protected site with marshland and hills surrounding the site. Legend says that the town got its name as it was under the “Naa”(Iron Wood) Trees in the town that the Portuguese Army rested after being defeated by the Army of King Seethawa Rajasinghe in the battle at the adjoining Hanwella Fort. It was said that the defeated Portuguese army rested there until they settled their minds. Thus in the Sinhala Language it was called “Paha Dukka” (“paha”= vanish; “dukka”= sadness), which became “Padukka” later. The famous “Naa”(Iron Wood) Trees are still present at the town’s rest house premises.

Padukka has also played a significant role in other wars against Portuguese occupants as an integral part of the Hewagam Korale which literally means the korale (an administrative division) that provided soldiers (hewa). According to the historical data, Sinhalese soldiers confronted the retreating Portuguese army, chased them down at the current Galagedera junction, and inflicted heavy casualties upon the Portuguese contingent.

Names of satellite villages bear testimony to the rich historical legacy of Sithawake kingdom in current Padukka area. Angampitiya which is just 4 miles from the city centre is believed to be the place where king observed the kind of martial art known as Angam Poraya. Kelimadala is believed to be the play ground of Sithawake royalty. Bope was a thick jungle according to the book Kunsthanthinu hatana( Konstantine’s war) written by Alagiyawanna Mukaweti of “Subhasithaya” fame.

Moreover the area called “Legumbima”,in the adjoining village, “Udumulla”, had been a camp site of Portuguese Army.

Padukka can be accessed via the B240 (Sri Jayawardanapura – Padukka – Bope highway, earlier B2) highway (33km from Colombo) or by the Kelani Valley Railway Line (take approximately 1.5hrs for the slow train ride from Colombo – distance 35km). An alternative but comfortable drive (36km from Colombo)is via the Colombo-Avissawella (Highlevel) road (A4 Axis) up to Galagedera junction. From here, one has to take a turn to the right and drive on Horana road to Padukka town(1.5 km). It is one of the borders of Colombo District. Horana, the next town after Padukka, belongs to Kalutara District. Homagama, Horana, Hanwella, Avissawella and Meegoda are the adjoining towns to Padukka. Udumulla, Meepe, Galagedera, Liyanwala, Malagala, Beliaththawila, Kahawala, Menerigama, Poregedara, Kotigamgoda, Bope, Arukwatta, Halbarawa,Weragala, Angampitiya, Pitumpe, Uggalla, Wewelpanawa, Udagama, Dambora, Panaluwa, Angamuwa, Meeriyagalla, Mawathagama, Galkaduwa, Koshena, Watareka, Daampe, Horagala, Kurugala and Madulawa are main satellite villages scattered around Padukka.

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