Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bridge over the Kelani Ganga at Hanwella and 'Puhul pahan', Sri Lanka.

The bridge over the Kelani Ganga at Hanwella.

'Phul pahan' tied on the bridge to honor 'Ranwela Deviyo'.

Nearly a century and a half ago, when the major traffic on the roads of Ceylon was bullock-drawn carts, highway robbery was rampant. An old hand told me that the road from Wellawaththe to Pamankade was unsafe after 6pm and carters avoided travelling at night unless in a convoy. On the road nearing Avissawella before the village of Puwakpitiya, a benefactor allotted a plot of land, for the carters to park their vehicles at night in safety. The same benefactor would place lighted lamps made out of a variety of pumpkin called 'puhul', at strategic points at night on the Kelani Ganga, to help the busy boat traffic on the river. This benefactor was deified after death as 'Ranwala Deviyo'. The floating lamps are placed on the river during the festivals celebrating this benefactor.