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Temple

Devi Nuwara Temple

  Province Southern
  District Matara
  Nearest Town Matara
  Period -
  Ruler King Dappula I

Introduction

Upulvan deviyo Sinhala: is a guardian deity of Sri Lanka. The name Upulvan means "blue water lily coloured". A major temple dedicated to him is situated at Devinuwara in Matara.District of Sri Lanka. He came to be worshiped as a protector of Sri Lanka in the medieval period. God Upulvan is also regarded as a protector of and he is identified with Lord in the tradition.

History

King Dappula I built the Upulvan Devala and the Buddhist shrine Kehireli Vihara. Parakramabahu II became the leading patron of both shrines the Upulvan Devala and the Kehireli Vihara. During his reign Devinuvara was a flourishing port and a trade centre, with the port being administered by Maha Pandita, the Chief Customs Official. Parakramabahu I, Nissankamalla and the several kings that followed and other royal personages patronised both Hindu and Buddhist shrines there.

In addition to the Upulvan Devala which was said to be the abode of a Buddhist god there were the Hindu Kovils like Ganesha Kovila, Nagarisa Kovila and later the Kataragama Kovila and Pattini Kovila. The kings treated the Buddhist and Hindu shrines with parity.

Inscriptions set up at Naimana and in the city of Devinuvara by Prakramabahu VI indicate the Buddhist and Hindu connections. So was the inscription by Vijayabahu VI. There was always religious amity attached to Devinuvara. Devinuvara was responsible for setting up the Aluthnuvara Devala in the Kegalle District in the reign of Parakramabahu IV.

Even trade in the city of Devinuvara and its port was carried out by the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Arabs and other communities.

Of course the Tissara, Mayura, Parevi and Kokila Sandesas treat Upulvan as a Buddhist god. Perakumbasirita too gives the same impression. After the Portuguese devastation (ca. 1588) the new shrine that had come up was the abode of the Hindu god Vishnu. However there is a debate about the meaning of Upulvan or Utpalavarna.Even in Polonnaruwa and other capitals there were Buddhist shrines side by side with Hindu shrines. Hence it is clear that the kings did not discriminate against the Hindu religion. What has to be learnt from the Devinuvara experience is that there had been religious tolerance and amity in the royalty and the people as well. Mr. P. P. Devaraja MP for Colombo presided.