Mahiyanganaya is a town situated close to the Mahaweli River in Badulla District, Uva Province of Sri Lanka. it is said that “Gautama Buddha” visited Mahiyanganaya on the full moon Poya day of January in order to settle a dispute arose between “Yakkas” and “Nagas” (two tribes then inhabited this area) and this was his first ever visit to Sri Lanka. Then the Budddha preached Dhamma to “Sumana Saman”, a leader in this area, to whom the Buddha gave a handful of his hair relic so that people could worship. After that Sumana Saman (now the god Sumana Saman) built a golden Chethiya (Dagaba/Stupa) in which the sacred hair relic was deposited. Later on about seven chethiyas were built over the original golden chethiya from time to time, the last one being built by the King Dutugemunu. As such, this historic town is a very sacred place for Buddhist. The majority of the people in this area are engaged in paddy cultivation being the main economic activity.
Mahiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya
The Mahiyangana Dagaba/Stupa is built enshrining the Sacred Hair Relic of the Buddha. The main festival of the perehara is in September and the special feature of this procession is the dance of Veddahs (Aborigines of Sri Lanka). It is situated on the bank of the Mahaveli River. Mahiyanganaya is another sacred place that Buddha have visited.
Dambana is a village bordering the Maduru Oya Sanctuary where a few surviving members of Sri Lanka’s aboriginal people live. They are called “Veddahs”. You have to turn from the 90th km post of A 26, Kandy-Padiyathalawa Road and drive another 4 km to Dambana. The nearest town is Mahiyangana. There are hundreds of people who visit Dambana every day. The Veddahs are a very small ethnic group as most of them have intermarried with Sinhalese folk and moved to other agricultural areas. The meaning of “Veddah” is “Hunter”, but at present they have moved from hunting lifestyle to Chena cultivation. Visitors gift them many items, including money and they probably like to purchase consumer items from shops nearby. They also sell a few handicraft items and “Bees Honey”. They have their own culture values, songs and dances. The leader of the Veddahs is called “Nayaka Attho” and others are called “Vanniyala Attho”.
Sorabora Wewa (Reservoir)
Water from Mahaweli River fills this reservoir which is utilized for cultivation. This is the largest reservoir in this area. “Sorabora Wewa” is one of the earliest hydrological constructions in the country. In ancient times, this tank was called the “Sea of Bintenna” because it was believed to have been built during the era of great King Dutugemunu by the villager “Bulatha”.