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Full text of "An historical, political, and statistical account of Ceylon and its dependencies"

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Geographical outline of the Island — Character of the Maritime and Interior 
districts — Position of the Mountain Zone — Peculiarities in the direction of 
the Mountain chains — Form and direction of the Mountain valleys — Descrip- 
tion of the hilly region — Physical Aspect and Topography. 

Northern Province: How bounded and divided — Pomparippo river and district 
— Isle Karetivoe — Point Kudramalai, Marichikattie, The Kal-aar — District 
of Moessellie — Bay of Kondatchie — Navigation of the coast — The Awerie-aar 
— District of Nanaatan — Cattoekare, or Giants' (Sodien) tank — Mantotte and 
its ruins — District of Mantotte — Island of Manaar — Channel between it and 
the main — Village of Manaar — Description of the island — Theories in reference 
to the Paumban Channel and Palk's Strait — Traditions of the formation of a 
Saitubandha or Causeway by Rama, and subsequently by Gajabahoo — Tra- 
ditions of the Brahmins at Ramisseram — Description of the Paumban passage 
— Project for forming a navigable channel by Colonel Monteith — He eventually 
succeeds in gaining permission to undertake the enterprise, and accomplishes 
the work — Navigation of the coast — District of Wirteltivoe (Vertativoe) — 
Country of the Wanny, its vast extent — In what state and under what form 
of Government when occupied by the Portuguese — Description of the 
Wanniyas — Character of the people — Changes ensuing on the arrival of the 
Dutch — Subsequent restoration of the Wanniyas to their hereditary dignities 
— Their tyranny and oppression — Are superseded by the Dutch — They rebel, 
but are defeated and deposed — Government instituted by the Dutch — 'Zeal 
and energy of the Landrost— His success in civilising the inhabitants and 
developing the resources of the country — Subdivisions of the Wanny and 
description of the tanks, capabilities, cultivatable lands, productions, &c. of 
each — Theory with respect to the former devastation of this country, by vol- 
canic agency — Curious natural phenomena still existing to prove the reality 
of a subterrane disturbance — District of Chitty Colom, and its two divisions 
of Nadoe Chitty Colom, and Sinne Chitty Colom — District of Pannengammo, 
and its six divisions of Pannengammo Poerivoe, Toenoeka Poerivoe, Meerkoe 
Moelle, Kelekoe Moelle Tekoe Poerivoe, Tank of Padeviel Colom, Kelekoe 
Moelle Waddekoe Poerivoe, Oedeaar-Oer — District of Meelpattoe, and its 
three divisions of Kelekoe Poerivoe, Tekoe Poerivoe, Waddekoe Poerivoe — 
District of Moelliawalle — District of Poedoe-koedyirpoe — District of Kar- 
navelpattoe, and its divisions of Tekoe Poerivoe and Waddekoe Poerivoe — 
Districtof Karetchie — Districtof Poonaryn — Districtof Pallawirajen Kattoe — 
District of Ilipekadawe — Isle Irrentivoe, or two Brothers, Kakeritivoe, 
Paletivoe, Nadoentivoe (Delft), Nayntivoe (Haarlem), Poengerdutivoe, (Mid- 
dleburgh>, Analativoe (Rotterdam), Welane (Leyden), Kayts, Mandeltivoe, 
Kalmoone Point, Karadivoe (Amsterdam), Hammanhiel — Peninsula of Jaffna, 
District of Walligamme, Batticotta, Jatihapatam, Sailing directions — District 
of Wadamoratchie, Point Pedro, Sailing directions — District of Timmoratchie 
— Districtof Patchilapelle, Chavagacherry — Interior of the Northern Province, 
District of Neura or Nuwara Kalawa, Desolate country, formerly populous 
and well cultivated, Tanks and Ruins — Anuvadhapoora (the Anurogiarmnuin 
of Ptolemy) the ancient Capital of Ceylon Its runs — Description of the 


Temples,&c. &c— Tissawewa Lake, Mihintalai — Subdivisions of the Nuwara, 
Kalawa district— Its state of cultivation, capabilities, &c. — Ancient capital of 
Wijittapoora— Seegiri — Ruins of Minigiri — Source of the Kala or Kalawa 
Oya— Superficies of the Northern Province. 

Eastern Province ; Its bounds and divisions — Moeletivoe— The Wanny district 
of Kariekattoe Moelle, .Kokelay — The Tinne-Marre-Waddie — Plains of 
Cutchiavelle — Kattoe Colota Pattoo, its Tanks, state of Cultivation, &c. — 
Hot springs of Kanya, Legends thereon — Trincomalee, Sailing directions — 
Description of its Bays, Harbours, Forts, Town, Inhabitants — District of 
Tamblegam — Tamblegahi ; its Tanks, the Kandelle-oya, Gantalawe or Kan- 
delle Lake— District of Kotti-aar, Kotti-aar Bay, the Kotti-aar Tanks — 
District of Tamankada — The Virgal-ganga, Tanks— Kaudella Tank - Lake of 
Menairia, Nuwara Kandi, Topawewa Tank, Pollonaroowa and its ruins — 
Koorle Pattoo, Nallore-aar, Leways, Mookwa districts of Eraoer, Karre- 
witte, Manmoene, Eroewil, Karrewaddie, Nadene, Sammantorre, Akkara- 
pattoo — Batecalo, Sailing directions — Harbour, Lake, Town— Veddah Ratte, 
Maha Veddah Ratte, Bintenne, Tank of Bintenne — The Maha-velle-ganga, 
its course from Bintenne to the sea— Survey of Mr. Brooke — District of 
Nadekadoe ; Inhabitants chiefly of Singhalese descent — Navil-aar, Tanks — 
District of Wellasse, Kotabowa — District of Panowa — Superficies of the 
Eastern Province. 

Southern Province : How bounded and divided — District of Upper Ouva, Badulla 
and its valley — Namina Kooli Kandi Mountain, Passera, Alipoota — Districtof 
Lower Ouva, Bootle — The Parapa-oya, the Mahagam Pattoo, Kattragam and 
its Temple, Elephant's Rock, Paltoopane ; Ruins of Magaama, The Kirinde- 
oya, Leways, Wellawe, Nitre Cave, Gampaha — Bay of Hambantotte, Sailing 
directions, Hambantotte — District of Morva, Mulgiri-galla wihare, Girawe- 
pattoo, Tangalle, District of Kangebodde, District of Wellebodde, District of 
Gange-bodde, Dondera Ruins of, Dondera Head — Matura — The Belligam 
Korle — District of Talpe — Lake of Cogalle — Galle, Description of the Fortress, 
Town, Public Buildings, Gravets, Inhabitants, &c. — Gangebodde pattoo, 
The Gindurah River, Baddagamme — District of Wellebodde, Amblangodde 
— District of Wallawitte, Bentotte — District of Saffragam, and its sub- 
divisions, Ratnapoora — The Kalu-ganga, Route to Adam's Peak, (Samanala) 
from Gillemalle — Palabadoola, Diabetme, Description of the Mountain 
Scenery, Ascent to the Peak, Stupendous Rock of Uno-Dhia, Seetla-ganga 
—Rock of Diwiyagalla, Height of the Peak ; Description of the Sri Pada or 
sacred foot ; Scenery as seen from the summit — The Bhagawa Lenna — The 
Wilmantalawa, or Horton Plains, Bilhool-oya, the Maha Ellia — Hakgalla 
Range, Totapela Range, Idalgashina Pass, Velangahena, Wilson Plains, 
District of Yatapalata, Fort McDonald, Valley of Parnegamme, Toopittia, 
Himbleatwelle, Pass of Appootella — Superficies of the Southern Province. 

Western Province : Its boundaries and divisions — District of Caltura, Barberyn, 
Caltura, The Kalu-ganga — Pasdum Korle — Raygam Korle, Horona, 
Nambapane, Pantura, Lake of Morottoe — Salpitty Korle, Mount 
Lavinia, Colpetty — Hewagam Korle, Colombo ; Fort, Pettah, Gravets, 
Port, Institutions, Inhabitants — The Kalane-ganga, (Mutwal) Hangwelle, 
Avishavelle, Seetawaka — Hina Korle, Cotta (Jayawardhanapoora) — Three 
Korles, Ruwanwelle, Yateantotte— Upper Bulatgamme. Sources of the 
Kalane and Mahavelle-gangas, Ambagamma — Lower Bulatgamme — The 
Four Korles, Atelle, Aranderre, Ballapanne, Ambanpittia, Ambapusse, 
Molligodde, Hettymule — The Allootcoor Korle, The Muli-waddie, Ne- 
gombo, Fort, Pettah, Gravets, Institutions — Hapetigam Korle — The Seven 
Korles, the Maha-oya (Kaymel River), Allow, Dambadiniya, Kurunaigalla, 
Aetagalla Mountain — District of Oederpalata — District of Meddapalata — 
District of Jatikalan, Madampe — District of Jagam — District of Monasse- 


ram, Chilaw, the Didroo-oya, Mongra-oya, Baddegamrna — District of 
Toompane, Kospotte-oya — District of Anewoollandan — District of Akkara- 
pattoo, Navakadoo, Calpentyn — The Demelepattoe — The Raja Wanny, Raja 
Wanniya Pattoe, Putlam, Mare Karre Pattoe, Koomarewanniya — Interior 
of the Seven Korles, Yapahoo, Galgiria Kandi, the Weliker-aar — Superficies 
of the Western Province. . , • \\ 

Central Province : How bounded and divided— District of Matale: Dambool, 
Menik Denna Nuwara, the Meerisagona-oya, Pass 'of Andagalla, Eyheylapola, 
Amooka Kandi, Nallande, the Ambangangtt, Passof Yattawatte, Aluewihare, 
Ollegamma, Artapola Kandi, Fort M'Dowal or Matale, Ruins of Walabanu- 
wara, Pass of Ballakadawe, Hunisgiri-Kandi, the Lakgalla range, Atgalle Pass, 
Giriagam and Gallegedra Passes, Madawalatenne, Dunawille. — District of 
Doombera : Parnegamme, Gonagodde, Koondasala, Madugalla, the Hulu- 
ganga, Medamahaneura, Gampaha Korle, Galle-peddehella Pass, Range of 
Memoora — The Harrisapattoo — District of Yattineura : Amanapoora, Balane- 
Pass, Kaduganava Pass, Dikgalle, Dodanwille — District of Oudarieura — 
District of Dolasbage, Gampola, Pusilava, Pasbage — District of Kotmale : 
Kotmale-ganga, Nuwera Elliya, Mountain of Pedrotallagalla — District of 
Oudapalata, Rambodde, the Maha-oya, Nillembe — Kandy, its Citadel, Palace, 
Town, Public Buildings, Institutions, Roads, People, Scenery, Kadughas- 
totte Ferry, Lewelle Ford, Gannooroowe, the Mahavelle-ganga — District of 
Hewahette : Hangarankette, Dhiatalawa Mountain, the Bilhool-oya, 
Plains of Maturatta — District of Walapane — District of Wiyaloowa, Ourna- 
oya : Badulla-oya — Superficies of the Central Province. 

The geographical outline of the island may be dismissed in a very 
few words, and it is only the interior that will require a more minute 
description. The maritime districts, comprising about a half of the 
width of the southern, eastern, and western provinces, are flat ; the 
northern province, and the northern portion of the eastern province, 
are wholly so. Perhaps this division of the island may vary in ele- 
vation from twenty to two hundred feet. It exhibits extensive plains, 
either quite level, as towards the coast, or approaching the interior, 
slightly undulating ; in the former case being almost entirely without 
a hill, in the latter interrupted by chains of low hills and solitary- 
masses of rock rising from one to five hundred feet above the plain. 
The character of the interior of the island greatly varies in relation to 
surface. Nowhere is the distinction of high and low land more 
obvious. With tolerable precision it maybe divided into flat country, 
hilly and mountainous. The mountainous division is skirted by the 
billy, and the latter is, as we have already observed, bounded on 
three sides by a flat maritime belt, and on the fourth by a flat 
country, comprising nearly one-half of the island. If the island then 
were divided into two equal parts by an imaginary line from east to 
west, the mountainous region would be found to occupy nearly the 
middle of the southern half, or as nearly as possible what is now called 
the Central Province. The centre of this region is about 7° 3' 
north latitude, and 80° 46' east longitude. Its greatest length, that 
is from north to south, may be computed at 02, and its greatest 
width, that is from east to west, at 56 miles. The exact boundaries 
and extent of the hilly division, are not so easily described. On an 


average, it extends beyond the mountains from fifteen to twenty 

The features of each of the three divisions of the island are neces- 
sarily peculiar ; grandeur is the characteristic of the mountainous, 
beauty of the hilly, and tameness of the flat country, which a covering 
of luxuriant vegetation, with few exceptions, spread over the whole, 
does not tend to diminish. 

The mountainous district varies in its perpendicular elevation above 
the sea level, from 800 to 8000 feet. In general it averages about 
2000 feet, the regions of greater elevation, by which are to be under- 
stood masses of continuous surface approaching more or less to table 
land, are inconsiderable in extent. The principal are that portion 
of the country lying between Maturatta and Fort M 'Donald, which 
is the very heart and centre of the mountainous division, and which 
reaches 4000 feet, and the tract adjoining Nuwera Elliya, which 
reaches 5000 feet. 

In few countries do mountains exhibit greater variety of forms and 
directions. They most frequently occur connected in chains, and 
terminating in rounded or peaked summits. Their sides are always 
steep, and occasionally precipitous and rocky. Solitary insulated 
mountains are of rare occurrence. In some districts the mountain 
chains run in a parallel direction, in others even adjoining mountains 
do not correspond with any regularity in their direction. Thus in 
Doombera, the mountain ridges generally run N.N.E. and S.S.W. 
In Ouva, on the contrary, they run in various directions. One 
remarkable circumstance in reference to Ceylon, is, that no correspon- 
dence can be traced between the proportional heights of the mountains 
and the depths of the adjoining valleys. Thus there is not a single 
lake nor even stagnant pool among the mountains, and it is scarcely 
credible that they ever existed, as they could not well be filled up by 
the detritus of rocks, little liable to decay and disintegration. 

Since there are no lakes in the interior, it is hardly necessary to 
add that every valley has an outlet, and that the descent of every 
valley is gradual though irregular from the mountain to the plain. 
The forms and directions of the valleys are not less various than those 
of the mountains by which they are constituted. In general their 
width bears but a very small proportion to their length ; often they 
are extremely narrow. The deepest are in the heart of the moun- 
tains. Some are between three and four thousand feet deep, and not 
perhaps more than half a mile w kle from one mountain to the other. 
The hilly division of the interior varies in respect of its continuous 
surface from one to five hundred feet ; and the hills themselves may 
vary in perpendicular height from two hundred to one thousand feet. 
Like the mountains, they are more or less connected with chains 
generally of little length. Their outlines are rounded and gentle ; 
their sides seldom steep, and their appearance comparatively tame. 
In the valleys formed by the hills there is nothing peculiar to be 


Commencing with the Northern, at its point of junction with the 
Western Province at the Pomparippo-oya, 1 with one of whose af- 
fluents it is coterminous to its source, we shall follow the circuit of 
the island as the best method of developing its moral and physical 
peculiarities. The boundaries of this province are the sea and the 
Gulf of Manaar to the West and North-west, Palk's Strait and the 
13ay of Bengal to the North and North-east, the Eastern Province 
to the East, the Central Province to the South-east, and the Western 
Province to the South South-west. 

The Pomparippo-oya has its source in the mountains of the dis- 
trict of Matale, and subsequently uniting itself with the waters of the 
Kalawewe tank, about fifteen miles to the north of Dambool, winds 
through the province of Nuwera Kalawa in a north-westerly direction. 
After entering the district of Pomparippo it divides itself into five 
branches, and falls into the Gulf of Calpentyn. The Singhalese call 
it Kalawa-oya, from its passing through the tank of that name ; but 
there is a tradition that it is derived from the circumstance of the 
ancient inhabitants of Nuwera Kalawa having bathed in its waters, 
and previously rubbed their bodies with turmeric (kaha), which had 
been sent to them as a present by the Prince of Kurunaigalla, as a 
mark of his contempt. It abounds in fish, and swarms with alli- 
gators. The principal branch of the river runs four miles below 
the village of Pomparippo, and is fordable except after the heavy 

The remains of a stone bridge built over this river by the King 
Mahasen more than 1500 years ago, were discovered by Forbes 
in 1826, while on his road from Kurunaigalla to Anuradhapoora. 
It consisted of a pier of considerable length, projecting into, and con- 
tracting, the stream, which is there both broad and rapid. The 
stones used in its construction vary from eight to fourteen feet in 
length ; they are laid in regular lines, and some are jointed into one 
another : each course also recedes a few inches from the edge of the 
one underneath ; and this form, while offering less direct resistance 
to the current, gives additional strength to the building. The end 
of the pier has been swept away, but the extremity of that remaining 
is eighteen feet above the water, and six feet above the causeway. 
In the rocks, which form the bed of the river, square holes may be 
distinguished, in which stone pillars have been placed, and the bridge 
was completed by laying long stones or beams of wood on these to 
connect the different parts of the structure. At a short distance fur- 
ther clown the stream, the site of another hi idge can be traced, which 
appears to have been constructed on the same plan, but either at an 
earlier period, or of less durable materials. The large stones have 
been riven from the adjacent rocks by means of wedges, and the 

1 Ganga is generally and properly used to denote a river of the first class, 
such as the Mahavelle or Kalane. Oya, an (innavigable stream or rivulet. Aar, 
is the Malabar or Tamul name, denoting river. 


shape and ornament has been completed by chisels. This manner of 
working quarries and splitting stones is everywhere observable in Cey- 
lon, and these means for procuring large granite pillars, and shaping 
their ornaments, which are of a comparatively recent date in Great 
Britain, were in vogue in Ceylon two thousand years ago. In con- 
formity with the wild tradition of the natives, that Mahasen could 
compel even the demons to work for him, and that this bridge is a speci- 
men of their masonry, the ruins here are known by the name of Yakka- 
Beudi-palam (bridge built by devils). In the upper row a stone is 
pointed out, on the under side of which the figure of the architect is 
said to be cut. 

The district of Pomparippo, which is bounded on the east by 
Nuwera Kalawa and Demelapattoo, and on the north by the Mari- 
chikattie or Moderagam-Aar, is upwards of twenty miles long and 
eight broad, and contains thirty-five villages. The face of the 
country exhibits an expanse of large forests, diversified with open 
tracts, and a ridge of hills runs along its western borders up to 
Kooderamalai point. It is supposed that the name Pomparippo, or 
Pomparappee, signifying " the golden plains," was bestowed on 
this province on account of its excellent soil, but owing to its scanty 
population, its agricultural resources are very circumscribed. It 
abounds, however, with cattle, and carries on a trade with Colombo 
in ghee, honey, bees' wax, and deer's horns. 

In this district the ruins of many ancient buildings and tanks may 
still be traced, indicating that this part of the country, at present 
overgrown with jungle, was formerly thickly peopled, and in a 
flourishing condition. We have elsewhere seen that Nawaratna 
Wanniya, a Mookwa chieftain, obtained the hereditary fee of this 
district from a Singhalese monarch, but it did not long continue in 
his family, being parcelled out by his heirs and transferred to other 
individuals. The village of Pomparippo is situated on a large plain, 
about four miles to the north of the ford, and is chiefly inhabited by 
Moormen and Hindoos of industrious and contented habits. In its 
neighbourhood deer are to be met with in great numbers, and afford 
good sport to those who are fond of coursing and disregard the danger 
of hard- riding over broken ground. The wooded nature of the 
country and coarse vegetation of the plains render it necessary that 
the dogs be fleet ; they must also be strong and high mettled enough 
to speed through the prickly plants so common in the open grounds 
of Ceylon. In dry seasons the ground is intersected by numerous 
cracks, and wherever the deep footsteps of elephants have sunk 
during the rainy season they become hardened by the sun, and are 
a serious obstacle to the progress of horses. Pomparippo has a 
stone rest house, and in the neighbourhood of the post there are 
plantations of fruit-bearing trees and a vineyard. 

The first stage from Pomparippo northwards is through the 
village of Marrunde or Mardodde, (8f miles) to the rest house of 


Marichikattie, 16^ miles, which is on the north side of the river. 
The Moderagam or Marichikattie-aar rises in the interior, and after a 
sinuous course of upwards of forty miles, in a north-westerly direc- 
tion, falls into the Strait of Manaar at Moderagam. Its waters seem 
to have been advantageously employed for supplying the tanks of 
the district. The road along this country is very sandy and bordered 
on the east by dense jungles, i swarming with wild beasts, with the 
exception of a few villages, and their dependent paddy fields. The 
Padouas, many of whom are found here, and who were formerly 
considered so low and degraded that they were restricted from play- 
ing on any musical instrument whatever, nullified the stern edict of 
their oppressors by drawing sounds from earthen chatties with the 
breath, to which they keep admirable time in the dance. 

The island of Karadive (Karetivoe), twelve miles north-west of Cal- 
pentyn, which goes to form part of the Gulf of Calpentyn, is separated 
from the mainland by a narrow channel of about five miles broad at 
its southern, and eight at its northern extremity. It is about nine 
miles long, and from one to two broad ; in the middle is a large 
pond surrounded by an open space covered with coarse grass, and 
both ends of the island are overgrown with jungle, rising from a 
swampy soil, though there is no timber on the island. It is com- 
monly believed that this island was formerly connected with the 
peninsula of Calpentyn ; and that the inhabitants of the latter place 
were wont to resort to a Hindoo temple, which then stood there, but 
has since been separated from it by the encroachments of the sea. 
This tradition would seem to derive strength from the circumstance 
that such a temple is now remaining on the island, but in a dilapi- 
dated state. The jungle of keeri shelters large herds of deer, and 
excellent sport may here be found by beating the brushwood. 
Though barren and uninhabited, it forms, from its advantageous 
situation for fishing, a rendezvous for fishermen from Manaar and 
Negombo during the north-east monsoon. Some years since a 
pearl bank was discovered off Karadive, and was fished in 1 832. 

Koodremale or Kudramalai (Horse mountain) is one of the prin- 
cipal features of the Pomparippo district, and the most interesting in 

1 It is believed by the Hindoos that many of the combats and scenes described 
in the Ramayana occurred in this part of the island ; that the rough beads, 
bangles, and other ornaments of very coarse coloured glass, found in great quan- 
tities, mixed with the soil in the tank and vicinity of Pasimadoe, are the remains 
of the fallen warriors of that period, and that Marambu, Pomparippo, Mari- 
chikattie, Mardodde, &c. &c. preserve by their names the recollections of that 
great war. The Swaita-ma-parwatia, the white rocks which were the key of 
Rama's position, the Ranabhumi, battle-field in which Rawana fell, and the 
splendid fort of Sri-Lanka-poora are all supposed to lie whelmed beneath the 
ocean on this side of Ceylon. The more rational mode of accounting for the 
abundance of these singular relics of the past on this spot is, that a manufactory 
of that article must have once existed there. 


connection with the antiquities of Ceylon. It is supposed by most 
Avriters to be the Hippurus or Hipporus, 1 mentioned by Pliny, lib. 
vi. cap. 22. as the port to which a freedman of Annius Plocamus, 
who farmed the customs of the Red Sea, in the reign of the Emperor 
Claudius, was unexpectedly driven, after having been blown off the 
Arabian coast in a violent tempest. 

A considerable settlement, composed of Arab immigrants, existed 
in the eighth century, in the neighbourhood of the hill, who sub- 
sequently supplied their brethren at Manaar and Mantotte with an 
abundance of pearls, which they probably obtained on the coast. 

In the woods beneath the hill, which now harbour innumerable 
wild beasts and reptiles, native tradition traces the site of a royal 
residence, once occupied by an Amazon princess, called Alliarasany, 
whose amours with one of the heroes of the Mahabnarat, form the 
subject of an interesting drama. On the north side of the hill is a 
small mosque erected over the tomb of a Mahommedan saint, to 
whose shrine, the navigators of that faith, in touching here on their 
way to and from the coast, invariably present an offering. 

The next stage from Marichikattie is to the pagoda of Kall-aar, a 
Hindoo temple seven and a half miles distant, which is now dilapidated 
but was once so famous, that the priests who officiated in it were 
allowed many important privileges, including a moiety of the pearl 
oysters fished on the banks off Kondatchie. The coolies here ex- 
change money for ashes, which they rub over their arms and fore- 
heads to ward off the dangers of the journey, and preserve them- 
selves and families in health. 

The scenery between Pomparippo and Kall-aar, if it were more 
diversified, would be magnificent. The trees to the right of the 
road are of the highest dimensions, and their foliage cannot be sur- 

1 The freedman of Annius Plocamus is supposed to have preceded but a short 
time, Hippalus, the discoverer of the south-west monsoon, which was called after 
his name. Of the precise situation of Hippurus, we are not informed, but learn 
that it was a port to the northward ; and it is plain that it must have been on the 
western coast, from the circumstance of Hippalus having been blown across 
during his sailing round Arabia. A conjecture has often suggested itself, which 
the latent etymology of the name given to the port at which Hippalus arrived, 
in two different languages might, with a trifling literal alteration in one of the 
names, seem to sanction. The name by which the port is called in Pliny is 
Hippuros, 'iirirovpoQ (the horse's tail), as Arcturus is the bear's tail; now sup- 
posing the name to have been really Hipporos, we shall have for the name of the 
port 'i-mropoc, instead of the former, which in English will signify ' horse moun- 
tain.' Is it possible, then, to find on the north-western coast to which Hippalus 
was carried, any trace of such a name ? It is clearly evident in the name given 
to the highland north of Calpentyn, in the Malabar language, Koodra-malie, 
literally horse-mountain, and it is remarkable, that the port of Calpentyn and 
the inland coast adjoining Kudramalai, are the only parts of the coast between 
Manaar and Negombo, into which he could have entered. At this day, vessels 
from the coast are often detained at Calpentyn, on their way to Colombo, without 
the power of advancing further against the south-west monsoon. 


passed for beauty and variety of tint. This portion of the country 
is liable to inundation during the rainy season. 

The natives on this part of the coast purify the thick, white, 
muddy, and unwholesome water, by means ef a nut called arnbu- 
prasudana, which is abundant in the dry parts of Ceylon, and when 
rubbed down in the inside of an earthenware vessel, clears the water 
by precipitating the earthy particles. The common oyster abounds 
on the coast between Putlam and Kall-aar, and its gathering and 
pickling for Colombo and Kandy, would give employment to a large 
number of the natives, if they were induced to embark in it. 

The Kall-aar (Rock river) has its source in the interior, and falls 
into the sea about fifteen miles south of Manaar. The next stage is 
to Kondatchie, the great seat of the pearl fishery, which like Kall-aar, 
is in the district of Moessellie. This district is bounded on the east by 
the Wanny, on the south by the Moderagam, and on the north by the 
Arippo river. It contains about eighty-five villages, the greater part 
of which are inhabited by Moormen, who have come over from the 
opposite coast and settled here. The country is level, and as the 
soil is better adapted for paddy cultivation than any thing else, the 
inhabitants prepare their lands chiefly for this grain. The forests 
abound with elephants, and teem with every kind of game and reptile. 
The whole of the shore encircling the bay of Kondatchie is an 
arid, sandy desert, almost without a redeeming feature, or water to 
quench the thirst of the traveller. The moment the fishery is over, 
Kondatchie' s glory ceases, and it becomes the same miserable spot 
that it has been for ages. 

Four 'miles north of Kondatchie is Arippo, (a sieve, in allusion to 
the sifting of pearls) . Here on an elevated bank near the sea shore, 
stands ' the Doric,' a mansion erected by Governor North, and so 
called from the front being of that order of architecture. During 
the period of the pearl fishery, it is the residence of the Supervisor, 
but it is open as a rest house to European travellers. Arippo has now 
a direct communication with Kandy, by means of the new road to 
Anuradhapoora. The village is situated near one of the mouths of 
the Awerie-aar, is four leagues south of Manaar, and contains up- 
wards of 180 inhabitants, composed chiefly of fishermen. It boasts 
of a small fort with two bastions and barracks, and a Roman 
Catholic Church, the resort of the Malabar divers, &c, during the 
fishery. The rest house at Arippo is commodious, and there are 
springs of excellent water in the vicinity, which are the more pre- 
cious from the difficulty of obtaining it any where else. Arippo is 
memorable as the first place at which Knox arrived on the coast, 
after his escape from nineteen years' captivity in the Kandian 

The Awerie-aar, or river of Arippo, rises far in the interior in the 
southern districts of Nuwera Kalawa. It is there known by the 
Singhalese name of Malwatte oya (flower garden river). After pass- 


ing by Anuradhapoora, it makes a bend to the north-east, it then 
receives the waters of the Kurnndu-oya, and taking a north-westerly 
course through a part of the Wanny, enters the limits of Nanaatan 
near the Giant's tank, whence it turns due west till it runs into the 
sea, after a course of about eighty-five miles. In the bed and banks 
of this river, a species of red and blue stone, known by the name of 
* Manaar stones,' is found by sifting the sand. 

The district of Nanaatan is about fourteen miles long, and from 
five to nine miles broad, and contains about 188 villages. It pro- 
duces a great quantity of paddy, and the peasantry are more indus- 
trious than their neighbours. The village of Nanaatan is about four 
miles distant from the northern bank of the Awerie-aar. The 
Portuguese erected a church here which fell to decay many years 
ago, and the present one has been raised on its site. Large quan- 
tities of betel are grown here, and it supplies the whole neighbour- 
hood with this article. 

The report of Capt. Schneider, Chief Colonial Engineer, to Sir 
Thomas Maitland, on the Giant's Tank (Cattoekare), shews the 
number of acres in the Mantotte and Nanaatan districts, which it is 
capable of irrigating ; the lands it formerly irrigated, and what repairs 
are necessary to that end. The river connected with this tank is what 
the Dutch called the Moessellie River, and now called the Awerie- 
aar. The dam of Cattoekare must, says he, be built up with earth, 
six sluices must be built with arches, and stone dams will have 
to be constructed where the superfluous water is to run over. 
Canals will also have to be cut to the river, where small sluices will 
have to be formed. 

The Giant's tank is thus described : "This tank, supposed by the 
natives to have been constructed by Sodien (Giants), consists of a large 
spot of low land, surrounded from the north-west to the south side, by 
an earthen dike or dam to keep the water within confined in the rainy 
season, and to water the paddy fields when necessary. It is, how- 
ever, in several places broken or washed away, in some places is 
scarcely visible, and consequently no water remains at present. At 
certain spots outside the tank, on the north and south sides of the dam 
are to be seen rivulets by which the water runs down from the tank 
into the sea. On the south side of the tank is the Moessellie river, 
the water of which runs from the highlands into the sea, but only 
during heavy rains. This river swells in some years nine feet above 
its banks, though its bed is twelve feet deep. About nine miles from 
the south end of the dam of Cattoekare is a stone dam lying across, 
built up with large hewn stones, some of which are from seven to 
eight feet long, from three to four broad, and from two and a half to 
three feet thick, made fast with cement, the length of this dam is 
about 600 feet, the breadth from 40 to 60 feet, and the height from 
8 to 12 feet. The whole must have been constructed at enormous 
labour. Near this stone dam is a canal to lead the remaining water 


of the river to the tank, but this work seems to have been abandoned 
about half way, and has since broken down at four different places, 
where it discharges itself again into the river. Several persons have 
formed fields and erected small tanks within the Giants' tank, where 
at the date of this report, were 23 villages with cultivated grounds, 
sufficient to sow 3,121 parrahs. Outside the tank are a great 
number of villages, all of which have their small tanks, for the 
retention of water for their own use. The extent occupied by these 
tillages is sufficient to sow 16,500 parrahs. 

" The extent of the tank Cattoekare is about 20,000 parrahs of 
sowing ground. The height of the various parts of the dam above 
the level of the sea varies, being respectively 30 feet, 54 feet, and 67 
feet. The natives opine that from the mere water of the rivulets 
running into Cattoekare, independent of the river, the tank might be 
fully supplied, but to make the work more certain, the abandoned 
canal might be continued, and would only need to be four feet broad 
and six feet deep, by which means the superfluous water of the river 
would find its way, and a similar canal might be cut on the north 
side of the tank, to conduct the water from the highlands on that 
side. It would take three years to complete this work, meanwhile the 
agriculture both within and without the tank might be carried on as 
before. The Mantotte and Nanaatan districts can only be assisted 
with water from Cattoekare if repaired, being a land of large extent 
and without mountains, whence there is little rain. This land is 
bounded on the north by Werteltivoe and Pannengammo, on the 
east by Chitty colom, on the north-west and west by the sea, on the 
south by the Moessellie river, and contains 255 large and small 
villages, having in cultivated grounds 21,000 parrahs. Nanaatan has 
in addition 32 villages to the south of the Moessellie river, and 1 2 
villages beyond the tank Cattoekare, which cannot be irrigated by 
that tank, but only by the repair of the smaller tanks now in use, 
besides these are 23 villages within Cattoekare, which have 3,121 
parrahs of cultivated grounds which by repairing the said tank will 
be done away, but the people can be indemnified with a similar 
quantum of land outside. This part of the country cannot be sown 
without artificial irrigation, from the paucity of rain, and the ground 
is hard and clayey ; the crop requires water therefore from the time 
the rain ceases until it is fully grown. 

" A custom prevails of sowing the tanks with such paddy as can 
bear an abundance of moisture, and this is done before the rain, with 
a mammootie, and when the cultivator can do nothing else, the 
ground being much softer there than in the ordinary fields. In 
process of time, the small tanks could be turned into fields. 
Some of the small tanks are still in a tolerably good condition, 
and their repair might be left to the husbandmen themselves, 
on condition that the money be not paid till the repairs are approved 
of. The extent of the lands outside of Cattoekare is 166,000 


parrahs of ground, from which, after deducting 9 1 ,000 parrahs for 
pasture ground, &c, and 21,000 now cultivated, 54,000 parrahs 
might at once be cultivated and turned into proper fields, making 
25,000 parrahs which can be supplied with water from the Cattoekare, 
and would give for the first crop 70,000 parrahs duty, and for the 
second 15,000, and in case the people paid one tenth more for 
the supply of water, then the Government, after deducting all 
expenses for repairing the dam, sluices, &c. &c, would receive an 
income of 100,000 rix-dollars, besides the benefit to the people, 
and the maintenance pf an increased population. The cost of 
repairing the Giant's tank he estimates at 250,000 rix-dollars. The 
two provinces of Mantotte and Nanaatan," says Schneider, "have not 
this year, i. e. 1808, yet contributed 2,000 rix-dollars, and it is 
because many fields have been abandoned from want of water after 
the crop has been half grown, which has made the cultivator dejected, 
and has depopulated the country. The repairs of the small tanks 
in the same districts in a season of plentiful rain, would produce a 
revenue of 20,000 rix-dollars per annum, but this could only be 
relied on in case of rain. The soil of these districts is naturally rich, 
but the want of rain for years together has caused the cultivator to 

The next stage in proceeding northwards from Arippo is Bangalle, 
(Vankale), eight miles distant, a village in the district of Mantotte, 
situate on a sandy beach near the sea. It has a Romish Church 
built of stone, but the inhabitants are far from numerous, and almost 
entirely employed in the fishery. The Colombo road branches off 
here in two directions, one leading to Manaar, and the other to 
Jaffna. Four miles from Bangalle is the village of Mantotte 
(Mantai), where there is a large storehouse used as a depot for the 
tithe, and a rest house, the former having been built by the Por- 
tuguese for a church, and the latter as a parsonage house attached 
to it. 

At a small distance to the east of the village, there are some 
ancient ruins, which tradition mentions as being the site of buildings 
belonging to a company of goldsmiths, but there cannot be a question 
that Mantotte was formerly the site of a considerable Gentoo city, if 
not the temporary emporium of trade between the East and West. 
It is supposed by Mr. Tumour to have been founded by Elaala, 205 
b.o., but he does not state the grounds on which he rests his 
opinion. The present ruins found near Mantotte, and which are of 
brick and mortar, lead us back no further than six centuries, and 
coincide with the date of Arabian enterprise. The credulity of a 
degenerate posterity, and the mingled feelings of admiration and awe 
with which they witnessed works they could not imitate, has led 
them to perplex the annals of their foundation with the web of 
fiction, and to assign superhuman proportions to the architects and 
labourers employed in rearing the mighty granitic piles that have 


baffled the devastation of ages. Hence the robust labour segre- 
gated to execute the magnificent conceptions of a monarch, is now 
impersonated in giants of forty feet stature, or demons exorcised 
into executing the behests of his superior will. 

In the time of De Mello, Commander of Manaar, 1575, some 
Roman houses were opened in the province of Mantotte, and in the 
time of the Dutch, many Roman ruins and pieces of mavble-work 
were to be seen. In examining the foundation, an iron chain of very 
different form and design to any thing made in India, was dis- 
covered. They found also three pieces of copper coin, one of which 
was entirely worn away, and a gold coin, on one side of which 
was the image of a man from the breast upwards ; at the edge was 
deciphered part of a superscription, in which the letter ' C,' sup- 
posed to refer to Claudius, was visible. On another coin were dis- 
covered the letters ' R, M, N, R,' supposed by Valentyn to have 
formed part of the word Romanorum. The same writer conjectures 
that these coins were brought thither by the freedman of Annius 
Plocamus, but I confess I do not see why we should limit ourselves 
to such a source, when we know that both Roman and Greek coins 
must have been in part the circulating media employed in Oriental 
commerce, one of whose emporia was doubtless in this very district. 

The line of argument, if argument it can be called, taken by 
Major Forbes, in his notice of the vestiges of antiquity and the 
traditions of former mercantile emporia on this coast, appears to me 
to be unworthy of a writer, whose judgment on most points is gene- 
rally so sound. Since there are at least two fallacies discoverable in 
his argument, it may not be improper to recapitulate briefly what 
the advocates of the threefold point, to which I shall presently 
advert, infer from the statements of the ancient writers, our know- 
ledge of the navigation of these seas by the ancients, the state of 
navigation during the middle ages, and the vestiges of great an- 
tiquity that still remain. That point, as I before remarked, is of a 
threefold nature, and has strict reference to a particular time, to 
particular agency, and I might add, a particular mode of operation. 
By particular time, I mean to imply that the commerce supposed to 
have had its centre here, as an emporium, was limited to a con- 
tracted space, one of the incidents either unnoticed or misrepresented 
by Major Forbes : by particular agency, I refer to the three nations 
or peoples by whom this commerce was conducted, viz. the Shire or 
Seres, by whom the eastern transit was undertaken, the Malabars 
and latterly the Indo-Moors, who acted as agens de change, and the 
Arabians and Greeks who engaged in the western transit, that is 
from Ceylon, and at different epochs, from the Malabar coast. But 
here again, Major Forbes is at fault, and he confuses the three com- 
ponents of the population of Ceylon in a case, in which a dis- 
tinction is absolutely necessary to elucidate the subject. By a par- 
ticular mode of operation, I refer to the exchange which took place 

2 K 

498 CEYLON. [fAUT IV- 

between the two great mercantile nations. The principal ground of 
Major Forbes's hostility to the whole theory in question, would seem 
in a great measure to rest on the assumed poverty and tameness of 
character of the Malabars and Indo-Moors. But this is a point on 
which much stress need not be laid, though I cannot allow, without 
a protest, an inference of their former to be drawn from their present 
state. But I maintain further that it is not necessary to shew that 
the Malabars took any active part in the transaction at all ; the 
country inhabited by them, or in their power, happened by a 
physical accident to be on the highway of the trade between the East 
and the West, where the parties to the trade could effect a mutual 
exchange, and save on either side a protracted navigation. A 
hundred circumstances can be imagined, all within the range of pro- 
bability, to account either for the Malabars, &c. themselves partici- 
pating in the commerce, their contenting themselves with deriving 
the incidental advantages which it is obvious must have accrued to 
them, letting alone all active participation, or their being coerced by 
the Arabians and Greeks, a far more warlike people, into resigning 
the points of the coast which would avail for ensuring the safety of 
mercantile operations. 

One circumstance which almost amounts to a proof in favour of 
the theory I have endeavoured to expound, is the peculiar character 
of the country, which is supposed to have been the theatre of this 
commerce. The soil of the district, though far from barren under 
irrigation, is naked and parched to an extreme, where removed from 
its influence ; the atmosphere also is dry to an excess, from the hot 
winds which at times destroy all vegetation within their range. How 
came it to pass, then, that a numerous and powerful nation, in former 
times, fixed its residence in this most unprofitable and uncongenial 
part of the island, and what were the causes that afterwards made it 
forsake it, and leave it to its original desolation ? Neither the facts 
that the Hindoo invaders of Ceylon occupied this country as a pre- 
liminary to their inroads into the interior, and erected the buildings, 
of which but few vestiges remain, or that pilgrims from the penin- 
sula landed here in great numbers on their way to the renowned 
temples of the north-east, or the Sri Pada of the interior, will suffi- 
ciently account for this influx of population and wealth. Commerce, 
and not the indulgence of a spirit of conquest, can perhaps alone be 
legitimately assigned. 

Prior to the discovery of the compass, when mariners could not 
safely venture out of sight of land, they had no alternative in passing 
from the Malabar to the Coromandel coast, but to proceed by the 
strait between Ceylon and the Peninsula, or by rounding the island. 
To effect the latter, however, by keeping close to the island is im- 
practicable, except by waiting for the changes in the regular mon- 
soons. The south-west that blows from April to September, and is 
favourable to vessels proceeding from Cape Comorin to Manaar, 


renders it impracticable to proceed thence to Dondera Head. The 
north east that prevails from October to February, while facilitating 
the passage of these vessels from Manaar to Dondera Head, renders 
it necessary that they should there wait again for the south-west 
before they can proceed to Trincomalee or the Coromandel coast. 
Such being the case, it is clear that vessels would rendezvous in the 
straits of Manaar, or the Paumban channel, and that those vessels 
which from their size could not pass, would be unloaded, and the 
merchandize either be removed in boats, to be transhipped in other 
vessels, as they arrived from the opposite coast of India, or be de 
posited in stores to wait an opportunity of obtaining the necessary 
conveyance. These circumstances are sufficient in themselves to ac- 
count for a concourse of traders on the shores of these straits, and 
the adjacent districts, and the formation of numerous establishments 
at or near Manaar for their convenience. These establishments 
would call into existence, and give an impetus to, the cultivation of 
land in the vicinity which, in the absence of that extraordinary 
stimulant, might perhaps have lain for ever uncultivated. Many 
merchants from the Persian and Arabian Gulfs, and the Malabar 
coast, would prefer disposing of their goods at such a depot, and 
returning home with their ships laden with the produce of Coro- 
mandel and the Gangetic provinces, to continuing a tedious and 
hazardous voyage. The discovery of the compass and the im- 
provements in navigation, at once altered the system. Larger 
vessels were then substituted, which kept out to sea, the trading- 
through tbe straits of Manaar soon became less profitable, and 
more tedious than by a direct voyage, and was therefore abandoned ; 
hence followed the decay of the establishments at Manaar and 
Mantotte, and the consequent depopulation of the country. 

"When these mercantile establishments were thus on the wane, and 
began to be reduced in strength and population, it is very possible 
that the Singhalese princes, feeling their superiority, attacked the 
remnant and reduced the Aareya Chakkra Warti from a state of 
independence to a recognition of their supremacy. 

The vicinity of the pearl fishery to these districts may also have 
added to the inducements of trading nations to make them the seat 
of exchange, though it would not in itself be a sufficient inducement 
to tempt them to establish a permanent residence in so arid a country, 
while Tutacorin was the recognised seat of the fishery. 

The whole district of Mantotte 1 (Mahatottam, "Great Garden") 
is surrounded with a halo of interest for the antiquary, and it is far 
from improbable that the measures that cannot fail to be taken, 
sooner or later, to restore its former fertility to this neglected but 
very capable district, may evoke some relic of the past to elucidate 
what is now shrouded in mystery. Mantotte is bounded on the east 

1 Matotte, or Mantotte, has been sometimes confounded with Mahawettatotte, 
it the mouth of the Kotti-aaiv 

2 K 2 


by the Wanny, on the north by the channel which divides Manaar 
from the main land, and on the south by Nanaatan. The face of the 
country is almost level, but from the ruined state of the tanks, the 
whole district does not produce more than 30,000 parrahs of paddy, 
although its facilities for irrigation are very great. The inhabitants are 
chiefly composed of Malabars, and live in 147 villages. The repair of 
the tanks, exclusive of Kattoekare, wovdd not exceed £5 50. and the 
tithe to Government would be 5000 parrahs of paddy. Salt pans are 
found in some parts of this coast, and formerly yielded a large supply. 

The island of Manaar (Mannarama 1 ), so called from the Tamil 
words, man, sand, and aar, river, is separated from the coast of Ceylon 
by a narrow arm of the sea, varying in breadth from two to three 
miles at high water, but at ebb tide it appears to be little more than 
a rivulet, and is then fordable. It lies between 8° 56' and 9° 0' 50" 
north lat., and 79° 50' and 80° 8' east long., is eighteen miles long, 
and from two to four broad, is the point of Ceylon nearest to the 
Indian peninsula, its north-western extremity being thirty miles from 
Ramisseram, and contains twenty-two villages. Nearly the whole 
of the island is low ground, exhibiting a mixture of shells and sand 
worked up by the waves ; the soil is scarcely anywhere adapted for 
the operations of agriculture, and the water is generally impregnated 
with salt, It is chiefly planted with cocoa-nut and palmyra trees, 
besides a small variety of shrubs and vegetables, among which cotton 
predominates. The climate differs little from that of the neigh- 
bouring coast, and the inhabitants enjoy good health throughout the 
year, except at the first setting in of the monsoon rains, when they 
are subject to a malignant fever and ague, which often prove fatal. 
Salt forms spontaneously on the island, but not in the same pro- 
portion as in the Leways. In the most wild and uncultivated parts 
of the sandy tracts, the best Chaya root is produced, the collection 
of which forms the exclusive occupation of a particular class of people 
callec^Kadeyas. The chanks found a little to the northward of 
Manaar are plentiful, but devoid of that brilliant whiteness for which 
those of Calpentyn are held in estimation. Both the channel and 
the gulf are well stocked with fish, which are caught in the greatest 
abundance, and it is mentioned in the Histoire de la Compagnie de 
Jesus, that in 1560 seven mermaids were caught in the neighbourhood 
of Manaar by the fishermen, and were dissected by the physician to 
the Viceroy of Goa. 

Manaar is famous for its large breed of black cattle and goats ; 
from the milk of the latter the people manufacture a coarse kind of 
cream cheese, small and round, the art of which was probably com- 
municated to them by the Dutch. Sheep thrive here better than 
in any other part of Ceylon, except, perhaps, in the extensive sheep 
walks between Jaffnapatam and Point Pedro. Butcher's meat, poultry, 

1 The etymology I would venture to propose is Raman-aar, or Rama's river, 
in which cat>e the excision of the first syllable is supposed to have taken place. 


game, fruit, rice, and vegetables, are procurable at a low rate. Paddy 
is sown in the Manaar district in September and October, and reaped 
in March ; Kurukkan is sown in September, and reaped in December ; 
Gingilie is sown in March and reaped in May. 

The town of Manaar is situated at the south-eastern extremity of 
the island, and is about 142 miles N.N.W. of Colombo. It has a 
small square fort, surrounded by a wide ditcb, which stands so close 
to the channel, that it may be seen from the opposite shore of 
Ceylon. This fort contains, besides the officers' quarters, magazines 
and barracks, a small Protestant church, and two reservoirs of water. 
During war it is a dependency of Jaffna, and was, at one time, com- 
manded by a field officer, but at present is tenanted by invalids, and 
is used as a depot for salt. In the time of the Dutch, a strong 
garrison was kept. At the distance of a furlong from the fort through 
an avenue of Suria trees, stands the town, which is small but neat, con- 
taining several good houses, a court house, a large, commodious, and 
well supplied bazaar, several chapels belonging to the Roman Catholics, 
and a church attached to the Reformed faith of Holland. Besides 
the principal streets occupied by the burghers, there are a great 
number of smaller ones, in which the natives reside, and which 
extend into the country. Manaar has a small custom-house establish- 
ment ; its exports, which are chiefly confined to the Coromandel 
coast, consist of chanks, chaya root, palmyra rafters, areka nuts, 
gingilie, ironwood timber, and salt fish ; and its imports of cloth, 
rice, paddy, spices, and drugs. The harbour, though shallow, is 
completely sheltered. 

The village of Pesale, or Pcixale, composed of the two Tamil words 
pe, devil, and sale, a hall, so called from its having once been the 
resort of sorcerers, is one of the most considerable in the island. It 
is about twelve miles to the north-west of Manaar, on a sandy beach 
near the sea, and is considered a good situation for the fishery. The 
inhabitants who are chiefly Parawas, from the continent, exceed 
1000 in number, and employ more than 200 canoes in their calling. 
When the Portuguese were in possession of the island they erected 
a very splendid church at some distance from the beach, but as it 
had crumbled into ruins, a new one has been erected in its neighbour- 
hood. Karsel is a village in the interior of the island, about eight 
miles north-west of Manaar. A government cotton plantation was 
once formed here ; but, the first produce proving insufficient to pay 
the expense, it was abandoned. This village is remarkable for the 
number of its gardens, and the excellence of its water. 

St. Pedro, about five miles north-west of Manaar, was so named by 
the Portuguese, from the church dedicated to St. Peter. It has a fine 
harbour, and was formerly the depot for the chanks fished along the 
coast, previous to their exportation to Bengal. About a mile west of 
the Tillage stands a round tower, by some thought to have been erected 
by the early Mahommedan settlers, by others to have been built by 
the Portuguese as a watch-tower, for noticing the approach of vessels. 


Totawelle (the garden plain) is about three miles to the west 
of Manaar, and is inhabited by Kadeyas, who dig for chaya root, 
which is exported to Madura and other parts of the Coromandel 
coast. The Portuguese built a fine church here, but it has long 
since fallen to ruins, and a new one has been built by the inhabitants, 
who are all Roman Catholics. 

Talamanaar is a village at the south-west angle of the island, from 
which travellers are ferried over to the continent of India, and con- 
tains upwards of 300 inhabitants, principally fishermen. The wind 
to which this part of the island is very much exposed is continually 
throwing up huge mounds of sand. 

According to the traditions of the natives, Manaar was in early 
times the hereditary property of the Kadeyas, and exclusively occu- 
pied by them, but subject to the King of Jaffna. In the eighth 
century the Mahommedan 1 emigrants from Arabia formed a consider- 
able settlement on the island, and from its position between Ceylon 
and the peninsula of India, chose it as the emporium of their com- 
merce, and guarded the two passages in the neighbourhood with an 
armed force. But at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese this 
establishment was already on the wane, and shortly afterwards 
ceased to exist. In 1503 the Kadeyas to a man embraced the 
Roman Catholic religion, with what results we have elsewhere shewn. 
In 1590 the island was taken possession of by the Portuguese, and, 
notwithstanding the attempts made by the King of. Jaffna to retake 
it, they retained it till 1650, when it was taken by the Dutch after 
a short resistance. During the government of the Portuguese it was 
their head quarters in the northern provinces, and a Captain-General 
permanently resided there. It - was here also they detained the 
empress Donna Catharina, whom they employed as a tool for the 
furtherance of their intei'ests in Ceylon. Nowhere were their attempts 
to propagate their faith more active than here, and the success which 
attended their labour is to this day evident, by the fact that there 
are few persons of any other sect or religion at Manaar, and none in 
the adjacent district of Mantotte. 

The Dutch soon rendered themselves unpopular with the inhabi- 
tants by their endeavours to supplant the Romish religion, and, 
though they subsequently became more tolerant, yet they never 
gained the affections of the people ; and when they contemplated 
levying a tax on the fish caught by the Parawas, who are the princi- 
pal inhabitants, some opposition was made, and numbers emigrated 
to the opposite coast, placing themselves under the protection of the 
Raja of Ramnad, and did not return to the island till the Dutch had 
given a solemn assurance of the abandonment of the tax. Manaar 
was taken by the British in 1795. 

1 The Mahommedan merchants are said to have had immense depots here, 
both of the productions of Ceylon for the export trade, and the manufactures 
and productions of the Mahommedan states settled along the Mediterranean and 
the Persian Gulf. 


The navigation for large vessels near the shore between Manaar 
and Karetivoe is rather dangerous, as there are many banks inter- 
spersed, but small ones drawing seven or eight feet of water only, 
and acquainted with the coast, pass inside or between some of them. 
Ships making for Manaar, when three or three and a half leagues 
west of Karetivoe, steer to the north-east, keeping a good look out, 
and the lead going, the soundings being irregular over a rocky 
bottom, until seven or eight fathoms near the island, under these 
depths they decrease gradually towards it to five fathoms sandy 
ground. In this track there are sometimes overfalls from twenty to 
twenty-five fathoms to two or three fathoms less at a cast. If a 
vessel shoal to eight fathoms hard ground in passing near the reef or 
outermost banks, she must instantly haul to the westward. From 
this part of Ceylon to the Tinevelly coast, soundings extend across 
the gult* to the southward of Adam's bridge, but the outer limit of the 
bank is not even yet known to Europeans, as the navigation of the 
gulf to the northward of Colombo is principally limited to coasters. 

The gut between Manaar and Mantotte has in some places ten or 
twelve feet at high water, in others not more than six, it is only 
therefore navigable for dhonies and small country boats, but the only 
anchorage is on the south side of the island in four or five fathoms, 
and four or five miles to the westward of the gut. This channel, 
moreover, does not appear capable of any material improvement, as 
there is a bar opposite to its south end. 

In entering upon an investigation, or rather speculation, as to the 
original state of Palk's Strait, and of the Paumban channel, and to what 
cause the latter is indebted for its existence, we must needs commence 
by assuming that most probable of theories, the original junction of 
Ramisseram with the main land. That done, we may account by a very 
clear analogy, bearing in mind the disruptions and convulsions of the 
earth's surface even in the temperate zone, for its separation at a sub- 
sequent period from the Peninsula. Fabulous and obscure as most of 
the traditions handed down respecting the deeds of Rama and his 
opponent may be, it does not seem impossible, if we consider how 
recklessly labour has been lavished in every age of Eastern despotism, 
but that Rama, having completed the Saitubaudha 1 or causeway 

1 Hindoo history evidently alludes to Adam's or Rama's bridge, in recounting 
the wars of Lanka, and attributes to Rama, the son of Cush, an incarnate deity 
of the first rank in Hindoo mythology, the conquest of the island with an army of 
Indian satyrs ; and states that Rama's General, the prince of satyrs, called 
Hanuman, from his high cheek bones, and son of Pavon, the Indian god of storms 
and winds, and one of the eight Genii, soon raised with workmen of such agility 
a bridge of rocks over the sea, part of which, say the Hindoos, yet remains. 
Sir W. Jones in alluding to this, inquires if this army of satyrs might not have 
been only a race of mountaineers whom Rama had civilized, and concludes with 
mentioning, that the large breed of Indian apes was even in his time held in high 
veneration by the Hindoos, and fed with devotion by the Brahmins, who seem in 
two or three places on the banks of the Ganges to have a regular endowment for 


through the then existing straits, (which we are told have been much 
deeper in ancient times) may have marched his army across it from 
the continent to the invasion of Ceylon, and hence have given this 
name of Rama's bridge. The accomplishment of a similar undertaking 
is represented by the native annalists to have been effected by 
Gajabahoo, a.d. 113. 

The Paumban passage, or as it is called by the inhabitants, the 
Paumban river, is a narrow opening through a dam or ridge of rocks, 
extending from the island of Ramisseram to the opposite promontory, 
on the continent to the east of Ramnad, and is situate between the 
Gulf of Manaar and Palk's Strait. The continuation of the rocks or 
dam can be easily traced on the main land and island of Ramisseram 
preserving exactly the same direction, but rising on both sides several 
feet higher than the dam in its natural position, and in uniform 
layers, having a small inclination to the south. The ridges which 
form the dam, were very much broken and displaced, consisting of 
large flat masses of rocks, seldom more than two or three feet in 
thickness. Their shattered state, and the break or chasm which 
they form in the general height of the stratum of rock, would seem to 
indicate that the island of Ramisseram was at one time connected 
with the main land, and that it had been separated in the first 
instance by the sea during storms breaking over and bursting the 
chain of rocks which joined them, and afterwards by the water 
undermining and displacing the broken fragments. 

This supposition corresponds with the tradition of the inhabitants ; 
for the Brahmins of Ramisseram state that when Achoodapah Naig 
was Raja of Madura, a.d. 1484, the island was connected with the 
continent, and that the Saumy of Ramisseram was carried to the 
mainland thrice every year on particular festivals. During the reign 
of Achoodapah Naig, a small breach in the rock was caused by a 
•violent storm, but as there was no great depth of water in it, travellers 
still continued to cross on foot till the time of his successor, 
Vissoovana Naig, when the breach was much enlai'ged by a second 
storm. The Divan Ramapiah was ordered to fill up the breach that 
the pilgrims of the pagoda at Ramisseram might passwithout difficulty; 
this was accordingly done, and the repairs lasted about ten years, 
when a third hurricane reopened and greatly extended the breach. 
The rock of which the dam is composed, is a sand stone, varying 

their support : they live in tribes of three or four hundred, are wonderfully 
gentle, and appear to have some kind of order and subordination in their little 
sylvan polity." 

On the other hand, the Mahommedans assert with about equal reason, that the 
bridge of Islets bearing the name of the common father of mankind, was formed 
by angels to permit his passage to Hindostan, after having dropped upon the 
mountain Hamalell, when expelled from the celestial paradise ; and it has been 
also asserted, that the persecuted followers of Boodh or Buddha, when driven' 
from the continent by the Brahmins, sought a secure resting place for themselves 
and for the unmolested exercise of their religion, by passing over this causeway 
to Ceylon. 


considerably in quality and compactness, but every where soft, and 
easily pierced and broken. The dam was 2,250 yards in length, 
and bounded by two parallel ridges of rock about 140 yards apart. 
From what has been said, it will be inferred that the Paumban 
channels have gradually been becoming deeper by the action of the 
waves and currents upon the ledges of rock which impede the 
passage, and that if there ever was any channel through which large 
ships could pass, between Ceylon and the continent, it must have 
been during some temporary shifting of the sand banks between 
Manaar and Ramisseram, 

The account given by Baldseus of the shifting of the impediments 
at one of the channels at Adam's bridge by the Portuguese, as if they 
were the lock-gates of a canal, in order to allow their fleet, menaced 
by the Dutch, to escape from this outlet, is hardly worthy of consi- 
deration, and difficult of belief ; for in that case either some of the 
channels must have been deeper in former days, or the ships must 
have been of a small size. Adam's bridge* itself is a very extraor- 
dinary formation. It is only about a quarter of a mile in breadth, 
and consists entirely of sand, partly above and partly below water, 
collected apparently by the surf and currents, and unsupported, as far 
as has yet been ascertained, by rock. The east end was pierced to 
the depth of thirty feet ; and nothing found but sand; on each side of 
the bank at the distance of from two to three miles, the sea is six 
fathoms deep, and quite free from obstructions of every kind. 

There are three principal openings across A.dam's bridge, one near the 
north-west end of Manaar, called the Talmanaar passage ; the second, 
eight miles further to the west, and the third about eleven miles from 
the island of Ramisseram, termed the Tannycoody passage, this last 
has been examined and surveyed. It is narrow in the centre, and 
thirty feet deep, with broad curved bars opposite to its two ends, on 
which there is not more than five or six feet of water. The bank 
between it and Ramisseram is entire, and several feet above water. 
The Talmanaar passage exactly resembles that of Tannycoody, 
but it is not so deep, there being only about three feet of water on its 
north bar. The intermediate opening has never been examined, but 
from its appearence, there is little doubt of its corresponding very 
nearly with the other two. In the vicinity of the Talmanaar and 
Tannycoody openings, the bank is visible above water for several 
miles, intersected by only a few narrow openings, but towards its 
centre it is chiefly covered with water, and very little sand is to be 
seen, though from the surf breaking exactly on the line of the bank, 
the depth of water cannot exceed two or three feet. 

1 Adam's bridge is called by the natives " Tiroowanai," or the sacred embank- 
ment, and " Seetapandanam," or the structure of Seeta. Valmika, in his Uttara 
kanda, cap. xviii, describes the bridge as being ten yojens in breadth, and one 
hundred in length, and composed of no other materials than huge rocks piled up 
in a chain by the Vdnaras, under the direction of Nala, one of the chief engineers 
of the gods. 


During both monsoons, on the lee side of the bank, there are a great 
number of irregular shifting sand banks scattered about, on which 
there are from two to four feet of water, with passages between them 
eight or nine feet deep. The weather side on the contrary, particu- 
larly towards the end of the monsoon, is in great measure clear of 
such banks, and the surf breaks on its shore nearly in a straight con- 
tinued line. When the monsoon changes, the strength and prevailing 
direction of the current change too, and the loose sand of which the 
shifting banks are composed, on what was the lee side, being stirred 
up by the surf and sea, is swept by the current through the channels, 
and deposited on the opposite side, partly on the bars and partly in 
loose detached heaps along the bank. These deposits appear to be 
further increased by the sand thrown upon the weather shore by the 
surf, which, as soon as it becomes dry, is carried by the wind across 
the bank into the sea on the other side. When the wind is strong, 
a continued stream of sand is swept across the bank into the sea on 
the lee side. The beach of Adam's bridge, therefore, to the distance 
of about a mile on both sides, is continually changing and shifting ; 
on the weather side it is generally clear, except immediately opposite 
to the channels where there are always projecting bars, while on the 
opposite side there are many loose banks scattered about, and con- 
stantly changing and varying in position and extent as the monsoon 
advances, and according to the state of the sea and weather. During 
both monsoons rather a high surf breaks on the weather side of the 
bank, but the south-west monsoon produces much the highest surf, 
accompanied by a long heavy swell. During part of the north-east 
monsoon the surf breaks on both sides of the banks. Dhonies and 
fishing boats occasionally used to pass through the openings in fine 
weather, but the passage was attended with difficulty and danger, 
and was not common. 

The practicability of opening a channel sufficiently deep for 
all classes of ships, and keeping it open, was found to be doubtful. 
A strong double bulwark of stones across the bank, extending into 
deep water on both sides, with a narrow opening of 100 or 200 feet 
might perhaps have accomplished the object. The velocity of the 
current would probably keep a narrow fixed channel of that descrip- 
tion always sufficiently deep, and sweep off any sand that might be 
carried into it, either by the sea or by the wind ; and, as the bulwark 
would extend into deep water beyond the shifting sands and the in- 
fluence of the surf, its ends might possibly be kept free from sand. 
The danger to be chiefly apprehended was the formation of bars 
opposite to the ends of the channel, similar to what were found in 
front of the natural openings, but as the current is rapid and extends 
into deep water it is likely that what did pass through it w T ould be 
dissipated and disappear. 

In 1836, the Government of Madras made an application to that 
of Bombay, for a surveying party to examine the gulf of Manaar. 
The idea of this undertaking originated with General Monteith, 


Chief of the Madras Engineers, who had been wrecked on the shores 
of the gulf in 1809, and had felt the strongest possible desire to see 
its coasts and shoals, and sunken rocks, examined and laid down, 
with a view as far as possible, to diminish the obstructions to navi- 
gation. A party was therefore detached from Captain Moresby to 
undertake this service, and a party of Madras engineers, and about 
fifty convicts were engaged under the direction of General, then 
Colonel Monteith, in cutting a navigable channel through two formid- 
able ledges of rock, extending from the island of Ramisseram to the 
opposite coast of the continent. 

The passage through these rocks, while they remained in their 
natural state, had a depth of at most six or seven feet, while on the 
Great Horse Shoe-bank, a little to the south, there was scarcely a 
depth of five feet at high- water. In despite of these obstacles, however 
large numbers of small craft engaged in the coasting trade, had long 
made use of the channel, though they had been always compelled to 
land a portion of their cargoes on entering the strait. The principal 
object of the Madras Government was now therefore, to widen, and 
deepen the passage, so as to obtain a sufficient depth of water for 
vessels of moderate burden, and for the steamers from the Red Sea 
to Calcutta when established. As it has been already observed, up 
to 1837, all vessels beyond the smallest class were compelled in pass- 
ing from one side of the Indian peninsula to the other, to beat 
round Ceylon, often in the teeth of heavy and contrary winds, and 
always against currents more or less powerful. The addition thus 
made to their voyage, averaged under the most favourable circum- 
stances, 2000 miles, but as it was often necessary to run down ten 
degrees of latitude, before they could open the Bay of Bengal, they 
had to sail full 3500 miles, ere they regained the directer course. 
The craft exposed to this inconvenience and loss of time, were em- 
ployed in the conveyance of the produce of Malabar, Travancore, 
and other fertile provinces, to Madras. Prices, as it will easily be 
conceived, were very materially enhanced by such a state of things 
on the Coromandel coast. Fewer persons would engage in the trade 
on account of the dangers to be apprehended in rounding Ceylon ; 
while the mere length of the voyage by increasing the wages of 
crews, and the interest of capital, necessarily raised the cost of com- 
modities. Its chief effect, however, was to confine the coasting 
trade to small vessels, which by the slow process of unloading and 
reloading, could reach their point of destination through the gulf of 
Manaar and the Paumban passage. Where Nature has in a sportive 
or capricious mood, barred or endangered the progress of man, it is 
to be observed, she has ever summoned forth increased energy and 
resolution in her children for the encounter. Hence on the little 
island of Ramisseram, is to be found a hardy race of native pilots ; 
and the village of Paumban owes its existence to the intricacy and 
shallowness of the neighbouring channel. Circumstances might 
occur which would render the impracticability of this route a public 


calamity. Thus during the war in Affghanistan ' the Enterprise,' 
a well built and powerful steamer, bound with treasure and arms for 
Kurrachee, was completely beaten back and detained for weeks by 
the force of the south-west monsoon, while numbers of coasting ves- 
sels were passing and repassing daily through the Paumban channel, 
completely under the shelter of land. The attention of Government 
had been directed to this subject as far back as 1828, when some 
efforts were made towards removing the principal obstacles to the 
navigation, but were discontinued for reasons not known. 

The geological structure of the strait is curious. An immense 
congeries of rocks, many of them rising to the surface of the waves, 
obstructed the channel for 2960 feet, and between these at high 
water, the small and venturous craft of the country threaded their 
tortuous and somewhat dangerous course. The northern extremity 
consists of coral and limestone to which succeeds shingle, mixed with 
granite boulders, but not loose. This passed, a breadth of blue soft 
sandstone mixed with lime and madrepore succeeds. Then follows 
the great northern reef composed of hard red sandstone, and extend- 
ing east and west almost in a right line. A broad belt of broken 
sandstone interspersed with boulders of other substances next suc- 
ceeds, and the southern reef, consisting like the former, with which 
it runs parallel, of hard red sandstone, follows. A bed of the same 
rock, but less indurated, then stretches southwards to the site of the 
great sand-bank. 

As may be supposed " the practical men" as usual pronounced 
this undertaking ridiculous, and viewed the obstacles to its comple- 
tion insurmountable, while the Court of Directors, ever slow in 
advancing any thing to promote objects beyond their own narrow 
range of vision, had little faith in the success of the enterprise, and 
were indisposed to expend a competent sum for its execution. Un- 
daunted by the apathy that prevailed, Colonel Monteith, perfectly 
confident that if the requisite means were placed at his disposal, he 
could cut through the interposing reefs a channel of fourteen feet at 
low, and sixteen at high -water, and at the same time of sufficient 
breadth to allow of its being safely navigated at all seasons, perse- 
vered, and finally succeeded in obtaining his authority. He located 
his gang of convicts at Ramisseram, where he likewise erected bar- 
racks for the troops. A large diving bell five tons in weight was 
sent him from Ceylon : he purchased or constructed a number of 
catamarans, and with the least possible delay, commenced operations. 
Great energy and perseverance were exhibited by all parties, the 
sappers and convicts working almost continually in the water, diving, 
boring and blasting. The most laborious work was removing the 
huge fragments of rock when they had been detached. This was 
effected by raising and swinging them to the sides of the catamarans 
or large boats, by which they were carried away, and dropped into 
the sea with the view of forming a sort of breakwater on either side 
of the channel. At one time the explosion under water took place 


before the men could get out of the way, and on one occasion a large 
catamaran was overturned with six persons in it. Another time, 
when the fuse had been twenty minutes without exploding, a diver 
was sent to withdraw the powder, but found the fire burning fiercely, 
and had scarcely effected his escape, before immense fragments of 
rock were projected above water, and .scattered with tremendous 
force on all sides. 

During the whole period in which operations were carried on, how- 
ever, few casualties occurred, while owing to the excellent system of 
management pursued by General Monteith and his humanity to 
those under his care, the deaths from sickness did not exceed those 
occurring in any ordinary service. At length a powerful steam- 
dredge was sent out from England, which cleared away the loose 
rock at the rate of about 2000 cubic feet per day. Nevertheless the 
channel has not yet been excavated to the depth required, having 
only ten feet at low, and twelve feet at high water, with a breadth 
varying from 90 to 150 yards. Its edges are carefully marked 
throughout by buoys. It may with truth, however, be said, that 
the undertaking has succeeded, since not only do all the country 
craft use the channel, but the Calcutta steamers also.. The "Ne- 
mesis" and the " Pluto" on their return from China came this way, 
and in coal alone effected a saving of ^6400. But the most striking 
illustration of the value of the Paumban channel is supplied by the 
fact, that whereas before the works were undertaken, the amount of 
tonnage that traversed the strait was from 20,000 to 23,000 tons a 
year, it has now increased to 140,000 in the same period, or six-fold. 

The passage from Mantotte to Jaffnapatam is effected with most 
ease by sea, the distance by that mode of transit not exceeding sixty- 
eight miles, but the botanist conscious of the treasures that await 
him by the more circuitous route, will prefer it, as a number of 
plants are to be found by the land route that are not to be met with 
elsewhere in the island. The road is sandy, often inundated to a 
great depth in the rainy season, and skirted by jungle, though the 
districts contiguous to the villages are well cultivated, and abun- 
dantly stocked with cattle. The native cottages are remarkable for 
their neatness, and their freedom from musquitoes, which arises from 
the plaster of cow-dung laid on the cottage floors, which when 
levelled makes an excellent pavement, cool, comfortable, and from its 
anti-contagious influences, salutary to the inmates. 

Vertativoe (Wertleteevoe) the first stage on this route, and nine 
miles from Mantotte, is the principal village in the district of the 
same name, which is included within the territory of the Wanny, 
and comprises 104 villages ; the repair of tbe tanks would cost 
i£500. and the tithe to Government would be 4500 parrahs of paddy. 
Its inhabitants, who are Moors, carry on a considerable manufacture 
of salt. Here is a post station and rest-house for travellers, and a 
road leads from hence through the Wannv to Trincomalee. Near 

510 • CEYLON. [PART IV. 

the first rest-house on this road is a small temple of most excellent 
construction. The building is a long square, about twenty-two feet 
in length and fifteen in width, and the stones are in perfect preserva- 
tion. The cornice is cut with great taste, after the Hindoo style, 
and the ornaments are not unlike those seen in some ruins of a 
temple on Malabar point af Bombay. 

The next stage, northward, is lllipekadawe, 5f miles, the prin- 
cipal village in the district of the same name, (where there is a rest- 
house), which is also within the limits of the Wanny. Besides paddy, 
a very small proportion of fine grain is cultivated in this part of the 
country, as it is overgrown with jungle, and infested with elephants. 
Near lllipekadawe is a large species of tamarind, Papara-pulli, 
Singh, under which Baldseus is said to have first preached the Gospel 
in Ceylon This tree is more than eighty feet high, and thirty in 
girth. lllipekadawe has forty-five tanks, of which twenty require 
repair, and would cost .=6450. ; and if all the fields in this district 
were sown, the tithe would yield 1500 parrahs of paddy. Tobacco 
thrives well here. From hence the next stage is to Pali-aar, six 
miles, aud from thence to Pallawarajenkattoe, 8f miles, the principal 
village in the district of that name, which has a large tank, that 
affords means of cultivating a large number of paddy fields. The 
rest-house stands about a mile and a half from the sea. There are 
six tanks requiring repair in this district, and the tank before 
alluded to requires a canal to drain off its superfluous water, the 
whole cost would be ^6320-, and the tithe, including that received 
from the fields not watered from the tanks, would yield 3000 parrahs 
of paddy. 

Off this coast is Irrentivoe (the Two Brothers' island) about five 
miles N.W. from Pallawarajenkattoe. They are inhabited, and 
abound with good pasturage, in which a part of the Delft stud was 
formerly sent to graze. Fish is plentiful. There is a small Roman 
Catholic chapel on one of the islands. 

The next stage is to Vewaltcengie, six miles and a half; from 
thence to Sembencoondu is five and a half miles, and from the latter 
to Poonaryn, a village in the parish of the same name aud attached 
to the district of Pachellepalle, is five miles. Here is a small fort 
built by the Dutch, and a rest-house for travellers, both very plea- 
santly situated. It is the seat of a dense population, with extensive 
plots of paddy land diversified with plantations of cocoa-nut and 
palmyra trees. Though fiat and sandy near the coast, this district 
contains some beautiful scenery, and is remarkable for its verdure 
and good cultivation. Its forest trees are of the most magnificent 
and picturesque variety, and the beautiful scenery of the tropics, 
can no where be seen to greater advantage, or less adorned by art. 
North-west of Poonaryn stretches the long neck of land along which 
the road runs, terminating at Kalmoone point, and forming one of the 
entrances into the little inland sea of Jaffna. It is often inundated 


by the sea. There is a small fort at this place, which commands the 
gut. Kalmoone point is 13| miles from Poonaryn, and from thence 
across the channel to Jaffnapatam via Colombotorre, is 6^ miles 

The Peninsula of Jaffna 1 (Yapana) is situated on a neck of land 
at the northern extremity of Ceylon, and directly opposite to Nega- 
patam in the southern Carnatic. Its bounds have been implied in 
our description of the Northern Province, of which it forms a large 
and b} r far the most populous component, several of its most populous 
parishes or sub-divisions shewing an average of nearly 1000 the 
square mile, and the whole population can fall little if at all short of 
200,000 souls. Its whole length is about thirty-five miles from 
north-west to south-east, and its breadth from eight to twenty-five 
miles from N.E. to S.W. comprehending an area of 1 220 square miles. 
It is divided into four districts, exclusive of the islands, viz. Wada- 
marachie, Temnarachie, Pachellepalle and Walligamme, which con- 
tain thirty-two parishes or sub-divisions, and more than 160 villages. 

From its maritime situation, Jaffna escapes the intensely hot 
winds, which prevail on the continent, and the climate is therefore on 
the whole healthy and less inimical to European constitutions. At 
Jaffnapatam the mean daily variation of the temperature is 5°. and 
the annual range from 70° to 90o. The soil is generally sandy and 
calcareous, resting upon madrepore ; but when manured, it yields abun- 
dant crops, and altogether its careful cultivation entitles it to the 
appellation of the " Ulster" of Ceylon. Paddy is sown in August 
and September, and reaped in January and February, and though 
the province is not intersected by any rivers or watercourses for 
irrigation, yet such is the retentive nature of the soil, that" the crops 
seldom fail except in the event of a protracted drought, and want 
is almost unknown. Of the fine grains, warrego, saamy, kurukkan, 
tinisaamy and panisaamy are alone cultivated. Tobacco of a very 
superior quality is raised in large but not sufficient quantities, par- 
ticularly in the district of Pachellepalle, and is transported to the 
markets of Colombo, Galle, and Kandy. The cultivation has been 
seriously checked from time to time by a mortality among the cattle, 
whose manure is absolutely required for the success of the crop : un- 
der due encouragement it is capable of largely adding to the wealth of 
the country. Cotton of a fine quality is also produced in the penin- 

Jaffna contained till lately very few cocoa-nut plantations, but 

1 The Palsesimundi oppidum of the ancients is thought by some to have been 
situate in the Jaffna peninsula, but its precise situation remains to be determined. 
It is described by the Rachia as being the principal city, and having a capacious 
harbour, which would almost induce one to look for it on the north-west coast of 
Ceylon. The theory of Forbes, who traces its etymology to the Singhalese words, 
Palacia, lower, and Mandhala, province (in which case it might be freely rendered 
' low lands') ; in allusion to the general division of the Kandian districts, into 
Udacia and Palacia,' upper and lower,' is very ingenious and even suggestive, but 
can it legitimately be made to extend to a Malabar province ? 


this deficiency was supplied by the abundance of the palmyra-palm, 
the fruit and roots of which form a material portion of the diet of 
the inhabitants, while the leaves serve as thatch for houses, as a sub- 
stitute for paper, and for making mats, baskets, winnows, and fans, 
and the timber is largely used in building. Cocoa-nut trees are now 
being extensively planted in this province, where they flourish ex- 
tremely well. Areka nuts are produced in different parts of the 
province, but not to a degree in proportion to the consumption of the 
inhabitants. Jack fruits, mangoes, oranges, pine-apples, pome- 
granates, guavas, jambos, bananas, anonas (custard apples), and a 
variety of other fruits are found in the villages, and grapes are raised 
in the town and the various mission stations. Pulse of several sorts, 
sweet potatoes, yams, and other indigenous vegetables abound, all of 
which are daily brought to the bazaars and exposed for sale. Chaya 
roots and indigo grow wild in the several districts, but the first has 
alone attracted notice as an article of trade. 

Jaffna is well supplied with fish, and chanks are found on the sea- 
coast, as well as embedded under ground in different parts. Black 
cattle and sheep are found in great numbers, and there are large 
herds of goats. The principal manufactures are those of cloth and 
jaggery. The descendants of a colony of Senyas who emigrated 
from the opposite coast and settled there during the time of the 
Dutch, ' who from fiscal motives encouraged the manufacture, are 
chiefly engaged in making cloth, which they have brought to such a 
state of perfection that some of their camboys and sarons rival those 
of Pulicat in texture and colour. Besides these, are potteries, and 
some villages of braziers and gold and silversmiths. Oil is manu- 
factured at Jaffna from the kernels of the cocoa, punnay and other 
nuts, the apparatus for expressing which is very rude, consisting of a 
large wooden mortar and lever, which is turned by two bullocks, but 
now that European capital has begun to find its way into the 
peninsula, a more effective mode will doubtless be applied. 

The export trade of Jaffna to ports beyond Ceylon, consists of 
tobacco, palmyra timber, jaggery, chillies, onions, winnows, brass, 
pots, &c, and the imports are cloths, cotton thread, iron, paddjr, 
rice, curry seeds, medical drugs and earthenware. 

The inhabitants are with few exceptions Tamulians, and are in 
general industrious, active, and enterprising ; but are by no means 
remarkable for their freedom from licentiousness and crime, and the 
peninsula has acquired a notoriety for its murders, highway 
robberies, ear cutting, and other atrocious offences. 

In former times, this part of Ceylon was particularly famed as the 
seat of Tamul literature, but latterly learning has sadly declined even 
among the Brahmins. The greater portion of the inhabitants were 
once Roman Catholics, but afterwards conformed to the Protestant 
faith, under the Dutch they had a church and school in each parish, 
but since the downfall of that power, they have relapsed into 


Hindooism, and adhere to all the superstitious characteristics of the 
Siva creed, for the celebration of whose mysteries there are more than 
300 temples. 

Little positive information of the ancient history of this interesting 
portion of Ceylon exists, all that can be collected from the traditions 
of the natives is that in ages past it was a complete desert, but that 
it fell into the hands of a blind adventurer from the Coromandel 
coast named Vira Raghava (who was a yalpanen, or lyrist by pro- 
fession), as a gift from an ancient king of Ceylon on account 
of his wonderful power on the lyre, and that he had it cleared 
of jungle, when it was subsequently colonised from the southern 
provinces of India, which were then independent of the Telinga 
empire of Vijaianagger. After the province became peopled, its 
founder called it after his name, Yalpana Nadoo, the country of the 
lyrist (which has since been corrupted into Yapana or Jaffna), and 
some time afterwards formed it into a kingdom. Sensible, however, 
of his own ineligibility, he went to Coromandel, and brought over 
a prince of the race of Solen, whom he crowned king in the year 
3000 of Kali yug. (101. B.C.) and to him he transferred his right to 
the soil. This king was unfortunately crippled in one of his arms, 
hence he was styled Visaya Koolaugai Chakkrawarti, but he was 
nevertheless distinguished for the attention he paid to the improve- 
ment of the country. His descendants reigned in .the peninsula 
under the title of Ariya Chakkrawarties, and carried on frequent 
hostilities with the Singhalese. 

In 1410 a.d., however, the Chakkrawarti is said to have been 
overthrown 1 and deposed by Prackramabahoo, who once more reduced 
the kingdom of Jaffna under the Singhalese yoke, and raised one of 

1 The remarkable political feature that can hardly fail to arrest the attention of 
the intelligent reader in connection with Singhalese history, is the absence of 
attractive power in the policy and operations of the Supreme Government, This 
observation is indeed applicable in some degree to all Eastern governments, but 
its truth is nowhere more manifest than in Ceylon. Whether it is to be ascribed to 
the indolence of the monarch, in whose mind his own individual pleasure was the 
sole governing motive of life, or whether to the conventionalities of court eticpiette 
from which a deviation was almost unknown, the effect was one and the same ; 
and except that the Emperor might chance to have " a more splendid trough and 
wider sty" than the nominally subordinate, but practically independent chiefs, one 
would be almost justified in inquiring in what consisted the proofs of imperial 
power. Jt might have been expected, that when the capital of Ceylon lay in the 
centre of its northern half, a monarch, if not ambitious enough to aim at the un- 
divided dominion of an island, barely large enough to place it in the rank of a 
second rate power, would have been led to assert his supremacy over a portion 
of territory almost within sight of the seat of his rule ; yet the absence of any 
mention of a continuous authority, and the fact that the Malabar invader when 
expelled from the Singhalese territories, found here an undisturbed resting place, 
will shew that such a conclusion cannot rightly be inferred. It will perhaps 
occur to some readers, that this indifference on the part of the Singhalese 
monarchs, may have arisen from other than political causes, such as the isolated 
position of the peninsula ; and the circumstance that all communication with the 
continent was held either through Manaar or Kotti-aar. 

2 L 


his own nephews to the throne. His dynasty would nevertheless 
appear to have been but of short duration, for we fiud that when the 
Portuguese arrived on the island, Jaffna was governed by its native 
sovereign, with whom they carried on a desultory war for several 
years, till he was finally vanquished in 1591, and the whole peninsula 
acknowledged their supremacy. Jaffna was taken possession of by 
the Dutch in 1600, and capitulated to the British in 1795. 

Jaffnapatam (Yapana patnam), the chief town of the peninsula, is 
situated in 9° AT N. lat. and 80° 9' E. long, is 296 miles south-west 
of Madras, and 215 north of Colombo. It possesses a large fort, 
built in the form of a pentagon, with five bastions, surrounded by a 
broad moat and extensive glacis ; within its walls is a church in the 
form of a Greek cross, built by the Dutch, and now used by the 
English (service being performed by a Church Missionary), the 
house of the Commandant, soldiers' barracks, and some other good 
buildings. In the time of the Dutch it was the residence of a 
" Commander," who was the second officer of rank in the service of 
the East India Company in Ceylon. Under him was a Dissave 
appointed in 1661, who was expected to spend six months of the 
year in the Wanny. The government house is now used as a police 
court. At the distance of half a mile to the eastward stands the 
Pettah, which contains several broad parallel streets, intersected by . 
smaller ones,. and is in great measure free from the noxious exhala- 
tions for which similar localities are elsewhere notorious. Verandahs 
are attached to most of the houses. The houses are mostly built of 
brick, with delightful gardens abounding with the choicest native 
and exotic fruits, and some of them are shaded in front by trees. 
During the time of the Dutch, the majority of the inhabitants of the 
Pettah consisted of that people ; but, since the British conquest, 
many have emigrated to Batavia, or settled in other parts of the 
island. There still remains a very respectable body of the descen- 
dants of both Dutch and Portuguese, and many of the former have 
withiu late years been induced to settle here in consequence of the 
cheapness and abundance of the necessaries of life. The principal 
constituents of the population are Moormen or Hindoos, and the 
coasting trade, consisting of the import of cotton manufactures, is 
carried on through the intervention of Chitties, who are the bill 
discounters and money changers of Ceylon. The Cutcherry is in the 
Pettah. The bazaar at Jaffnapatam is abundantly supplied with the 
necessaries of life at a cheap rate, and always wears a busy ap- 

The Roman Catholics have their chapels, and the Church of St. 
John belongs to the Tamul Protestants, in which the Tamul Colonial 
Chaplain officiates. At Wannapanne, a village in the vicinity, the 
Hindoos have a large temple, called Kanda Swamy, which far 
exceeds all the rest in the province, both in grandeur and magnifi- 
cence. It was endowed by Wyti Linga Chetty upwards of fifty 
years ago, and has a band of dancing girls attached to it. It is 


ornamented with an accumulation of small towers, and enclosed by a 
wall having a large gateway. Among the institutions of Jaffna, the 
Friend in Need Society, established in 1841, is one of the most useful. 

Jaffnapatam is not accessible to vessels of any considerable size, 
owing to the shallowness of the water, but they unload their cargo at 
Kayts, and they are conveyed from thence to the town in small boats. 

Jaffnapatam is the seat of the Government agent for the northern 
province, the district judge, fiscal, and police magistrate, all of 
which offices are, with one exception, filled by gentlemen of the civil 

The principal parishes of the peninsula are, Wannapane, Kopaay, 
Poottoor, Atchuwelle, M^ajlitte, Tellipalle, Pandaterripoe, Mallagam, 
Oodooville, Sangane, Manipay, Batticotta, (Vattukotte), Nellorc, 
all in the province of Walligamme. 

Wannapane has part of the town of Jaffnapatam within its limits. 
Its population exceeds 7000. Kopaay abounds with -paddy, fine 
grain, and in almost every sort of fruit trees. The population is 
about 5550, and there is an extensive pottery. Poottoor has been 
much improved of late by the new roads which radiate from it. 
There is a venerable old church at this place, built by the Dutch. 
The population is little short of 4000. Atchuwelle is extremely 
fertile, and on the whole well cultivated, while the woods abound 
with hares, deer and wild boars. The number of inhabitants is 
about 2400, and a portion of them lead a strolling life, and gain a 
livelihood by fortune telling. Majlitte formerly boasted of a 
splendid church and parsonage built by the Portuguese. The soil of 
this parish being composed of a whitish clay, yields but inferior 
crops of paddy, but this defect is compensated by the great quantity 
of fine grain, yams and tobacco, it produces. The population 
amounts to 3550. At Navakeery, near Majlitte, is a very extraor- 
dinary well, 24 fathoms deep, and 165 in circumference. Of the 
twenty-four fathoms, fourteen are quite fresh, but at sixteen, the 
water is salt with a nauseous sulphury smell. It is thought to have 
some subterraneous communication with the sea at Keerimale, and 
the rise and fall of the tide in the well is about six inches in twenty- 
four hours. Pandaterippoe had formerly a magnificent church, 
which has been repaired by the American missionaries, and formed 
into a mission station. The inhabitants who are nearly 3800 in 
number, are principally Romanists. Tillipalle is one of the best 
cultivated parishes in the district, abounding in all sorts of fruits, 
areka nuts and grain. The American Missionaries have established 
schools and repaired the old Dutch Church. The population amounts 
to 5580. At Mavitapuram, in this parish, is a large temple sacred 
to Skanda, and said to have been originally founded by a princess 
from the Coromandel coast, who having been born with a horse face, 
here got rid of it, hence the name. Mallagam has a red soil, and 
produces abundant crops of fine grains, yams, sweet potatoes and 

2 i 2 


tobacco, but no paddy. It has a daily market and court bouse, is 
famed for its breed of black cattle and sbeep, and the population is 
about 5000, Oodooville is one of the stations of the American 
mission. Sangane has a population of 4500, and has a daily market. 
Manipay contains many Hindoo temples, and is the station of an 
American missionary. The population exceeds 8000. Batticotta 
is situated near the coast ; the soil is in general arid, but remark- 
ably fertile, and yields abundant crops of paddy and fine grain. 
The palmyra grows everywhere, and is often interspersed with mango 
trees. This village is chiefly remarkable for the Collegiate Institu- 
tion established by the American Missionaries, who have made it 
their central station. The population amounts to 7250. The 
Brahmin Viswanatha Sastro, Malabar Almanack maker, resided in 
this parish ; Sir A. Johnston being much pleased with his intelli- 
gence, procured for him from George the IVth, the honorary dis- 
tinction of " Almanack Maker to his Majesty," the intelligence of 
which nearly turned his brain. Nellore is supposed to have been 
the seat of the Cbakkrawarties. In the neighbourhood, there is a 
large Hindoo temple sacred to Skanda or Kanda Swamy, said to 
have been founded by the first Chakkrawarti centuries ago. It is in 
great repute among the natives, and the annual festival attracts 
thither a vast concourse of people from distant parts. This village 
is the principal Church Missionary station in the peninsula, and 
they have a church, school, and printing press in operation. The 
population, which consists of agriculturists, mechanics and traders, 
reaches 5600. 

Warenie, Navakoolie, Eludumatwal, are the principal parishes 
in the district of Tenmaracbie. Warenie produces little else but 
cocoa nuts, palmyra, areka nuts, plantain and cashew trees, as 
the soil is too sandy for paddy. The population amounts to 
5580. Navakoolie on the other hand yields large quantities of 
paddy. The population is about 400Q. Eludumatwal produces 
large crops of paddy and fine grain, and the weekly market attracts 
a large assemblage of people. The population is about ,3000. 

Katchay, Mogamalle, Tambagamme, Plopallie, Chavagacherry, are 
the principal parishes in the Pachellepalle district. Katchay is situated 
on the singular lake extending from Jaffnapatam to Moelletivoe. It 
comprehends a well cultivated tract diversified with jungle, and its 
population amounts to 3000. Mogamalle is productive, though its soil 
is sandy, and yields a plentiful crop of paddy, it has a market weekly, 
and the population is 1230. At Tambagamme, the population is in- 
considerable, and the country is little cultivated, but there are a few 
paddy fields and palmyra groves. Klaly on the high road between 
Jaffnapatam and Trincomalee, is noted for a Roman Catholic church, 
dedicated to St. James the Greater, which attracts a great number 
of pilgrims from different parts of the island. So debased and 
grovelling is Romish superstition in Ceylon, that the image of the 
saint is annually set on a car and drawn along the streets in the same 


manner as the Hindoos parade their idol at Ramisseram. At Plopallie, 
the soil is light and sandy, but well adapted to the palmyra. The 
forests in the neighbourhood produce the wood called Jagers-wood, 
and it was exported in the time of the Dutch to the Coromandel 
coast. The population is abuut 800. Chavagacherry lies near a 
salt creek, is the station of a district judge, and an American Mis- 
sionary, and is a large and populous parish. It is chiefly remark- 
able for the Bischuter or Elephant Pass, along which the road from 
Jaffna to Trincomalee passes. This pass was fortified and guarded 
by the Dutch, as also that of Pass Pyl to the eastward, but the 
fortifications were subsequently demolished. At Kaythady, a village 
in this parish, is a large temple sacred to Pulleyar or Ganesa. The 
idol is placed on a magnificent car on the sixth day of the moon, at 
the festival in May. 

Kattawelle, Point Pedro, &c. are the principal parishes in the 
Wadamarachie district. Kattawelle under the Dutch had a large 
church. This parish is extensive and populous, numbering 11,450 
inhabitants. Point Pedro is not, as is commonly supposed, the 
northernmost point in Ceylon, it being two miles distant. It is called 
by the natives Parettitorre or Cotton harbour, from the great quan- 
tity of cotton formerly produced here, and by the Portuguese was 
named Punto das Peclras, or rocky point. The village stands in 
9° 48' N. lat. and 80° 25' E. long. It is about twenty-one miles 
north-east of Jaffnapatam, and possesses a small but commodious 
harbour, where vessels find a safe anchorage. There is a passage 
for boats up the river, which is very intricate and terminates a few 
miles to the west of Pjaint Pedro at Tondeman-aar, where it is com- 
manded by a small fort, now ungarrisoned. The overland route to 
Point Pedro lies through Kopaay, and along a low country devoted 
to sheep pasturage as far as Atchuwelle ; some plants are to be 
found in this neighbourhood that are met with nowhere else in 
the island. Trincomalee may be reached by a dhoney from 
Point Pedro in a few hours during the north-east monsoon. The 
direct overland route from Jaffnapatam to Trincomalee is across the 
ferry at Navakoolie through Katchay. For a low champagne 
country the road is tolerably good as far as Mullativoe, fifty-nine 
miles. So little, however, was this district resorted to by travellers, 
that there were till lately no appointed rest-houses, but the post- 
holders at the several stages were required to provide every necessary 
at a price fixed by the Government agent of the province. There is a 
small custom house established at Point Pedro, and it is the station of 
a police magistrate. A considerable trade is carried on with the Coro- 
mandel coast in palmyra timber, in return for which are imported 
grain, cloth, &c. The Dutch had a large church here, and their school 
numbered 1000 children, but the religion of Siva has again regained its 
former position. The Wesleyans and Roman Catholics have, how- 
ever, occupied this post. The population of the parish is about 9000. 

Karadivc or Karetivoe (Amsterdam), is an island to the west of 


Jaffna in 80° 1' E. long. It is about five miles long and two broad, 
and contains upwards of 5500 inhabitants, who maintain themselves 
by agricultural and pastoral pursuits, and the fishery. It is divided 
into three parts, in each of which is a temple built of coral and 
chunam. The arm of the sea which separates it from Jaffna, is 
very shallow, and fordable at all times, except during the north-east 
monsoon. The soil is sandy, but produces paddy, cocoa nuts, 
palmyra, jack, mangoes and illipe nuts, from which an oil is extracted. 
The island is noted for its chaya root. Chanks are found in great 
abundance along the coast, but the fishery has for some years been 
abandoned. There are still to be seen the ruins of an old Dutch 

Mandetivoe (Leyden 1 ), divided into the three parishes of Kayts, 
Welane, and Allepitty, has a large breed of cattle and goats, and 
produces paddy, cocoa nuts, and the palmyra. It lies directly oppo- 
site Batticotia, and contains nearly 5000 inhabitants ; Kayts, the 
principal village and sea-port in the parish of the same name, is 
situated at the extreme end of a harbour, which is formed by an 
opening about a half a mile broad between Karadive and Leyden, 
connecting the lake of Jaffna with the sea. Its Singhalese name 
was " Ooratotte," or hog ferry, which originated in a fabulous story 
of Sakreya (who was metamorphosed into an enormous hog), having 
swum across from the Coromandel coast and effected a landing at 
this place. Kayts is the Leith of Jaffnapatam, its harbour affords 
safe anchorage for shipping at all seasons of the year, and is much 
frequented by country craft and small vessels. There may still be 
seen the remains of a fort, Cangienture, erected by the Dutch to 
command the entrance of this harbour, and by a cross fire with the 
guns of Hammanheil to check the advance of an invading enemy. 
The village is not extensive, but there is a small church belonging to 
the Roman Catholics, and a court house. There are very few cocoa 
nuts in the village, but an abundance of the palmyra, the timber of 
which is exported to the continent. The greater part of the inha- 
bitants are fishermen. Fish is exceedingly plentiful, and there was 
formerly a depot for chanks here. From Baldaeus's account of Jaffna 
it would appear that Kayts was in former times subject to inunda- 
tions, and in 1658 many of the inhabitants and cattle were carried 
away and perished. 

1 There have beeu no slight confusion and misapprehension, both as regards 
the names, position, and identity of this group of islands, and several errors have 
in consequence occurred. In the several maps of this part of Ceylon that have 
from time to time appeared, the authors, who have been mere copyists, adopted 
the involuntary error of the Dutch original. Suspecting as much, I obtained a 
sight of that document, and discovered the source from whence the first and 
subsequent mistakes sprung. The natives of these islands are the handsomest, 
finest limbed, and most athletic of the whole Tamul population of Ceylon, nurtured 
under the invigorating influence of the sea breeze, they are capable of the greatest 
exertion, and the isolation of their marine abode, jretains their minds in all the 
purity of primeval nature. 


Hammanheil is a rock in the harbour of Kayts at the distance of a 
few hundred yards from the shore. The fort is entirely built of coral 
stone, has a reservoir for water, and was formerly occupied as a state 
prison. Welane is the most populous and fertile of the three 
parishes, and exports a considerable quantity of its produce to 

The soil of Allaputty (Allepitty), the southern parish is loose and 
sandy, and yields only a very small proportion of paddy, but the 
palmyra everywhere abounds. The inhabitants are Malabars and 
followers of Siva. Fish is caught plentifully on the coast, and, when 
dried, is exported to Jaffna. 

Poengertivoe or Punguditivoe (Middleburgh) lies to the south- 
west of Jaffna, is about ten miles in circumference, and contains 2550 
inhabitants. Fish and oysters are caught in great plenty, and afford 
employment to the greater part of the population, as the soil is too 
rocky to be worked. Goats abound in the island, and their milk is 
generally curdled and exported in the form of ghee. There was 
formerly a Protestant church and school here, but they have long 
ceased to exist. 

Paletivoe and Kakeritivoe are two small islands, a few miles to the 
south of Calmoone point. 

Nayntivoe (Haarlem), is about four miles in circumference, and 
chiefly inhabited by a class of Vellalas who now pass for Brahmins, 
as their progenitors assumed the sacerdotal habit for the purpose of 
exemption from the forced labour required by the Dutch. In the 
time of Baldeeus, the whole of these pretended Brahmins had become 
Christians, and had a small church, of which no vestige now remains. 
The island is partially cultivated, but does not contain more "than 
500 inhabitants. There is a small Hindoo temple, sacred to Naga 
Tambiram or the god of serpents, in which are a number of cobra 
capellas that are daily fed by the Pandarams. 

Analativoe (Rotterdam), was formerly known by the name of 
Donna Clara, from a lady of that name, who was mistress of the soil 
in the time of the Portuguese. It contains upwards of a thousand 
inhabitants, but the increase has been checked by the ravages of the 
cholera. The soil is sandy, but productive in palmyra trees, plan- 
tains, and cotton which is largely cultivated. 

Nedoentivoe (Delft), is about eight miles long by three broad, and 
is entirely surrounded by a large coral reef. In the old charts it was 
called Ilha das Vaccas (Cows Island). The north and west sides 
are inhabited, and the remainder is Government property. There 
was formerly a great scarcity of water, and the Dutch had about 400 
wells dug through a body of solid rock at the south side to obtain a 
good supply. Delft possesses no natural harbour, but a small and 
secure one was formed on the north by blasting through the coral 
reef. A fort was erected by the Dutch on a small esplanade close to 
the sea, but it no longer exists. During the time of the Dutch this 
island was appropriated by them to the breeding of horses. A num- 


ber of fine Arabian mares were introduced and crossed with the horses 
that had been brought thither by the Portuguese, and the extensive 
stud thus produced, was disposed of from time to time on the continent. 
A grant of the island was made in 1 803 to Colonel Barbut, who had 
made arrangements for carrying on the establishment on a large scale, 
but his premature death interrupted the fulfilment of his plans, and 
the island reverted to Government. The stud was for some time main- 
tained by the British, but owing to mismanagement it ceased to be 
profitable, though some very useful, spirited, and well framed horses, 
for which there was a good demand, were reared from it. In their 
place a number of cattle have been introduced, and have been crossed 
with a fine breed imported from Surat. Hemp flourishes here, and 
it is said wheat. 

Returning to Ceylon — Southward of the Peninsula, to which it 
was attached as a parish is, the Karetchypattoo, bordering on the 
"Wanny, and containing about 1200 inhabitants. Paddy is sown here 
in September and October, and reaped in February and March. 
The cultivation of fine grain is much neglected, and the produce is at 
present insignificant. 

The country of the Wanny is separated on the north by Jaffna, 
and the territory attached to it ; on the east by the sea, the Tenna 
marre waddie, and Kattoecolompattoo, on the west by the Gulf of 
Manaar, and on the south by Nuwera Kalawa. Geographically, it 
may be divided into three parts, the districts on the coast, which 
were occupied by the Dutch, the northern interior districts also in 
their power, and the southern interior districts, which went to form 
what was called the Kandian Wanny. The maximum length of the 
country is about sixty-five miles, and the maximum breadth about 
fifty miles. 

The meaning of the w r ord "Wanny" is "burning hot," and proba- 
bly there is no portion of the east to which the appellation may be 
more strictly applied. Thus when the thermometer at Jaffnapatam 
is from 80° to 85° it is at least ten degrees higher in the Wanny. 
This intense heat may be ascribed to three causes, the density of the 
jungle, the mineral if not volcanic nature of the soil, the level 
character of the country, and the absence of the refreshing sea-breeze. 

The Wanny was formerly divided into several independent prin- 
cipalities, over each of which a Malabar prince or princess under the 
title of Wanniya or Wanmchi presided. The population is then 
supposed to have been dense, and its subsequent diminution can 
only be accounted for by the intestine quarrels of the chiefs which 
led to a neglect of the repairs of the tanks. This superadded to 
droughts of sometimes three years in succession, the devastations of 
wild beasts, and the indolence of the people, hastened the abandon- 
ment of the country, and a cultivation of the mere surface included 
within the tanks by the demoralised remnant of the inhabitants. 
The Dutch Landrost of the Wanny would seem rather to attribute 
the depopulation to volcanic agency ; but however it may have par- 


tially contributed to this desolation, it is impossible to trace it 
entirely to that source. 

Under the Portuguese the Wanny was governed by a resident, but 
we are unable to discover any traces of their rule. Soon after the 
Dutch became masters of Jaffna, they restored the Wanniyas 1 to their 
authority, but exacted from them a tribute in elephants. Subse- 
quently, when their power had become consolidated in Ceylon, they 
discovered that a road through the Wanny from Manaar to Moelletivoe 
and Trincomalee was indispensable for their security and the com- 
munication with Negapatam. Hence when the stipulated tribute had 
been withheld, they invaded the territory of the Wanniyas, which 
thev ultimately subjected to their authority, and making Sembatte, 
chief of the Waniuchis, a prisoner, banished her to Colombo. 

The Dutch Landrost found the people in a most demoralized 
state, and they would ere long have become on a par with the 
Veddahs, their neighbours on the south-east. No coin was to be 
found in the country, and every one had to be paid in paddy. The 
dead they buried at so little depth, that the jackalls came and 
devoured their remains ; the people were too idle to dig wells, and 
drank the filthy water found in holes. No more paddy was grown 
than was absolutely required for the support of their families, and the 
export of butter to Jaffna and Trincomalee in return for cloth and 
iron had nearly ceased : he now devoted his whole energies to the im- 
provement of the territory and its people. To the native Modeliars he 
left the trial of petty disputes with a right of appeal to himself, and 
by a happy blending of kindness and severity, worked a rapid change 
in their social condition ; he procured by forced labour three times 
the number of elephants which had been annually paid as tribute by 
the Wanniyas ; and the tithe of the paddy crop, which had scarcely 
exceeded 10,000 parrahs in 1/84, he raised to 28,458 parrahs in 
1790, and 35,962 in 1/91, so that the total crop in the last year fell 
little short of 400,000 parrahs or 17,600,000 lbs. of rice ; the popu- 
lation of the country began to increase, and it promised eventually to 
become the granary of the eastern coast. The scarcity of money 

1 The state of the Wanny under its native chieftains is described as follows by 
the Landrost. On the restoration of the Wanniyas, bands of vagabonds, male- 
factors, and runaway slaves flocked to the Wanny and found shelter among the 
headmen. The Wanniyas elated with their new power, oppressed the people, 
plundered travellers, would no longer obey the orders of the Jaffna authorities, 
and so despotic was their rule, that if a man coveted the wife of another, she 
could be purchased of a Wanniya, under the plea that she desired two husbands. 
None dare display jewellery or any articles of value for fear of being robbed by 
the bravoes of the Wanniya, who had the titles of adigaars, canganies, and 
odyars. The cultivators becoming weary of oppression, deserted the country in 
numbers. Finally, the Wanniyas quarrelled with each other. Governor Schreuder 
having declared one of them an outlaw, the chief hung olas to the trees, on which 
• was inscribed a retaliatory proclamation. Finally the Wanniyas rose in rebel- 
lion, blocked up all the paths, but were at length dispersed, and ultimately 
settled down in 1784, and became peaceable subjects. 

522 CEYLON. [part IV. 

alone prevented the repair of the tanks, and thereby the restoration 
of the country to its former fertility. 

When the English took possession of the country in 1795, it 
enjoyed tranquillity for some years, until in 1803, when Pandara 
Wanniya, said to have been one of the original Wanniyas deposed by 
the Dutch, raised a formidable insurrection against the British 
Government, and being assisted by the Kandians, with whom we 
were then at war, soon overran all the northern districts, and had 
the boldness to penetrate as far as Elephant's Pass into the peninsula 
of Jaffna. His object was to restore the independence of the Wanny, 
and render himself head of all its principalities, but though daring 
and active, the force under his command was unable to cope with 
regular troops, and was only fitted for guerilla warfare. After several 
unsuccessful attempts to discover his retreats, made from the different 
posts, he was finally surprised, his troops killed or dispersed, the 
country was cleared of the rebels, and tranquillity was restored. 

The change of masters brought no advantage to the people of 
the Wanny. Under the Dutch the headmen were prevented from 
oppressing the people, as it was the interest of the Government to 
develop the resources of the country. The British, ignorant of its 
capabilities, totally neglected it. The headmen became very exactious, 
and obtained more than they had a right to demand. The Modeliars 
too, collected more than was required for Government dues, and kept 
the remainder for themselves, which they resold to the people at an 
extravagant price for seed. This and a series of other vexations, 
such as delay in the issue of seed, soon drove numbers of husband- 
men away, and after a long drought, numbers betook themselves to 
the jungle. 

Captain Schneider recommended the formation of a granary in 
the middle of the country as a depot for seed paddy, which would in 
that case be well dried ; and that a person should be appointed to 
supervise the whole alterations, both the repair of tanks, and the 
renewed cultivation, so as to settle all disputes that might arise. 
The Kandian war, however, soon broke out afresh, and the matter was 
indefinitely postponed. Nearly the whole of the Wanny is low, 
exhibiting a variegated expanse of forest and jungle, and now and 
then a few paddy fields in a state of culture. In consequence of its 
liability to droughts, hurricanes and heavy rains, the inhabitants will 
be deterred from carrying on the cultivation of paddy to any extent, 
until the tanks are repaired. At present they have two crops, one 
in the winter, and another in summer, and the paddy sown by them 
takes from three to six months to attain maturity. The second crop 
consists of natchene and warrego which require no water. The 
chief food of the people is rice, butter and milk, with the banana and 
other fruits. The Wanny produces a vast number of rare medicinal 
plants, herbs, and roots, one called the Wannia Doctoral has been 
efficaciously applied in certain disorders. 

The staple products of the country are elephant tusks, cattle, deer, 


wax, honey, milk, ghee and cocoa nuts, in exchange for which they 
receive cloth, salt, and salt fish. A spirit called Wallenpattoe, very 
strong, but of a disagreeable odour, is distilled here. In consequence 
of the wild state of the country, the people are exposed to a compli- 
cation of visitations " in addition to those previously mentioned. 
Thus they have to he constantly on the watch against wild animals, 
and the number of elephants infesting the country is prodigious. A 
wholesale extermination of this useless animal is now, however, being 
carried on, and as the people are well armed, and are further stimu- 
lated by rewards, to extirpate the intruder, it is to be hoped that 
object will shortly be attained. The population of the Wanny, 
including therein its three divisions, does not perhaps exceed 30,000 
in number ; that of what may be termed the Wanny proper was 
16,000 in 1785. 

The soil of the Wanny is of three kinds, rich, sandy, and mixed 
earth. The greater part is clay, which cannot be worked in dry 
weather, but yields the finest paddy. The soil of mixed clay and of 
reddish earth produces first rate tobacco and cotton, and is well 
adapted for fruit trees ; on that mixed with clay and sand, the pal- 
myra and cocoa nut thrive. The water generally contains mineral 
properties, and a stranger at once throws out any humours he may 
before have had in his system. Great quantities of burnt 1 or melted 
lava and metal ore is found thrown up on the surface in heaps at various 
places from Kanya on the east to Nanaatan on the west, and more or 
less from Nuwera Kalawa to Jaffna. 

The Wamry 2 is divided as follows. The western maritime districts 
of Karetchypattoo, Poonaryn, Pallawaraienkattoe, Illippekadewe and 
Wirteltivoe have been already described, and the eastern districts 
will be described in their turn. The district of Chitty-colom is 
divided into two parts ; one of which is called Nadoe Chitty-colom, 
and contains ninety villages and an equal number of tanks, of which 
upwards of fifty are broken down and useless. To bring these into a 
state of repair, would cost in actual outlay £ 1,734, according to the 
estimate of Captain Schneider, then Colonial Engineer. At that 
time (1808) compulsory labour was in full force, and its cost was 

1 In Padre Argensola's history of the discovery and conquest of the spice 
islands, it is mentioned that springs of liquid bitumen thicker than oil had been 
found in Ceylon, and that the mountains occasionally blazed and cast up clouds 
of brimstone among the crags of the hills. This statement is doubtless exag- 
gerated. Little reliance can be placed on the veracity of the Portuguese writers 
of that day, still less on the natives from whom they derived their information, 
and who would be sure to heighten the importance of such a phenomenon ; the 
presence of sulphur in Ceylon and the traditions of the natives, nevertheless 
certainly strengthen the belief of subterrane inflammability. 

8 I may cursorily observe that the condottori used by the Romans in the con- 
struction of the tanks of Italy, the principle of which I suspect they borrowed 
cither from India or Ceylon, are to be seen in many parts of the Wanny. This 
subject will however be entered on in the consideration of the tanks of the Eastern 


not taken into consideration in forming the estimate. As, however, 
the Wanny tanks are small and easy of repair, there cannot he a 
doubt that the people would cheerfully acquiesce in a general labour 
assessment, if it were only to save the amount with which they would 
he otherwise charged for that head. I shall therefore in great 
measure exclude the cost of labour, and it will be only skilled labour 
and materials which will be included in the various estimates. In 
return for the outlay above mentioned, the Government might 
calculate on a return of 4500 parrahs of paddy at the -^ duty. In 
this province, at the village of Erilpericolom, there is a tank formed 
and joined together by pieces of rock which stand there ; there is 
also a drain and cistern, built of hewn stones. In 1 780, a number 
of Singhalese families came from the south, and with the permission 
of the Wanniya, rebuilt this tank at their own expense, and for 
eighteen years about thirty families remained there and cultivated 
the land, but in 1 800 the tank broke down in two places, where the 
rocks were joined by earthen dams ; and, as they could not them- 
selves repair the damage, they forsook the place. The fields 
belonging to this village could be sown twice a year, as the tank holds 
a large supply of water. 

The other part of this district called Sinne Chitty-colom contains 
7 1 villages, and as many tanks, of which forty-seven are broken 
down, to repair the whole of these would cost 562,458., and the duty 
in return would bring in 4000 parrahs of paddy. In this district, 
a considerable quantity of tobacco was formerly cultivated, and was 
watered from the tanks, but the scarcity of water and the poverty of 
the people has led to its abandonment. A few descendants of the 
Portuguese, distinguishable from the natives by their stature, features, 
and colour, but not by their dress, nor even, according to one 
authority, by their religion, reside in this district which was formerly 
therefore called Parengei Chitty-colom . Parengei signifying European. 
The district Paunengammo is divided into six parts, viz. Pannen- 
gammo Poerivoe, which contains 84 villages and as many tanks, of 
which 79 are broken down, the repair of the whole would cost £ 1,73 5., 
after which they would yield a revenue of 6300 parrahs of paddy, 
per annum. The village of Pannengammo which is twenty miles east 
of Vertativoe, was formerly the residence of a Wannichy. It produces 
a considerable quantity of paddy, and has large tamarind and cocoa 
nut groves. Some remarkable ruins of a temple, the stones of which 
are of a square cut, and connected together without the assistance of 
mortar, thereby indicating the style of a very remote era, are 
found at a short distance from the village. Toenoeka Poerivoe, con- 
tains 33 villages and tanks, of which 17 are broken down, to 
repair the whole would cost ^61,457., and they would then return a 
tithe of 5800 parrahs of paddy, per annum. Meerkoe Moelle has 47 
villages and tanks, of which 36 are broken down, the repair of them 
would cost £605. for which would be returned a tithe of 2150 
parrahs of paddy per annum, Kelekoe Moelle Tekoe Poerivoe has 70 


villages and tanks, of which 34 are broken down, to repair the whole 
would cost £688. and the tithe would yield 3300 parrahs of 
paddy ; Kelekoe Moelle Waddekoe Poerivoe has 59 villages and the 
same number of tanks, of which 20 are broken down, to bring all 
into repair, would cost .=£857. and the tithe would yield 2650 parrahs 
of paddy; Oedeaar Oer has 79 villages and tanks, of which 51 
are broken down to repair the whole would cost about .£1285. and 
the tenth would yield 6 1 50 parrahs of paddy. Tobacco was formerly 
cultivated in this province. 

The district of Meelpattoe or Mullipatto is divided into three parts, 
Kelekoe Poerivoe, which has 36 villages and tanks, of which 13 are 
broken down, the repair of which would cost £321. yielding an 
annual revenue of 12/5 parrahs of paddy; Tekoe Poerivoe has 31 
villages and tanks, of which 19 are broken down, the whole with the 
exception of two woidd cost £223. and yield a tenth of 1350 parrahs 
of paddy ; Waddekoe Poerivoe has 28 villages and 27 tanks, three of 
which are broken, the whole may be repaired for £215. and would 
then yield 1780 parrahs. Tobacco was formerly grown in this dis- 
trict. Annatewamadoo is the principal village in this district, and 
possesses a rest-house, being on the high road between Vertativo and 
Trincomalee. It is situated on an extensive plain, bordered by a 
variety of beautiful trees and shrubs. The paddy fields are here well 

The district of Moelliawalle or Mulliwalle has but three tanks, all 
of which are broken, the repairs would cost £34. and would produce 
950 parrahs of paddy as tenth. In this district are good gardens 
planted with palmyra, cocoa nut and jack trees, also with the pepper 
vine which thrives well. There is here a large quantity of excellent 
waste land. Tobacco is grown, and watered from the wells which 
are dug from time to time. 

The district of Poedoekoedyirpoe has six tanks, of which two are 
broken down, and their repair would cost £38. This district con- 
tains also about 750 marcals of ground in cultivated fields, which 
could be watered from the above tanks, and 1253 marcals of fields, 
which are sown in the rainy season, from the whole there would be 
a tithe of 1 700 parrahs of paddy. Palmyra and cocoa nut trees 
flourish here, and tobacco is also grown. 

The district of Karnavelpattoe is divided into Tekoe Poerivoe, 
with 49 villages, and the same number of tanks, of which 32 
are broken down ; to repair the whole would cost £576., in return 
for which Government would receive 3,900 parrahs of paddy. 
Tobacco formerly flourished here ; Waddekoe Poerivoe, with sixteen 
villages, eight of which only have tanks, seven of these are broken ; 
to repair the whole would cost about £200. The other villages sow 
their fields in the rainy season, and if all the fields were to be sown, 
the tithe would produce 4,700 parrahs of paddy. Tobacco was for- 
merly grown here in great abundance, and watered from wells, but 

526 CEYLON. [part IV. 

from the want of cattle to manure the ground, the cultivation has 
decreased. The population consists of Vellalas, Karreyas, and 

The cost then of the repair of all the Wanny tanks, with the aid 
of the free labour of the natives interested therein, would certainly 
not exceed ^620,000, and if we were to accept Captain Schneiders' 
estimate, would not exceed .=£14,000. If all the cultivated fields, 
which contain about 70,4/5 marcals, or 37,500 parrahs of paddy, 
were sown, the tenth to Government would be 60,000 parrahs of 
paddy. The inhabitants did at one time combine together in one 
district to repair a certain number of tanks, but the work was too 
much for them. The prosperity of a country, whose capabilities 
are so great, would soon return, in case of the repair of the tanks, 
and the people would return also. The tanks were originally strongly 
made, but they have not been kept up well. They were dammed off 
on two sides to contain the water descending from the highlands in 
the rainy monsoon : the dams were formed of earth, and laid on the 
lowest side of the ground, or where there was a slope : the thickness 
of the dam was in proportion to the height, and the height to the 
size of the tank. The fields next to or on the lower side of the dam 
are cultivated, whereby the water can with ease be led into the fields 
by laving it out of the tank. The state of these tanks ought to be 
looked to every year, as was formerly the case, when tank makers 
came annually from Jaffna for the purpose, the cost was then trifling. 
The causes of the decay of the tanks are thus given. (1st.) The 
dams should be clean, free from jungle, or the repair is impeded ; 
moreover in stormy weather the roots of the shrubs loosen the earth, 
through the pores of which thus loosened, the water finds its way, 
and at last completes a breach. (2nd.) The headmen should take 
care that every tank have its proper channel, and that they be formed 
where they are wanting, and that the dams may not be cut to carry 
water to the fields, as the loose earth placed to fill up the gap is car- 
ried away in the rainy season. The channels formerly were formed 
of hollow trees. (3rd.) Every tank should have a place for the 
superfluous water to run out, but it must be of such a height as to 
leave a sufficiency of water in the tank. (4th .) An open way must 
be left for cattle at a place where the dam is low, in order that the 
cattle may drink there. (5th.) The repairs are not sufficiently 
durable, the earth should be stamped down. 

The roads opened through the Wanny are as yet mere tracks, 
which were chiefly undertaken by the Dutch. Rest houses were for- 
merly attached to the principal routes, but except on that between 
Vertativoe and Trincomalee, they are now generally in ruins. 

The southern Wanny consists of that portion of the country which 
was known as the Kandian or King's Wanny, previous to the dis- 

1 The Singhalese authority practically extended no further north than Nuwera 
Kalawa, but the Wanniyas all acknowledged the Emperor as their liege lord. 


memberment of the Kandian kingdom, and was divided amongst the 
Soerje Wanniyas on the west, and the Noegerje Wanniyas on the east, 
but which is now incorporated with the other portions of the dis- 
trict. The character of the country is much the same as that of the 
northern division, but it is entirely uncultivated, and almost unin- 
habited ; and except in the central portion, which is watered by the 
Malwatte-oya and its tributaries, and contains numerous tanks, would 
seem to be devoid of the appliances of irrigation. Parts of the 
Noegerje Wanny are said to produce good cotton. The road con- 
necting Anuradhapoora and the country to the south with the Jaffna 
peninsula intersects this province. As will be supposed, it is a mere 
track, and without rest houses, being seldom or never frequented. 
The forests in this part of the country degenerate into low prickly 

A portion of the country traversed by the new road between 
Anuradhapoora and Arippo belongs to this district, and is the most 
dreary and desolate that can be conceived, consisting on either side 
of an interminable jungle. The principal villages on the west are 
Oyamadoe, Payamadoe, and Tamenawille, where there is a small 
lake. To the villages once existing on this line of road, the word 
Palu (desolate), for a distance of forty miles, is an invariable addition 
to the name of the place. Extensive rice grounds, now almost 
covered with the encroaching jungle, prove that the country was 
formerly densely inhabited ; villages and temples have shared the 
same fate, and are now among the things that were. Granite pillars, 
ancient landmarks, and the ruined embankments of tanks are now 
the only traces of the former abode of man. 

Neura or Nuwera Kalava or Kalawa, reaches from the Southern 
Wanny, its northern boundary to the Kala or Kalawa- oya, which 
divides it from the Seven Korles on the south and south-west ; it is 
bounded on the north-west by the district of Pomparippo, on the 
east by Tamblegam and Tamankada, and on the south-east by Matale. 
R is divided into fourteen pattoos or hundreds, Herellewe, Matam- 
ban, Indrowa, Halagamuwe, Hooroole, Mahapotane, Maminiya, 
Paraha^a, Hahalle, Nuagamdaha, Killegamme, Epawela, Ollagaila, 
and Nuweragamme. 

Nearly the whole of the Nuwera Kalawa may be characterised as a 
dead flat, covered with thick jungles ; and though it has some hills 
on the east and north-east, yet none of them rise to any great 
height. It is, however, remarkable for its detached and precipitous 
rocks , some of these are of the hugest dimensions, and shoot up 
from amidst the forests, which cover its far spreading plains. 
Nuwera Kalawa has, perhaps, equally with the Wanny, witnessed 
great commotions above, and below its surface, and retains ample 
vestiges of elemental strife. I am almost inclined to infer that it 
is rich in mineral resources, as far as I can collect from the disjointed 
statements I have had at my disposal. It has but few rivers, and those 

528 CEYLON. [part IV. 

only take their source within its confines. The Kala, from whence 
it takes its name, does not permeate its internal districts, but its 
branches have been turned to the best purpose in feeding the 
numerous tanks, which are now, however, broken down or unservice- 

The climate of Nuwera Kalawa is generally considered healthy, 
but in consequence of tbe highlands being overgrown with thick 
jungle, and exposed to the putrid effluvia arising from stagnant 
wateYs, the inhabitants are subject to fever and ague at certain periods 
of the year, especially during the rainy season. The soil is, in most 
parts, remarkably fertile, and yields two harvests in the year, one of 
which is reaped in February, the other in July. Paddy is the staple 
production, but other sorts of grain, such as kurukkan, gingelie, 
mungo, and minery, together with mustard, chillies, and cotton are 
extensively cultivated. Its manufactures are chiefly confined to a 
coarse kind of cotton stuffs. 

It carries on a considerable trade with the maritime districts, and 
also with some of the inland provinces, exporting paddy, fine grain, 
chillies, and cotton, and importing salt, salt fish, cloth, areka nuts, 
tobacco, iron, copper, steel, lead, pepper, garlic, onions, and turmeric. 

The inhabitants are composed of Malabars on the north, north- 
east, and north-west ; and Singhalese in the southern divisions. 
They are both remarkable for their industry, and the simplicity of 
their manners and customs. 

By the repair of the tanks in this vast district, the produce and 
resources of the island would be wonderfully augmented and thou- 
sands of Tamul emigrants would gradually find their wav and settle 
in its rich but now parched plains. If we are to form an estimate 
from the number and dimensions of the tanks that may still be 
traced, and the ruins • of its once magnificent metropolis, it must 
have formerly contained a very numerous population, for within its 
limits was concentrated nearly all the power, wealth and splendour 
of the state. It owes its present prostration to the frequent inva- 
sions of the Malabars, and to the removal of the seat of government, 
which by abstracting the capital employed in its cultiva^on, and 
transferring it to the neighbouring district of Tamankada, insensibly 
led to the neglect of irrigation, and the consequent depopulation of 
tbe country. 

In seasons of drought the few streams that pass through it are 
either absorbed by the thirsty soil, or become a chain of pools, even 
the wells dry up, at which period the wild beasts, who at other times 
find security and plenty within its jungles, leave it for more hospi- 
table retreats. At this season the fish may be caught in any num- 
bers in the pools, as they have no means of escape. 

Tbe haunts of the Veddahs extended up to Nuwera Kalawa in the 
time of Knox, and probably included the Southern Wanny. They 
are still frequently to be found to the north-west of the district of 


The chieftain of this district bears the title of Satpattoo Maha 
Wanni Unnahey, and as he is considered to be descended from the 
person who brought over the Sri Maha Botli tree from Dambadiva, 
is held in great respect by the Singhalese, and is the warden of the 
temple at Anuradhapoora. Having been implicated in the Kaudian 
rebellion, he was for a time removed from office, but was subse- 
quently reinstated. 

After crossing the Kalawa-oya, and entering the Nuwara Kalawa 
district, the stranger from the south will perceive a marked difference 
in the customs, manners, and appearance of the inhabitants, who are 
taller and have more regular features, but are neither so healthy 
looking nor so robust as those of the mountainous districts. Instead 
of the usual dress of Kandians, a coloured handkerchief bound round 
the head, they wear a peculiar sort of turban, so fastened, that in 
the middle and on the top of the head, a peak projects upwards like 
the crest of a helmet. The country on this side presents little 
worthy of notice, until the artificial lake Tissa-wewa is reached, 
where on the opposite side, and rising far above the ancient forest by 
which they are surrounded, Buddhist monuments like hills covered 
with wood, and surmounted by the remains of spires are observed ; 
the scattered materials of ancient buildings, and numberless stone 
pillars, then attest the arrival within the limits of Anuradhapoora, 
the ancient capital of Ceylon. 

From the earliest ages, the site on which Anuradhapoora was 
built has been considered sacred by the votaries of Buddha, and 
when the first Buddha of the present era visited it, he is said to have 
found it already hallowed as a scene of the ancient religious rites of 
preceding generations, and consecrated by Buddhas of a former era. 
The locality does not possess any intrinsic recommendations for the 
capital of the island, and bears out the impression of its having been 
selected from some superstitious motive. Its subsequent abandon- 
ment, decay and present desolation, even if history had not pre- 
served a record of the feuds, famines, wars and pestilence which at 
various times oppressed the country, and reduced the number of 
inhabitants so as to render the remainder incapable of maintaining 
the great embankments of their artificial lakes, might amply be 
accounted for by the operation of natural causes. The bunds or 
embankments of the great tanks having burst, their waters spread 
over the country as their channels were neglected, and engendered a 
perpetual miasm by forming noxious swamps, and giving birth to the 
dense jungle or giant forests. 

Anuradhapoora is first mentioned by that name about 500 B.C. ; 
it was then a village and the residence of a prince Sekya Kumaraya, 
who took the name of Anuradha on his settling at this place, which the 
king Panduwasa had assigned to him, when he came to visit his sister, 
the queen Bhadda-kaehana. They were grandchildren of Amitodama, 
tlic paternal uncle of Gautama Buddha. It was chosen for the capital 
bj i lie king Pandukabhaya, b.c. 437, who greatly embellished it and 


constructed the Jayawewa and Abayawewa, two very extensive tanks, 
and in the reign of Dewenipeatissa, which commenced B.C. 307, it 
received the collarbone of Gautama, his begging dish filled with relics, 
and a branch of the bo-tree, under which he had reclined. Anuradha- 
poora had been sanctified by the presence of former Buddhas, and 
these memorials of Gautama increased its sacred character ; additional 
relics were subsequently brought, for which temples were reared by 
successive sovereigns, and Wahapp,. who commenced his reign a.d. 
62, finished the walls of the city, which were sixty-four miles in 
extent, each side being sixteen miles, and thus its perimeter was 
25 6 square miles. Anuradhapoora 1 is properly laid down in 
Ptolemy's map, and is there called Anurogrammum, Grama or 
Gramya, being used for a town, and Poora for a city. For upwards 
of 1200 years, Anuradhapoora remained the capital of the island, 
except during the reign of Kaasiyappa,when that parricide and usurper 
transferred the seat of his government to the inaccessible rock fort 
of Seegiri. In the eighth century, Pollonnaroowa was chosen as the 
capital in preference to Anuradhapoora, the latter being too much 
exposed to the inroads of the Malabars. The religious edifices were 
occasionally repaired by pious sovereigns, until the time of Maagha, 
a successful invader. 

All the ruins of Anuradhapoora, even the lofty monuments con- 
taining the relics of Buddha, are either entirely covered with jungle, 
or partly obscured by forests, which the imagination of natives has 
peopled with unholy phantoms, spirits of the wicked doomed to 
wander near the ruins, which were witnesses of their guilt and 
partakers of their desolation. "Although simplicity," says Forbes, 
" is the most distinguishing characteristic of the ancient architectural 
remains of the Singhalese, yet some of the carving in granite might 
compete with the best modern workmanship of Europe in the same 
material, both as regards depth and sharpness of cutting ; and the 
sculptures at Anuradhapoora and places built at remote ages, are 
distinguished from any attempts of modern natives, not less by the 
more animated action of the figures than by greater correctness of 

In the centre of a square in front of the Maha-wihare (great 
temple), is a shady tree, and a stone pillar fourteen feet high stands 
beside the figure of a bull cut in granite and revolving on a pivot. 
In the entrance from this square into the Maha-wihare, are a few 
steps exquisitely and elaborately carved, and still in perfect preserva- 
tion. Ascending these, and passing through a mean building of 
modern erection, an enclosure 345 feet long by 216 broad is entered, 
which surrounds the court of the bo-tree, styled by Buddhists, 

' '' The lower classes of natives," sajs Forbes, " believe that the name of the 
city is derived from Anu-Raja (ninety kings), and Knox seems to favour this 
error when he calls it Anurodgburro, but it was from the name of the constella- 
tion Anuradha, under which it was founded." 


Jaya-Sri-maha-Bodinwahawai (the great, famous, and triumphant 
fig tree). Within the walls may be observed the remains of several 
small temples, and the centre is occupied by the sacred tree and the 
buildings in which it is contained or supported. This tree is the prin- 
cipal object of veneration to the numerous pilgrims who annually visit 
Anuradhapoora ; to perform pooja and distribute alms to the priests 
in honour of Buddha. They believe what their records relate, that 
it is a branch of the tree under which Gautama sat, the day he 
became a Buddha, and that it was sent from Patalipoora by the 
King Dharmasoka, who gave it in charge to his daughter Sangha- 
mitta. It is mentioned by Casie Chitty, that the real Sri Maha 
Bodi tree became extinct long ago, but he does not intimate, what 
indeed would appear far from improbable, that the present may 
be an offshoot from the original. 

The spot on which the tree stands, is supposed to have been at 
former periods the position where the emblematic trees of former 
Buddhas grew, viz. Kakusanda Buddha's, the mahari tree, Kona- 
gamma Buddha's, the atika tree (licus glomerata), and Kaasyappa's, 
the nigrodi (banyan). ' *. No one of the several stems or branches of 
the tree," says Forbes, " is more than two feet in diameter, and 
several of the largest project through the sides of the terraced build- 
ing in which it is growing. This structure consists of four plat- 
forms, decreasing in size as you ascend, and giving room for a broad 
walk round each of them. From the self-renovating properties of 
the bo-tree, it is not at all impossible, that this one may possess the 
great antiquity claimed for it by the sacred guardian ; if so, the for- 
bearance of the Malabar conquerors must be accounted for by their 
considering this tree sacred to other gods ; the profits derived from 
pilgrims may also have induced them to give full weight to the alleged 
partiality of Brahma for this beautiful tree. The Lowa Maha Pay a 
and Ruwanwelle-saye, &c. have been already described under the 
reign of Dootoo Gaimoouoo, by whom they were constructed. — (Sec 
page 41.) 

Toopharamaya, although surpassed in size by many, exceeds in 
beauty and unity of design, and in the finish of the minute figures on 
its tall, slender and graceful columns, any dagobah in Ceylon ; this 
dagobah is low, broad at the top, and surrounded by four lines of 
pillars, twenty-seven in each line, fixed in the elevated granite plat- 
form, so as to form radii of a circle, of which the monument is the 
centre. These pillars are twenty-four feet high, with square bases, 
octagonal shafts and circular capitals ; the base and shafts fourteen 
inches thick and twenty-two feet long, are each of one stone ;. the 
capitals are much broader than the base, and are highly finished. 
Toopharamaya was built over the collar bone of Gautama, when it 
was brought from Maghada in the reign of Dewenipeatissa, B.C. 
30 7, and the ruins of an adjoining building received the Dalada 
relic, when it arrived in Ceylon. Lankaramaya was erected in the 

■2 M 2 


reign of Mahasen, it is in better order, but much inferior in effect 
to the Toopharamaya, from which it is copied. The Abhayagiri 
dagobah, described in p. 45, is even now 230 feet high, and the plat- 
form on wbich it stands, as well as the fosse and surrounding wall 
were proportionably extensive : the whole of the building, except a 
few patches near the summit, is covered with thick jungle and high 
trees, even where the interstices of the pavement, composed of large 
granite slabs, are all that yield nourishment to the trees, or secure 
their roots. 

The Jaitawanaramaya was commenced by Mahasen, and completed 
by Kitsiri Majan, a.d. 310 : its height was originally 315 feet, and 
its ruins are still 2G9 feet above the surrounding plain. The cubic 
contents of this temple have been estimated at 456,000 cubic yards, 
and it has been calculated that with its present remains, a brick wall 
twelve feet high, two feet broad, and ninety-seven miles long might 
be constructed. To its very summit the Jaitawanaramaya is encom- 
passed and overspread by trees and brushwood, the most active 
agents of ruin to the ancient buildings of Ceylon, as their increasing 
roots and towering stems, shaken by the wind, overturn and displace 
what has long resisted the strife of elements. 

Amidst the ruins of the palace, stand six square pillars, support- 
ing some remains of a cornice ; each of these pillars is formed of a 
single stone eighteen feet long and three broad. There also is the 
stone canoe, made by order of Gaimoonoo, in the second century before 
Christ, to hold the liquid prepared for the refection of the priests ; 
it measures sixty-three feet in length, three and a half in breadth, 
and two feet ten inches in depth. Within the precincts of the royal 
buildings, may be seen the stone trough from which the state 
elephants drank. The Isuramini wihare, a temple partly cut in the 
rock, the Saila Chytia, a small monument built on a spot where 
Buddha had rested himself, and the tomb of Elaala, are among the 
ruins visited by the pious pilgrims. 

Besides eight large tanks at Anuradhapoora, there are several of a 
smaller size, built round with hewn stone : in whose side are cells 
formerly occupied by priests as places for contemplation, when reli- 
gion flourished and the tanks were full, one of these cells when 
examined proved to be formed of five slabs, and it was twelve feet 
long, eight broad, and five feet high ; the lowest stone or floor of the 
cell being nearly on a level with the water in the tank. There are also 
many wells built round with stone ; one very large one near the 
Ruwanwelle-saye is circular, and the size diminishes with each course 
of masonry, so as to form steps for descending to the bottom in any 
direction. Near the footpath leading to the Jaitawanaramaya, lies 
a vessel ornamented with pilasters cut in relievo ; it is formed out of 
a single granite stone, and is ten feet long, six feet wide, and two feet 
deep. It was used to contain food for the priests. 

Anuradhapoora is thus described in an ancient native chronicle. 


" The magnificent city of Anuradhapoora is refulgent from the 
numerous temples and palaces, whose golden pinnacles glitter in the 
sky. The sides of its streets are strewn with black sand, and the 
middle is sprinkled with white sand ; they are spanned by arches, 1 
bearing flags of gold and silver ; on either side are vessels of the 
same precious metals containing flowers ; and in niches are statues 
holding lamps of great value. In the streets are multitudes of 
people armed with bows and arrows ; also men powerful as gods, 
who with their huge swords could cut asunder a tusk-elephant at 
one blow. Elephants, horses, carts, and myriads of people are con- 
stantly passing and repassing ; there are jugglers, dancers, and 
musicians of various nations, whose chank shells and other musical 
instruments are ornamented with gold. The distance from the prin- 
cipal gate to the south gate is four gows (sixteen miles), and from 
the north gate to the south gate, four gows : the principal streets are 
Chandrawakka-widiya or Moon Street, Raja maha-widiya or Great 
King Street, Iliuguruwak-widiya, and Mahavelle-widiya, Great Sandy 
Street, or from the river Mahavelle-ganga. In Chandrawakka- 
widiya are 11,000 houses, many of them being two-storied; the 
smaller streets are innumerable. The palace has immense ranges of 
building, some of two, others of three stories in height, and its subter- 
raneous apartments are of great extent." Excluding the four principal 
streets, the others were built of perishable materials, and were de- 
signated from the different classes who inhabited them. The vast 
area of Anuradhapoora, covering within its walls a space of 256 
square miles, will not afford an accurate estimate of the extent of its 
population, as tanks, fields, and even forests are mentioned as being 
within its limits. In Anuradhapoora the only sacred buildings of 
modern date are a few small temples erected on the foundations and 
from the materials of former structures ; they are supported by 
wooden pillars, "which even in the same building," says Forbes, 
" present a great variety of capitals and perfect defiance of propor- 
tion." These mean temples of clay form a striking contrast to the 
granite columns, massive foundations, and stone pillars, which still 
stand or lie scattered in endless profusion amidst the ruined heaps 
and proud remains of former ages, and prove that Buddhism is now 
on the wane, where it once held despotic sway over mind and matter. 
In several places, miles distant from the deserted city, are great heaps 
of stone on the road side, intended to commemorate events which 
are long since forgotten ; yet every pilgrim adds still a stone to these 
anonymous cairns. Near Kagamma lie the ruins of the Nakha (finger 
nail) dagobah and Tiraapan. Near the forest of Kolon-oya, and situate 
in a plain, is the Nuwarawewa (city lake), which contains but little 
water, and that in detached pools, in the dry season. Over its 

1 ' ' Arches formed of areka trees, split, and bent, or of some other pliable 
wood, were always used," says Forbes, " in decorating entrances and public 
buildings on days of ceremony and rejoicing, but an arch of masonry i i never 
seen in any Singhalese building of great antiquity." — Vol. i. p. 235. 

534 CEYLON". [part IV, 

wooded embankment the crumbling spires of the ancient capital may 
be distinctly seen. 

Among the ruins of Anuradhapoora, the dagobahs 1 or monumental 
tombs of the relics of Buddha, the mode of their construction, the 
object for which they were intended, and not the least their magni- 
tude, are worthy of especial remark. The distinctive form of all 
monumental Buddhistical buildings, in every country where the reli- 
gion of Buddha predominates, is that of a bell-shaped tomb, sur- 
mounted by a spire. Whether in the outline of the cumbrous mount 
or in miniature within the laboured excavation, this peculiar shape 
(although variously modified) is general, and enables one to recognise 
the neglected and forsaken shrines of Buddha in countries where his 
religion no longer exists, and his ^ery name is unknown. The gaudy 
Shoemadoo of Pegu, the elegant Toopharamaya of Anuradhapoora, the 
more modern masonry of Boro Budor in Java, are all of the same 
general form, and in the desolate caves of Carli, as in the gaudy 
rock temples of Dambool, there is still extant the mark of Buddha — 
the tomb of his relics. 

Dagobahs are considered the primeval attempts of the architect, 
and there are those who maintain that the character and form of 
Buddhist buildings, bear convincing proofs of having been copied 
from the figure of a tent, while others trace their continual progress 
from the humble heap of earth, which covers the ashes or urn of 
the dead, up to the stupendous mount of masonry erected above the 
tomb of the great. These monuments in Ceylon are built around a 
small cell or hollow stone, containing the relic, along with which a 
few ornaments and emblems of Buddhist worship were usually depo- 
sited, such as pearls, precious stones, and figures of Buddha, whose 
number and value depended on the importance attached to the relic, 
or the wealth of the rearer of the monument. 

The account in Singhalese records of the rich offerings and rare 
gems deposited with some of the relics, is doubtless much exagge- 
rated ; though that of the external decorations and ornaments of 
these dagobahs is in general correct In a sohona or Singhalese ce- 
metery may be seen a variety of miniature dagobahs, if the little 
earthen mound raised over the ashes of the dead, be encircled with 
a row of stones, the origin of the projecting basement may be traced; 
if the tomb be that of a headman or high-priest, it will probably be 
cased with stone and surrounded by a row of pillars : on all these 
an aewaria branch was planted, which after taking root and shooting 
out its cluster of leaves, gives the semblance of the spire and its 
spreading termination. In a word, the dagobah only differs in size 
and in the durability of its materials, from the humble heap which 
covers the ashes of an obscure priest or village headman. 

" The tomb of Alvattes," remarks Forbes, " which Herodotus 
describes as only inferior to the remains in Egypt and Babylon, was of 

1 Dagobah, from Dhatu-garba (womb or receptacle of a relic.) 


the same configuration as the sepulchral mounds of the Buddhists. In 
materials and construction the dagobahs of Anuradhapoora far exceed 
the tomb of Alyattes, and fully equal it in size. All the dagobahs at 
Anuradhapoora were built of brick and incrusted with a preparation 
of lime, cocoa-nut water, and the glutinous juice of a fruit, which 
grows on the native Paragaha. This preparation is of a pure white, 
receives a polish nearly equal to marble, and is extremely durable." 

In the rebellion of 1818 Pilame Talawe made a stand along with 
the Pretender at Anuradhapoora, perhaps to recall to the minds of 
the Singhalese the associations of their faded nationality. If such 
were his intentions, they were soon defeated, and on the approach of 
the British troops he retired to Putlam, leaving his Malabar protege 
in the hands of the victor. 

The quantity of game, of every description, in the vicinity of 
Anuradhapoora is astonishing ; every animal seems as if by instinct 
to know it is within the limits of a sanctuary, where it is secure from 
slaughter ; and even now a native will rarely venture to transgress 
Buddha's first commandment, " From the meanest insect up to 
man thou shalt not kill," within the precincts of this hallowed city. 

Within late years the roads which have been constructed, opened, 
or improved to connect it with the chief towns on the coast and 
interior, have stimulated the enterprise of the people ; and it only 
requires a trifling advance of money, soon to be repaid with interest ; 
and, what is much more important, an amicable organisation of all 
the effective labour of the district, to restore the whole of the tanks, 
and therewith its fertility and former population. Anuradhapoora is 
now considered unhealthy, but can it be wondered at, when the 
dank vegetation of the surrounding jungle is taken into considera- 
tion. Had the district in which it is situated been formerly 
unhealthy, it could not for twelve centuries have remained the capital 
of the island. The village is now the seat of the district court. 

The road from Anuradhapoora to Mihintalai, 1 although now in 
some places only a forest track, was a carriage road, B.C. 307 ; as the 
King Devenipeatissa sent his carriage to convey the priest Mihindoo 
to the capital from the mountain of Mihintalai. The path at first 
leads for upwards of a mile along the embankment of the Nuwara- 
wewa (city lake), and then proceeds through the jungle at the 
northern end of this tank : six miles from the centre of the city the 
path becomes much wider, and has on each side continued mounds 
of decayed bricks, the relics of one of the principal streets of Anu- 
radhapoora. Passing two other tanks, the last of which called 
Bulian-coloin, is eight miles from the sacred tree, and reaches to the 
foot of the rock ; the traveller arrives at the granite steps, which are 
twenty feet long, and although many are broken and others displaced, 
still by them the ascent of Mihintalai is easily accomplished, even 
on horseback. The number of these steps, including those leading 

1 This rocky mountain, or parts of it is mentioned by various names ia the 
native history as Piyal Kulu, Missako, Chetiyo, Saegiri. 


to the summit of the mountain, on which are the ruins of the Et 
Wihare, is 1840. They were completed by the King Maha Dailiya, 
who reigned from a.d. 8 to a.d. 20. Ascending from a landing 
place of considerable extent, on which are the foundations of large 
buildings, a long flight of steps leads to a more extensive flat, on 
which is situated the Ambastella dagobah, the dwellings of the priests 
and various ruins. On every side this spot is surrounded by masses 
of granite, some of these are of considerable height and difficult 
access, and all are sanctified by legends attested by crumbling monu- 
ments, in which are deposited those relics which procured for Mihin- 
talai the name of Solosmastane (the place of the sixteen relics). On 
the consecrated pinnacles of this mountain lingers the faint twilight 
of an early history, which connects the records of another race, and 
their forgotten prophets with the dawn of Singhalese literature, and 
the permanent establishment of Gautama Buddha's religion by the 
priest Mihindoo. The appearance of former Buddhas at this place 
is mentioned in several religious legends ; and although the events 
regarding them are few and uninteresting, yet the extent of labour 
and different stages of decay, which appear in the weather worn steps 
(even those cut in the solid rock) evince the remains on this mountain 
to be the work of successive generations, and of different and widely 
separated ages. The principal dagobah of Mihintalai derives its 
sanctity from the relic it contains, viz. the Aurnaroma, a hair which 
grew on a mole between the eyebrows of Gautama Buddha. The 
Ambastella dagobah is situated on the spot which Mihindoo selected 
for his conference, with the King Dewenipeatissa, whom he here 
encountered on returning from the chase : the broken statue of this 
king in a devotional attitude now lies at a short distance from the 
monument, half covered with rubbish, and almost concealed by rank 
weeds. The bed of Mihindoo is pointed out on one of the rocky 
pinnacles which overhang the plain ; this bed is merely a level space 
on the rock, five feet long by two feet broad ; it is elevated about an 
inch, as the surface around has been cut away to that extent : over it 
rests a mass of rock with a natural arch open at both sides. This 
eyry of the anchorite commands an extensive view, but having a 
precipice on either side, to reach it, is difficult, to recline on it would 
be perilous. Mihintalai derives its present name from Mihindoo, 
son of Dharmasoka, King of India. 

The view from Mihintalai is said to extend from sea to sea ; on 
the west are the tanks and temples of Auuradhapoora, visible from 
amidst the thick forest that obscures the city ; the hill of Saing- 
liamalai is on the far north-east, with a religious ruin on its summit, 
and the high mountain of Bitigalla rises abrupt and rocky on the 
south-east. The caves and residences of the Yakkas are said by the 
natives to be still visible in Bitigalla, where they resisted one of the 
chiefs of Dootoo-gaimoonoo, and a numerous force, B.C. 160. The 
natives have a horror of trespassing on what they believe to be a 
stronghold of the devils, and deny any knowledge of the way in 


which the mountain can be ascended. On the rocks of Mihintalai 
are long inscriptions in the Nagara character, which have not yet 
been translated. There are also very long inscriptions in the ancient 
Singhalese character, of date a.d. 222; some of these specify the 
duties expected from the priests of the establishment, the manner in 
which the revenues are to be disposed of, and the treatment to which 
the tenants and servants of the temple are to be subjected. The 
whole vicinity is extremely unhealthy from the decay and decom- 
position of the vegetable matter deposited by the floods, whose 
subsidence is the signal for the visit of remittent and intermittent 

The Kalawa tank, which may possibly have originally been one 
of first class magnitude, exhibits present proofs of having watered a vast 
extent of circumjacent territory; the country stretching towards the 
rising grounds of Dambool and Kandepalle on the one side, and to 
Nikini, seventeen miles from Dambool on the other ; indicating the 
marks of inundation, and having, according to Forbes, been all in- 
cluded within the limits of the immense reservoir. The double 
sluice of the Kalawa tank is in good order, and built of very large 
blocks of hewn stone joined in a workmanlike manner, and, as is the 
case with most tanks in Ceylon designed for the purposes of irriga- 
tion, the outlets for the water are on a level with the lowest part of 
the interior excavation. The spill-water is a great mass of solid 
masonry, and the length of the principal embankment is about five 
miles, and the sides of the chasm are 70 feet in height. Other 
lateral embankments of still greater length but of less height, com- 
plete this stupendous work, which in a much more contracted 
form had existed for many centuries before it was improved and en- 
larged by the King Dasenkelliya, a short time before he was mur- 
dered, a.d. 477. The remains of this tank alone, constructed under 
a very disturbed reign, and immediately after long continued wars 
with the Malabars who had only been expelled from the capital a 
few years before, shews that a great population then existed under 
the control of a despot who could direct their labours. A canal 
called Jayaganga was cut from this tank to Anuradhapoora, and is 
calculated to have been upwards of 60 miles in length. 

The remains of Wigittapoora, are a mile from the sluice of the 
Kalawa tank through thick, low, thorny jungle. This place is men- 
tioned in Singhalese history as early as B.C. 504, at which time it 
was the residence of Panduwasa, the second king of the Mahawanse 
(great dynasty), and here he established one of his queen's brothers, 
a sou of Amitodana and cousin of Gautama Buddha, who was after- 
wards known by the name of Wigitta. The fort here was built by 
Elaala, the Malabar invader, and previously to his defeat and death 
it stood a siege of four months, when it was attacked by the Singha- 
lese under the command of Gaimoonoo. Wigittapoora is situated in a 
marshy plain, near two rocky hills, and being considered one of the 

538 CEYLON. [part IV. 

most pestilential spots in an unhealthy district, is overgrown with 
jungle, its temple is in ruins, and the dagobah which is 40 feet high, 
and terminated by an octagonal pillar, is completely obscured by 
trees and vegetation : two lines of an inscription in the Nagara cha- 
racter are cut in one of the stones near this dagobah. The walls of the 
fort not more than three feet thick, are easily traced, as also a ditch 
which surrounds them, and the tank mentioned in the account of the 
siege, as the place which the elephant took refuge from the missiles 
of the defenders. The fort appears to have been a square redoubt, 
each side of which is about 100 yards in length. The walls have 
been of brick raised on stone foundation, and much of the materials 
of this stronghold were probably employed in the construction of the 
dagobah which was erected several centuries later within its enclosure. 

At no great distance from Wigittapoora, is the rock and ancient 
fortress of Sigiri, 1 which appears to start as it were from the plain, 
on whose scanty fields and far extending forests it seems to frown 
defiance, while the lake or tank around reflects from its unruffled 
surface its bare overhanging sides, and brushwood covered summit. 
Through the trees near the base of the rock may be distinguished 
massive stone walls, which indicate the site of the former capital. 
Though the appearance and situation of the rock must have attracted 
the notice of those who formed the earliest strongholds of Ceylon, 
yet its hard substance and impracticable ascent were not completely 
made available until a.d. 478, at which time it was made the seat 
of government by Sigiri-kasoomboo I., otherwise known as Kaa- 
syappa the Parricide, in consequence of his having obtained the 
throne by the murder of his father Dasenkelliya. 

To form the lower part of the fortress of Sigiri, many detached 
rocks have been joined by massive walls of stone, supporting plat- 
forms of various sizes and unequal heights now overgrown with forest 
trees. On surmounting these ramparts, the foot of the bare and 
beetling crag is reached, when at a considerable distance overhead, 
may be seen a gallery clinging to the rock and connecting two eleva- 
ted terraces at opposite ends, and about half the height of the main 
column of rock. These remains are not only remarkable from their 
position and construction, but as being the only extensive fragments 
of the ancient capitals of Ceylon, which are neither buried by jungle 
nor overshadowed by forest. The ascent to the gallery is bv a 
double line of small steps cut three or four inches into the rock, each 
step being about six inches in length : four square holes visible 
above, have probably contained supports for a platform to project 

1 " Sikhari signifies a mountain-stronghold or hill fort, but so simple a deri- 
vation, and so appropriate a designation is rejected by the natives for the far- 
fetched one of Siha or Singha (a lion) and giri (a rock), from the number of lions 
sculptured on different parts of the fortress. Their derivations, always fanciful, 
and often absurd, are not supported in this instance by any remains of that cha- 
racter, and it is one of the very few important places in which lions are not sculp- 
tured in various attitudes." — Forbes, vol. 2. p. 2. 


over this hazardous pathway, and from which missiles would descend 
with such force and certainty as effectually to prevent hostile intru- 
sion by this approach. The gallery has been formed by cutting 
grooves in the rock where it was not cpiite perpendicular, and these 
served for foundations of the parapet wall and floor. About 100 
yards of length of this gallery remain entire, and its preservation is to 
be attributed to the excessive heat of the sun, increased by reflection 
from the rock to such a degree as totally to prevent vegetation on 
this exposed portion of the ruins. At one place at which a cascade 
appear^ after heavy rains, water trickles from the over-hanging rock, 
in some degree justifying the assertions of the natives, which are 
founded on tradition, that a tank was formed and still exists on the 
inaccessible summit of this fortress. The gallery has been entered, 
but no person can proceed along it for more than 100 yards, as it 
has slipped from its scanty foundations at an angle of the rock. In 
several of the huge masses of rock included in the ramparts, tanks 
have been excavated, they are neatly ornamented, and in size vary 
from 12 to 20 feet in length; their general depth is about three feet. 
On the plain towards the north-east and connected with the elevated 
terrace at the east end of the rock, stood the royal buildings : that 
part which was situated on level ground being surrounded with a wet 
ditch faced with stone ; while the more elevated portions are not only 
of difficult access, but are without any more convenient communi- 
cation than steps, such as those which led to the entrance of the 
gallery. The town lay around the palace to the north of the rock, 
and a stone wall and wet ditch with which it had been surrounded, 
may be traced for some distance. From the highest terrace many 
small steps leading to the summit of the rock may still be perceived, 
but in much too dilapidated a state, and in too hazardous a position 
for any one to attempt the ascent and visit a spot which for ages 
has been beyond the reach of native curiosity. Several Nagara 
inscriptions are found on the rock of Sigiri and the neighbouring hill. 
The rock temple of Peduru-galla has long been in a state of ruin and 
choked up with rubbish; its length is 120 cubits by 12 cubits 
breadth, and two of the statues it contains are cut from the solid 
rock : near this temple are the ruins of a dagobah ; and thirty-six stone 
pillars point out the site of the assembly hall of the priests. 

The gallery which winds along the rock of Sigiri, is formed of 
brick, originally coated with a cement so durable, that large portions 
of it still remain. From the rock above, and overhanging this 
passage, much stone has been removed by fire and by wedges, in the 
same manner as is still practised by the Kandian Galwadouas (masons, 
literally stone carpenters), when they have occasion to rend large 
blocks from the quarry. The projecting rock above the gallery, has 
for the most part, been painted in bright colours, fragments of which 
may still beperceived inthoseplaces most sheltered from the heavy rains. 

The embankment of the tank of Sigiri is of considerable size, and is 


capable of repair, but the population is at present too sparse for the 
cultivation of the fields, which the tank would irrigate, or so many of 
them as at present, to render the repair of the embankment an ad- 
visable speculation for individuals, though an advance from Govern- 
ment would be well and judiciously made. 

The fortress of Sigiri often changed masters, yet never stood a 
siege, proving how timidity and treachery smoothed the path for the 
Malabar invader, or the ambitious traitor. 

In the vicinity of Sigiri, the low jungles used to be occasionally 
cleared and cultivated with cotton, and bartered for cocoa and areka- 
nuts, with the inhabitants of the mountainous districts. 

At no great distance from Sigiri, are the ruins of Minigiri, the 
site of a large Buddhist establishment, thought by Forbes to have 
included a nunnery or asylum for priestesses. A tradition prevails 
among the natives, that only priests or women can visit Minigiri, 
without incurring the risk of divine vengeance. 

The principal tanks in Nuwara Kalawa, are, the Bawale, the 
Tissawewa, Kooroondoowewa, Biliwewa, Kalawawewa, Nuwarawewa. 

The superficies of the Northern province, is 6,053 square miles, 
and its population, which was 299,252, in 1843, estimated at the 
rate of increase, which has been maintained for several years, would 
give for 1848, 325,752. 

The Eastern Province is bounded on the north and east by the Bay 
of Bengal ; on the north-west by the country of the Wanny, in the 
Northern province ; on the west by Nuwara Kalawa, in the same 
province, and by the Central province ; and on the south-west, by 
the Southern province. 

After passing the long neck of land connecting the Jaffna penin- 
sula with the main, the traveller enters the Wanny district of 
Kariekattoe Moelle, North and South, now attached to the Northern 
province. The principal place is Moelitivoe, or Mullativoe (fifty- 
eight miles south-east from Jaffhapatam), which lies on the coast about 
two miles from the Wattoewe kal-aar, which is fordable. There is 
here a small fort, and good rest house, and it is the seat of a district 
court and police magistrate. The inhabitants are chiefly employed 
in fishing. Most of the houses are built of stone and white -washed, 
and the town may be said to have been founded by the Dutch 
Landrost, Nagel, an active and enterprising officer. In 1803 this 
place was attacked by the Kandians in great force, and the small 
British garrison, finding it untenable, was compelled to withdraw to 
Jaffna, but it \vas soon recovered by a detachment sent from Trinco- 
malee. The neighbourhood of Moelitivoe abounds with cattle, is 
pretty well cultivated, and the woods in the vicinity are the haunt of 
deer and wild boars. 

The north-east extremity of the coast of Ceylon, is encompassed 
by a shoal, deriving its name from Point Pedro, and stretching in a 


line nearly parallel with the shore, about six leagues to the south south- 
east. Between this long narrow shoal and the coast, there is a safe 
channel about three miles wide, with regular soundings, soft mud of 
seven fathoms close to the shore, which increases to nine" in mid 
channel, and again decreases to five close to the inner edge of the 
shoal. The whole of this coast is low, and abounds in palmyra 
trees. From Moelitivoe a dangerous coral shoal, called Molawal 
shoal, with but two fathoms of water on it, extends to the eastward 
and north-eastward, about four miles from the shore, which should 
not be approached nearer than thirteen fathoms. 

The coast between Moelitivoe and Pigeon island is low, and 
safe to approach as far as eighteen fathoms in the night, and 
twelve in the day. Three and a half leagues from Pigeon island, 
is the Nay-aar, and four leagues further to the south-east, is the 
river Kokelay. 

The next village to the southward, is Alambiel, eight miles distant, 
which has a Romish chureh-, and a rest house, facing a beautiful 
plain, enlivened with constant verdure, and watered by two tanks. 
Near the village is a salt lake or estuary, whose western shores are 
environed by hills of a very picturesque appearance. Several 
branches of the estuary intersect the road in different places, and 
though not deep, are from the yielding nature of their blue clay 
bottom, dangerous for cattle and horses to pass. At the Nay-Aar 
is the line of separation between the Northern and Eastern province. 
From hence to Kokelay is upwards of ten miles. During the heat of 
the day in the south west monsoon, the glare of the sun and the sand- 
flies, render travelling very disagreeable from nine a.m. to four p.m., 
but during the north-east monsoon, the road is comparatively 
pleasant, owing to the refreshing sea breezes. The Kokelay river, and 
the whole coast abound with fish and oysters, and there is such an accu- 
mulation of dead shells, that sufficient lime for the whole province 
might be procured on this spot. The village of Kokelay is situated 
on the banks of the estuary of the same name, near which stands the 
rest house on a grassy plain. 

At the earliest dawn, flamingoes, widgeons, curlews, herons, and 
snipes, congregate in the watery patches near the plains, which are 
covered with verdure, and bordered by magnificent forest trees, on 
whose topmost branches, countless peafowl linger for the approach 
of the sun to exhale the night dew from their splendid plumage. Yet 
little is here seen of man's industry, though the resources of the 
country are exhaustless, and the population is sparse to a degree. 

The whole district of Kariekattoe Moelle, contains fifty-one 
villages, thirty-three of which have tanks, and nineteen of them are 
broken down, the repair of which would not, according to the system 
recommended for the other Wanny districts, exceed 36150, in return 
for which they would yield a tithe of 1,700 parrahs of paddy, and the 
whole fields sown in the rainy season, would in addition yield a tenth 

542 CEYLON. [part IV. 

of 7000 parrahs. Tobacco is here extensively planted, and watered 
from wells. The roads connecting the north-west coast with 
Moelitivoe and Trincomalee, pass through this district. The Hindoo 
villagers are an industrious class, and appear contented and happy. 
Their usual plain diet includes the kellingo, or meal made from the 
spring leaf of the palmyra, and their chief employment is in salting 
fish for the Kandian market, and the pursuit of their simple hus- 
bandry. Every cottage has its garden, containing capsicums, 
tobacco, cotton, Indian spinach, water-melons, ginger, pumpkins, 
betel, cucumbers, turmeric, pepper, yams, beans, sweet potatoes, and 
plantains. The people are in general well grown and handsome, and 
modest in their appearance and demeanour, but all their children are 
subject to the obesity common in this island, and which is 
attributable to the inordinate use of rice ; the remedy used is the 
flesh of the Kiri Ba, or river tortoise. The Caffrarian lime (Citrus 
tuberoides), is commonly used here for cleansing the long black 
hair, which is one of the characteristics • of the people. 

At the southern extremity of Kariekattoe Moelle is the great lake 
Padeviel-colom, one of the largest in Ceylon. After the strictest 
search, we have been unable to find any authentic record of its con- 
struction, or of the period in which it took place. It is not impossi- 
ble, but that it may have been the work of the Malabar prince at 
Trincomalee, but it is more likely to have owed its formation to 
Praackramababoo, by whom the northern districts were brought into 
subjection. It is fed at the north-eastern side by two small streams, 
and connected with one or more on the north-western. 

Resuming the coast-road the next stage to the southward is Terria, 
or, according to native pronunciation, Pehria. This -district called 
the Tenna Marre Waddie Pattoo contains rocks of vast dimensions, 
and grotesque shapes, which with other picturesque accessories, 
render the scenery worthy of the delineation of the painter. The 
native cottages, which are formed of jungle sticks (Warretchie) and 
clay white-washed with chunam, give a pleasing effect to the scene. 
The banyan tree (Ficus Indica) is common here ; and during the 
time its red figs are ripe, the sportsman has nothing to do but station 
himself in a good position under cover, and within gunshot of the 
trees soon after dusk, when he may kill wild hogs in any number ; 
for those animals are then so intent upon the process of deglutition, 
this being their favourite esculent, that they return after a short time 
to the spot, although conscious of the death of their companions, 
and continue to run to and fro to the same place several times during 
the night, until the sportsman is satiated with slaughter. 

The next stage (eight miles) is to Kutchiavelle in the Kattukolam- 
pattoo. This district is bounded on the north by the Tenna Marre 
Waddie, and on the south by the Tamballagam-pattoo, and is about 
twenty-five miles long, and from eight to eighteen broad. It abounds 
in vast tracts of low lands, calculated for the culture of paddy, but 


from the scantiness of the population, a great portion of them is 
neglected. The ancient inhabitants of this province were part of the 
emigrants from the Coromandel coast, when the temple of Trinco- 
malee was building, and were in consequence liable to be called out 
for its service. The village of Kutchiavelle is small and thinly 
peopled ; but there is a rest-house ; the country is sandy, but diver- 
sified by wide and beautiful plains, seldom, however, visible from the 
'sea, and bordered by jungles abounding in wild hogs, deer, and 
buffaloes. It is therefore much resorted to by sportsmen from Trin- 
comalee. The next stage is to Nillavelle, thirteen miles ; the road 
occasionally undulating and hilly, presents a splendid prospect of the 
bay of Trincomalee, and its numerous fortifications. The village 
besides palmyra and cocoa-nuts, produces a large quantity of tobacco, 
and salt is manufactured in the marshes in the vicinity. To the 
north-west of Nillavelle stands a column «of granite (rising out of the 
summit of a circular mount), which bears a striking resemblance to 
the human figure. Tradition affirms it to be the petrified remains 
of a lady of quality, who had offended the tutelar deity of the place, 
by making his sacred grove in the neighbourhood the scene of her 
lasciviousness with a slave. 

To the west of the road between Nillavelle and Trincomalee, and 
about six miles from the latter place, lie the celebrated hot springs 
of Kannya (virgin), seven in number, which are frequently visited by 
parties from Trincomalee. They are surrounded by low jungle and 
swamp, and in an unhealthy country ; and the enclosure in which 
they are found is about thirty-six feet long, and sixteen broad, 
formed by a wall of brick six feet high. Each well is protected by 
a little embankment about a foot and a half high. They are all in 
high repute among the natives, who regard them with superstitious 
reverence, and are under the protection of Gauesa, the Hindoo god 
of wisdom, to whom an adjoining temple, containing his image rudely 
sculptured in stone, is dedicated. Near the wells is a rivulet, into 
which their superfluous water empties itself, by means of a channel, 
the rivulet contains therefore a mixture of hot and cold water, and 
its temperature is tepid. Their origin is accounted for by the natives 
in the following manner : to delay the King Eawana, and thus 
prevent the success of one of his undertakings ; Vishnu, according 
to the legend, appeared in the form of an old man, and falsely 
informed the king that Kannya (the virgin mother of Rawana) had 
died. On hearing this, Rawana determined to remain and perform 
the usual solemnities for deceased relatives, whenever he could find 
water for the requisite ablution. Vishnu having ascertained his 
wishes disappeared at the spot, and caused the hot springs to burst 
forth. From the solemnities thus performed in honour of Kannya, 
the springs have ever since retained her name. In the Singhalese 
accounts of Rawana, he and his brothers Kumbakarna and Weebees- 
hana were miraculously brought forth to Vishrawana, by Maya ; but 
who then was and always continued to be Kannya (the virgin). 

544 CEYLON. [part IV. 

Vishrawana was a Brahmin ascetic ; Kannya the daughter of a fugi- 
tive king of the Asurs. 

At present these wells are merely resorted to as warm baths, and 
are used chiefly in cutaneous diseases, but a time may come when 
some spirited capitalist may here rear up edifices that shall vie with 
the spas of Europe, and remove the necessity of the Anglo-Indian 
resorting to England for the renovation of health. The water, which 
is light and pleasant to the taste, is generally applied here by affusion ;* 
the patient standing on a round stone has pots of water poured on 
him by an attendant. Facing the west side of Kannya there are 
several hills, from whence a fine view of the salt frith to the north 
may be obtained, and on the summit of one is shewn the remains of 
the tombs of a giant and his son. 

The principal features of the coast adjacent to Trincomalee are a 
bold shore, immense tracts of inland forests, and the prevalence of the 
palmyra palm, but the country is better cultivated and peopled than 
might at first sight be supposed. Trincomalee, the capital of the 
eastern province, is situated in 8° 33' 5' north latitude, and 81 13' 2" 
east longitude, and lies 130 miles south-east of Jaffnapatam. The 
immediate neighbourhood of the town presents scenery, which for 
picturesqueness is without a rival, if the situation be considered, con- 
sisting of" hills covered to the very summit with magnificent timber. 
The Malabars call it Tirukonathamalei, or "the mountain of the sacred 
Konatha," from the Hindoo god of that name, who had formerly a 
temple on the summit of one of the hills there, which was celebrated 
over the whole of India. Trincomalee would appear to have been a 
place of some note even in the earliest periods of history. According 
to traditions recognised by Kaviraja Varsthayen, an ancient bard of 
great celebrity, it was founded by the king Kulakkottoo Maha Raja, 
1589 B.C. or 51.2 of the Kaling. This prince was the son of Manoo 
Nitikanea Solen, sovereign of the coast of Coromandel, who being 
apprized of the sacred nature of the mountain of Trincomalee, came 
over, and having built a temple to Konatha or Koneser 1 on its sum- 

1 The rocky promontory occupied by the fort of Trincomalee, is by the natives 
consistently dedicated to Siva, the destroyer, in his ancient name of Eiswara, and 
is regarded with great veneration by his votaries. They believe that in the earliest 
wars of the gods, three of the peaks of Mahameru were thrown down and driven 
to different parts of the world ; one of these is Koneiswara-parwatia or Trinco- 
malee, which thenceforth became equally with Kailasa the abode of Siva. There 
is probably no more ancient form of worship existing than that of Eiswara upon 
his sacred promontory, and it has been connected with the rites of Siva by the 
votaries of the latter at a later period. In the Rajawali, Kuwani, the Yakka mis- 
tress of Wijeya, is said to have had her wretched fate predicted in a dream by 
Eiswara. In Wilson's Sanscrit Dictionary the translation of Eiswara is given as 
God, " an universal spirit ;" and "the whole scene," says Forbes, " as well 
as the religious ceremonies on the precipice of Trincomalee possesses a character 
of romantic wildness and mysterious antiquity. The priest (a Brahmin), with his 
head encircled by a string of large beads and a yellow cloth bound round his 
loins, places himself at stated periods, and generally a little before sun-set, 


mit, founded a town below, which he settled with immigrants from 
his father's dominions, and gave over to Taniunna Popalen, a 
Malabar nobleman, who became the governor of the place and its 
adjacent territory. The Wanniyas who subsequently governed the 
country, traced their descent to this noble, and maintained an inde- 
pendent authority for a long series of years. 

When the Portuguese made themselves masters of Trincomalee, 
they demolished the spacious temple dedicated to Siva, for which it 
was celebrated, and erected a fort on the north-west point of the 
bay out of the materials. The Malabars possess several works in 
the Tamul language, that profess to describe the extent and wealth 
of thrse establishments in the days of their prosperity, as well as 
the miracles performed in them from the time of their dedication, 
when the King Kolakotu having completed their endowment, retired 
into a sacred secret chamber, and from thence passed body and 
spirit direct into the bliss of Siva. 

on the giddy height of the farthest rock that rises over the dark and fathomless 
ocean ; some of the votaries perch themselves among the dangerous crags, while 
the more timid or less devout, kneel, prostrate themselves, or securely recline on 
the short grass which clothes the promontory. The priest after performing his ab- 
lutions, places himself in various picturescpie attitudes, and occasionally as he 
drops some betel-leaves or rice into the sea, bows himself with great reverence 
towards a chasm in the rock, which is believed to be the residence of the spirit, 
the object of his worship. After the sun is down, the Brahmin waves a censer, 
then holds it at the full stretch of his arm above his head, while the incense flames 
up, flickers and disappears ; then as the perfume spreads around, he concludes his 
incantations by casting a cocoa-nut into the ocean, and receiving the offerings on 
behalf of Eiswara. The offerings consist of the smallest copper coins, rice, and 
betel leaves, but the priest derives a poor remuneration for his ministration on 
such a dangerous altar." 

The summit of the promontory is much more elevated, and close above the 
perilous situation on which the priest officiates ; it consists of a huge loose mass 
of rock. On this primeval altar of pagan superstition, is the monument of a sui- 
cidal lover, consisting of a pillar alternately square and octagonal. The inscription 
is nearly effaced from lapse of time, but the following is said to be a copy. 

"Tot Gedaghtenis Van Francina Van Rhede Tuen Mydregt Desen A° 1687 : 
24 April op Geregt." 

" Tradition still hands down the particulars of the mournful fate of Francina van 
Rhede. She was the daughter of a gentleman high in the Dutch service, had 
been betrothed, and at the time of her death was about to be deserted by her 
affianced husband, a Captain in the army. He was on board a vessel that had 
spread its sails for Europe ; but before getting clear of the coast, the ship had to 
tack and pass out parallel to the precipices that form the southern promontory of 
the fort of Trincomalee. The motions of the vessel had been watched with intense 
excitement by the abandoned fair one : as it neared the rock she rushed from her 
apartment, and flying along the edge of the cliffs close under which the vessel 
was gliding, there for a moment paused. The point was nearly gained, the swift 
ship and the false lover were turning from her towards a far distant land ; a 
moment she balanced herself on a projecting crag, then plunged from the giddy 
height. Her mangled remains were rescued from the rocky fragments that pro- 
ject through the waves at the base of the precipice, and its summit still bears 
in h'-'r monument the warning of devoted love inspiring deep revenge." 

2 N 

546 CEYLOX. [part IV. 

The present town of Trincomalee stands in a north-easterly direc- 
tion along the outer bay, in a woody and hilly country, interspersed 
with cocoa-nut and palmyra trees, but its appearance is extremely 
wild from the absence of cultivation around, and like most sea-port 
towns, which are dependent on war for prosperity, it suffers from 
peace. From the numerous advantages offered by its magnificent 
harbours, it is the chief depot of the Imperial navy, in the Indian 
seas, and possesses a dockyard and arsenal for the refitment of the 
largest vessels. Trincomalee is by nature strong, and art has ren- 
dered it impregnable. The fort commanding the bays, and particu- 
larly the entrance to the inner bay, occupies an area of nearly three 
miles, and includes a hill immediately over the sea. Within its 
walls, there are several ranges of buildings, chiefly erected on the 
lower ground close to the landing place. The citadel for the defence 
of the harbour, called Fort Ostenburgh, is erected on a cliff which 
projects into the sea, about three miles to the west of Trincomalee, 
and cannot be attacked until the capture of the lower fort has been 

The excellence of its harbour renders Trincomalee an acquisition 
of inestimable value to a first class naval power, and so capacious 
are its accommodations, that the whole of the British navy may ride in 
it in perfect security. The inner bay being land-locked and almost 
unfathomable, ships of every rate and class can there be secure in 
the most violent gales, but this circumstance, from its offering great 
natural obstacles to a free circulation of the sea breeze, is thought by 
many to be a leading cause of the proverbial unhealthiness of the 
place, coupled as it is with the presence of a swamp on the land side. 

The harbour of Trincomalee with its bays, form a capacious inlet, 
the entrance to which between Foul Point on the south-east, and 
Fort Frederick on the north-west, is between five and six miles wide, 
contracting however to about half that width between Norway Point to 
the south-west, and Chapel Island on the north-west, when it again sud- 
denly opens, forming Great Bay to the southward, and the harbour 
of Trincomalee to the northward. To the westward of these, sepa- 
rated from the harbour by a peninsula, and connected by a narrow 
passage, with the north-west part of Great Bay, is the Bay of 
Tamblegam, navigable for boats only. The harbour itself, in its full 
extent is about two miles each way, indented by numerous bays and 
coves, and containing within its bosom several islands, and many 
shoals and rocks. 

Flagstaff Point, the northern extremity of the narrow anrl crooked 
peninsula, that bounds the east and south-east sides of the harbour 
of Trincomalee, and separates it from Back Bay, is high, steep, bluff 
land, easily recognized from the sea, being covered with trees and 
having on it several batteries. The south-east point of the penin- 
sula, called Chapel Point, has an islet off it, called Chapel Island, 
and to the eastward a reef of rocks, more than half a mile distant, 


nearly on the edge of soundings. Flagstaff Point is bold and safe to 
approach, but between it and Chapel Point, rocks stretch out from 
two small projections, which should not be approached under four- 
teen fathoms. The south-west point of the peninsula, called Ele- 
phant Point, has an island called Elephant Island near it on the 
south-east side, from which a reef with five or six feet on it projects 
to the westward. Osnaburgh Point, the westernmost point of the 
peninsula, is a little further to the north-west, between it and Elephant 
Point there is a cove with soundings of from eight to fourteen fathoms. 

The eutrance to the inner harbour is not a quarter of a mile wide, 
formed by Osnaburgh Point to the eastward, and the Great and Lit- 
tle Islands to the westward. About half a mile south from Great 
Island, and one mile west of Elephant Island, is Clapenburg Is- 
land, close to a point of the same name ; and about a mile further 
to the southward is a point where the land is elevated a little, called 
Marble Point, with rocks projecting •around. This point forms the 
western extreme of the Great Bay, separating it from the entrance of 
the harbour, and affording a mark for entering in. To the westward 
of Marble Point, and between it and the entrance to Tamblegam Bay, 
there is an island called Bird Island : to the south-east of it lies 
Pigeon or Elizabeth Island, distant nearly a mile, with ten or twelve 
fathoms close to, and Round Island nearly the same distance from 
the Point to the east-north-east, with thirty fathoms near it, on the 
outside, and then all on a sudden no ground. On the south side of 
this island there is a rock above water, and between it and Isle Cla- 
penburg, is the Grummet Rock. The entrance leading to the har- 
bour is formed by these islands and rocks to the south-west, and 
Elephant Island and Point to the north-east. 

Foul Point, the outer south-east point of Trincomalee inlet bears 
S.E. I E. five and a half miles from Flagstaff Point, and has a reef 
projecting from it to the northward nearly a mile ; the coast to the 
westward is slightly concave to Norway Point, which bears from 
Foul Point about W.S.W., between two and three miles. Between 
these points, nearly a mile off shore, is Northesk Rock. 

Great or Kotti-aar Bay, forming the southern part of Trincomalee 
inlet, is upwards of five miles across in its widest part, but not more than 
four between Norway Point on the east, and Marble Point on the west. 
The centre of Great Bay is very deep, having no bottom at eighty 
fathoms, on approaching the shore, however, soundings are obtained 
at from forty to eight fathoms. Four rivers fall into the south part 
of the bay, nearly at equal distances from each other. The bank of 
soundings lining the shores of the bay, extends very little outside the 
islets or rocks, except at the south-east part, where ships may anchor 
in ten or twelve fathoms regular soundings, soft mud, sheltered from 
easterly and southerly winds. 

The east side of the bay is bounded by Norway Point to the 
northward, which is about two miles to the W.S.W. of Foul Point., 

2 N 2 

548 CEYLON. [part IV. 

Norway Island lies west side of the point, having a rocky reef en- 
compassing it and the islets near it and the point. From this point 
and the island a sand bank stretches about a mile to the southward, 
with soundings on it three and three and a half fathoms and twenty or 
twenty-five fathoms close to : to the westward of it a quarter of a 
mile distant there is no ground, but to the southward there is good 
anchorage, near the shore. Both Norway and Foul Points must be 
avoided on account of the reefs which project three-quarters of a mile 
from them, nor is the shore between them safe, the soundings being 
irregular, and about half way there is a very dangerous rock, called 
Northesk Rock, close to which are twelve and fourteen fathoms. 

There is some difficulty in making the port of Trincomalee during 
October and November, from the strong current which sets to the 
southward, and from the light variable winds, with occasional squalls 
and thick weather, which prevail until the north-east monsoon sets in 
about the end of the latter month. 

The town, which is separated from the fort by a spacious es- 
planade, occupies perhaps more ground than Colombo, though it 
does not contain one half of its population, and the houses are neither 
neat nor regularly arranged. Its society is almost exclusively com- 
posed of the civil and military officers stationed here, and there are 
as yet few European settlers. To the Protestant church is attached 
a Colonial chaplain, the Wesleyans have also an establishment here, 
and the Roman Catholics have two chapels. The Moors and Mala- 
bars, who form the bulk of the population, have also several mosques 
and temples. 

The bazaar is very extensive, and every class of mechanical skill 
finds here a representative. Ebony forms an article of export to 
England, and various descriptions of timber are exported to Madras 
and other eastern markets. But for the limited rise of the tide, which 
seldom exceeds thirty-eight inches, government ship building would 
be carried on, on a large scale. The climate of Trincomalee is ex- 
cessively hot, and the range of the thermometer is from 74^° to 91|° 
throughout the year. 

Formerly there were several extensive plantations of cocoa-nut 
trees facing the esplanade, but they have since been cut down, from 
the unfounded idea that they contributed to render the place unhealthy. 

Trincomalee has now direct communication with both Kandy and 
Colombo, the route to the former lies through the following places : 
to Pallampoota rest house, 10| miles, from thence to Wenerian 
Colom, where there is a small tank, 1 2\ miles ; to Gantalawe rest- 
house, 2| miles ; to Talgaha Ella, 6 J miles ; to Alut-wewa-oya (ex- 
cellent water and a post station), 6 miles ; to the Gal-oya (rest-house 
and post station), right bank via Nayapane Pass, 6g miles ; to Tal- 
baddegalla, or three wells, 6§ miles ; to Haburenne (large tank and 
post station), 3 miles ; to Oulandangawa (village and tank), 2| miles ; 
to Innamallowe (post station), Gf miles ; to the Junction Kandy 


road, 4 1 miles ; to Dambool rest-house, 2f miles ; to Lenadorra post 
station, 7 miles ; to Nallande post station, 7 miles ; to Palapatwella 
Ella rest-house, 4 miles ; to Fort McDowall (the station of the as- 
sistant government agent and district judge), 1 1 miles ; to the sum- 
mit of Ballakadawe Pass, 6 £ miles ; to the ferry of the Mahavelle- 
ganga, 7j miles ; to Kandy, 2| miles. Total, 1 1G miles. 

The next stage from Trincomalee to the southward, is Tambala- 
gam, fifteen miles distant. The crocodile abounds in this district, 
and the jungles teem with game and wild beasts. The road is sandy 
and bordered with jungle, but on approaching the village, the coun- 
try appears fertile and well cultivated, and the prospect of the bay is 
magnificent. Tambalagam or Tamblegam, so called from Tambuli- 
gama, (the village of betel-leaf,) is situated on the margin of one of the 
smaller bays, forming the harbour of Trincomalee. It contains a Hin- 
doo temple of considerable antiquity and note, and has a rest-house for 
travellers. The vicinity abounds with paddy fields, and being well wa- 
tered by the Kandelle-oya, which is connected with the Kotti-aar and 
flows into Tamblegam bay, always wears a verdant and flourishing ap- 
pearance. The district of the same name extends twenty miles in length 
from north to south, and from ten to fifteen in breadth. It is bounded 
on the west by the Wanny ; north by Kattukolampattoo, and south 
by Tamankadewe, and its means of irrigation, if scientifically applied, 
are of the most comprehensive description. The country between 
Tamblegam and Kandelle, is very uuinteresting ; being low, wooded 
and uncultivated. Kandelle itself is a scattered village, containing 
about sixteen families who support themselves by the cultivation of 

The tank of Gantalawe is one of the monuments left by Mahasen, 
and was undertaken at the close of his reign under the influence of 
feelings of remorse. All the lands irrigated by this tank were there- 
fore bestowed on religious establishments ; hence its name of Dan- 
talawa or Gantalawe (plain granted to temples), which has been cor- 
rupted by Europeans into Kandelle. 

Tanks in Ceylon are of two kinds. One description is formed by 
vast mounds as in India, and the water is supplied by a channel or 
channels cut from some adjacent stream, which may possess a super- 
fluity, or where its waters may not be absolutely required for the 
cultivation of the soil in the vicinity ; the other and far more natural 
and effective plan is the making use of the two sides of a valley for 
the purpose, and embanking both its outlets. In certain cases, where 
a valley has but one outlet, the process is still more facile. When 
industry was checked in Ceylon by intestine commotion, the tanks 
were neglected, morasses formed, the jungle rapidly encroached on 
the cultivated land, the climate became permanently deteriorated, the 
population diminished, and beasts of prey simultaneously multiplied. 
The Lake of Kandelle, or as it is commonly termed, the Kandelle 
water, is in the opinion of connoisseurs, the most beautiful lake in 


Ceylon, and from its being enveloped on all sides by lofty hills, it 
will bear inspection from several points. This is more than can be 
said of many of the lakes, which are generally tame at the lower 
extremities. But it is the peculiar beauty of the waters of Kandelle 
that in their case the ground ascends everywhere from their edge 
with a nearly equal degree of boldness. Greatness of expanse is not 
absolutely necessary for the formation of perfect lake scenery, and 
the proper characteristics of a lake may be lost by too great an 
expansion of its waters. But for the attainment of perfect beauty, it 
is indispensably necessary that a lake should cover with its waters 
the whole or nearly the whole of the basin which it occupies, but this 
the lakes in Ceylon rarely if ever do, an interval of plain between 
them and the surrounding mountains effectually marring the fair 
perspective, and reducing their apparent magnitude. The Kandelle 
kke is situate within thirty miles of Trincomalee, in an extensive 
and broad valley, around which the ground gradually ascends towards 
the distant hills that envelope it. Independently of the cheerful 
and refreshing appearance, which open plains and a large sheet of 
water present in a wooded country and warm climate, this place has 
also strong claims to admiration for its numerous groups of forest 
trees, scattered through the plains which intervene between the lake 
and thick jungle covering the rising grounds and hills on the west 
and north of Gantalawe. In the centre of the valley, a long cause- 
way, principally made of masses of rock, extending upwards of a 
mile, has been formed for the retention of the waters that from every 
side pour into the space inclosed within the circumjacent hills and 
the artificial dam thus formed. The lake has two sluices, or outlets ; 
the principal one is about 100 yards from the rocky ledge, through 
which a river is constantly flowing ; the other is near the opposite 
extremity of the embankment, which is commonly dry, and carries 
off water only when the lake is unusually high. The great outlet is 
constructed with much art,, and of vast strength ; the channel is 
beneath a platform of masonry that projects into the lake about six 
feet beyond the line of the embankmeat, and is 24 feet long. It is 
built of oblong stones from five to seven feet long, well wrought and 
fitted to each other without cement. The top of the platform is 
flat ; it contains a small cylindrical well, communicating directly 
with the channel below, and in which the water in passing rises of 
course to the level of the lake. The water passing through the 
embankment, appears on the other side gushing out in a noble 
stream through two apertures formed by a transverse mass of i*ock, 
supported by three perpendicular masses. The transverse mass, 
which is now cracked in two, is about twelve to fourteen feet long, 
and four or five thick ; and the other masses are of proportionate 
size. The water rushing out in considerable volume with great force, 
and dashing among rocks beneath, in the midst of the deep gloomy 
shade produced by overhanging trees, presents altogether a very 


striking scene. "The work itself," says Davy, "has a simple 
grandeur about it, which is seldom associated with art ; it looks 
more like a natural phenomenon than the design of man." The 
other outlet being dry, affords an opportunity for examining the 
entrance of the channel ; at the foot of the embankment there is a 
circular pit almost filled with leaves and branches, and a little 
anterior to it another small pit, the mouth of which is almost entirely 
covered and defended by a large long mass of hewn stone. 

During the rainy season, when the lake attains its greatest elevation, 
the area of ground over which the inundation extends, may be 
computed at fifteen square miles. This work of art and others of 
nearly equally gigantic proportions in the island, sufficiently indicate 
that at some remote period, Ceylon was a densely peopled country, 
and under a government sufficiently enlightened to appreciate the 
execution of an undertaking, which, to men ignorant of mechanical 
powers, must have been an Herculean operation ; for such is the 
capricious nature of the mountain streams in this island, where heavy 
rains frequently fall for many successive days without intermission, 
that no common barrier would suffice to resist the great and sudden 
pressure that must be sustained on such occasions. Aware of this 
peculiarity in the character of their rivers, the Singhalese built the 
retaining wall that supports the waters of the lake of Kandelle with 
such solidity and massiveness, as to defy the utmost fury of the 
mountain torrents. Nearly the whole of its extent is formed with 
vast hewn masses of rock, faced with stones eight or ten feet in 
length, piled up twenty feet high, and from 150' to 200 feet thick at 
the base, placed like steps and laid in regular layers, to move which 
by sheer physical force must have required the united labour of 

Resuming the coast route, from Tamblegam to Kotti-aar, the 
distance is about 1 2\ miles, partly along the bed of a stream, which 
has its source from Lake Kandelle, and occasionally through fertile 
valleys, varied by dense jungle. The small town of Kotti-aar is 
situate on the south side of the inner harbour of Trincomalee, and 
was anciently a place of some importance ; even in Knox's time it 
was frequented by a considerable number of vessels from the con- 
tinent, and the custom dues collected there formed a large item of the 
royal revenues. The passage from hence to Trincomalee by boat is 
far preferable to the overland route, as the magnificent scenery of 
the bay is thereby seen to the greatest advantage. This place is still 
populous ; Malabars are the chief components of the population. 
The country around is well cultivated, cattle abound, and the pasture 
is extremely good. 

The district of Kotti-aar extends along the east coast of the island 
from the north bank of the Virgal-ganga to the frontiers of Tamble- 
gam ; and, as it lies within the delta formed by the two rivers Virgal 
and Kotti-aar, is completely insulated. It is about 27 miles long, 

552 CEYLON. [part IV. 

from north-east to southwest, and 15 broad from east to west, 
containing about 30 villages, and a population of more than 2000 
souls, two-thirds of which are Malabars, and the remainder Moors. 
The country from Anedivoe to Topore is almost level, diversified 
with extensive plains, interspersed with thick jungles, and intersected 
by several nullahs, most of which are fordable, but from Topore to 
the northward, it has an elevated aspect, and abounds with high 
rocks and hills. The soil is generally sandy. The low lands yield 
fine crops of paddy, and the higher grounds all the varieties of dry 
grain. The forests supply almost every species of timber, and har- 
bour a vast number of wild animals, greatly to the annoyance of the 
inhabitants. The route southward from Kotti-aar is through Topoo- 
torre, 9} miles, where is an extensive tank, which is of little service, 
from the want of capital in the country. From hence Anedivoe 
(Elephant's Island) is 13| miles, the road between the two places is 
through well cultivated paddy fields, interspersed with palmyra, 
cocoa-nut, tamarind and wild tea-trees. The plains abound with 
cattle, and particularly buffaloes. 

This district was originally the hereditary domain of a female 
chieftain, styled "Wannichee, and one of her descendants is still 
known by the designation, though he has lost the powers of, Wanniya. 
The Kotti-aar, or river, is one of the outlets into which the Mahavelle 
disembogues itself twenty-five miles south of the bay of the same 
name into which it falls : the Virgal-ganga branching off at the same 
place, Kurinjamoone, falls into the Bay of Bengal by two channels, 
at about the same distance to the south of Trincomalee. Near the 
mouth of the river is the village, which has extensive paddy fields 
attached to it, and the Malabars have a large temple. 

The district of Tamankadewe lies to the west of the Mahavelle- 
ganga and Kotti-aar, and is bounded to the south by the Amban- 
ganga, west and north by the districts of Nuwera Kalawa, and 
Tamblegam, and has an area of 62 1 square miles, and a population 
of 3150 souls. In earlier periods this district contained a vast 
population, for six centuries and a half the capital of the island was 
within its limits, and from its extensive resources for irrigation, pro- 
duced inexhaustible supplies of grain, and well merited the title of 
the granary of the island. At present a great proportion of the lands 
lie waste, covered with morasses, and the produce of paddy is con- 
sequently greatly diminished. The forests abound in game, and 
supply the best ebony, satin, cattamanao, and iron-wood timber, 
but the greatest apathy prevails with respect to the development of 
this source of wealth, and indeed in every thing else, 

If the Kotti-aar were cleared of the obstructions at its mouth and 
other parts, and the Mahavelle were deepened so as to admit the 
passage of vessels drawing even but six feet of water, a very extensive 
and prosperous trade would soon arise, and doubtless justify a farther 
and more effectual operation. Till this takes place, one of the 


noblest rivers in the world is lost to the country which it was 
especially intended to benefit, and its solitary function is to drain the 
superfluous water of the mountain zone. 

The minor streams intersecting this district, such as the Gal-oya 
and Alut-wewa-oya, must have supplied a vast number of tanks ; 
some of these are of the largest size : that of Kaudelle, which was 
fed by the latter river, is now a swampy plain of great extent between 
Mennairia and Kaudelle ; the embankment of this tank was of the 
largest dimensions. The mouth of the outlet is a massive work, and 
still nearly in perfect preservation. It is a square well, with walls 
formed of large stones, some of which are twelve feet by four, neatly 
cut, and most nicely adapted and rabbeted together. Adjoining it 
are the remains of a canal which is said to have connected the tanks 
of Mennairia, Kaudelle and Gantalawe, and to have extended beyond 
the former of these to the Amban-ganga at Ellaherra, from whence 
it was supplied with water. " Until this canal is traced through the 
Konderawe hills, the extent and difficulty of such an undertaking 
must excite doubts," remarks Forbes, "whether it were successfully 
accomplished : it is declared to have been of sufficient size and to 
have been used as a means of conveyance for produce as well as for 
the supply of water necessary to fill the tanks and irrigate the 
country through which it passed. Its length, including these arti- 
ficial lakes, could not have been under one hundred miles ; and if it 
is found to have been completed, there can be little doubt that the 
succession of tanks thus connected and supplied, were the waters to 
which the vanity of a king gave his own name, dignifying them with 
the appellation of the ' Sea of Praackrama.' " This monarch reigned 
in the middle of the twelfth century, and on an excavation at Ellaherra 
there is an inscription stating that this canal was completed by the 
king Praackrama Baboo. 

On one of the low ranges of hills in this neighbourhood, Nuwara 
Kandi (the hill of the city), Mahasen Raja, resided in the third 
century, while superintending the formation of the neighbouring tank 
of Mennairia, whose glassy lake and radiant plains, soon burst on 
the view. From the great extent and irregular form of the lake 
of Mennairia, one would scarcely suppose it a work of art, 
and although its waters are now confined to little purpose, and the 
neighbouring plains contain a scanty and sickly population, owing to 
their low and marshy situation, yet cultivation might be gradually 
restored, and health with increasing population, smile on the 20,000 
fields, which the royal architect formed along with the lake which 
was to irrigate them. Formerly there were several artificial lakes, 
covering a much larger surface than that of Mennairia, but they 
no longer exist, and stand a small chance of being restored ; as they 
would not perhaps repay the necessary expenditure required for 
repairs, and to preserve them against accidents. 

The rest-house of Mennairia can only be reached by passing along 


several canals and muddy rice fields, and occupies the worst position 
that can be conceived, commanding no view either of the forest- 
covered hills, or the lake which they enclosed, and combining all the 
different causes supposed to produce unhealthiness. Between the 
rest-house and the lake is the Kowilla, dedicated to Mahasen. It 
is a wretched hut mudded up in the corner of the ruined temple, 
which was destroyed in the rebellion of 1817; like most others 
dedicated to gods, it contains a bow and arrow of the deified king. 
Among the various temples which are supposed to possess peculiar 
sanctity, and whose guardian god takes vengeance on any perjurer 
that should dare to profane his shrine, Mennairia is pre-eminent, and 
its unwholesome plains have often proved the grave of the perjurer, 
and his adversary, who was always present to watch his antagonist, 
and see that the usual ceremonies were strictly observed. " The 
placid surface of the lake of Mennairia, when lighted," says Forbes, 
" by the evening sun, reflects the varied foliage and forms of the 
clumps and trees on its promontories, capes, and islands ; narrow 
creeks pierce far into the overhanging forest ; and beyond the waters, 
rich grassy plains stretch among the wooded hills, over which arise 
in distance the grand outlines of the mountains of Matale. On the 
plains are scattered herds of elephants, buffaloes, and spotted deer, 
and all the winged race in every variety of form and hue glance 
along the margin of the water, or flit along its narrow inlets, while 
the whole scene, brilliant in colour, refulgent with light, and replete 
with animal life, leaves behind a never-fading reminiscence on the 
mind." Notwithstanding the great expanse of water in the tank of 
Mennairia, the principal embankment was not required of such great 
extent as those of much smaller reservoirs, scarcely exceeding a 
quarter of a mile in length, and sixty feet in width at the top, and 
overgrown with forest trees and thick jungle ; its outlets which are 
composed of large masses of rock coarsely cut, are on a level with the 
deepest parts, so that while any water remained, the supply for the 
villages, canals, and rice fields, was maintained, and it is said that the 
absence of rain for two years, would not have caused the absorption 
of the water. It is one of those works by which man has successfully 
combated the caprice of seasons, and the revolutions of nature. 
The stream running from the tank, is of considerable size, and flows 
into the Mahavelle-ganga. Formerly, when its waters were directed 
by man, it was a source of fertility to the whole tract through which 
it passed, but now running waste, forming swamps, and only sup- 
porting rank vegetation, it is the fruitful cause of unwholesomeness to 
the adjacent country. The country between Mennairia and Kandelle, 
is almost entirely covered with wood, and the scenery only improves 
between Permamadua and Kandelle. A sportsman may find an 
abundant variety and quantity of game in the vicinity of Mennairia, 
where it is undisturbed by the approach of man. 

The ruins of Pollonnaroowa, the capital of the island for 500 


years, lie near Mennairia ; at about five miles distance between tbe two 
places, is the small artificial lake, called Giri-tala, formed of a strong 
stone embankment, which crosses a hollow at the top of a steep 
descent, terminating in level ground and damp forests, where hewn 
stones, carved spouts, and steps of masonry, denote the populous 
suburb of the ancient city. 

Pollonnaroowa was called Pulastya-poora in ancient works, a name 
connected with the most ancient legends of the country, and the 
Hindoo poem of the Ramayana, Pulastya being one of the progenitors 
of Rawana, king of Ceylon, in the earliest period to which tradition 
ventures to go back. Here, as at Anuradhapoora, superstition 
selected the site of a town that has otherwise no obvious recommen- 
dation, and judging by present appearances almost every disadvan- 
tage for the position of the capital of the island. The ruins of 
Pollonnaroowa are now generally called by Europeans, Topare, a cor- 
ruption of Topawewa, the name of the tank which extends along one 
side of the city, at whose farthest extremity appears the ruined spire 
of the Rankot dagobah. 

The power of Ceylon was already on the wane, when the tank of 
Topawewa was formed by the Upatissa II., who commenced his 
reign a.d. 368. This king erected many public works in various 
parts of the island, and endowed numerous religious edifices ; to 
these exertions he was stimulated both by piety and terror, the former 
excited by a priest of Hattanagalla, the latter by an earthquake. In 
a.d. G50, Sirisangabo II. built a palace at Pollonnaroowa, but it was 
not then considered the capital, and probably had been the place of 
his retirement when driven from the throne, which he afterwards 
recovered from the usurper Kaloona. From this time it was the 
occasional residence of several monarchs, and towards the close of 
the eighth century, became the capital of the island, and the insignia 
of royalty were removed thither from the ancient capital. Pollon- 
naroowa, though taken and pillaged by foreign invaders, and a 
sufferer from domestic feuds, still increased in size, till it arrived at 
the acme of prosperity in the twelfth century, under the reigns of 
Praackrama Baboo, and Kirti Nissanga, by whom all the principal 
buildings were commenced or completed. The vast undertakings 
and wars of these energetic but vain monarchs, seem to have exhausted 
the strength of a nation, weakened also by internal dissension ; for 
Ceylon, after the feverish excitement and boasted prosperity of these 
reigns, sank more rapidly, and Pollonnaroowa, which had continued 
the seat of government for 550 years, was neglected from a.d. 1240, 
when its principal buildings had been demolished by the Malabars, 
and was finally deserted a.d. 1319. 

The temples and buildings of Pollonnaroowa, are in much better 
preservation than those of Anuradhapoora, although very inferior to 
them in point of size ; the extent of the city too corresponds with 
the diminished resources and decreased population of the island in 


the twelfth century, when the rampart or fence of Pollonnaroowa was 
formed, as compared with the power and splendour of Ceylon, under 
the great dynasty, when Wahapp huilt the walls of Anuradhapoora, 
in the first century of the Christian era. 

" In several of the buildings at Pollonnaroowa," says Forbes, "par- 
ticularly in two small doors, the proper arch is to be found in form, 
but the principle of it does not appear to have been understood by 
the Singhalese architects ; as in the largest buildings which have 
brick roofs, the side walls approximate as they ascend, from each 
course of bricks projecting forward a little beyond the one immedi- 
ately below it, until only a small space is left, which has been com- 
pleted on the principle of the wedge ; the section of one of these 
chambers would nearly resemble a parabolic curve." 

The Jaitawana-rama, which is considered to be a precise imitation 
of the temple built for Gautama Buddha, and in which he resided at 
Saewatnuwara, in Kosolratta, more resembles the early ecclesiastical 
edifices of Europe, than any other which the island possesses. In 
front, it has a small mound, covered with stone pillars, the remains of 
the Gamsabae Mandapa, and the proper entrance is from thence 
between two polygonal pillars of about fifty feet high ; these form 
the termination of the exterior walls of two chambers* into which 
this temple is divided. The interior of these apartments is much 
the broadest, and opposite to its entrance a figure of Gautama pro- 
jecting from the wall, occupies the whole height of the building, 
about fifty feet. On the outside, this ruin presents two rows of gothic 
windows, but the upper range is closed, and does not admit light or 
air. This temple was repaired, if it was not built, by Kirti Nissanga, 
soon after his succession to the throne in a.d. 1192. The whole 
length is about 150 feet, and its walls, which are very thick, are 
entirely composed of brick and mortar-. With the exception of a 
stone moulding, the whole building, including the colossal statue, has 
been covered with polished cement, which still adheres to the 
entrance pillars and various other portions of this impending ruin. 
The figures of two snakes cast in stone near the Jaitawanarama give 
birth to a legend and erroneous derivation of the name of the city, 
and it is from polon and na, the polonga and hooded snake that the 
vulgar ascribe the origin of the name Pollonnarroowa. Projecting in 
the strongest relief from the perpendicular face of a large rock, are 
three colossal figures of Buddha ; they are in the usual position, 
sitting, standing, and reclining, the last mentioned being upwards of 
forty feet in length. According to minute directions, which the 
Singhalese possess, these positions of Gautama are, and his features 
ought to be, retained without variation; so also it is with the figure 
of every supernatural creature which they worship, whether it be 
deified, mortal, or demon, the shape originally adopted must remain 
unaltered. " The restrictions of human beings by caste," remarks 
Forbes, "are not more imperious or better observed than the instruc- 


tions that fix the forms of figures to be worshipped : the results 
exhibited by the minds of mortals and the efforts of statuaries, afford 
ccpial proofs of an impolitic interference and its baneful results. 
Mankind debarred from improvement, first ceased to advance, then 
gradually declined, and sculptors condemned to imitate only, at 
length fell short of their originals, yet had their failures again 
repeated, and their faults multiplied. Between the sitting and 
standing figures, the Isuramini or Kalugalla-wihare, has been cut 
in the hard rock, and in this cavern temple, part of the stone has 
been left, and afterwards shaped into the figure of Buddha, seated 
on a throne, the two pillars in the front of this wihare, are also part 
of the solid rock. These works were completed in the twelfth 
century, and in the reign of Praackrama Baboo, yet are they not 
decayed, but the most minute ornaments are sharp, and undiminished 
by time or weather, and will perhaps retain their freshness, when 
the religion of Gautama has faded for ever in its holy land and 
island stronghold. The Dalada Malagawa (palace of the tooth) is 
partly obscured on the outside, and the inside is nearly filled with 
rubbish. It is a small building of excellent masonry and neat archi- 
tecture. The roof is flat, and formed of long stones, and the 
granite of which it is entirely built, retains in perfection the admira- 
ble sharpness of the original cutting. It is said to have been joined 
together under the personal superintendence of Kirti Nissanga in one 
day, a.d. 119.3. Bears in numbers find shelter among these ruins. 

The Rankot dagobah was built by the second queen of Mahaloo 
Praackrama Bahoo, between the years a.d. 1154 and 1186, but 
Kirti Nissanga, who increased its height, gave it the name of 
Thuparama. It is the loftiest building at Pollonnaroowa, and though 
like the other ruins, it is much overgrown with jungle, large trees, and 
creeping plants, yet the form of its spire may be still discerned at a 
distance of several miles, as the forests at this place display in the 
size of their trees, the occasional deficiency of moisture, from which 
this portion of the land frequently suffers. Around the base but 
forming part of the dagobah, are eight small chapels, and between 
each of them there is an ornamented projection. The height from 
the level of the platform on which these stand, to the highest portion 
of the existing remains of the steeple, is 159 feet. As the platform 
is considerably elevated above the surrounding country, the native 
histories which state its entire height at 120 carpenter's cubits, i.e. 
two hundred and seventy feet, are confirmed The golden umbrella 
raised on the summit of the spire obtained for this building the name 
of Itankot, by which it is now generally known. The derivatives are, 
ran, gold, kot, the umbrella-like termination, which was generally 
raised on the top of the spire of a dagobah. 

The remains of the Bannage (place for publicly expounding the 
Buddhist Scriptures) is encircled by a fence of peculiar construction, in 
which the two lines of longitudinal bars are of stone, fitting in to 

558 CEYLON. [part IV. 

upright stone pillars. In the Watte-daga, Poeyage, Lanka-rama, 
Meres-wattya, Keeree-wihare, &c. &c., there is little to remark, but 
the exact correspondence of their site and remains with the native 
accounts of this city and the date of the erection of the buildings as 
recorded in the Singhalese history. Tbe Sat-mahal-prasada is a neat 
pyramidal building of no great height, although its name implies that 
it was seven stories high. 

The palace is now a shapeless mass, overgrown with vegetation, 
and situated on the bank of the Topawewa, the waters of which were 
conducted through the building. The roj^al bath is still distinct ; it 
is a circular excavation, about six feet deep, lined with hewn stones, 
one of which is round and raised above the rest of the pavement : 
this marks the spot where the kings stood and received the services 
of the numerous officers connected with the bathing and dressing de- 
partments of a Singhalese monarch. Several stones covered with 
long inscriptions are found at Pollonnaroowa. One stone brought 
from Mihintalai is shaped like the leaf of a Singhalese ola, and is 
neatly ornamented, the characters, which are small, and beautifully 
cut, and for the most part Singhalese, being surrounded by a mould- 
ing of birds, it is twenty-five feet long, four broad, and two thick, 
and the subject principally treated of, refers to the reign of Kirti 
Nissanga. " In a situation abounding with rocks and quarries," ob- 
serves Forbes, " from which they could have riven masses of any size 
by means of wedges, of which abundant use has been made at Pollon- 
naroowa, it is remarkable that this cumbrous mass should have been 
removed upwards of eighty miles, and yet more surprising how the 
feat was accomplished." He was at first little inclined to regard the 
tradition, which spoke of its removal by men from a place so distant 
as Mihintalai, until the translation of the inscription proved its 
authenticity. "This engraved stone is the one which the Adigaar 
Unawoomandanawan caused the strong men of Nissankha to bring 
from the mountain Saegiri (Mihintalai) at Anuradhapoora, in the 
time of Piaja Sree Kalinga Chakkrawarti." 

Several of the inscriptions cut in stone at Pollonnaroowa are of great 
length, in a character which is Singhalese, yet containing many letters 
now obsolete, but generally beautifully executed. These inscriptions 
are valuable for the dates which they afford, and deserving of notice for 
the customs and recognized duties of a Singhalese king upwards of 600 
years ago : they further exhibit in perfection the self-praise in which 
these monarchs indulged, and the high sounding titles they assumed. 
The warlike actions and personal valour ascribed to the reigning 
kings, by these imperishable records, are however totally false, or so 
exaggerated, as to be inapplicable. Another of the inscriptions 
records the grants made and the titles bestowed by a grateful king 
on a chief, his friend, and his mother, who had been instrumental in 
bringing this prince from the continent of India, and placing him on the 
throne of Ceylon, a. d. 1 200. The chieftain was named Kooloondoo- 


tetti Abo-nawan ; his friend, another man of rank, was Kumbudal- 

To resume the coast route — The traveller having crossed the 
Virgal-ganga at Moleade, two miles from Anedivoe, where boats are 
always at hand for the passage of the ferry, will find the Koorle- 
pattoo, a well cultivated and low, but charming, country before 
him. This hundred forms one of the subdivisions of the extensive 
district of Batecalo, stretching from the Virgal-ganga to the 
Kumukan-aar, a distance of nearly 150 miles from north to south. 
Its native name is Mattakalappoo, from the Singhalese words mada, 
muddy, and Kalappoo, a lake, perhaps in allusion to the lake for 
which it is famous. It is divided into eleven pattoos or hundreds, 
vis. Manmoone, Karrewitte, Porativoe, Eruwil, Karrewahoo, Sam- 
mantorrc, Nadukadoe, Akkarapattoo, Panaha or Panowa, Eraoor, 
and Koorle pattoe, with an area of 1360 square miles, and a popula- 
tion of about 35,000 souls. The climate is on the whole salubrious ; 
and except during the hot months, when the thermometer sometimes 
stands at 94° in the shade, and the Katchan or hot wind visits the 
coast, is cooler than any other part of the sea coast, being consider- 
ably influenced by the ranges of lofty mountains on the west. From 
the Virgal-ganga to Nalloor, the face of the country exhibits sandy- 
plains, and loose soil, sometimes uncultivated and barren, surrounded 
on every side by jungle, and intersected by salt water lakes. To the 
southward from Eraoor to the Kumukan-oya, it is diversified with 
huge masses of rock, high jungles, salt and fresh water lakes, and 
large plains under tillage. The soil moreover is of marl and a dark 
sand. The forests yield a vast quantity of excellent timber, and 
satin wood and ebony are exported in considerable quantities to the 
Coromandel coast. 

With regard to its agricultural resources, it now produces nearly a 
sufficient quantity of paddy for the consumption of the inhabitants, 
but though it formerly exported largely, it was for more than thirty 
years after the arrival of the British, dependent for its supply of this 
necessary of life on the Coromandel coast. Recently cocoa-nut 
plantations have been laid down by both European and native capital- 
ists, and it promises to derive no slight advantage from the cultiva- 
tion. It abounds also with palmyra, mango and other fruit trees, 
and produces an infinite variety of fine grains. It is famous for a 
large breed of horned cattle, sheep, and goats ; its jungles afford 
every sort of game, while its numerous lakes and rivers yield a plenti- 
ful supply of fish. Its population consists chiefly of Malabars, 
Mookwas, and Moors, who are said to be remarkable for their 
tranquil and contented dispositions, and the little desire they feel 
to leave the spot where they were bora. 

The settlement of the eastern coast of Ceylon is perhaps accounted 
for in a more intelligible manner than any other division of the 
island. From the south bank of the Mahavelle-ganga round to the 


Kalu-ganga on the west coast, comprising therefor? Malayaa, or a 
considerable part of the mountain region, and all the lcrvv lands south 
of those rivers, was the principality of Roohoona, governed for 
centuries by its local princes, and yielding, if any, a very imperfect 
fealty to the metropolitan state. Under the sovereignty of these 
princes, all the great works, many of whose vestiges still remain, 
were executed. Subsequently Roohoona became reannexed to the 
metropolitan state, and soon shared in its vicissitudes. From the 
time of Maagha's invasion, the unity of the kingdom ceased to be 
preserved ; the capital was removed from Pollonnaroowa to Dam- 
badiniya, and from Dambadiniya in its turn to six or eight other 
localities, just as was dictated by a monarch's caprice, and it was not 
long before the complete dismemberment of the country ensued. 
The monarch of the mountain zone, whose seat of government was 
at Kandy, was at length tempted to extend his dominion o^er the 
east coast, and whether his rule was personally offensive or his policy 
truculent, the result was that the Singhalese inhabitants, with the 
exception' of those in the pattoos of Nadukadoe and Panowa, 
abandoned the country, leaving the Veddahs to roam over it undis- 
turbed. Things were in this state, when the Malabar chieftains from 
the north began to emigrate southwards, and settled in the district 
of Kotti-aar. One of these with the title of Wanniya became 
governor of the Batecalo district, and paid tribute to Randy. Being 
deposed by the Veddahs, he retired to Point Pedro, from whence, 
after some delay, he returned with seven vessels manned with 
Mookwa fishermen, and with their assistance drove the Veddahs 
into the interior and re-established his authority. At length, however, 
the Mookwas rebelled, submitted to the Kandian monarch, and a 
dissave was appointed over the whole district. Nadukadoe was still 
peopled by a remnant of the old inhabitants, Panowa was annexed to 
Ouva ; and the Mookwa headmen, called Peddies, divided the 
remainder of the coast territory among their seven families, appor- 
tioning a pattoo to each. They next obtained a concession of the land 
from the king, and a patent authorising the eldest of the male members 
of the families to continue to rank as Head Peddie in their respective 
pattoos. No long time had elapsed before a large body of Malabar 
immigrants arrived from Jaffna, and settled amongst them, and they 
were succeeded by several families of Moors. To increase further the 
population, the Mookwas purchased and educated Veddah children, 
and the state of the province had begun to assume a promising aspect, 
when the rapacity of the dissave, and the extortions and oppressions 
of his deputy, the land vidahn, revived all the original elements of 
disorganisation. Even among the Mookwas, no person was secure 
in the possession of his land, as the dissave, whenever he visited the 
country, could be bribed to make any award. The whole community 
sighed to be delivered from the galling yoke, and implored the Dutch 
to assume the government of the territory, to which the latter acceded 


on the breaking out of a war with Kandy, in 1761. Under the 
Dutch, prosperity began to revive, the headmen employed to collect 
the tithe on grain, honestly gave in the quantum so collected ; but, 
finding that the Government had little or no check on their proceed- 
ings, gradually delivered less and less, till the whole revenue had 
become a burlesque. The fraud was thus discovered, and they were 
compelled to disgorge their ill-gotten gains, but they still continued to 
extract large profits from those employed in forced labour, and 
exacted heavy fines from those they exempted. On the arrival of 
Governor Falcke, orders were issued for the mild and lenient treatment 
of natives, and the concession of popular institutions. The Mookwa 
headmen thus became reconciled to the limitation imposed upon 
their extortions, and thenceforth decided differences between the 
people in conjunction with the Dutch resident. 

To return to the Koorle-pattoo: — this hundred extends from theVir- 
gal-ganga to Vendeloos bay. The villages are eight or nine in number, 
but are far from well peopled. The country in the rear is a complete 
forest, infested with elephants, buffaloes, &c. and the Veddahs frequent 
it in the dry season. From the Virgal-ganga to Kaddiravelle" the dis- 
tance is four miles, and from thence to Pannitchankanne, where the 
river of that name is crossed by a ferry, nearly ten miles. Wild 
orange, lime and cinnamon trees abound here, and attract myriads of 
monkies. Salt is procured to a large extent in the vicinity. The leways 
in this district all belong to Government, but are by no means so pro- 
ductive as those of the Southern province. Vendeloos bay or inlet is 
about 1 6£ miles from the mouth of the lake of Batecalo, the coast be- 
tween is low and woody, and may be approached occasionally to ten 
or twelve fathoms ; but in the night, large ships should keep two or 
three miles off shore. Vendeloos inlet is rocky at the entrance ; 
when abreast of this place, the Sugar Loaf bears to the south-westward. 
About six leagues to the west of it is Dimbuhagalla, or the Gunner's 
Quoin. Ships bound to Trincomalee from the south in the south- 
west monsoon, keep near the eastern coast of Ceylon ; as the land 
winds blow very strong in the night, and frequently in the day, 
often rendering it difficult for a ship to regain the coast, if she get , 
far to seaward, where the current generally sets to the eastward in 
that season. Near the shore along the north-east coast of Ceylon, 
the current is fluctuating in the south-west monsoon, generally weak, 
and sets mostly to the southward. The next stage is to Kommol- 
landam Moone, 15^ miles, a small and sparsely populated village, 
little cultivated, and surrounded on all but the coast side, by dense 
jungle : the road however is good throughout. The next village is 
Nalloer (Bapoor), 4 \ miles, situate near the Nalloer-aar, and abound- 
ing in wild cinnamon. The country about here is better inhabited, 1 

1 Some curious ancient inscriptions have recently been discovered at Rose- 
lanmalle in this pattoo, and forwarded to the Ceylon branch of the Asiatic So- 
ciety, and it is far from improbable but that they may throw some light on the 
earlier history of Koohoona. 

2 o 

562 CEYLON. [part IV. 

and between Nalloer and Eraoer, ten miles, is extensively cultivated 
with paddy, yams, and plantains, but the road is a very deep and 
loose sand for some part of the distance. Cotton is growu, but in 
a limited quantity, compared with the capabilities of the country. 
Labour is cheap throughout the Batecalo district, and contracts have 
been made for felling timber so low as fourteen shillings per acre. 
Ferry boats are always to be had for crossing the Nalloer and Eraoer 
rivers, both of which are salt. At Eraoer is a good rest house, and 
a temple sacred to Vira Badra, one of the malignant deities in 
Hindoo mythology. This place was formerly the seat for the manu- 
facture of cotton stuffs, a branch of industry sedulously cultivated 
under the Dutch. The country around is far from fertile, and the 
water indifferent. Near this place, a branch from the coast road 
diverges, passing the north ern confines of the Karrewitte pattoo, through 
Veddah-ratte to Binterme, a distance of ninety-three miles, and another 
winds along the western shore of the Batecalo lake, and again unites 
itself with the Batecalo road. Another stage of nine miles brings 
the traveller to Batecalo, famous for its mosquitoes. 

The island of Pooliantivoe, on which the town of Batecalo is 
situate, is in 7° 42' N. lat. and 81° 51' E. long, is about three miles 
and a half in circumference, and is formed by the lake of Batecalo, 
which communicates with the sea. Batecalo is the seat of the assis- 
tant agent for the Eastern province, the judge of the district court, 
and a police magistrate. The fort, built of coral rock, is a small 
square building, and contains a barrack, magazine, and commandant's 
house. The town stands a few hundred yards from it, and is almost 
embosomed in topes of cocoa-nut trees. Though the streets cannot 
boast of regularity, nor the houses of grandeur or neatness, still it 
presents a rather picturesque ensemble from the vegetation in which 
it is shrouded, and is chiefly inhabited by Dutch burghers and 
natives. The bazaar is a dispersed assemblage of huts occupied by 
venders of fruit, vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, oysters, rice, &c. all 
of which are abundant, excellent, and cheap. Excellent table cloths, 
towels, and napkins, are manufactured here, as also cotton-cloth. 
The trade of Batecalo, though on the increase, is as yet of little 
importance, owing to its isolation from the other provinces of 
Ceylon. The development of its agricultural wealth will, however, 
eventually place it in the position to which its advantages entitle it. 
The lake of Batecalo is navigable for schooners, and even dhonies 
for the greater part of the year. The village of Katancoditeripoo 
contains a dense population of Moormen, whose schooners sail up the 
lake, as high as Navacodah, and ten miles up the Eraoer branch. 
Up the shallower parts of the lake large " ballams," sailing without 
outriggers, and carrying several tons weight of paddy, salt, and cocoa- 
nuts penetrate. Batecalo has one Protestant and two or three Romish 
churches, and the Mahommedans and heathen have also their respec- 
tive places of worship. Batecalo is memorable in the history of 
Ceylon, from being the first port visited by the Dutch under Spil- 


bergen, in 1G02. The coast off Batecalo is bold, and the immense 
sandstone rocks, known as the " Friar's hood," "Elephant's rock," 
and " Pagoda rock," are excellent landmarks for the navigator. The 
inlet is narrow at the entrance, and not discernible except from the 
northward, but it may be known by a house and flag-staff. There are 
six feet on the bar at low water, and the tide rises about two or three 
feet perpendicularly. Wood and water may both be obtained here 
in any quantity. The anchorage in the road is not always safe in the 
north-east monsoon when a gale from that quarter may occur between 
September and February, but in the south-west monsoon it is safe. 
Ships generally anchor to the north-west or westward of the reef, 
with the entrance of the river about south ; the Friar's Hood, south- 
south-west, distant about two miles, abreast of a cluster of rocks 
projecting from the shore to the northward of the river. The 
mountain which resembles a Friar's hood when bearing to the south- 
westward, has the form of a pyramid when it beais to the north- 
westward. From October to February, when the north-west mon- 
soon blows, the native merchants lay up their vessels. 

The pattoo of Manmoone, in which Batecalo is situate, extends 
along the greater part of the shore, laved by the lake of Batecalo. 
The soil is sandy, but is extensively cultivated with cotton, and 
cocoa-nut, and palmyra trees. Under the encouragement of M. 
Burnand, Batecalo promised to become a seat of the cotton manufac- 
ture, and its cloth was exchanged for the produce of the Kandian 
country. The villages, forty in number, are populous, and the 
inhabitants contented and industrious. Moodelakooda, or Navacodah 
(the Alligator's bay), is a considerable village projecting into the 
lake south-west of Batecalo. Karrewittepattoe, on the west shore of 
the lake, is but thinly peopled and little cultivated. 

The next stage from Batecalo southwards is to Naypattre Moone, a 
large and populous village, 1 7\ miles distant, on the banks of the lake, 
where there is a tolerable rest-house, but the neighbourhood, though 
delightfully situated and extremely fertile, is only indifferently culti- 
vated. From thence to Wambimodoo rest-house is 7| miles. This, 
though well cultivated on the right of the road, is about the 
wildest part of Ceylon, and the traveller can only proceed during 
the day in safety ; for so numerous are elephants, bears, and 
leopards, that there is no chance of escape, and in the rainy season, 
when driven by the mosquitoes from the jungles into the plains, they 
infest the roads as much by day as by night. Porativoe or Nadene- 
pattoo is situated on the south-west shore of the Batecalo lake, and 
contains but four villages, surrounded with paddy fields and prodi- 
gious forests of excellent timber ; the village of Porativoe is almost 
composed of Mookwas, but in the neighbourhood there are a consider- 
able number of gold and silver smiths. The temple, sacred to 
Skanda, is a stone building. Nadene, another village, was formerly 
the residence of a Wanniya, and is a rendezvous for the buffalo 
hunts which take place in the adjacent forest. It has a small temple 
sacred to Nayamar (a deity peculiar to this part of the country), and 

2 o 2 


the buffalo hunters 1 make an annual offering at his shrine. Palga- 
mam is remarkable for its temple sacred to the five Pandawa heroes. 
An annual festival of ten days attracts a large concourse of people, 
and those who have bound themselves by vow, walk barefoot over 
burning coals. The Eroowil pattoo lies at the south-west end of the 
lake, which is connected with its southern inlet by a narrow gut. 
Karrewahoo-pattoe on the coast is fertile and populous, and produces 
paddy, tobacco, cocoa-nut, palmyra, sugar cane and plantains. Its 
pasture lands are extensive, and cattle are plentiful. There are still 
a few potters, dyers, and weavers of cloth here. Sijampattoo, or 
Sammantorre, situate at the south-end of the lake, is sparsely peopled, 
and little cultivated, containing nine villages, of which the only con- 
siderable one is that from which it derives its name ; Annamalle (the 
Swan's Hill) has a water communication with Batecalo by the lake 
which extends thus far. 

Akkarapattoo stretches along the south-east coast and is bounded 
on the west by Nadukadoo, on the south by Panowa, and on the north 
by Sammantorre. It is about 16 miles long by from 4 to 7 broad, 
and contains fourteen villages, in many of which a large quantity of 
paddy is produced. The Navil-aar a considerable stream runs 
into the sea in this pattoo ; its waters were formerly applied to the 
supply of a large number of tanks. The people are principally 
Malabars, and on the whole industrious and peaceable. From 
Wambimodoo to the village of Trikoil (Tiru, holy, and kovil or 
kowila, temple), situate in this hundred, and lying on the coast is six- 
teen miles. On the land side, it is enclosed by thick forests, and 
has a large Hindoo temple, sacred to Skanda, the god of war, in 
which are delineated all the lewd and exciting sculptures characteristic 
of the swamies of India. If the traveller be a sportsman or a bota- 
nist, he has only to diverge to his right throughout this route, to 
have as much and as great a variety of shooting or scientific amuse- 
ment, as he can desire ; for the extensive forests for which this part 
of the island is famous, are so seldom traversed by Europeans, that 
the wild beast reigns supreme. 

Nadukadoo pattoe on the west, though containing twenty-four vil- 
lages, has scarcely more than half that number inhabited. It has, 
however, many extensive plains, and is traversed by several nullahs, 
which it is difficult to cross in the rainy season. The magnificent 
wihare and dagobah, at Digganakhya, were situate in the Nadukadoo 
pattoe, and were erected by Saidatissa, brother of Dootoogaimoo, 

l The mode of hunting the wild hog and buffalo in Ceylon is remarkable for 
its simplicity and success. The huntsman enters the plain mounted on a tame 
buffalo trained to the business, whose movements he directs by a halter fastened 
round the head ; and bending his body so that the pursued animals cannot see 
him, keeps always under cover on the off side. In this position he turns and 
manoeuvres the buffalo with ease and rapidity in all directions, while the game, 
which would fly if it perceived a man, is not alarmed at the approach of a buffalo. 
Approaching thus within a small distance, the hunter takes deliberate aim over 
its back, and seldom or never fails of success. 


about B. c. 150, while governing the Roohoona division. They 
were discovered by the collector of the district of Batecalo, many 
years ago, in the centre of a thick forest. The size of the wihare is 
gigantic, and the credulous natives maintain that it was erected many 
thousand years ago, by giants ten cubits tall. The cone of the temple 
is entirely covered with brick and mortar ; its basis is almost a 
quarter of a mile in circumference, and the top and sides are now 
planted with large trees, that have fixed their roots in the ruins, and 
elevating their head fifty or sixty feet high, shade this little hill. 
A square enclosure, a mile in circumference, consisting of a broad 
wall, made of bricks and mortar, and having within it a number of 
cells surrounds the temple. The entrance to this enclosure is through 
a colonnade of stone pillars, about ten feet high. Near the temple 
arc seen the ruins of another large building of the same materials, 
probably the dagobah already spoken of. The natives, however, 
report that it was the palace of a king, erected many years after the 
other buildings. The Diggaawewa tank, constructed by the same 
prince, whose exact locality is as yet undetermined, was probably also 
in this neighbourhood. 

Between Trikoil and Komarie, a stage of eleven miles, the country 
begins to wear a more cultivated aspect ; black paddy, yams, maize, 
payro, Natchenie or kurukkan being largely grown, and plenty of 
fish, poultry, eggs, rice, milk, fruits and vegetables, may be obtained 
at moderate prices along the whole of the coast. From Komarie to 
Pativilla, is nine miles, from thence via Arookgam to Panowa, near 
which the Arookgam-aar is crossed twice, is twelve miles. Arook- 
gam, situate on the bay of the same name, is a large and populous 
village, and was a military post under the Dutch. 

Panowa (Panahe), ranks below most of the other pattoos in popu- 
lation, containing only fourteen small villages, and the whole number 
of the inhabitants does not exceed 800. In general features, it has 
also a different character from the rest of the pattoos ; for instead of 
the uniform flatness by which they are distinguished, there is a suc- 
cession of rocks and hills, now and then interrupted by extensive 
plains and thick forests. 

From Panowa to Oohundcmallc, 1 where there is a tolerable rest- 
house, is 8£ miles ; to the village of Kombookan is 12| miles. The 
Kombookan-aar, so called from the innumerable kombook trees 
lining its banks, has its source in the Namina Kooli Kandi range, and 
falls into the sea, after a south-easterly course of upwards of thirty- 
five miles, during which it divides the Eastern from the Southern 

The interior of the Southern portion of the Eastern province, con- 

1 At Oohund-emalle is one of the largest of the huge granite rocks that border on 
iliis road, and is sanctified in the eyes of the people by a legend of Hindoo super- 
stition. On the summit is the impression of a god, and there arc several small 
reservoirs. On the various platforms are several rude altars for the reception of 

5-66 CEYLON. [part IV, 

tains the country known as Veddah Ratte and Maha Veddah Ratte, 
which is very inaccessible in consequence of its impervious jungles. 

Dembahagalle or Dimbulugalla, called by sailors the Gunner's 
Quoin, is a lofty mountain, rising about 3000 feet from the plains ; 
opposite to the spot where the Amban-ganga unites with the Maha- 
velle ; in ail probability it is of volcanic formation. Its summit is 
constantly veiled in clouds, but in clear weather, a most splendid 
view of tbe country may be obtained, comprising the Cbapel Point 
at Trhicomalee, the lake of Batecalo, the hills beyond Mennairia, 
and the Kandian mountains. About fifteen miles to the east, is a 
spring, which rises three or four feet above ground, and is surrounded 
by a cauldron twenty-five yards in diameter, consisting of soft mud, 
from which issue a warm and a cold stream. 

The district of Binteune (called also Vintana by Valentyn), is situate 
on the right bank of the Mahavelle-ganga ; and probably contains 
a population of from eight to nine thousand souls. Its village of the 
same name which lies about thirty-five miles from Kandy, and is the 
centre from which several roads radiate, was once a royal residence ; 
and when Spilbergen passed through it on his way to Kandy, he is 
said to have found several handsome temples and a monastery. Near 
the village, was Mahawelligam, the Yakka capital, which is said by 
Forbes, to have occupied a space twelve miles in length, by eight in 
breadth, on the banks of the Mahavelle-ganga. In this town was 
built theMyungana dagobah, which enclosed a golden casket, containing 
a portion of Gautama's hair, cut off when he became a Buddha. To 
the dagobah, originally built by the chief of the converted Yakkas, 
was afterwards added the griwa (neck bone) relic, and it was 
enlarged to the height of twelve cubits. The King Khula Bhya 
raised it to thirty cubits, and Dootoogaimoonoo to ninety cubits. 
Near Binteune, are the remains of a large tank six or eight miles in 
circumference, supplied by one of the numerous rivulets branching 
from the Mahavelle-ganga. Bintenne suffers much from long 
droughts, and the temperature is excessively high. Much sickness 
prevails at certain seasons, whence it was used by the Kandian king 
as a place of banishment for criminals. At Himberewe where it 
approximates nearer to the mountain ranges, the temperature is much 
cooler than at Bintenne ; the soil is there also excellent, and the 
people have extensive gardens on both sides of the river, in which 
tobacco, maize, kurukkan, and almost every sort of vegetable flourish. 
The indigenous grasses are here of the most luxuriant description, 
and though large herds of cattle are possessed by the natives, they are 
insufficient to restrain its exuberance. Higher up the river towards 
Bintenne, is Kindegodde a large Moorish village; the land is watered 
by small streams from the hills and produces dry grain and paddy. 

The village of Pangragam lies within the angle formed by the 
junction of the Gallagedda-oya, and the Mahavelle-ganga. At Alli- 
gam, higher up the river, are the remains of a canal cut by a Kan- 


dian monarch, its bed is from eighty to ninety feet above the river. 1 
It commences at a small cataract eight miles above Pangragam, runs 

l The following abstract, condensed from the report of Mr. Brooke, who 
ascended the river from its outlet near Kotti-aar to Kandy, a distance of about 150 
miles, is the more valuable and deserving of consideration at this moment, in 
consequence of the inability of the Ceylon Railway Company to proceed further 
than Kandy with their line ; if indeed they reach that place for the next three years. 
" The Virgal ganga, though the smaller branch, is the chief outlet of the 
Mahavelle to the sea, except in January and during the freshes. The Kotti-aar 
above Goorookel-ganga is in several parts not more than a few inches in depth, and 
in many places is quite dry, and up to Kooranjemoone, where it unites with the 
Virgal, it has very little water. At that place the breadth of its bed varies from 120 
to 140 yards. The banks are in excellent condition, and the bed consists of deep 
sand, which rises higher and higher as you approach Kooranjemoone, until it be- 
comes, in some places, level with the banks, and evidently continues to increase. 
There is not a village, nor, except at Goorookel-ganga, even a house on the banks 
from the mouth of the river to that place. When this branch of the river is navigable, 
the natives avail themselves of the opportunity of conveying their grain to the 
neighbouring ports. At Kooranjemoone, the Mahavelle turns off at a very acute 
angle, at the apex of which it pours its waters into the Virgal. The Malabars 
who possess a large Gentoo temple on the banks of the Virgal, were assembled 
many years ago by their priests to widen and deepen this branch for the purpose 
of obtaining a greater supply of water to irrigate the paddy lands belonging to 
the temple. This was easily accomplished, the current being naturally directed 
into this channel. Since then it has been considerably enlarged. Still the breadth 
of the Virgal is much less than that of the Mahavelle, and from this circumstance, 
the current runs with great impetuosity. The natives raft considerable quantities 
of timber up the Kotti-aar branch in January and during the rains, and when 
they arrive at the junction of the two branches, so great is the impetuosity with 
which the stream rushes into the Virgal, that it becomes exceedingly difficult 
and dangerous to gain the Kotti-aar, for should the rafts come within the influence 
of the current, they are hurried down the Virgal to the sea, and the people are 
obliged to abandon them, and swim ashore. In this way, many rafts have been 
annually lost. The river at the junction turning off at an angle, and the Virgal 
branching off from the apex, the current is naturally directed to it. 

"To turn the stream round this angle by damming up the Virgal, would be next 
to impossible, for the water at the entrance of the Virgal is even when low, ten 
feet deep, and the bed or the Kotti-aar immediately below the junction, is five 
feet above the water. The river during the rains, rises ten or twelve feet, at which 
time the stream at the entrance of the Virgal is so strong and deep, as to render 
it impossible to throw a dam across it, in order to force the water round the 
angle. But about 700 yards above the junction, there is a channel twenty or 
thirty yards broad, which unites with the original bed again below. Were this 
enlarged, and the river immediately below its entrance dammed up, the stream 
would be forced through the channel, towards Trincomalee. But the dam should 
be very firmly constructed, on account of the current during the freshes. 

" Another mode of effecting this object would be by turning the stream into the 
Damban-aar, which branches off from the left side of the river, about a thousand 
yards above Kooranjemoone, and unites with it again about five hundred yards 
above Goorookel-ganga, from which place to the mouth there is no fresh w 7 ater. 
This stream from its commencement, varies in breadth from forty to seventy 
yards, it then turns off at a right angle, and flows through a narrow rocky 
channel, twelve yards broad, and sixty long. The rocks consist only of sandstone, 
and therefore may be easily removed. Still further up, the stream runs without 
interruption, until it branches off from the river, above Kooranjemoone, and 
thus cuts oft' both the angle at the junction and the dry bed of the river between 
Kooranjemoone and Goorookel-ganga. Several insulated sand banks occur in the 
middle of the river in various parts, and alligators abound every where. 

568 CEYLON. [part IV. 

by the side of a long hill and after skirting extensive paddy plains 
falls into the river opposite to Pangragam. From being so long 

" From Kooranjemoone to threeniiles below Pereatory, a distance of twenty-seven 
miles, the river varies in breadth from ninety to one hundred and forty yards, and 
from four to seven feet in depth. It is. very winding, and was low when Mr. 
Brooke surveyed it. At Kooranjemoone, it rises during the freshes from ten to 
twelve feet, here from twelve to fifteen. In some places it overflows its banks 
three or four feet, but this inundation is short in duration, and in January and 
August. At the sudden turns of the river, sand is collected in banks three or 
four feet above low water, but covered at the rise, and must be removed to 
admit boats. Were the impediments removed at Kooranjemoone, the force of 
the steam would perhaps gradually destroy these banks. Besides this impedi- 
ment, there is another, rendering the navigation difficult and dangerous, viz., 
dead trees, which have hung for many years in the river, attached by their roots 
to the bank. Perhaps this is one cause which prevents the sand from drifting 
down. In the wider parts of the river, the stream runs two miles an hour. 

" At Pereatory, the river suddenly becomes broad and shallow, and separates 
into two branches ; the right is called the Peerear-ganga ; the left, the Chena- 
ganga. The latter is from ninety to 110 yards broad. It unites with the 
Adamban-aar, and its bed is dry, consisting of deep sand. It would be possible 
to turn the river into this channel, as, at its separation, it is very shallow. A little 
below Pereatory, the natives have thrown a dam obliquely across the river, in 
order to turn the stream into a large canal. 

" The Ambanganga joins the Mahavelle five miles above Pereatory. At Kalinga, 
twenty-fonr miles above Pereatory, the river varies in breadth from 250 to 500 
yards, and in some places is not more than one foot deep. The banks are in 
good order, but are overflowed during the freshes, which is attributable to the 
insufficiency of the Virgal as an outlet. The plains on each side of the Amban- 
ganga are very extensive, and are irrigated by means of water courses, supplied 
by the superabundant water of the river, which overflows its banks. 

" At Kalinga the river for about a mile is exceedingly rocky ; reefs of rocks in 
some places running from bank to bank, forming waterfalls over which the stream 
runs impetuously. Some of these falls are twelve feet in the mile. Above Kalinga, 
it continues more or less rocky, the reefs running across and causing falls of 
about two feet. The rocks extend fourteen miles, and are generally from one to 
two and three feet above the water when low, but are covered at the rise, and have 
a deep channel running between them. The breadth of*he river here varies from 
150 to 200 yards. The banks are high, but there are numerous gaps cut through 
them in order to allow the water a passage into the numerous rivulets and canals, 
which extend a considerable distance into the interior. Higher up is the bed of a 
large river, which enters the Mahavelle on the right side. Its bed is from fifty 
to sixty yards wide. It rises probably south-west of Batecalo. 

" At Kindegodde, eighteen miles from the termination of the rocks above Kalinga, 
the river varies from 180 to 250 yards in breadth, sometimes extending into reaches 
or bays. The water here is shallow, and trees overhang the river so low, as to 
prevent the passage of a boat. The banks are good and high, and not overflowed. 
The rise of the water during the freshes is from twenty to twenty- five feet. At 
Bintenne five and a half miles further, the river is from 110 to 200 yards broad, 
and for the first three miles is very rocky. At Pangragam on the right side of the 
river above Bintenne, it is rocky, and in some places there are waterfalls of three 
to four feet high. 

" At Rattambe the Ooma-oya unites with the Mahavelle, and both fall into a 
natural basin formed in some perpendicular rocks which rise forty feet above the 
surface of the water. Besides the principal fall, which is sixteen feet high, there 
are several smaller falls ten or twelve feet high. The rocks forming the basin are 
four or five feet under water, so that the rise here is about fifty-four feet. Half a mile 
above Rattambe is the Bombee-oya, which enters the Mahavelle on the left side. 


neglected, it is now of little use, and scarcely exceeds nine feet in 
width and one in depth, with a slow current. 

The district of Welasse is bounded on the north* by Bintenne, east 
by Maha Veddah Ratte, west by the district of Wiyaloowa, in the 
Central province, and south by Upper and Lower Ouva. It is com- 
paratively low ground, almost plain, bounded by hills, with a mix- 
ture of open tracts and jungles, infested by elephants, wild hogs, 
and deer. In consequence of the droughts to which it is subject, 
the climate is very unwholesome, and at a certain season of the year, 
commencing in June, and ending in October, during which the wind 
is generally N.W., endemic fever prevails, which sometimes carries 
off large numbers of people. The inhabitants, who are chiefly Moor- 
men, and very industrious, raise two crops of paddy, and two of fine 
grain in a year, but the cultivation though on the increase, is com- 
paratively small. The pasturage of the district is however very abun- 
dant, and the people who have considerable herds of cattle and flocks 
of goats, are in easy circumstances. Kotabowa, the principal village 
is inhabited by Moormen, and was formerly the chief military station 
of the district. The post was surrounded by a low breast work 
with a ditch inside : about a mile from the village is a steep rocky 
hill, which affords a fine view of the surrounding country. From it 
Namina Kooli Kandi and the Hoonisgiri range in Doombera, are very 
conspicuous. Very many hills in the direction of Batecalo are also seen. 

From Kottabowa to Battagammana in the Maha Veddah Ratte 
is about twenty miles, the intervening country has a rather agreeable 
appearance, consisting of open grass plains, and extensive paddy 
fields, interspersed with jungle. 

The superficies of the Eastern province, is ^4,895 miles, and the 
total population which was 73,303 in 1843, may be estimated at the 
current rate of increase at 80,850. 

The Southern province is bounded on the south by the sea ; on the 
west and north-west by the Western province ; on the north-east by 
tin' Eastern province ; on the north by the Central province, from 
which it is divided by a triangular line, extending a little to the 
north-east of Badulla, and from thence, in a southerly direction 
towards Pedrotallagalla and Nuwera Elliya, whence it proceeds in a 

" Were then the obstructions at Kooranjemoone and Goorookel removed, the 
impediments in other parts of the river, consisting principally of sand, would be 
cleared by the mere increase of the current, and thus render the river capable of 
being navigated by the largest boats, at least as far as Kalinga, or eighty miles 
from the mouth, where it becomes rocky, and even then these rocky parts 
might be avoided by opening a stream which branches off from the left side of 
the river immediately above Kalinga, and enters it again about a mile and a 
half below. But even the rocky parts of the river may be rendered navigable, 
as they are of so soft a nature, as to be easily broken by a sledge hammer, or 
blasted. Should this ever be deemed advisable, it would be necessary to clear 
only one side of the river to the breadth of forty yards; a tracking path should 
also be cleared mi the bank. The expense and difficulty would not be great. 
But in order to form a correct idea as to the practicability of rendering the river 
able throughout the year, an intelligent person should reside at some 
convenient spot, where he would be enabled to examine it at various periods." 

570 CEYLON. [part IV. 

northerly direction at some distance to the north of Adam's Peak, 
and terminates on the confines of Lower Bulatgamme. 

Ouva or Uwa, \*hich is divided into the two districts of Upper and 
Lower Ouva, 1 which are known to the natives as Oudakinda, the 
upper; Meddakinda, the middle; and Yattikinda, the lower divisions, 
and subdivided into many korles or pattoos, is one of the most im- 
portant and valuable portions of the Southern province. Upper Ouva 
forms a part of the mountain zone ; Lower Ouva, the hilly region, 
extending towards the Mahagampattoo ; and they are separated from 
Saffragam by the Goorakondera-oya. United, they include an area 
of 4114 square miles, and a population of more than 30,000. 

The natural features of Upper Ouva, are varied and magnificent, 
— now covered with vast forests, — now displaying the sublimest moun- 
tain scenery, — now wide extending plains. Those of Lower Ouva are 
widely different, and though equally remarkable for its forests, it is 
diversified with flat and undulating country. The climate of Upper 
Ouva is very salubrious, well adapted to the European constitution, 
and the soil is so well fitted for agricultural purposes, that wheat 
could be raised in any quantity with little difficulty, and it produces 
some of the finest coffee in the island. It is remarkable also for its 
large breed of cattle, which, according to Knox, "when carried to 
other parts of the island, would commonly die, and the reason thereof 
no man could tell." This mortality, doubtless, arose from the 
difference of pasture, that of Ouva being peculiarly rich for the greater 
part of the year. The district is capable of supporting an almost inde- 
finite number of cattle, and the only precaution that would be required, 
is the provision of fodder for the short seasons, when its surface is 
exposed to the parching influence of a tropical sun and bleak winds. 

Badulla is the principal station in Upper Ouva, and the seat of 
the assistant Government agent, district judge, and the head-quarters 
of the officer in command of the district. It is situate on a gently 
rising ground, 2107 feet above the level of the sea, in an extensive 
and beautiful valley, terminated by an amphitheatre of lofty moun- 
tains, and watered by the Badulla-oya, which almost encircles it. 
The fort, which has but slight pretensions to size or strength, and 
formerly contained within it the royal palace, is built in the form of 
a star, and has an extensive cantonment attached to it. There is 
here a temple dedicated to Kattragamma Deio, and a Buddhist wihare, 
with a dagobah attached to it, which were built by Makalan-Detoo- 
tissa in the third century. This dagobah is from forty to fifty feet 
high, and rises within a double enclosure, skilfully constructed of 
brick. Nothing reposes on the foundation below, except this great 
cirevdar dome, which is as smooth as the globe of some huge lamp. 
Everything is grey with age, yet in the coating of plaster that covers 

1 Upper Ouva has one striking geographical peculiarity in its undulating sur- 
face of hills and valleys, rounded and smoothed as equably as if. instead of primitive 
rock, they consisted of chalk or clay. This is accounted for by Dr. Davy, from the 
similarity in quality of the rock, and its undergoing rapid decomposition and 
disintegration from the action of air and water. 


the whole, traces of figures of volutes and arabesque devices are here 
and there discernible. The summit appears to have been of old com- 
pletely gilded, and the base elegantly and finely fluted, but there is 
not a window or door, except underground, to this mysterious edifice. 

Badulla is a tolerably large and very neat village, consisting of two 
broad streets which cross" each other, and seem to stand in the midst 
of a pleasant garden. The houses are chiefly of one story, built of 
bamboo, and covered with the leaves of the cocoa-nut tree. Each 
house has in general but three walls, the fourth side being open, and 
serving at once for door, window, and shop. At the extremity of 
one of the streets, a most enchanting landscape opens upon the view ; 
of which the lofty mountain of Namina Kooli Kandi in the back- 
ground, a glorious forest of tall cocoa-nut and jack-fruit trees, areka 
and palmyra palms, the underwood beneath the thick shade of their 
thick bowering foliage, consisting of various blossoming shrubs with 
lovely flowers breathing a celestial perfume, are the leading features. 
On the road outside the village, appears here and there a small 
cottage between the trees, in which the beautiful and fragrant yellow 
fruit of the banana may be seen offered for sale ; and goats, not 
unlike fawns in their appearance, running about on every side amid 
groups of young children. 

Badulla was once the seat of a principality, and under the trium- 
virate, which ensued after the death of Senerat, Koomara Singha 
Hastana made it his residence. In the time of Knox, it was con- 
sidered one of the chief cities of the island, but its palace was then 
already in ruins ; the Portuguese in their incursions having surprised 
and burnt it. 

The fertile valley of Badulla, intersected by numerous artificial 
canals from the mountain streams, is formed into rice fields, with the 
exception of a few elevated spots, which tufted with cocoa-nut trees, 
look like islands of palms in a sea of verdure ; the largest of these is 
occupied by the fort and village. 

Namina-cooli Kandi is one of the highest mountains in Ceylon, 
being 4000 feet above the plain, and 6/00 feet above the sea, and is 
remarkable for its massive grandeur. The track, which at first is 
through a gentle ascent, about three miles from Badulla, is covered 
with guavo-jungle, and infested with leeches, but it soon runs over 
very irregular and steep ground, which would have been inaccessible, 
had it been bare. Still higher, the side of the mountain is without 
wood, and covered with lemon-grass, and higher still, the ascent lies 
over immense masses of bare rock ; above this rocky region to its 
very summit, the mountain is covered with thick wood, through 
which the way is bewildering, from the many tracks of wild animals. 
The top is almost table land, gently sloping on every side, and many 
acres in extent : it is without rock, its surface and soil consisting 
almost entirely of friable, and as it were, disintegrating quartz, and 
quarts; gravel in some places, discoloured by black mould, in] others 
as white as snow, with pieces of ironstone here and there intermixed. 


The vegetation is peculiar, and very different from that in the forest 
helow : it heing composed of low trees and bushes, which grow in 
clumps, separated from each other by little open spaces, either of 
white gravel or of dark soil, covered with mosses and lichens. The 
plants, though apparently dwarfish and stunted, as if they had 
struggled for life with the elements, look fresh and healthy. By 
climbing a rhododendron, here in abundance, a fine prospect of the 
surrounding country may generally be obtained. The valley of 
Badulla, in miniature, appears at a great depth below like a circular 
basin, formed by the expansion of several valleys at their place of 
junction, and flanked by a double row of hills of very unequal heights. 

On the occurrence of a long drought, the Kappurales of the Kattra- 
gamma temple, ascend the mountain, and with a leaf of a particular 
kind, throw water, to the sound of tom-toms, from the deepest pit 
into the air, and scatter it over the people as an offering to their God. 
They then descend, confident of having a fall of rain before they are 
half-way down, and every native has a thorough conviction of the 
infallibility of the ceremony in producing the effect. This is but 
another instance of the credulity of the natives, into whose mind it 
never seems to enter that the priests never ascend the mountain till 
they have clear signs of an approaching change of weather. The 
thermometer in the middle of the day ranges from 65° to 73° on the 
summit of Namina Kooli Kandi. 

The country surrounding Badulla, gives proofs of having been 
once densely peopled, and the state of desolation which it wore for 
some years after the arrival of the British, was the result of the never- 
ending warfare in which it had involuntarily participated. It now 
bids fair to regain its former standard of fertility. 

It is connected by roads with Batecalo, Hambantotte (98 miles), 
and Colombo (138 miles), Galle, &c. &c. and by three different routes 
with Kandy, from which it is 5 1 miles distant by the Walapanne route, 
and 59 miles by the banks of the Mahavelle-ganga. The country be- 
tween Badulla and Kandy is intersected by eight rivers, besides minor 
streams, and the direct route lies through Taldenia 9f miles ; Vella- 
oya, 9 miles ; Ooma-oya, 6 J miles ; Kooroondu-oya, 5f miles ; Bella- 
hool-oya, 4f miles ; Gonegamma, 3| miles ; Maha-oya, 3| miles ; 
Harrackgamme-oya, 2 miles ; Koondasala ferry, 5 £ miles ; Kandy, 
3f miles, the whole road is good, and gradually descending from the 
mountainous to the hilly. 

The path between Badulla and Gampaha, a small district, forming 
part of the romantic valley of the Ooma-oya, lies up an abrupt 
ascent, and then passes along the sides of the Narangalla mountain, 
from thence there is a magnificent view over the whole valley of 
Badulla, which appears, except at one narrow outlet, entirely sur- 
rounded by hills ; it then descends for several miles, crosses by a 
ford the rapid stream of the Ooma-oya, near Toopittia, and traverses 
an open grazing country. 

The road from Badulla through Upper Ouva, is carried over steep 


hills, and leads past the military post of Himbleatawelle, situated on 
the summit of a bleak hill, 4000 feet above the level of the sea. This 
post is particularly useful for the purposes of communication, most 
of the other posts of Ouva, during the rebellion, were visible from it. 
The view from this station is very extensive ; the nearest features 
of the scenery being the innumerable green hills of Ouva, with here 
and there a copse m the sheltered recesses, extensive plains dotted 
with stunted trees, the bottom of steep and very narrow valleys 
terraced into rice grounds, and, except in the direction of Veddah- 
ratte, and Bintenne, over which the eye may wander until the outline 
of objects fades into distance, the scene has a continued boundary 
of mountains, including those of Doombera on the north. The 
extent of pasture land in Ouva is very great, and the number of 
cattle grazing on it, still unproportioned to the extent, though bleak 
^iiids and a scorching sun will wither the herbage in the dry season, 
and render the pasture scarce. Towards the autumn, Upper Ouva, 
and indeed, the whole of the mountain zone in its vicinity, frequently 
present a miserable aspect ; the season preceding has been, perhaps, 
dry, the winds have done their work, and the natives have set fire 
to the dry grass to improve the pasture, or to the upland jungle for 
the purpose of cultivating grains that do not require irrigation. 

Between Himbleatawelle and Fort M 'Donald the course of the 
Ooma-oya is continued through the valley of Parncgamme : the 
stream has the same impetuous character, and its banks retain the 
same wild and rugged scenery as in the downward course through 

The rocks of Hakgalla, and the pleasure grounds of Rawana have 
been described in another place ; it is a region varying from five to 
seven thousand feet above the level of the sea. After passing through 
a swampy jungle, and turning round the northern eftd of Hakgalla 
mountain, an open valley, fringed* with barberry bushes, and diversified 
by groups and single trees of the superb rhododendron arboreum 
succeeds : the dell is surrounded by hoary forests, whose rich but 
sombre colouring is unable to remove that sullen gloom which shade 
and indescribable stillness throws over the scene between Hakgalla 
and the massive Pedro. This is the Seeta Talawa elsewhere 

The most elevated table land in Ceylon are the open plains 
extending between the Totapela range and the mountains which 
overhang Sanragam. This region was called Horton Plains, in 
compliment to Sir Wilmot Horton, then Governor of Ceylon, by 
the two European officers who first penetrated into this tract of 
country. For the first seven miles, the path lies through a close 
forest of low sized trees, with thick set gnarled branches, the whole 
space between their stems being occupied by the ugly and unvarying 
nelu plant : the next six miles of the route is over an open undu- 
lating country, with a soil like peat moss, and covered with coarse 
grass, through which numerous small streams, which are the sources 

5/4 CEYLON. [part IV. 

of the Mahavelle-ganga, traverse. A damp hoary forest, so densely 
shaded by the overhanging foliage that the few rays of light which 
penetrate through the moss clad branches, appear unnaturally bright, 
and seem to descend with an intensity, that falling upon the yellow 
leaf of the broad fern, produce a gleam so brilliant as to contrast 
yet more strongly with the gloomy jungle around. After a steep 
ascent of two miles, the wood is passed, and the'IIorton Plains are 
reached. These extend for eight or ten miles, have a perimeter of 
about twenty-five miles, and are covered with coarse yellow grass, 
except in those places where the bright green of dwarf bamboos 
shew the course of the rills winding through the open space, which 
appears radiant with light, as contrasted with the sombre woods that 
encompass the plain or the dark thickets which are scattered on 
its surface, and extend through its valleys. 

The mountains of Lunugalla and Suduhugalla, 7800 feet above the 
level of the sea, rise from this table land, and serve to relieve the 
monotony of a forest bound horizon. This tract is seldom visited 
by the natives on hunting excursions, and is known to them as the 
Maha-ellia, (the great common or clear space) a portion of it is called 
the Wilman-talawa, and the inhabitants of the adjoining country are 
a race of mountaineers, whose hardy habits and capabilities of 
enduring intense cold, distinguish, and in some degree, separate 
them from their fellow countrymen of the other parts of the island. 

"In these vast jungle solitudes," says Forbes, "on every twig, 
round every tree, the stilly . damp of ages has twined a mossy 
verdure : from its slender filament on the young shoots, slight 
texture on the smaller branches, and heavy folds enveloping the 
parent stem of forest patriarchs, we learn how time, undisturbed by 
tempest, has woven the solemn drapery of this silent region, where 
the very shadows of the clouds seem to steal after each other 
slowly, silently, one could almost fancy at measured distances. The 
mouldering rocks, moss-clad forests, and solitary plains, offer so few 
signs of animated nature, that the notes of a small bird seem a 
relief from universal stillness, and the occasional rise of snipe become 
absolutely startling." On tie green banks of a rill on the slope of 
the Totapela mountain, that officer discovered an echo " which 
hurried forth from every copse and winding glade in' these, the 
farthest bounds of Rawana's forest labyrinth." As evening ap- 
proaches, the mists creep up the glen, then expand over the forests, 
till darkness closes the day of universal stillness in this domain of 
primeval nature. Solitude is insufficient to convey an idea of the 
feeling of loneliness inspired by this place. In one part of the 
Horton Plains run the several streams that form the Bilhool-oya, 
which, in a later part of its course through Saffragam, and along 
the flats of the Tangalle district, receives the name of the Walawe 
river, and after a course of sixty miles, reaches, although it does not 
run into the sea, at the south of the island, its mouth being com- 
pletely stopped up by a sand-bank, through which its waters per- 
colate to the sea. The farthest source of the Mahavelle ganga is 


supposed to rise here, and flows due north ; hence it has a course 
of about 200 miles, the last eighty of which might be rendered 
navigable for boats at no very great expense. 

In proceeding to Gallegamma at the edge of the elevated country, 
the fust part of the route lies through the plain along which the 
Bilhool-oya holds its course, occasionally enlivened by little sparkling 
rills, which leap from rocky banks and gloomy copse into its smiling 
current. The outlet of the stream from this valley, 7000 feet above 
the level of the sea, is by a chasm from which it plunges for 5000 
iVi t through tangled brakes and murky jungles, which cover the 
mountain walls of Rawaiia's garden. In descending towards Galle- 
gamma, the stream is again perceived, after its furious descent, 
emerging from a caverned glen, whence it hurries through various 
rocky channels, till its diverted waters are made to glide peacefully 
in many a miniature canal through the levelled terraces and bright 
green paddy fields of Gallegamma. 

The views on descending from the plains are magnificent, par- 
ticularly at one spot, from which the eye is directed between two 
ranges of projecting mountains to rest on the lower hills of 
Safiragam, the dreary forest flats of the Mahagampattoo, the 
distant hills of Kattragamme, and the white salt-encrusted lakes, 
which are conspicuous at a distance of forty miles, and serve to 
separate the misty outline of the coast from the clearer blue of the 
ocean. The horizon here appears on a line with mountains 6000 
feet in height, clouds roll in the valley below, others float high in 
air, some rest on the mountains, and a long chain of vapour appears 
to hang supended across the lowlands, which are darkened by its 
shadow, the whole forming a beautiful commingled scene of earth, 
air, aud ocean, displaced from the relative position in which those 
elements are accustomed to be viewed. The opposite bleak range 
of H alalia exhibits the white skeleton tracery of gigantic trees 
gleaming on its huge dark mass : this appearance is produced by 
rills and streamlets rushing down and uniting in channels graved by 
the slow unceasing hand of time, and suddenly filled by lines of 
sparkling foam. The clefts and watercourses of Hagalla are 
assigned by tradition to thetime of Rawana, and are said to be the 
furrows of Kama's arrows ; the mountain itself, in the same spirit of 
fiction, is believed to be the transformed body of one of his great 
adversaries, the ancient inhabitants of Lanka, the enemies of 
the gods. 

The descent into Safiragam is by the decaying, but not ancient 
temples of Alut Nuwara, whence Balangodde, 1800 feet above the 
level of the sea, on the other side of the Wallawe, is arrived at. 

To reach the table land of Upper Ouva from Balangodde, the 
Walhwe'-ganga, about one mile and a quarter distant, is crossed 
on bamboo rafts, or a platform 'raised upon a couple of small 
canoes, or in the dry season it may be forded : the route lies through 
the abandoned military pos( of Alut Nuwara (the new city) to the 


ancient dewale of that name (distant about eight miles from Balan- 
godde), where there is also a small wihare and dagobah, the 
former of which affords a comfortable halting-place ; the country 
around, though beautiful and romantic in appearance, is well 
watered, and somewhat neglected in point of cultivation. Crossing 
the Idalgashina mountain at the pass, Upper Ouva is entered'. This 
pass is about 4400 feet above the level of the sea, and the summit of 
the mountain about 400 feet higher. Tbere is sufficient grass for an 
almost indefinite number of cattle, where the wild buffalo ranges un- 
disturbed, and the country is but thinly populated. In this beautiful 
and magnificent country, diversified with hills, undulating and 
champaign lands, watered by numerous perennial mountain streams, 
which gradually increase in size and depth from tributary waters in 
their meanderings towards the sea, the European settler may choose 
his own soil and climate. 

The country between Alut Nuwara, and Kalupahane, at the base 
of the Idalgashina mountain a distance of fourteen miles and a 
half, affords proof of the ample means of irrigation possessed by 
this part of the island ; and though the population is sparse, paddy 
is extensively cultivated near the former place. The water necessary 
to supply the growing crops is conveyed with great skill and economy 
over the terraced sides of hills, and through valleys beneath, chiefly 
from the Bellahool and Halgaran oyas, the latter descending in 
cataracts amidst the grandeur of Alpine scenery. 

Kalupahane was formerly a military post, which was abandoned 
soon after the termination of the rebellion in 1818; but many of 
the inhabitants, who then deserted it, have since returned, and culti- 
vate crops of paddy between the well-wooded and grass-covered 
hills, with which the neighbourhood of the village, about 2350 feet 
below the top of the Idalgashina pass, is studded ; and the mountain 
itself is covered, from its base to about midway, where the woody 
region commences, with verdure throughout the year. 

About two miles and a half beyond the summit of the pass, by a 
gradual descent of several hundred feet, stands the village of 
Welangahena, formerly a military station, overlooking a very deep 
valley or ravine, with steep grass-covered sides, and presenting a 
splendid and extensive panorama. Park-like grounds, interspersed 
with hills and valleys, covered with verdure, and surrounded by the 
immense mountain of Pedrotallagalla, 8280 feet above the level of 
the sea on the north-west, the Idalgashina pass on the south-west, 
Apotella pass on the south, the Bamberagam pass on the east, and 
the high lands above Himbliatawelle and Passera on the north-east, 
the whole range possessing a delightfully cool and healthy climate, 
and presenting a natural amphitheatre in the distance of from fifteen 
to thirty miles, in all the varied colours of the most beautiful land- 
scape, and in the immediate foreground clumps of flowering jungle, 
present altogether a scene not to be surpassed in any other country of 
the world. 


Retracing our course to Nuwera Elliya, let us glance at the 
districts intervening between it and Badulla, through which a 
road, the only one by which this fine province is traversed, has been 
opened. One of the range of plains that extend among the hills between 
Nuwera Elliya and Adam's Peak on the west, is called Gaura-ellia, in 
■consequence of the capture of a large and fierce animal, called the 
gaura, about fifty years ago. The centre of Ouva is about forty miles 
distant towards the south-east, and though perhaps less fortunate in 
its geographical position than the Saffragam district, is not inferior 
in natural advantages or scenery to any other in the island- At the 
point where the road begins to descend from the plains of Maturatta 
to the comparatively low district of Ouva, an extensive and beautiful 
view of that district is commanded. 

After entering within the limits of Ouva, the road soon degenerates 
into a narrow and occasionally dangerous pathway, now skirting the 
faces of precipitous cliffs, nGW waudering along the bottom of deep 
and gloomy ravines. Midway between Badulla and Nuwera Elliya, a 
wide and open tract of rich grass land, named Wilson Plains, in com- 
pliment to Lieut. -General Sir John Wilson, formerly commander of 
the forces in Ceylon, extends its smooth velvet carpet over a softly 
undulating country. In the centre of the plain stands a bungalow, 
built by a hunting club, which died a natural death, from the de- 
ficiency of objects whereon to exercise its skill and sportsmanship. 
After traversing the extensive Wilson Plains, on whose verge Ra- 
wana's canal dashes from the rocks of Balella Kanda, the Badulla 
road again plunges into a succession of cliffs and chasms ; but their 
character now becomes less stern, and gradually changes to the gently 
rounded features and level plains of a champaign country. 

The route to Alipoot from Welangahena lies through Hilloya and 
Passera, the first being a stage of twelve miles, and the last fifteen 
miles further. From Passera, once a small military post, and situate 
in a deep valley between the mountains of Namina-kooli-kandi and 
Luna-galla-kandi, the road to Alipoot, in Lower Ouva, is due east; 
and very rugged and hilly throughout the descent, which is nearly 
eight hundred feet in nine miles ; the country every where beautiful, 
and although scarcely a cocoa-nut tree is to be seen, numerous jack, 
shaddock, jaggery, and wild talipat trees serve to make up for the 
deficiency, and paddy is produced in a large quantity. The moun- 
tain of Lunagalla (Salt-rock), which is about 4800 feet above the 
level of the sea, is of a conical shape, and its summit is surrounded 
by a facade of quartz rock, which from below has a columnar appear- 
ance, and reminds one of basalt. Alipoot (Allupotta) is the residence 
of an Assistant Government Agent for the southern province, who 
has charge of the revenue of the district, and is also a District Judge 
of the eastern circuit of the Supreme Court. It is no longer the 
station of a military command. This place possesses by no me%ns 

2 p 


so cool a temperature as its position would lead one to expect, par- 
taking more of the climate of the plains than of the mountains, but 
it is remarkably healthy notwithstanding, and offers a strong contrast 
to the lower country of Welasse. About two miles from Alipoot 
there is a very steep descent, which was formerly fortified by a very 
strong kadavette, where a few resolute men could make a successful 
stand against an invading army. 

The route from Alipoot to Kattragamme is through Bootelle and 
Talawa, in Lower Ouva, a distance of forty miles. The first three 
or four miles is hilly and rugged, and covered with jungle. After 
this there is a little descent, and the remainder of the way is through 
a flat country, which is almost wholly covered with forest and unin- 
habited. At Bootelle there was formerly a military post occupied by 
Malays, and the surrounding country was formerly well cultivated, 
and is now pretty populous. Between Bootelle and Talawa is the 
Parapa-oya, a fine sweeping stream, with banks nobly wooded. 
Talawa is a beautiful part of this desert country. It is a plain of 
many miles in extent, covered with fine grass, and ornamented with 
clumps of trees, resembling the wildest part of an English park. 
The prospect from hence is delightful. The eye wanders over the 
rich plain to the long line of the blue mountains of Upper Ouva. 

Ten miles north of Kattragamme there is an immense mass of 
rock by the roadside, called Gallege by some, and Kimegalle by 
others. It derives the former name, signifying rock-house, from 
several capacious caverns in its side, which afford good shelter to the 
traveller, and the latter name, signifying water-rock, it has obtained 
from two deep cavities in its summit — natural reservoirs that are 
never without water, an element that is often extremely scarce in this 
desert, and hardly anywhere else to be found. 

Returning to Upper Ouva by the route of Weleway, the road leads 
through a very thick jungle by a narrow and difficult path to Yadal- 
gamme. This place is a wretched little temple village, on the bank 
of a branch of the Parapa-oya, and in the midst of an immense wil- 
derness of wood. The few inhabitants of the village have some 
cattle, and a little paddy ground adjoining. Their huts are fortified 
by an enclosure of strong pallisades against the attacks of wild ani- 
mals, which are here exceedingly numerous. Weleway is about twenty 
miles distant, through a country, consisting partly of thick jungle 
and partly of open grass plains like those of Talawa, with which they 
most likely communicate. They commence close to Yadalgamme, 
and extend about five miles to the north-west. Their resemblance 
to a park is strengthened by the abundance of deer. Between 
Yadalgamme and Weleway two streams are crossed, one very small, 
about half way, and the other of considerable size, the Kirinde-oya, 
about two miles from the latter place. At a spot called Undagalla- 
walia, the former stream forms a deep pool, on the banks of which 
are some remains of masonry, which are supposed by the natives to 


have formerly belonged to a tank, by means of which a considerable 
part of the Mahagamapattoo was formerly watered and fertilised. 
Some circumstances, such as the level of the ground above the sea, 
would seem to warrant the supposition ; but when fully considered, 
the unfavourable nature of the ground for the formation of a tank — 
on one side, indeed, a huge rock or hill rises out of the plain to the 
height of 200 or 300 feet above its surface, but on the other there is 
no corresponding elevation for many miles — will satisfy the inquirer, 
that the tradition of the former existence of a tank is either false or 
exaggerated. The few cut stones now left are so neatly wrought, 
that it is more likely they belonged to a temple or palace than an 
embankment, particularly as there is the figure of the moon on 
a fragment of one stone, and that of the sun on another. From the 
top of the rocky hill adverted to, the prospect is extensive. With 
the exception of two or three similar rocks in the vicinity, and a few 
distant and gentle elevations of ground, the whole country to the 
southward and to the eastward and westward of that point, is a dead 
flat, covered with a wilderness of jungle. In the opposite direction 
hills and mountains make their appearance, but they are frequently 

Weleway is a little plain, about a mile in circumference, on the 
confines of the level country, and excepting to the southward, every 
way bounded by hills. It possesses great natural beauty, but has 
only lately resumed its former state of cultivation. This part of 
the southern province presents a striking analogy to the country 
i>et\veen Nalande and Trincomalee ; both are low and nearly flat ; 
both overgrown with wood, and nearly uninhabited ; both extremely 
unwholesome ; while both exhibit strong and indubitable marks of 
change, and of ancient cultivation and population. 

From Weleway to Boolatwellegodde, in the district of Gampaha, 
distant about six miles, the road traverses a hilly, but not difficult 
country, presenting a striking contrast with the monotonous jungle 
behind. This country was sadly laid waste during the rebellion : the 
villages were deserted, and the fields suffered to become a desert. 
Half way between Weleway and Boolatwellegodde, is a nitre cave, 
situate in a thick jungle, in the side of a hill of difficult discovery and 
access. Its mouth is comparatively small, hardly twelve feet wide, 
and where highest, hardly high enough for a man to stand erect. 
The entrance is irregularly arched, and has the appearance of having 
been cut through the solid rock by which it is surrounded and over- 
hung. Looking down into the cave, nothing can be more gloomy 
and dismal ; the eye can penetrate but a very little way into its dark 
recesses, from which a loathsome smell issues, and a dull confused 
noise like that of a subterraneous torrent. After a descent through 
a steep, narrow and slippery passage about thirty feet, a cave of va t 
size is reached, of such an irregular form, that it is impossible to 
retain any accurate notion of it. The rugged bottom, which descend.- 

2 p 2 


about fifty feet, is covered with fragments of decomposing rock and a 
thick stratum of black earth. The roof in general is too high to be 
visible. The walls consist either of dolomite rock or of granitic 
varieties, most of them in a state of decomposition, particularly those 
containing a portion of calc-spar. The natives maintain that this 
cave is two miles long, but this is doubtless greatly exaggerated. 
Like the nitre cave in Doombera, its excavation is perhaps more 
artificial than natural. It has been worked for many years by the 
natives, a party of whom come annually from the neighbourhood of 
Passera for the purpose. 

The distance to Kirriwannagamme is six miles, through an extremely 
hilly and rugged country. At this village is a small wihare, finely 
situated on a little rocky platform on the side of a steep hill, over- 
looking a considerable extent of paddy ground below, and several 

Crossing the mountain ridge of Upper Ouva by the Apotella pass, 
Welangahena is reached. The distance over the mountain is only 
about eight miles, and the ascent though steep is not difficult ; the 
height is certainly less than the Idalgashina. The prospect of Upper 
Ouva from the top of the hill here, which is one of the highest 
within the mountain wall, is still more impressive than from the 
summit of the Idalgashina. On looking round the country, it has 
the appearance of a magnificent amphitheatre sixty or eighty miles 
in circumference, formed of a succession of steep, smooth green 
conical hills and of deep narrow glens, remarkably free from wood, 
enclosed on every side by mountains varying in perpendicular height 
from four to six thousand feet. 

The distance of Fort M 'Donald, in the village of Parnagamme, 
from Welangahena is about seventeen miles. All the way the country 
is hilly, but not of the same character. The hills the first part of 
the way, though rounded, are exceedingly steep and abrupt ; those 
which succeed them are less bold and lofty, of greater sweep, and 
rather undulating than of the abrupt conical form ; while the hills 
the latter part of the way are more irregular than either, and bolder 
than the intermediate, though less so than the first. About half way 
is Dambawinne, where the fields are neatly cultivated, and covered 
with green paddy. 

Fort M'Donald, so called from an officer of that name, who dis- 
tinguished himself by his decision and humanity during the rebellion 
in 1817-18, and on a hill near the fort made a remarkable stand 
against the whole force of the country under Kappitapola, is about 
3000 feet above the level of the sea. It is situated on a low hill in 
the fertile and extensive valley of Parnagamme, at the foot of the 
barrier mountains of Upper Ouva, and immediately under the pass 
of the lofty Dodanatukapella mountain. Thus situated, its scenery 
is of the most exquisite kind, displaying most happily blended the 
grand and beautiful, while the appearance of cultivation and popula- 


tion in the surrounding country gives effect to the picture. The 
Dodanatukapella being ascended, the route proceeds over the moun- 
tains to Maturatta, sixteen miles distant. The ascent of the pass 
commences immediately on quitting Fort M 'Donald, and continues 
with very little interruption very steep up to its summit, about two 
miles distant, where tbere are the remains of a kadavette a£ the en- 
trance of a forest. This is at the height of between five and six 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. The views presenting 
themselves from different points of the ascent of this lofty green 
mountain, thus far almost entirely free from jungle, are various and 
magnificent, particularly of Upper Ouva, almost the whole of which 
is visible ; and in the direction of Wiyaloowa, the summit of whose 
mountains, rising above a stratum of silver vapour, have a very sin- 
gular and beautiful effect. Beyond the kadavette, for at least ten 
miles, there is a constant succession of ascents and descents, the 
general level of the road rather increasing than diminishing in alti- 
tude. The greatest elevation it attains is about seven miles from 
Fort M'Donald. 

Resuming our route along the coast. After crossing the ferry at 
the Kumukan or Koombookan-aar, the traveller enters the southern 
province at the Mahagama-pattoo, now included in the district of 
Tangalle. This tract of country is about fifty-five miles long, and 
from eleven to nineteen broad. It contains about a hundred villages, 
but so thin is the population, that it scarcely exceeds 5,000 souls. 
The face of the country, which now for the most part exhibits nothing 
but an inhospitable desert of jungle, and low, sandy, waterless plains, 
was once well irrigated, and very productive. At present its chief 
produce is the salt obtained from the leways, the monopoly of which 
produces a considerable annual revenue. 

The Great Basses (Baxas), called Ramanpaaya by the Hindoos, 
are a ledge of rocks off the south-east coast, nearly a mile in extent, 
and about three leagues from the shore, elevated a few feet above 
water, and the sea breaks very high on them in bad weather. Accord- 
ing to the natives, a pagoda formerly stood on them, and they are 
thought by some to have originally formed part of the main, where 
various legends of sunken cities in this locality prevail. There is a 
safe channel between the Basses and the shore, but it can only be 
navigated with caution, and by daylight, as the currents are frequently 
very strong and capricious in their direction. The Little Basses, 
distant from the former seven leagues E.N.E. is scarcely above water, 
and is therefore dangerous to approach. 

The first stage from Koombookan is to Potane 7§ miles, where 
there is a large rock with a reservoir of water on it ; from thence 
through low jungle fille'd with every description of game known to 
the island, the traveller comes to Yalle rest-house, ten miles, which 
lies upon the left bank of the Manik-ganga or Parapa-oya, a river 


which, formed by the union of two small mountain streams near Ali- 
poot, runs towards Bootelle in a south-easterly direction, and from 
thence taking a south-westerly course, passes by Kattragamme, and 
once more changing its course to the east, enters the sea near Elephant 
llock. The water of this stream, which, for the greater part of the 
year is &§ translucid as crystal, and as sweet and wholesome as if it 
had been filtered, becomes turbid during the rains from the mass of 
deciduous foliage borne down by the stream from the mountains^ of 
Ouva, and the accumulations from its well-wooded banks. If the 
traveller be anxious to visit Kattragamme dewale, instead of crossing 
the Manik-ganga, native guides and a tom-tom beater to drive away 
the chetahs and bears should be procured at Yalle, to accompany him 
through the jungle. 

Kattragam (Kaddirkamam) is famous for a number of temples 
erected to every deity in the Hindoo calendar, and has also a Buddhist 
wihare and dagobah, but the principal temple for which it is celebrated 
is dedicated to Skanda, the god of war, who, according to a tradition, 
halted on the summit of a hill in the neighbourhood, on his return 
from Mahendrapuri, after destroying the Asuras, who oppressed 
the gods. This temple, which, from its reputation and the unhealthy 
desert through which its votaries have to pass to it, one would have 
expected to find in the highest degree magnificent, is on the contrary 
a plain building, divided into two apartments, of which the inner, 
into which an entrance is forbidden to all but the privileged or 
sacred few, contains the image of the god, and the walls are orna- 
mented with figures of different gods and heroes, richly executed ; 
while the inside of the roof is covered with painted cloths, and the 
entrance to the inner apartment concealed in like manner. On the 
left of the door there is a small foot-bath and bason, in which the 
officiating priest washes his feet and hands before he enters the 
sanctum.' So great is the veneration in which the shrine of this deity 
is held, that pilgrims from every part of India resort to worship it, 
frequently bringing with them pots of water from the Ganges at 
Benares, slung on cross-bamboos, and even the Mahommedans 
reverence the place under the belief that it was the favourite resort 

1 The Karandua of Eiswara stands on a platform in one of the rooms ; it is 
somewhat in the shape of a common oven, and contains a little image of the god, 
and a diminutive pair of slippers. The Kalina-madima, another relic, is greatly 
respected, and is the chief curiosity in Kattragamme ; it is a large seat made 
of clay, raised on a platform, with high sides and a back like an easy chair without 
legs ; it is covered with leopards' skins, and contains several instruments used in 
the performance of the temple rites, and a large fire burns by the side of it. The 
room, in the centre of which it is erected, is the abode of the resident Brahmin. 
The Kalina-madima is said to have belonged to Kalana-nata, the first priest of 
the temple, who, from his great piety, passed to heaven without experiencing 
death, and left the seat as a sacred inheritance to his successors in the priestly 
office, who have used it instead of a dying bed. 


of Kheder Nabi, whom they supposed to have rendered himself im- 
mortal by drinking of " the water of life," which he discovered in 
the neighbourhood. 

During the rebellion of 1 8 1 7-8, access to this temple was completely 
closed by the Government, in consequence of the treasonable practices of 
the priests, and the pilgrims resorting hither under the denomination 
of Fakeers, Pandarams, and Jogis, were placed under great restrictions 
for the time, but they were subsequently relaxed, and a passport only 
was required. 

The temple is placed under the superintendence of a Basnayaka 
Nilame, and the revenue arising from the offerings is shared among 
the priests who officiate in the sanctuary. In the adjoining country 
there are a few small villages, whose inhabitants are bound to pay a part 
of the produce of their fields for the lands they hold under this temple. 

A grand festival is held in July, and continues for several days, 
and, according to a long established custom, Moormen are obliged to 
bear torches before the image, when carried in procession. The 
number of pilgrims is now fast diminishing, and the buildings are 
fast on the decay. Ere long they will be perhaps level with the 
ground, and the traveller be unable to trace their site. 

Skanda has several names in Sanscrit, but he is here commonly 
styled Kadirama, or the " lord of the rays," from an assemblage 
of which, emitted from the «eyes of Siva for the destruction of 
Asurs, he is supposed to have sprung. He is represented with six 
heads, and twelve hands, in each of which he holds a different . 
weapon, and his vehicle (vahane) is a peacock, which is hence con- 
sidered sacred by his votaries. Of his two consorts, Dewane and 
V' alii, the latter is represented as having been nurtured by a female 
Veddah, the Veddahs are therefore particularly attached to his 

The god of Kattragamme is not loved, but feared, and his worship 
inducted on this principle. The situation of his temple, and the 
time fixed for attending it in the hot, dry, and unwholesome months 
of June, July, and August, were craftily chosen. A merit was made 
of the hazard and difficulty of the journey through a wilderness 
deserted by man, and infested by wild animals, and the fever which 
prevails at that season, was referred to the god, and supposed to be 
inflicted by him on those who had the misfortune to incur his dis- 

Leaving Kattragamme, the traveller, if he intend to proceed 
direct to Hambantotte, after crossing the Parapa-oya at the ford in 
that village, will proceed through the village of Magaama, and 
crossing the Kirinde-oya, pass through Boondelle to Hambantotte, a 
distance of thirty miles ; but as he would thereby miss the opportu- 
nity of visiting Ahamadoewe, or turtle cove, the line by the sea-coast 
will be preferable. Ahamadoewe is ten miles from Yalle. As soon 
as the turtle season approaches, the renter of the fishery assembles 

5-S4 CEYLON, [l'AItr IT, 

his people at this place, where they construct huts and a sort of tern- 
porary bazaar, for the sale of the usual articles of their simple diet, 
which are daily conveyed by the villagers within eight or ten mile* 
of the cove. From Ahamadoewe to Paltoopane, the distance is five 
miles, and the face of the country is composed of jungle and sandy 
plains, with an occasional glimpse of the sea. 

This part of the district is particularly subject to long droughts, 
often for ten or eleven months together, and the burnt state of the her- 
bage offers a melancholy contrast to every other part of the island. The 
next stage is from Paltoopane to Magaama, where the Kirinde-oya 
is forded, the distance is 9j miles ; the rest-house lies in the midst 
of low jungle, where mosquitoes, ants and sand-flies are extremely 
troublesome, and snakes occasionally obtrusive. The Kirinde-oya 
has its source in the hills of Lower Ouva, and after a tortuous course 
in a south-east and southerly direction, falls into the sea at this 
place. Mahagam or Magaama, now a straggling village, is situate 
near a large plain, and has within even the last century presented a 
very different appearance to its present state, a fact attested by the 
remains of several extensive gardens, where many varieties of exotic 
fruit trees still remain. The soil bears some resemblance to that of 
the pepper and nutmeg plantations at Prince of Wales' island in the 
Straits of Malacca, and is well adapted for the culture of sugar, 
cotton, pepper, cloves, nutmegs, and sufficient paddy might be 
grown for the consumption of the whole district within the range of 
irrigation presented by the Kirinde-oya, exclusive of the immense 
area -that might be sown with the same grain, and supplied with 
water from artificial tanks. 

The ancient city of Magaama, or as it is sometimes called, Koohoonoo 
Magaama, from its having been the capital of the Roohoona division, 
is first mentioned in Singhalese annals, B.C. 285, in connection with 
Mahanaaga, brother of Devenipeatissa, by whom it was founded. 
On the left bank of the Kirinde-oya, there a clear stream, about 
forty yards broad and eighteen inches deep, with steep banks, shaded 
by large kabuk trees, and about three miles along a ridge slightly 
elevated above the surrounding marsh, lie the principal ruins of 
Magaama; to this ridge is joined the embankment of the Tissatank ; 
a reservoir, that like others in the vicinity has burst, and in the 
rainy season forms noxious swamps, infested with crocodiles, &c. 
The ruins of the Menik dagobah and wihare, of the Poega (assembly 
hall for priests), which consists of forty-eight plain square stone 
pillars, one foot on each side, and thirteen and a half above ground ; 
of the palace supported by eighty-five pillars, two feet square, and 
fifteen feet high, are successively seen. Near these stands an octa- 
gonal pillar, nine feet high, and eight feet in circumference, to which 
the state elephant was chained ; and the marks of the chain deeply 
worn, have nearly effaced an inscription, on which the word Sri 
(royal) may still be distinguished. It is called the pillar of Kadol, 


the favourite elephant of Dootoogaimonoo, that bore him in all his 
battles, and on which he was mounted when he encountered and 
slew his antagonist, Elaala. Yatalatissa dagobah is* a mass of brick 
about seventy feet high ; it is split near the centre, and overgrown 
with trees and brushwood ; its destruction is attributed to the Por- 
tuguese, who are said to have attempted to blow it up with gun- 
powder. It was built by Mahanama, B.C. 280 ; about a hundred 
stone pillars, seven feet high, are scattered in groups around this 
temple, and are the remains of separate wihares, Tissa-maha wihare 
and dagobah. The latter is even now more than one hundred feet 
high ; although no part of the spire or its base exists, it has a small 
opening at a considerable height, and fragments of steps leading 
towards the aperture are perceptible on the east side of the ruin, 
near which are two broken statues, supposed to be Kawanitissa, who 
built this temple, B.C. 180, and his queen Wihara Daivi. The 
small dagobah of Sandagiri is of the same date as the Tissa wihare, 
and built in the usual Buddhist monumental form ; like the others, 
it is covered with shrubs and plants : even forest trees find a hold 
for their roots in the ruins of its masonry, and derive a support 
sufficient to resist the parching blasts of the north-east monsoon. 
Magaama is situated eight miles from the mouth of the Kirinde- 
oya, and the fields watered by its tanks are said to have extended 
the whole of this distance. Kirinde is a rocky point on the coast, 
remarkable for the artificial appearance of its masses of stone, among 
which there is a spring of fresh water, also some remains of masonry; 
and the outline figures of the sun and moon render probable the 
tradition, that the kings of Magaama occasionally resorted to this 
spot to enjoy the cooling breeze and sea-bathing. The Muda wihare at 
this place was built by Kawanitissa, to commemorate the miraculous 
escape of Wihara Daivi, his queen, from her marine prison. 

Magaama is supposed to have been rightly laid down by Ptolemy 
under the name of Magrammum, and my only reason for hesitation 
is confined to the etymology of the word ; as I cannot understand how 
Ptolemy's informants can have had the seat of a subordinate princi- 
pality represented to them as " the great city." 

From the rest-house of Mahagam, the route to Hambantotte, the 
next stage, is 14^ miles, through a desolate country, in some places 
cultivated with paddy, small grain, and maize, and in others waste, 
especially near the leways, where there is nevertheless excellent 
pasturage for sheep, though none are there to be found. 

After crossing the Kirinde-oya, which is fordable except during 
the rains, when the current is rapid and the stream wide, and only 
passable in boats, the road lies through the small villages of Tel- 
loole and Wellegangodde. These are hardly worth a remark, being 
scantily inhabited, and their cultivation being limited to yams, paddy, 
maize and kurukkan. The road thence is to Boondelle, upon the 
banks of the lcway of that name, about a quarter of a mile from the 
sea, from which it is separated by a bar of sand. Beyond Boondelle 


at a village called Aloot Kangalle, inhabited by fishermen, very fine 
surmullet, soles, seer-fish and prawns may be procured at the lowest 
conceivable rate.* This village is also situated on the banks of a 
leway, now exhausted, called Matelle Kalapoo, but the tourist will 
prefer to rest at Udumalle, upon the left bank of the Matelle-aar, 
which is dry except during the rainy season. From Udumalle, which 
is no great distance from the great but useless tank of Badagiri, the 
general route is between Koholankale and Maha leways and the 
sand hills, but as the sea breeze is preferable to the monotony of the 
leway downs, by edging to the left, the rest of the journey by the 
sea beach will be found the most pleasant part of it. 

Common salt is obtained from the leways, or natural salt pans, 
which are principally situate on the coast of the Mahagamapattoo, and 
is of rare occurrence indeed in the interior, except in minute quantities 
dissolved in water. Every parrah of salt contains about one-fourth 
of mud or sand, and it often happens that no more than half the 
quantity of good salt is produced by evaporation. 

The salt lakes of the southern coast are collections of water in the 
natural hollows of the beach, confined by a high sand bank, thrown 
up along the shore by a tempestuous sea. The lakes from which the 
best salt is obtained are the Konakatee-leway, the Sitricale-leway, 
the Maha-leway, the Kolankale-leway, the Boondelle-leway, the 
Durava-kalapoo and Paltoopane leways. The other lakes in the 
same district contain brackish waters, but seldom or never suffi- 
ciently concentrated to produce salt. The seven lakes mentioned 
vary in extent from nine miles in circumference to one and a half. 
They are all very shallow, the deepest when its water is highest 
not exceeding six feet. In the rainy season they frequently over- 
flow and break through the bar of sand, and at this season their 
diluted water is merely brackish. In the dry season, more especially 
in June and July, when a. strong parching south-west wind blows, 
and evaporation is rapid, their waters are more or less concentrated 
to the state of brine, and often driest up entirely, when the bottoms 
of the lakes are covered with a crust of salt, which varies from an 
inch to a foot in thickness. 

The source and formation of this salt is from the sea, which is 
close at hand, and evaporation is the cause of its production. Thus 
in the soil there is nothing peculiar, it resembling that of the country 
in general, and resulting from the decomposition of granitic rock ; 
the incrustation of salt that forms is merely superficial ; the deeper 
an excavation, the less saline the ground becomes. In the close 
vicinity of more than one of the salt lakes there are collections of per- 
fectly fresh water ; the more rain there is in the wet season, the less 
salt is obtained, and occasionally no salt has formed when the year 
has been unusually rainy ; the more boisterous the sea, the greater 
the chance of a plentiful production of salt ; and what is more than 
all, the saline contents of the lakes themselves are similar to those of 
the sea, of which common salt is only the chief ingredient, and all the 


lakes receive salt either from the sea directly, by the waves breaking 
over the bar, or by salt water percolating through the sand. One 
instance may be found where, perhaps, from the unusual width of 
the bar, the salt is supplied in neither of these ways, the lake in the 
rainy season communicating with another that is so supplied. The 
formation of salt may be accelerated and ensured best by cutting the 
bars early, and diminishing rapidly the quantity of brackish water. 
This is a most important subject. The leways are capable of yield- 
ing a large and increasing sum to the Government, and the whole 
island is almost entirely dependent on this district for the supply of 
this necessary of life. The production of the lakes has -far from 
approached its maximum ; and by a yet more scientific management, 
they might be made to yield not only a sufficient supply for all India, 
but almost any quantity of magnesia might be extracted from the 
residual brine. And in procuring wood ash, which this preparation 
would require, it would be necessary to burn the jungle with which 
this part of the country is overrun, that would diminish the preva- 
lence of miasma, so fatal to population, and check the increase of 
wild animals, so hostile to the agriculture of the district. 

"With the exception of the vicinity of the leways, the soil of the 
Mahagamapattoo is so remarkably fertile, that industry and capital 
are the only requisites to make it one of the most productive districts 
of the island ; and should cultivation extend, the country would be 
gradually abandoned by the wild beasts that infest its woods and 
jungles, and become as healthy as any in the maritime provinces. 
The approach to Hambantotte is remarkable for the deep red colour 
of the road, and the dark green hue of the. milky hedge (Euphorbia 
tirincalli) with which the enclosures are fenced in. Hambantotte, 
derived from the Singhalese words " Hambane," country boats, 
and "Totte," creek or small bay, is situate in lat. 6° 6' 58" N. and 
long. Sl 14' 44" E. and a more solitary or barren situation cannot 
well be conceived, the soil being totally unfit for cultivation. The 
bay affords good anchorage for vessels of 150 to 200 tons burthen. 
The town lies beneath a hilly promontory, projecting seaward towards 
the south-east/ and forming the south-west side of the small bay, 
which con vexes to the northward and eastward, and is about a mile 
and three-quarters across to its eastern extremity. The town, con- 
taining about 1500 inhabitants, chiefly consists of mud-built houses 
thatched with cajans, but those of the Mahommeclan population are 
much superior. The gaol, cutcherry, and Assistant Government 
Agent's house are situated on the hill, which commands an extensive 
view of the sea, the Koholankale, Maha, Karaganare and Sitricale 
leways, and of the seven hills of Kattragamme, the local Vatican of 
Paganism. The fort and the commandant's house are on the east 
side of the hill, about fifty yards from the sea. This place is the 
grand depot of the salt gathered in the Mahagamapattoo; and of red 
dust, which imparts its colour to every thing with which it comes in 
contact. The white ant (Tcrmes fatale, Linn.) is quite in its element 


here, the red sand enabling it to burrow to a great depth, and under 
the very foundations of the houses ; and from the brickdust appear- 
ance of every thing upon which its minute particles are deposited by 
the wind, these destructive insects are enabled to carry on their 
covered ways to the roof, without being perceived even by the most 
careful servant. Between the sea and the town, the enormous hills 
of sea sand, upon which a heavy carriage may be driven with as 
much facility as on the best macadamised road, encroach so very 
rapidly, that houses have been continually pulled down and rebuilt 
at a greater distance, to prevent their being overwhelmed, and the 
principal, source from whence water was supplied to the town has 
been cut oif. The accumulation of sand must have been as rapid as 
the growth of the adjoining cocoa-nut trees, for some of sixty feet in 
height are, according to Mr. Bennett, buried up to the crests, the 
only parts visible above the surface ; and the bunches of nuts lie 
upon the sand as if they were the produce of a gigantic plant, instead 
of being the fruit, of one of the tallest of the palm family, and may 
be cut from their stalks by a child. 

Though the principal station of the Mahagamapattoo, Hambantotte 
was till lately without a rest-house, but the deficiency was supplied 
by the hospitality of the local authorities. The next stage from 
Hambantotte is the rest-house of Wallawe, eight and a half miles 
distant ; the road lies to the right of the eastern extremity of the 
Karaganare, or long leway, and adjoining the high promontory by 
which the small bay of Hambantotte is formed. This leway lies 
considerably below the level of the sea, and might be filled with salt 
water by cutting through about 130 yards of sand. It stretches 
nearly along the sea-shore for about three miles, and is about half a 
mile broad ; a small quantity of very bitter salt occasionally forms 
upon its edges, which possesses medicinal jujoperties. The village of 
Erabocke, the residence of a Modeliar, where paddy, maize, and 
kurukkan form the chief objects of culture, lies to the right of the 
high road, and is famed for its forests of daluk (Euphorbia anti- 
quorum), which are from fifteen to twenty feet high, and afford a 
remarkable contrast to the irregular plains around, which, when the 
salt has formed, have a dazzling whiteness. A neglected plantation 
of cocoa-nut trees, on the right of the road, points out the site of a 
former village, where there is now not a house or hut to be seen, 
again evidencing the depopulation of this once well peopled and cul- 
tivated district. The size of the trees proves the care with which 
they must have been tended, or else their destruction by the ele- 
phants, who abound in this vicinity, would have been inevitable. 
The next leway is the exhausted one of Sitricale, which has the 
appearance of a large oval fish-pond ; it is about a mile and a half in 
circumference, and lies to the right of the road between it and the 
sea, from which it is about 250 yards distant. The shore is here 
bounded by a high sand bank, and the intermediate space to the left 


of the road is filled with thick jungle. About half a mile beyond the 
Sitricale leway, is the lesser Sitricale, the furthest from the sea, and 
called by the natives Koda-leawawa. Between this place and the small 
village of Pybocke, the country is frequently inundated ; and after the 
subsidence of the waters, patches of white, interspersed with the bright 
green of the herbage, meet the eye in every direction; these on a nearer 
approach are found to be mushrooms, which for size and flavour are not 
to be surpassed. At night these plains appear studded with fire-flies, and 
at sunrise teem with elephants, herds of wild hogs, spotted deer and 
peafowl, and the adjoining larger patches of water bordered by jungle, 
with flamingoes, spoonbills, wild ducks, widgeon, pelicans, herons, 
toucans and kingfishers'. Here is also a large artificial tank, of com- 
paratively modern construction, capable of holding sufficient water to 
irrigate 100 ammomams of paddy ground, of which the average 
produce is 1G00 parrahs, or nearly 1,100 bushels. Wanderope 
is the name of the next village after leaving Pybocke, on the left 
bank of the river Wallawe, and consists with one or two exceptions 
s of scattered cottages and huts, of which a few are tiled. The only 
thing to interest the antiquarian is a granite post, like an old English 
milestone, under an umbrageous Bogaha, in the area of the neigh- 
bouring temple, which is said to constitute its title to the adjoining 
lands so long as the sun and moon may endure. 

The Wallawe or Walkway river bears about E. by N. \ N. four 
leagues from Tangalle ; the coast between them is low and barren 
close to the sea, but groups of cocoa-nut trees are seen near the river's 
mouth, and its banks are shaded with some of the most magnificent 
trees in the world ; the coast is high inland, and may be approached 
to twenty-five fathoms within four or five miles of the shore. The 
Wallawe-ganga is the fourth river in Ceylon in importance, but a 
bar of sand, through which it percolates, forms a dam at its extremity, 
except during the rainy season, when it rises full twenty feet above 
its usual level. At other times it is almost every where fordable from 
about half a mile above the ferry at the village of Wanderope (which 
is about two mdes from the sea) to its source in the mountains of 
Ouva. The natives residing on the banks of this beautiful stream, 
will not bathe in it during the rainy season, on account of the quantity 
of decomposed vegetable matter carried down by the stream, render- 
ing not only the water, but the air unwholesome, and producing 
jungle fever if drunk or bathed in. Off the entrance of the river, 
at the distance of three or four miles, 'there is a rock on which the 
sea generally breaks, and is said to have a channel with seven or 
eight fathoms water, sandy bottom between it and the shore, through 
which small vessels may occasionally pass. A little inland from the 
entrance of the river, stands a small mountain of barren aspect. The 
light but rich alluvial soil upon the banks of this river is well 
adapted for the cultivation of sugar, pepper, ginger, cotton, turmeric, 
cardamoms, arrow-root and the canua glauca. Such, however, is the 


neglect of agriculture, that the most indispensable condiments for 
the natives' food are not grown in any quantity here, where sufficient 
to satisfy the wants of the whole island might be grown on a part of 
the waste lands alone, with but little trouble, beyond planting and 
weeding. Land also may be obtained at a merely nominal rent, or 
purchased at a trifle, on account of the alleged insalubrity of the dis- 
trict. The village of Wallawe is on the right bank of the river. If 
the improvements of the district were to commence from hence, its 
progress would be rapid. This is just the tranquil locality adapted 
to the silk worm, and the mulberry thrives here luxuriantly. Wells 
can easily be sunk, and the purest water be obtained within twenty 
yards of the river. 

During the rains, the Wallawe, becomes, as we have already remarked, 
a deep and rapid stream, and can only be crossed in boats. The horse- 
boat in general use at the Ceylon ferries, is a very convenient one for 
horses and carriages ; for being flat bottomed, it draws only a few 
inches of water, and as it is strongly built, about eighteen feet in 
length, and six or seven in breadth from head to stern, both which 
are square, the upper part abutting about three or four feet from the 
bottom, is capable of conveying a considerable burden. The common 
mode of ferrying five or six passengers across the Wallawe river, is 
by joining two canoes and placing a platform over them, capable of 
containing as many chairs conveniently. This is also the best for 
excursions up the river ; for a temporary awning may be fitted up 
in ten minutes, and a couple of boatmen, one being seated in the bow 
of the near canoe, and the other in the stern of the off one, or vice 
versa, propel it along rapidly with their short paddles, and seldom fail 
to secure whatever birds may be shot and fall into the water from the 
overhanging trees, without moving from their seats. Paddy is sown 
in this district in October and November, and reaped in January and 
February, but that called the second sort, is reaped in December and 
January. Maize (Iringhee Singh) is sown in August and September, 
and reaped in November and December ; the brown and white kur- 
rukkan (Cynosurus coracanus, L.) are sown in August and Sep- 
tember, and reaped in November and December ; Moong (Phaseolus 
mungo, L.) and badhama, an excellent substitute for rice, are sown 
in October and November, and reaped in January and February. 

The Girawe-pattoo lies between the Wallawe-ganga, its limit 
on the east ; the Kahawatta-oya, its bound on the west; and the 
Morruwa or Morva-korle on fhe north. It comprises nearly fifty 
villages, and its fisheries are extensive and afford considerable em- 
ployment. The forests abound in elephants, which were formerly 
caught here in great numbers for exportation, and the great elephant 
hunts spoken of by Cordiner, took place in this district. The original 
means of irrigation possessed by this province were of the most 
extensive description. Clay, for the purpose of brick making, is 
abundant in several localities, and limestone rock is abundant. 


The pansala at Wanderope is a very low building, covered witfl 
pantiles, and the wihare a mere heap of brick ruins ; but these afford 
very ample proof of the excellent quality of the materials employed 
in their manufacture, which were procured in the vicinity and made 
upon the spot. These ruins, which are partly covered with jungle 
underwood, lie within an enclosure on the left hand, immediately 
adjoining the high road, and about one hundred yards from the 
ferry ; but the Buddhists have not the means, if they had the inten- 
tion, of re-employing the materials in the restoration of the wihare. 
In the vicinity are the remains of a Singhalese inscription cut in 
stone, but much defaced, and on an adjoining pillar are coarse out- 
lines of the sun and moon, emblems of royalty and duration, com- 
monly attached to grants of Crown lands made by the Kings of 
Ceylon. Tanks for irrigating the surrounding country might be 
constructed here, and on the opposite banks of the Wallawe, to any 
extent ; but the old Wallawe tank having been formed above the 
level of the river, could only be supplied from it during its periodical 
rise in the rainy season, when water is least wanted. The neglect 
of this province is attributed by many to dread of the climate, by 
others, to the inteiior having become the field of speculation in 
coffee planting and the sugar-cane ; but the latter, though successful, 
is not likely to be carried to any extent in comparison with the 
former. Sugar might be grown with great success in the Mahagama- 
pattoo, where the cane grows luxuriantly, but the natives are fearful 
of planting it, except in small patches near their dwellings, for 
making syrups, and for their children's use in a raw state, in con- 
sequence of the herds of elephants that infest the country. The 
villagers on either side the Wallawe, appear to have an insuperable 
objection to the sea breeze ; for they allow the underwood to grow 
so closely as to preclude its cooling and salutary influence. If this 
were not the case, the village would, become as salubrious as any of 
the intermediate places betw T een Tangalle and Colombo. Having 
crossed from the left to the right bank of this river, the traveller 
enters the Girrawe-pattoo, or parrot district, and just before sunset 
the trees on the banks of the Wallawe, particularly those of deciduous 
foliage, are frequently covered by these birds. The rest-house is 
about one hundred yards from the ferry on the left of the highway, 
which there begins to assume some sort of road-like appearance, and 
intersects the jungle by which this large and convenient building is 
surrounded, but though the compound is strongly fenced, it is sub- 
ject to the nocturnal incursions of elephants, which greatly infest 
this road at that time, rendering travelling dangerous. A sand, 
composed of rubies, sapphires and cats' eyes is peculiar to this dis- 
trict, and used in making transverse sections of the molares of 
elephants, and for many of the purposes of diamond powder. About 
a mile above the rest-house is the Government cattle kraal, where 
the bullocks belonging to the salt department at Hambantotte, which 


site sent to this distant place to graze, are penned, and are frequently 
carried off by chetahs. The kraal lies in the midst of an extensive 
plain, which is crossed to the left in the route by the sea side — which 
is by far to be preferred — to the village of Wellepattanvelle, about 1|- 
miles from the Wallawe, from whence the road rises by a gradual 
ascent. From the summit, the prospect commands a very extensive 
range of both sea and land, including Tangalle, the Mahagama-pattoo 
and the Kattragamme hills in the distance. Near the straggling 
village of Loonawe, situate at the eastern extremity of the Tam- 
boora-galle leway, which lies nearer the sea than the Konakatte 
leway, the country has a delightfully verdant appearance after the 
rains ; but being entirely dependent upon a small tank, which is filled 
at that season, for its irrigation, the produce is very limited in pro- 
portion to what it might be, and the relics of former embankments 
and drains in almost all the villages of this district are plain evidences 
that its former was much more extensive than its present state of 
cultivation. The yield of paddy is not more than eight or nine-fold 
here, while that of the brown and white kurukkan and badhama is 
from twenty-five to thirty-fold. 

After crossing the wooden bridge over the Ranne-oya, where that 
river is about twenty feet wide, the rest-house, which is elevatad a 
few feet above the K»ad on the right hand as one ascends the hill, 
offers shelter from sun and rain, but no comfort, being both hot and 
disagreeable, from its low roof and small size ; the rock and temple 
of Kahandawia are here distinctly seen. The village of Ranne is 
eleven miles from Wallawe, and nine from Tangalle. Crocodiles 
infest the river, and the natives catch them in kraals, composed of 
strong and high stakes. The porcupine also abounds here. About 
a mile and a quarter from the bridge on the right hand, there is a 
spacious but dilapidated tank, which was once capable of irrigating 
300 ammomams of land, the annual average produce of which, in 
the two harvests, amounted to 9600 parrahs of paddy, equal to 6200 
bushels ; a great extent of luxuriant rice fields are now watered by 
the Ranne-oya, the course of which may be traced at some distance 
from the gigantic reeds that rise above its. banks. 

Throughout this part of the southern province in the former 
district of Tangalle, the remains of innumerable tanks, some of very 
remote antiquity, afford ample proofs of the skill of its ancient 
population in the collection and distribution of water. Many are 
excavated on level plains, which were supplied by dams across rivers, 
and over deep ravines, others by watercourses carried from hill to 
hill over valleys, forming extensive reservoirs for irrigation, when 
drought precluded a supply of water from natural sources. A few 
miles before one enters Tangalle, the belt of cocoa-nut palms, which 
borders the sea in myriads, begins and continues with a few intervals 
all the way to Colombo, but not a palmyra-tree is to be seen. There 
is an excellent Government house, formerly the residence of the 


collector at Tangalle. The house is immediately under the hill 
where the fort stands, and has a spacious verandah, between which 
and the sea there is a magnificent row of trees, (Mimusops Elengi, 
Linn.) There is no other civil officer at Tangalle than the district 
judge, and not even a custom-house establishment. 

Tangalle may be seen at a great distance from the offing, and is 
easily known by the small fort and the ruins of an old pagoda, situated 
on an elevated and projecting point on the west side of the hay. 
The bay itself is of considerable extent, it being four miles from 
Tangalle Point to the extreme point of land opposite. The shore is 
sandy. From each point run extensive and dangerous reefs. Within 
the reefs there is good anchorage and shelter during the south-west 
monsoon. The proper entrance to the bay lies between the western 
rock and a breaker N.N.E. § E. of it. Between the rock and the 
breaker is a channel more than eight fathoms deep. The rock is 
always visible, being large, and rising several feet above the surface 
of the water. A vessel should keep nearer the rock than the breaker. 
Should the swell be great, which is generally the case, the best 
entrance is midway between the breakers and rock, in eight or nine 
fathoms, over a fine sandy bottom. From thence the course is 
N.W. \ W. direct for a small double hill, rising considerably inland, 
and bearing exactly in the middle of an opening in a plantation of 
cocoa-nut trees, until in seven fathoms, fine grey sand, when a vessel 
can either anchor or run farther up the harbour, as circumstances 
require. In the latter case, vessels bearing W.N.W. f W. steer for 
a small white pagoda on a small conical shaped hill, appearing over 
the end of the cocoa-nut grove. Either of these courses will bring 
them directly into the harbour. In the middle of the harbour lies 
a bank with two fathoms water on it, and a breaker is seen over it. 
Inside this bank are four and a half fathoms with a fine sandy bottom. 
Vessels wishing to anchor inside of it, pass it to the northward, 
leaving it on the starboard hand, when a channel will be found of 
four and a half fathoms over a sandy bottom. Between this and the 
reef running off Tangalle Point, there is also a channel, but the bottom 
is rocky, and the soundings irregular. This breaker almost always 
shews itself, and can therefore be easily avoided. Within it a 
vessel is completely sheltered from the west and south-west wind, and 
rides in smoothish water from the reef, which runs from the point, 
breaking the force of the southerly swell. The landing place, which 
is entirely free from surf, lies under the rising ground upon which 
the fort stands, having the ruins of a house a little to the south of it. 
About a quarter of a mile from the landing place passing the fort, 
is a well of excellent water. A pathway leads direct from the fort 
to the well, where water may be filled, and the casks rolled down to 
the beach. A small jetty built at the landing place would greatly 
facilitate the lading of boats. This bay lies completely exposed to 
the east and south-east winds, which are most severe on this coast, 
and prevail during October, November, and part of December, blowing 
with great violence at the full and change of the moon, but as they 

2 Q 

594 CEYLON. [part IV. 

are of short duration, ships might avoid touching at Tangalle while 
they last. The rise in the tides is inconsiderable. It is high water 
at full and change. The tide runs N.N.W. and S.S.E. 

The harbour of Tangalle might be made capable of giving shelter 
to large ships, and is deserving of attention from the Government. 
The inhabitants are chiefly occupied in agriculture and fishing. The 
view from the fort is beautiful and extensive, and is an excellent place 
for a signal station for communicating with Indiamen making Dondera 
Head. The Morruwa Korle, adjoining the Girawepattoo on the 
north, is divided into two parts, Odugaha and Yattigaha, and com- 
prises twenty villages. From its position it is both well watered and 

Of the several national and arduous undertakings of the Govern- 
ment of Ceylon, during Sir E. Barnes's administration, the canal of 
Kirime is justly entitled to rank with the foremost in agricultural 
importance, and as a splendid memorial of skill, talent, and perse- 
verance. It was commenced in 1824 under the personal superin- 
tendence of an officer of the civil service, and was completed in 1827. 
This most important auxiliary to native agriculture was begun at 
Kirime, about thirty miles to the northward of Tangalle, situate at 
the foot of the lofty mountains called Rameli-Kandi, which divide 
it from the Morruwa Korle in this province, by constructing a dam 
52 feet high, 540 long, and gradually diminishing in breadth to 12 
feet from a base of 160 feet, which was indispensable in consequence 
of the rapid rise and fall of the mountain streams during the rains. 
Into this reservoir, which is composed entirely of fine red soil, with 
Scarcely a pebble to be found in it, the course of a mountain rivulet 
was diverted, and the Kirime canal, which as a work of labour, excels 
that of the dam, was the next object of the attention of the able and 
zealous superintendant. The completion of these splendid works, 
was followed by the distribution of honorary titles and gold medals, 
which were conferred by his Excellency the Governor upon the most 
deserving headmen, by way of marking publicly the unqualified 
approbation of their conduct and services by the executive. 

Twelve miles inland from Tangalle are the Buddhist temples of 
Mulgirigalla. This rock is about 350 feet high, perpendicular on 
three sides,,but connected on the north with a low rocky range, of which 
it forms the abrupt termination. The small level spot on the summit, 
from which there is an extensive prospect over the southern maritime 
provinces, is surmounted by a dagobah t the ascent is not difficult, 
stone steps being placed wherever the rock is very steep. The dwel- 
lings of the priests of the establishment are situated near the base of 
the rock, and behind them, where there is an overhanging ledge, the 
remains of the oldest temples now in ruins may be distinguished. 
The modern temples are excavated under a ledge within a little 
distance from the summit, and are in good repair. The rock temples 
of Mulgiri, though similar in design, are very inferior to those at 
Dambool : the old temples were formed by Saidatissa in the second 
century before Christ : Kaloona Detootissa completed the new temples 


in the seventh century. A colossal stone image of Buddha, in a 
recumbent posture, is to be seen in either wihare. 

From Tangalle to Dikwelle the distance is eleven miles, and a 
great part of the road hilly, but though tolerably good, it is much 
broken up during the rains. From the more elevated parts of the 
road, the country appears to the greatest advantage at that season 
when the verdure of the surrounding scenery is very grateful to the 
European eye. Paddy fields abound in every direction Passing 
so near the well known Dondera Head, or Dewinuwara (city of the 
god) nine miles from Dikwelle, and about two and a half or three 
miles from Matura, the traveller will find it well worth his time to 
diverge to the left from the main road, and visit the ruins of the 
ancient Hindoo temple there. 

Dondera Head, the southernmost point of Ceylon, and the site 
of the Singhalese capital during a part of the seventh century, is a 
steep, narrow, and rugged promontory overlooking, and about a 
mile to the eastward of, a low tongue of land covered with cocoa- 
nut trees. At this place are a wihare with a dagobah, its usual 
accompaniment, and a Hindoo Dewale, 1 dedicated to the great 
great Vishnu (Govinda of the Singhalese), and similarly ornamented in 
its interior to the Kattragamme temple. The temples are delightfully 
shaded by cocoa-nut and areka palms, yellow Bignonia, (Bignonia 
Indica), Bogaha,and plantain trees, and afford a cool and pleasant shade 
during the heat of the day. The priests and attendants are extremely 
civil and obliging to strangers, as if pleased at the temple being 
noticed by Europeans. Here, interspersed among native huts, 
gardens, and cocoa-nut plantations, several hundred upright stone 
pillars still remain ; they are cut into various shapes, and exhibit 
different sculptures, among others, Rama with his bow and arrows 
may be discerned in various forms. A square gateway, formed of 
three stones, elaborately carved, leads to a wretched mud edifice, in 
which four stone windows of superior workmanship, are proofs that 
a very different style of building formerly occupied the site of the 
present temple. Dondera is still held particularly sacred by the 
votaries of Vishnu, as being the utmost limit which now remains of 
his conquests when incarnate in that perfect prince and warrior 
Ramachandra ; and an annual festival, which takes place in the full 
moon in July, continues to attract many thousands of the worshippers 
of Vishnu. Near the sea shore is a group of plain stone pillars, and 
on a low rocky point a single pillar, over which the sea breaks amidst 
hewn stones, the remains of some ancient building. This lone pillar 
is supposed to mark the utmost limits which remain of Vishnu's 
conquest and religion. The pillar is of a form alternately octagonal 
and square, and exactly resembles columns that are to be seen on 
the sacred promontory of Trincomalee. A short distance inland, is a 

1 While (Tie famous temple at Dondera was in progress, the inhabitants of a 
village in the \ieinity were ordered to feed the crows that resorted thither. Tin- 
words used in calling them, Ka Ka-witta, were uttered so often, that the village 
assumed the name, substituting for Ka, Ma-Kawitta. 

2 Q. 2 

596 CEYLON. [part IV. 

stone building called Galgana, completed or restored in the reign of 
Daapulo II., a.d. 605, and consisting of two rooms, the roof as 
well as the walls are of hewn stone, and exhibit excellent specimens 
of masonry ; on the top there appears formerly to have been a 
dagobah, but the ruin is now covered with shrubs and creeping 

Dondera is included in the Wellebodde-pattoo, a subdivision of 

the district of Matura, which extends from thence to the Kahawatte- 

oya, having the Kandabodde-pattoo, comprising sixty villages to the 

north ; the Gangabodde-pattoo on the west derives its name from the 

Neela-Ganga traversing its western, and the Kirime-oya its eastern 

side. It is almost surrounded by hills, and the soil is extremely 

fertile. It comprehends eighty-three villages. Approaching Matura 

from the eastward, the country is very beautiful, presenting extensive 

grazing plains and paddy fields, intersected with canals and rivulets, 

and interspersed with cocoa-nut and areka palms. The town lies 

low, and the lines that remain upon the left bank of the Neela-ganga 

(Blue river) suffice to shew that under the Dutch, the fortifications 

were very extensive. On the right bauk there is a small fort, built 

of stone, with five bastions that command the bridges, which are 

connected by an islet and the ferry There are several excellent private 

houses at this place, chiefly of Kabook or iron-stone clay, a district 

Court-house, chapel, and barracks. The Cutcherry is an extensive 

building, and there is also a Wesleyan Mission-house and chapel. 

The country around Matura is so extremely fertile, that every article 

of food is abundant and cheap ; and no place is better supplied with 

fish. The neighbourhood affords the most delightful walks and 

drives, completely sheltered by a variety of umbrageous trees, and 

dense cocoa-nut topes, from even a midday sun. The town lies in 

lat. 5o 58' N. and long. 80° 37' E. and bears about E. £ S. from 

Red point, the east point of Redbay, eight miles distant, the land 

between them is moderately elevated, and the coast very steep, 

having sixty fathoms water in some places, within twenty miles from 

the shore. 

Matura (Maha-totta, the great ferry), in allusion to the width and 
rapidity of its river, is a considerable town, and the fort is conspicuous 
from seaward, when it bears N.N.W. and N.E. Ships can anchor 
here in the N.E. monsoon, abreast of the town in twenty and twenty- 
two fathoms, the bottom is generally foul. Plenty of wood and good 
water, poultry, fish, fruits, roots and vegetables may be procured, 
the two former at the entrance of the river or very near it, about half 
a mile to the westward of the fort ; but boats entering it, should 
have a native pilot, as there are some dangerous sunken rocks at the 
entrance. Matura or Pigeon island, stands opposite the fort and 
near the shore, and is small and rocky, resembling a haycock. Boats 
find shelter under it, the surf being generally high on shore. Canoes 
are used for passing to the main. An assistant Government agent in 
charge of the revenue, and a district Judge, are the only public officers 
resident here during peace. Matura is adapted for the cultivation of 


pepper, indigo, cardamoms, coffee, cotton, ginger, and even sugar, and 
the country between Matura and Wallawe is a succession of rich rice 
fields in the valleys. The district of Matura extends from east to 
west upwards of forty miles, and eighteen from north to south, and 
produces as great a variety of grasses as any in the island, exclusively 
of the esculent species cultivated under the name of small grains. It 
is bounded on the east by the Wallawe-ganga, and west by the Talpse 
and Gangabodde-pattoos, and comprehends, exclusive of the gravets, 
fifteen pattoos and 464 villages. This district is perhaps the most 
attached to the Buddhist religion of any in Ceylon, as is evidenced 
by its numerous wihares and the multitude of priests, and Dondera 
is its great stronghold. Matura is famous for poultry, with which it 
supplies the Galle and Colombo markets, but coir, arrack, and cocoa- 
nuts are its principal staples. Beautiful sofa and palanquin mats and 
carved figures of the native castes are manufactured here for sale to 
the curious, and the petrified wood of the tamarind tree, which is 
much esteemed, is commonly manufactured into snuff-boxes and seals, 
and sold at reasonable prices. On the right bank of the Neela-ganga, 
over which there is a wooden bridge, the Hat-bodin (seven bo-trees), 
though now a cocoa-nut tope, retains its ancient name, and serves to 
point out the spot where the funeral pile of the murdered poet 
Kaalidaaa was prepared. The next stage from Matura is Belligamme, 
(Welligama) distant rather more than eleven miles, and situate upon 
Red Bay, which is formed by two beautiful promontories, inclosing 
several bare rocks and two wooded islands. It is a fishing village, 
a port of export and entry, the chief town of the Korle of the 
same name, and is densely wooded with cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, jack, 
areka, and other trees, from one of which, Beli (Cratseva Marmelos, 
L.) and gamme, village, its name is derived. The intermediate 
country is fertile and well cultivated, and the road excellent. Snipe 
and teal abound in the lower grounds, and a variety of doves, mango- 
birds, bulbuls, parrots, and finches in the upper. The finest fish 
may be procured for a trifle, as well as green turtle, large prawns 
and crabs, and no part of the province is better supplied with indi- 
genous fruits and vegetables. The rest-house is a substantial building 
of stone, approached by an avenue of splendid teak trees. 

The Agraboddigane, wihare and dagobah, as well as the dagobah 
in the midst of the dense cocoa-nut tope to the right of the high 
road to Galle, are worthy of a visit from the traveller. Agrabodhi- 
wiharc is situate upon a gentle eminence, and approached by flights of 
numerous and well worn stone steps. The recumbent image of the god 
is on the left hand on entering the sanctum, and is about thirty feet 
long, and covered with a beautiful lacker, which has made the surface 
as smooth as polished marble. The body of the idol is a light yellow, 
(the right arm and breast exposed), the eyeballs white, mouth red, 
eves and hair a deep black, the latter Kaffre-like and woolly, and 
upon the crown of the head is a representation of the sacred flame. 
The robe, in wavy folds and fitted close to the body, is of sacred 
yellow or saffron, and reaches to the ankles ; and over the left shoulder 

598 CEYLON. [part IV. 

is a bright vermilion scarf, which, instead of falling with the position 
of the Buddha, retains its place horizontally to the waist, as if 
fastened to the outer robe, or as in an erect instead of a recumbent 
figure. Among other emblems, the sacred Naga, and innumerable 
images of the Hindoo deities are prominently conspicuous. A long 
narrow table, nearly the length of the image, before which is sus- 
pended a painted cotton curtain, displays the fragrant diurnal offerings 
of the neighbouring villages, among which, the Nelumbium specio- 
sum, the Rat-manel-mal of the Singhalese is one of the chief in 
point of beauty and odour. The walls decorated with native paintings 
in the primitive style of outline and colour, without regard to shade 
or perspective, of which the Singhalese are ignorant, display a most 
extraordinary historical and emblematical medley. Pagan deities 
are to be seen holding female figures in their arms, — kings and queens 
receiving homage ; the former seated on thrones within moveable 
palaces drawn by elephants, the latter in chariots of Roman shape, 
propelled by means of a pole, as boats are in shallow water ; Bo trees, 
palms, and lotus flowers intermixed, with executioners in the act of 
decapitating criminals, with blue, white, and red-eyed devils, some 
forcing their victims into the flames, others tormenting them in the 
most excruciating forms ; and by way of finish, those condemned to 
endless torment are enveloped in flame, which is as vivid as red and 
yellow paint can make it. Near Belligamme is the figure called the 
Kustia Raja (leprous king) : it stands by the road side, is twelve feet 
high, and forms part of a great mass of rock, in which it is sculptured 
in high relief. There are two traditions respecting its origin. One, 
that the statue represents a prince from the continent of India, who in- 
troduced the cocoa-nut tree, and taught the Singhalese its many uses : 
the other, that a king afflicted with leprosy, established himself at 
this place for the convenience of worshipping at the adjoining wihare 
of Agrabodhi, as he hoped to be relieved thereby from the loathsome 
disease. A remoter date is assigned to this statue than is Avarranted 
by its fresh appearance, or by the dress and decorations on the figure : 
small figures of Buddha are cut as ornaments on the high conical tiara 
with which the statue is surmounted, and which formed the head- 
dress of Singhalese kings as late as the twelfth century. A little to 
the west of Belligamme, is Nidigama (the sleeping village), so called 
from the inhabitants having neglected to light up the road and lie in 
waiting for Koomara Daas, when he passed through the village in the 
evening. From Belligamme to Galle, seventeen miles, the whole line 
of road is excellent, and entirely shaded by dense cocoa-nut topes or 
by evergreen and umbrageous sea pomegranate trees (Barringtonia 
speciosa). About midway, the serpentine lake of Kogalle, which, 
during the rains overflows the road between it and the sea, into 
which it at other times flows by a small stream, presents one of 
the prettiest and most tranquil scenes to be met with in the island, 
and notwithstanding that it is scarcely four miles long and about a 
mile and a half broad, it is well worth a clay to visit the pretty islands 
which ornament its waters. This delightful basin is surrounded with 


a natural amphitheatre of verdant hills covered to the very top with 
shrubs and trees of every hue that the most luxuriant foliage can pre- 
sent, and from its translucent bosom rise three curious rocks called 
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. From the island where the agent of 
Government's bungalow stands, the scenery is exquisite. Thecajan- 
roofed Bana Maduwas to the southward of the lake, from their extra- 
ordinary pagoda-like shape, have a very novel appearance to the 
European, and embowered as they are among the deep green foliage 
of talapat, cocoa-nut, and areka palms, shaddock and bread-fruit 
trees, indicate a calm and delightful solitude. Pic-nic parties from 
Galle frequently visit this charming spot, and tiffins and dinners are 
occasionally given at the bungalow, the use of which is never refused 
by the agent of Government to respectable people for such festive 
occasions. There are many crocodiles in the lake, affording abundant 
sport to the amateur, and upon its northern and eastern borders 
there is plenty of game, but it produces no other species of fish than 
has already been noticed, and those are so lightly esteemed, where 
supplies from the sea are abundant, that they are never sought after 
by the fishermen. Formerly this part of the district was much in- 
fested by leopards, and children were frequently carried off by them 
into the jungle. The face of the country between Kogalle and Galle, 
which is included within the limits of the little pattoo of Talpse, 
forming part of the district of Galle, is undulating and extremely 
fertile ; in many places the road is cut through hills of iron-stone 
clay ; upon descending the road from the eastward, and opening the 
harbour of Galle, the view through the line of the densely shading 
cocoa-nut trees is one of the most delightful and grateful to the eye 
that a tropical climate can present. The Gangabodde-pattoo ex- 
tends from the gravets of Galle, twenty- three miles into the interior, 
until it terminates by a range of hills, and contains forty-three 
villages, the soil of which is very productive. Ahangamme (Ya- 
bangamme, the bed village), is supposed to have received that name 
from Koomara Daas having reposed there, while on a tour through 
this part of the country. From the offing, Galle has a very pretty 
appearance when distinctly seen, but the first object upon making 
the land is the Haycock peering above the intermediate clouds, and 
the next the reflection of the cocoa-nut trees that line the shore in 
the water, long before the trees are visible. 

This district, which extends from the western limits of Belli- 
gamme Korle, to the Bentotte river, which separates it from 
Pasdoom Korle, includes a tract varying in length from fifteen to 
thirty miles, and in breadth from six to twenty-five, and is sub- 
divided into the Talpge-pattoo, Gangabodde-pattoo, Wellebodde- 
pattoo, and Walawitte Korle ; its area is about 592 square miles, 
and it is very populous. According to Casie Chitty, the Malabars 
derive its name from the circumstance that this part of the island 
was set apart by Rawana for breeding cattle, hence Galle would 
signify a " pound ;" but this interpretation appears far-fetched, in 
comparison with that given by the Singhalese themselves. he soil 


of the district is in general rocky, but produces a great variety of 
grain and fruits in abundance, including cinnamon, coffee, black 
pepper, cotton, and cardamoms. In some parts iron ore is found, 
which is worked on some occasions by the natives. Fisheries are 
carried on along the coast to a considerable extent, in kullah dhonies, 
small canoes with outriggers, and fish are caught both with nets and 
lines ; the latter are composed of well twisted cotton rubbed with 

Point de Galle is in lat. 6° 0' 59" North, and long. 80° 17' 2" 
East. The town, 1 which is the third in the island in importance, and 
the fort, which under the Dutch was a commandery, are built on the 
point which is rocky and bluff to seaward, with a rocky islet near 
it, called Pigeon island, surrounded by smaller ones. The bay or 
harbour is formed between the point, and a piece of sloping high- 
land to the eastward, which projects farther out to seaward, than the 
true point. The entrance of the bay is about a mile wide, the sound- 
ings in it from seven and a half to four and a half fathoms, but from 
there being many rocks covered with different depths from three and 
four, to twelve and fourteen feet water scattered over the entrance, 
and also inside, a pilot is requisite to carry a ship into the harbour, 
where it is moored in five and five and a half fathoms abreast of the 
town. The outer road is spacious, and in the inner harbour, ships 
may lie in perfect security for a great part of the year, and the water 
is so deep near the shore, that vessels can approach quite close to it. 
During the prevalence of the S. W. monsoon, a heavy sea breaks in it, 
and a rapid current from the westward frequently sets ships to leeward 
of the harbour, in which case they are obliged to cross the line for 
the purpose of again standing to the west. Ships outward bound 
from Europe, generally make this their first harbour, after they have 
come in sight of the laud at Dondera Head ; and during the late war 
it was the rendezvous of the homeward bound Indiamen waiting for 
a convoy. A splendid light-house has recently been erected. Ships 
from Eastern ports generally look in here during the north-east mon- 
soon. The trade with the Coromandel coast, which is carried on in 
small vessels, built withiu the district, comprises its natural products, 
coarse cloth, dornatil or paint oil, earthenware, cutlery, mats, gunny 
bags, jaggery, and chunam, for mastication and house-building, which 
are exchanged for paddy, cotton, cloths, &c. 

The bank of soundings on the south coast of Ceylon, gradually 
extends farther from the shore as you increase the distance from 
Dondera Head. Three miles off Bentotte, there are twenty fathoms. 
Off Galle the soundings are irregular. A mile off Belligamme, there 
are twenty fathoms, and at a mile and three-quarters, thirty fathoms. 
Three-quarters of a mile off Dondera Head, there are twenty fathoms ; 
at a "mile and a quarter, thirty. Three miles off Tangalle, there are 

1 The town of Galle is indebted for its emblem, a cock, to an etymological error 
of the Portuguese, who confounded the native name Galla, a rock, in allusion to 
the situation of the town and harbour, with Gallus. 


twenty fathoms, and at four, thirty. Three and a half miles off 
Hambantotte, there are twenty, and at five, thirty fathoms. 

The trade of Galle chiefly consists of exports, but it is by no 
means equal to what might be expected from its natural position. 
The export of salt fish to the continent of India was formerly large, 
but that trade has declined considerably, though endeavours have of 
late years been made to re-establish it. More coir rope, cocoa-nut oil, 
arrack, and chaya root, are sent from this province, than from all the 
other parts of the island put together, and a considerable portion of 
the trade in coffee, cotton, rice, ivory, cinnamon, and tortoise-shell, 
is carried on here. Exclusively of the Dutch and Portuguese mer- 
chants, there are here, Moormen, Hindoos, Chitties, Arabs, Parsees, 
and Maldivian traders. Ships may obtain better supplies here than 
any where else in the island, and fish, vegetables, and fruits are cheap 
and abundant. Great attention is paid to onion gardens, within and 
without the fort. Shipping is well supplied with pure water from the 
well, under the hill called Bona Vista, which forms the east end of 
the harbour. 

The view from the harbour off Galle is certainly lovely ; the 
entrance being narrow, the panorama is uninterrupted. To the right 
is the picturesque fort, with its old walls and fortifications, jutting far 
into the sea ; at the extreme point is the flag staff, and beyond it are 
several rocky islands, upon one of which is a single cocoa-nut tree, 
which adds much to the effect. In the centre of the town, and rising 
above every surrounding object, are the two gable ends of the old 
church, built by the Dutch, and from the harbour it appears shaded 
by a large tulip tree. The whole place is shaded by trees, which ap- 
pear as numerous as the leaves, and make it look from sea like fairy 
land, while the senses are no less enthralled by the balmy perfume of 
the hot-house air, which, loaded to satiety with the perfume of rich 
flowers, is felt far at sea. Farther on is the quay, where multitudes 
of canoes are moored, which have an exceedingly picturesque appear- 
ance. On the left of the bay is a lofty headland, clothed to the 
summit with trees, and the most luxuriant vegetation of the richest 
and most varied colours, and the contrast presented by the thick 
groves of dark green palms, and the white foaming spray dashing over 
the black cliffs, is not the least pleasing feature in the scene. Two 
lovely islands are in the same direction, partaking of the features of 
the main land ; but the prettiest part of the whole is at the back of 
the harbour ; here is the Galle face or esplanade, and at the back 
three verdant hills clothed to the very summit with cocoa-nut trees. 
At the top is the pretty little Catholic chapel, peeping with its white 
face through the trees. At the foot of these, and close to the har- 
bour, is the native town and bridge, all of white, and shaded by 
numerous trees. The ramparts on the sea face afford delightful 
walks in the morning and evening, and the umbrageous Suria trees on 
the north ramparts, which, as well as some very fine bread-fruit trees, 
are numerous in the fort, enable one to walk there free from exposure 
to the sun throughout the day, but it is maintained by some that the 


high walls of the fortifications, by effectually shutting out the de- 
lightful sea breeze, are a drawback rather than otherwise to the 
salubrity of the place. 

The fort is more than a mile in circumference, commanding 
the whole of the harbour, but is in its turn commanded by a range 
of hills about 700 yards distant, and contains besides the ordinary 
public buildings, a great number of houses, occupied by Moorish 
families, and a mosque, a Dutch church, Wesleyan chapel, and 
some shops. After passing an ancient moss-grown Dutch gate, 
appears an open building of somewhat venerable appearance, one 
story high, surrounded by an airy verandah, with the figure of a 
cock, and the date 1687 over the entrance. It is the queen's house. 
The rooms which are large, are paved with stone. The doors are 
made to serve the purposes of windows also. The lines of defence 
on the land side, or across the isthmus, consist of one bastion, with 
a cavalier, two half bastions with faussebrayes, and two curtains, 
containing each half bastion with the whole bastion, with a half 
finished ditch in front of the whole, but without casemated barracks 
or store houses. The salient angles of the half bastions are appuyed 
to the harbour aud sea. The construction of the fort is entirely 
irregular. The remaining defences consist of substantial lines built 
on the edge of the outline of the peninsula, the base of which is 
constantly washed by a heavy surf. The profile is irregular, in some 
parts bold, but from the small height of the faussebraye, requires a 
wet ditch in order to guard against escalade. The revetments are 
composed of rubble stone and coral, laid in lime mortar, and are in 
tolerable repair. The fort is also tolerably well supplied with water, 
and there are four powder magazines within it. In front of the Govern- 
ment house stands a superb row of exotic trees (Mimusops Elengi), 
which were originally introduced from Java. Great improvements 
have of late been effected in the pettah and its bazaar, the former is 
still far from regularly laid out, but it is extensive, and the houses 
are in general good. It is separated from the fort by a wide place, 
and consists of two long streets, formed of small one- storied houses : 
on a foundation wall two feet high, built of stone, rest wooden pillars, 
which with a wall of hurdles, support a broad overhanging cocoa-nut 
roof, tiles being seldom used, except by Europeans. At the back of the 
deep verandah, is the entrance to the one solitary apartment. The pro- 
prietor sits or lies on the raised floor above the foundation wall, 
beside his wares or the implements of his trade. Soon after the setting 
in of the south-west monsoon, the annual fleet of boats arrives from the 

The Maledives or Maldives are dependencies of Ceylon, and the 
Raja communicates twice annually with the Government agent at 
Galle. This wide stretching archipelago extends from 7° 6' North 
lat., to 0° 40' South lat., or about 530 miles, but in no part is the 
breadth of the chain supposed to exceed fifty miles in a direct line, 
although the most western limit of the northernmost group or 
Atoll, is in 72° 48' East long., and the most eastern boundary of the 


chain in 73° 48' East long. The most northern Atoll is about 350 
miles from Cape Comorin. 

The sovereign chief of these islands styles himself Sultan of the 
thirteen Atolls, and twelve thousand islands, but the actual number 
is believed to be more than treble that number. The whole archi- 
pelago is enclosed and protected from the sea, which, during the 
south-west monsoon, is violently agitated in these latitudes, by narrow 
strips of coral reef, which surround them like a wall. In many 
places this bulwark against the angry ocean, scarcely reaches the 
surface of the water ; in other places it forms a long sandy beach, 
perhaps less than six feet above the level of the sea, and is either 
circular or oblong. Each of these circular enclosures contain open- 
ings, into which small vessels can enter. The number of these coral 
reefs is fourteen, thirteen of which lie to the north of the equator. 
They lie on a long sand bank, to the edge of which their outer sides 
extend, and beyond them there are no soundings. The channels 
which divide these Atolls, are in some places deep and safe, and are 
passed by the vessels bound direct for Ceylon, or the Bay of Bengal. 
Two of these navigable channels are south of the equator. The 
Adon or south channel is between Poona Moluque Atoll (the south 
Atoll), and the island of Adon, and is about five miles long, and five 
leagues wide, and the Equatorial channel is between Adon and the Atoll 
Suadiva, which is ten leagues wide. North of the equator are first the 
one and a half degree channel, which is seventeen leagues in breadth, 
and formed by the Suadiva Atoll, and the Adoumatis Atoll ; it is the 
widest and safest of all these channels, and frequently used by ships 
proceeding eastward in the westerly monsoon. Farther north is the 
Kollomandous channel, formed by the Adoumatis Atoll on the south, 
and the Kollomandous Atoll on the north ; it is only seven or 
eight miles wide, but it is safe. The most northern is the Kare- 
dive channel, which also appears to offer a safe passage, but it is not 
used at present, though much frequented two centuries ago. 

Within the Atolls, the sea is not agitated by storms, and there are 
always soundings in twenty or thirty fathoms water. The islands are 
in general situated along the enclosing coral wall, the central part of 
the Atolls containing only few of them. They are all small; not 
many of them exceed a mile in length and breadth, and a few are 
less than half a mile, and they are in general circular or lozenge-shaped. 
Many are mere strips fifty or a hundred yards broad, forming a circle 
which incloses a lower tract filled up with broken coral rocks, and 
dry at spring tides. Within this ring there is sometimes consider- 
able depth of water, from one to ten fathoms, so that a perfect 
lagoon is formed. The highest part of the islands is from six to 
fourteen feet above water. Their surface consists of sand about 
three feet thick, the top part of which is mixed with vegetable mat- 
ter, forming a black, light sandy soil. Beneath the sand is a soft 
sand-stone, resembling indurated particles of beach-sand. This sand- 
stone is about two feet thick, below which depth it softens again to 


sand, and here fresh water is found. All the inhabited, and many 
of the uninhabited have fresh water. 

The surface of the archipelago is in general covered with a thick 
impenetrable jungle, among which there are many fine large trees, as 
the banyan, the candoo, and the bread-fruit trees. On some islands, 
the bamboo flourishes, and there are small plantations of Indian 
corn, sugar-cane, and cotton, from which last, a small quantity of 
cloth is made. Two kinds of millet are cultivated, but the chief 
diet of the people is fish and the cocoa-nut, which is carefully tended. 
This palm bears fruit of the smallest known species, none being as 
large as a common tea cup, but the coir is fine, long, of a white 
texture, very strong, and is largely exported. The Male Atoll sup- 
ports a few cattle, but there are no sheep or goats, and no poultry 
other than the common fowl. The rat is here a great plague, and 
causes great damage to the cocoa-nut plantations. The flying fox, as 
it is called in India, is also very common. Fish is very abundant, 
and salt-fish is a considerable article of export. Turtle are plentiful, 
and cowries are collected and exported to a great amount. 

The climate of the Maldives is far from unpleasant, the range of 
the thermometer not being great. In December, January, and 
February, the thermometer ranges during the day from 80° to 84° ; 
at night it falls to 78°, and rain is frequent. The easterly winds 
set in early in December, and seldom blow strong, but generally in 
pleasant light breezes. Towards the end of January, they pass to 
the northward, and calms are frequent. During the remainder of 
the year, westerly and north-westerly winds are by far the most 
prevalent, and frequently stormy. 

The people of the Maldives are Mahommedans, and are in all 
probability an Arab graft on a Singhalese, or it may be, Malabar 
stock. They are a simple, contented, and almost exclusively a sea- 
faring people. Their mercantile transactions are characterised by a 
spirit of fairness, unusual among the crafty natives of the east. In 
conversing with them, an European cannot fail to be struck with their 
freedom from guile, the result of their sequestered life and general 
occupations. Two languages are in use among them, the vulgar one 
which is peculiar to them— though it bears a great affinity to the 
Singhalese — and the Arabic, as a learned language. They have also 
a peculiar alphabet, differing both from the Sanscrit and Arabic. It 
is written from right to left, and the vowels are indicated by points. 

The population of the Maldives is estimated at between 150,000 
and 200,000. The sovereign, who is called Sultan, administers the 
government of the more distant islets through his chiefs ; and sends an 
half j early embassy, 1 bearing presents of the products of the island, 

l The presentation of the Nakodah — who is honoured with the title of " Am- 
bassador" — is always a scene of great merriment, from the naivete with which that 
functionary fills his part in the ceremonial. After being escorted to the Govern- 
ment house by a party of the Ceylon Rifles, preceded by native music, he first 
respectfully touches his forehead with the Royal letter, which he has thus far 


and receiving others in return. He resides at Male, the circumference 
of which is seven miles. The common etymology assigned to the word 
" Maldive," is from Male, and diva, a corruption of the Sanscrit 
dwipa, hut I would venture to propose Maha, Laala, and diva, which 
is in all probability the root of Male itself. 

The Maldives were formerly visited by vessels from the continent 
for cowries and other produce, but the facilities offered by the abun- 
dance of the cocoa-nut palm for the construction of small craft, has 
led to the substitution of native craft, which, secure in the heaviest 
seas, carry komblemas, 1 a species of dried scomber (Umbella Kadda 
Singh,) cowries, coir, cocoa-nut oil, tortoise-shell, &c, to Ceylon, 
and the continent, from whence they return with rice, which is not 
grown in the islands, sugar, silk stuffs, broadcloth, hardware, and 
tobacco. They arrive at Calcutta in June or July, with the south- 
west monsoon, and depart in the middle of December with the 
north-east monsoon. These boats are remarkably well built, and 
have a smart appearance, the sides being painted or plastered with 
white and red streaks, and a large eye is painted on each bow : the 
head and stern are alike. 

The face of that part of the Southern province in the vicinity of 
Galle is beautiful, and generally well cultivated with rice, and a 
variety of other grains. Intersected by streams and canals, the 
vegetation is luxuriant and verdant throughout the year, and the 
succession of distant hills, adds to the variegated beauty, which 
the landscape every where presents. Within a few miles, the most 
favourable situations may be found, for an extensive cultivation of 
sugar, coffee, cocoa, indigo, &c. The agent of Government for the 
Southern province resides at the cutcherry, and is a member of the 
Galle branch of the Education Commission. The district court is 
superintended by a district Judge, with an assessor, secretary, clerks, 

borne on his head, enclosed in a small bag of crimson silk, presents it kneeling, 
and with repeated salaams. Then are introduced the Royal presents, and the 
" Ambassador," having been informed that he shall bear an answer and presents 
in return to his Sovereign, is told, more Asiatico, " that he may go." He then 
respectfully takes his departure with his escort, and the interests of his august 
master having been thus protected, his Excellency may perhaps be immediately 
after seen bargaining for coir rope and cocoa-nut oil on the beach. The cere- 
mony of presentation is again performed towards the departure of the fleet, when 
the usual presents, consisting of scarlet cloth (a colour exclusively worn by the 
Sovereign), and a few pounds of cinnamon, &c. &c, are sent by him. As a proof 
of the simplicity of this people, it is mentioned by Lieut, de Butts, that in the 
absence of other topics, a friend of his jestingly remarked that there was a rumour 
of an approaching war between Great Britain and the Maldives. The aged 
chieftain, not doubting the assertion, started up, and earnestly begged that he 
would contradict so unfounded and injurious a report; "for," added the Am - 
bassador, in a confidential whisper, "the Sultan of the Maldives is plenty 'fraid 
of the King of England." 

1 The komblemas has just the appearance of a ship's block divided longitudi- 
nally into several pieces, and is almost as hard ; nevertheless it is in great demand, 
and, after having been well soaked and beaten, is rasped into an edible consistency 
for Sambols, a sort of olla of chopped cucumber, onion, bilimbi, chillies, lime 
juice, and pepper, as an accompaniment to rice and curries. 


and interpreters. The water within the fort at Galle is said to 
possess some had quality, and the prevalence of the distemper, 
called goitre, has been attributed to it. 

The next stage from Galle is to Hiccode (or Hiccodewa Singh), 
twelve miles distant in the Wellebodde-pattoo. The Gindura, or 
Giundura-oya, is four miles from Galle, with which it is connected by 
a canal, and will not fail to attract the observation of the traveller by 
its delightful scenery, and will interest the botanist by its plants. 
It is navigable for small boats as high as Hiniduwa. Gindura itself 
is a large village about three miles from Galle, with a small custom- 
house establishment ; the inhabitants carry on a considerable manu- 
facture of cordage, and have a small share of the trade of Galle. 

No scenery can be imagined more picturesque than the river near 
Baddagamma, the Church Missionary station, where the stream with 
its grassy banks, the green meads, and the woody hills around, 
forcibly recall to the mind the scene presented by the Thames in 
the vicinity of Richmond, were the latter set off with the luxuriance 
and splendid tints of a tropical vegetation. A handsome church, 
and a number of schools have been constructed, and opened in this 
vicinity by the Missionaries within the last few years. From the 
church steeple, one of the noblest prospects in Ceylon may be 
enjoyed. The church itself is a handsome edifice, capable of con- 
taining six hundred people, built of stone, and surrounded by a 
verandah. The roof is supported by iron-wood pillars, about thirty- 
five feet high, in two parallel rows, one on each side of the middle 
aisle. The Maplegam-ganga, which has its source in the mountains 
of the northern portion of Saffragam, falls into the Gindura, a little 
below the populous village of the same name. 

After crossing the Gindura- oya, over which a fine bridge has 
lately been erected, the next village is the fishing hamlet of 
Dodondewe, within the limits of the Walawitte Korle, and 
forming part of the district of Caltura, where there is a Bana 
Maduwa, a little out of the high road on the right hand, and a 
small custom-house establishment. The coast, which, to the south- 
east side of the river is rugged and rocky, to the north-west side becomes 
low and sandy. Two miles off the shore is Gindura rock, which is 
very dangerous. The rest-houses throughout the whole line of road 
from Galle to Colombo are excellent, and there are Postholders at the 
intermediate stations to supply refreshments to travellers at twenty- 
five per cent above the bazaar prices, which premium is allowed them 
for their trouble, fuel, cooking, &c. 

The face of the country is generally flat, but in certain places 
undulating, and the roads are excellent. One continued tope of 
cocoa-nut trees along the sea shore and line of road, renders travelling 
delightful, whether by day or night, in carriage, palanquin, or on 
horseback. The country is intersected by beautiful rivers, whose 
banks are covered with verdant trees, and paddy fields, and horse 
boats and passage boats at every ferry, render travelling any thing 
but irksome, the delay being very trifling at either. Hiccode rest- 


house is most pleasantly situated, and a great resort of pic-nic parties 
from Galle. The road level and good, is lined by myriads of ever 
verdant cocoa-nut palms, which form an agreeable and almost imper- 
vious shade to the meridian sun. The next rest-house is that of 
Amblangodde, (Ambalama, a rest-house, and goda, a bank), seven 
miles distant. It is a large and populous village, with a fine wihare ; 
the inhabitants are exclusively fishermen, and engaged in the trade 
with the Coromandel coast. Crossing the Madampe river by a well- 
constructed wooden bridge, the traveller arrives at Madampe, a 
populous and flourishing village, and from thence through the villages 
of Kosgodde, and Balapitimodera, where there is a small custom- 
house, and to Bentotte (Ben-tota), the distance is 14f miles. The 
rest-house, situated on the left bank of the river, is a strong and 
extensive Dutch building, is one of the best in the island, and most 
delightfully situate upon a level green, at a pleasant, but not too 
remote a distance from the sea, from whence the breeze is wafted 
over the river with a refreshing and unusual coolness, when contrasted 
with its passage over the sands. At this place is a large manufac- 
ture of arrack, and of the coir rope, the population is numerous, and 
the village has a church. The means of irrigation are every where 
so abundant, that the face of the country is one vast scene of culti- 
vation. Coffee grounds, fields of country hemp (Crotalaria Juncea), 
for fishing nets, paddy fields, arum (Arum macrorhizon), yam, 
(Dioscorea bulbifera, Z.), and sweet potato (Convolvulus Batatus, L.), 
plantain, and a country potato very small, but in some respects like 
that of Europe (Solanum tuberosum), give an air of plenty and 
of luxuriance to the general scenery of this part of the island. The 
native farms and villages are surrounded by indigenous fruit trees, 
including the shaddock, orange, lime and jambo. The Bentotte 
river, over which an elegant bridge has lately been thrown, sup- 
plies Colombo, Galle, and the intermediate places with oysters; 
though the villagers are entirely ignorant of feeding them. The 
scenery up this river, which has its source near Hiniduwa Kandi 
or the Haycock, is beautiful ; the sides are covered with the curious 
Mangrove, (Rhizophera Mangle, L.,) and a variety of magnificent 
timber trees, among which innumerable monkeys play their destruc- 
tive gambols, every now and then descending to plunder the fruit 
trees of the adjacent farms, which they do with perfect impunity. 
Hiniduwa Kandi itself is very rugged, and is ascended by ladders. 
The view from the summit is very grand, Colombo, seventy miles 
distant, being visible on one side, and the whole sea coast from that 
place to Matura on the other. On a third the Kandian hills, and 
the mountains of the interior rising one above another. The country 
in the immediate vicinity is hilly, and thinly populated. Hade 
Demala Kandi is another high hill, similar to Hiniduwa, with a 
Buddhist temple on its summit. 

If the traveller leave Bentotte in a pardie or covered boat over- 
night he will be in the midst of a fine country abounding in game 
and intersected by small streams, where there is just room enough 


for a boat to pass clear of the overhanging trees and underwood by 

A few miles above Bentotte, there is an ancient and massive 
wihare, which is approached by a wide avenue' of fruit trees and by 
several flights of granite steps. In the temple grounds a variety of 
palm and other trees, displaying every shade of foliage, some bearing 
fruit, others flowers, present a delightful change of scene ; at 
noonday the avenue is delightfully shaded from the sun, and the rills 
of pure water which flow to the right of the road, where there is also 
an ancient and sacred well, almost as cold as if saltpetre were dis- 
solved in it, which by imparting a grateful coolness to wine, renders it 
a charming rendezvous for the parties making a day's excursion in 
the neighbourhood. Here the naturalist has also an ample field to 
gratify his taste in whatever branch it may lie. 

The district of Saffragam (Habaragamuwa) is very extensive, con- 
taining 158^ square miles, and upwards of 50,000 inhabitants. The 
surface of the country is very diversified, presenting a succession of 
magnificent mountains, rugged hills, beautiful valleys, and immense 
forests abounding with the most valuable timber. The soil in general 
consists of a yellowish clay intermixed with sand, but produces a large 
quantity of paddy and other grain. Areka-nuts, coffee, pepper, jack- 
fruit, kittul, talapat and jambo also abound, but the cocoa-nut tree 
is not common here. The inhabitants are Singhalese, and manu- 
facture areka-nut cutters, arrows, spears, firelocks, silver snuff-boxes, 
walking canes, umbrellas, talapats, and mats of different sizes and 
descriptions, and a large quantity of jaggery is made from the juice 
of the kittul tree. From the water communication furnished by the 
Kalu-ganga, the province possesses great facility for trade. It exports 
immense quantities of cardamoms, turmeric, precious stones, elephant's 
tusks, deer horns, bees-wax, honey, dornatel, dammer, in addition to 
the articles before named, in return for which it imports cotton stuffs, 
tobacco, salt, salt-fish, &c. The subdivisions of Saffragam are the 
Kooroowitte Korle, Nawadoon Korle, Kolonna Korle, Kookula Korle, 
Atakalan Korle, Kadewatte Korle, and Medda Korle. 

The celebrated temple of Saffragam dedicated to Saman, or Laks- 
hamam, the tutelar deity of Saffragam, lies contiguous to the right 
bank of the Kalu-ganga, close to Ratnapoora. The landing is by a row 
of irregular marble stairs from the water's edge. On the east stands 
the main entrance, opening into two court yards, the second forming 
the more immediate compound of the temple, and rising above the 
level of the first nearly twenty feet, the two occupying an area of about 
two acres and a half, respectively inclosed by a wall three feet and a 
half high, the latter surmounted by a tiled covering of nearly four feet 
above it. The ascent to the temple from the gateway is up another 
flight of marble steps, when a small covered verandah enclosed again 
by a lesser wall fronting the first door is reached : this leads into an 
aisle supported by columns, and at the west end stand the indicise of 
Buddhistical worship, with images in relief on the opposite wall. 
Above this room rises a small two-storied apartment, the uppermost 


division of which forms the sanctum where the paraphernalia of 
Saman are deposited. The temple is an oblong quadrangular build- 
ing of solid masonry, measuring 150 feet from end to end, and mid- 
way of the aisle on bbth sides stand two little square buildings 
respectively dedicated to the worship of Buddha and Patine. East 
of the outer court are lines of huts, the temporary dwellings of the 
thousands who resort to the temple during the pilgrimage. To this 
temple are attached fifty dancing girls called Manikaweru, who during 
the festivals perform certain ceremonies, and are remunerated from 
the lands belonging to the temple. A festival takes place in July 
and lasts fifteen days, when the Karandua containing a relic of 
Buddha is carried in procession. 

During the Kandian war this temple was occupied by a detachment 
of troops, and a large quantity of silver and copper coins discovered ; 
but it is to be feared they fell into the hands of those who were 
ignorant of their value. 

Ratnapoora (city of jewels), the principal place in Saffragam is a 
small fort sixty-one miles south-east of Colombo, with good barracks, 
on the summit of a rocky hillock, which rises in a long narrow valley, 
bounded on all sides by high and thickly wooded hills. The fort, though 
possessed of few means of defence against any other than a native 
force, is sufficient to protect the large village which lies under its walls 
from Kandian cunning or surprise. The Kalu-ganga, so called from 
Kalu, black, in allusion to the dark shade over its waters, is even here 
little more than fifty feet above the level of the sea, and runs near the 
fort, affording to this district the convenience of water carriage both 
to Caltura and Colombo ; but this advantage is in some measure 
counterbalanced by its overflowing its banks around Ratnapoora in the 
rainy season, leaving only the fort and a little rising ground, on which 
stands the residence of the assistant agent of Government for the dis- 
trict of Saffragam, above water. 

Ratnapoora charms from the beauty of its situation ; although 
nothing now remains of its ancient monuments. Scattered over the 
hill side are the detached buildings, with broad roofs and deep 
verandahs, which constitute the town. The larger houses are painted 
white and yellow, and have a foreground of lovely green turf with 
thick flowering shrubs. One street only in Ratnapoora consists of 
contiguous rows of houses, and that is the bazaar, where every 
necessary of life may be procured at a cheap rate ; but here, as else- 
where, shops for the sale of spices predominate. Ratnapoora is the 
seat of the gem fishery, the superintendant of which is a burgher. 
At an opening in the gay border of gigantic bamboos with their ele- 
gant gold stems, and near a small tributary stream is the chief 
treasure bed. Here natives may be seen up to their breasts working 
about with long mamooties or mattocks. They stand in an oblique line 
across the stream, and shovel up from its bed against the current all 
the mud in which the precious stones are contained. The presence of 
gems is indicated bv the approximation in a yellow clay of the three 

2 R 


descriptions of stone called Borullugalle, Gangalle, and Tirrowaana- 
galle. The slime or mud being collected into heaps, and put into 
porous tray-like baskets, the water as it flows on, washes away the 
finer particles of silt, leaving the coarse gravel. Every half hour 
they dip down, holding the flat baskets in their hands, which they 
swing backwards and forwards in the water with much exertion, to 
separate the lighter particles, after which they carry them to the 
shore to examine. Rubies of large size are extremely rare, and fine 
sapphires yet more so, but topazes, kirunchies, and yellow and yel- 
lowish green sapphires, are abundant. 

In hazy weather the gorge, through which the Kalu-ganga issues 
from the great mountain range, shews three peaks, of apparently 
equal height, and it is very frequently only in the morning that two 
of these peaks, called (the Bainah Dirval Gohare) are observed to be 
much nearer than Samanala, and of inferior elevation. Gillemalle 
famous for its betel, is the next village on the route to the Peak : the 
road, which is very uneven and rugged, and no slight reproach to the 
Government, considering the concourse who use it, the place to which 
it leads, and the country beyond, keeps pretty close to the river 
through dense jungle, passing under the shade of some rocks, sur- 
mounted by a Buddhist temple, and crosses a considerable and 
impetuous stream, at times unfordable, near its junction with the 
Kalu-ganga. The most delicious and exquisite odours are here 
wafted from the jasmine, the orange, the citron, the lime, the 
areka plants and flowering trees innumerable, which suffused in the 
morning dew, border the line of route. Gillemalle is situated on a 
gentle elevation, round which the- river flows ; before it lies a rich 
cultivated plain, interspersed with gigantic forest trees, from which 
the screaming peacock and the notes of the jungle-fowl may be dis- 
tinguished, and bounded on all sides by wooded hills, which rise into 
stupendous mountains towards the Peak. Near Gillemalle, and on 
the right of a beautiful valley, is the residence of Gillemale Banda, 
a Kandian chief, who dispenses the limited hospitality within his 
means to the European. In passing along the plain many com- 
fortable native houses surrounded by gardens, containing cocoa-nut, 
areka, jack, shaddock, plantain and other fruit trees ; also the talapat 
with its immensely large fan-shaped leaves, and the bo-tree, which, 
from being sacred to Gautama Buddha, is generally to be found pro- 
tected by a stone wall, bear evidence of an improved state of economy. 
Some of these venerated trees are surrounded by several platforms, 
on which are erected little altars ; and at these the natives may be 
seen offering flowers to the sylvan representative of the object of their 

At Mount Karangodde, a few miles beyond, and to the north-east 
of Ratnapoora, the scenery is indescribably magnificent. The ascent 
to the first landing is by some hundreds of broad steps, hewn in the 
solid rock, which is covered with jungle and pine apple-plants, that 
have sprung from the offsets and crests of the fruit casually thrown 


there, whose leaves are from five to six feet long, exhibiting the 
effect of shade upon that plant. On the first landing is the residence 
of the priests, an extensive and substantial stone building, with a 
large interior square, protected from the sun by wide and covered 
verandahs, into which the sleeping apartments open. A similar, 
but less inclined, flight of rock steps leads to the second landing place, 
where a rock wihare exhibits Buddha's recumbent image, daubed 
over with the usual quantum of red and yellow lacker behind an old 
curtain, surrounded with Hindoo deities, and having an oblong table 
before it, profusely covered with flowers : one great attraction to the 
European at this part of the ascent is a well of the purest and coldest 
water. From hence the approach to the summit is extremely rugged, 
and covered with the gigantic groundsel, but the tourist is amply 
rewarded for toil, trouble and danger, by the magnificent panorama 
which, on gaining the crown of the mountain, bursts upon the view. 
Here castellated llatnapoora and surrounding country, interspersed 
with every variety of champaign, undulating and hilly lands, inter- 
sected by the serpentine and impetuous Kalu-ganga ; there the Peak 
towering high above the clouds to the north-eastward ; and in 
another direction the various villages dispersed upon the banks of the 
river and its tributary streams, bordered by extensive areka, kittull, 
and cocoa-nut topes, with occasional patches of intervening jungle, 
scattered among verdant tracts of pasture land, as if by way of con- 
trast to the golden glare of paddy and mustard fields in their ap- 
proaching maturity, and everywhere teeming with abundance ; the 
nearest plains covered with innumerable herds of bullocks and buf- 
faloes, and the distant ones with deer and elephants. 

At the extremity of the plain near Gillemalle another stream has to 
be crossed ; and soon after, the path becomes very steep, ascending 
through a continued forest. Four and a half miles from Gillemalle is 
Palabadoolla, the last inhabited spot on this track. It possesses a large 
and comfortable rest-house for pilgrims on their way to the Peak, with 
several mean apartments chiefly inhabited by priests, and a wihare.' 
From thence the ascent continues, being bordered by frequent preci- 
pices, whose terrors are hid by the close foliage and thick underwood. 
The natives of this part of the country are called after the name of 
their native hills ; thus, from Mallankandi, Mallankandiya ; the 
penultimate syllable always serving to shew the application of the 
term to the individual belonging to any particular hill. On reaching 
the rock called Nihila-hellagalla, the great depth of the valley at the 
bottom, the precipitous mountain opposite, and the country behind, 
burst at once upon the view. A great difference here begins to be 

1 In this temple is deposited on a small altar a celebrated representation of the 
Sacred foot. The tray-like plate is of copper, about six feet long and proportionally 
broad, in four compartments, embossed on the sides and in the centre with orna- 
mental silver work in the form of double stars and flowers, many of which have 
been abstracted by polluted hands. The outlines of an image or two aie engraven 
on the plate. 

2 r 2 


felt in the temperature, and the creeping plants begin gradually to 
yield to the mosses. The path is very rugged, serving more frequently 
for the bed of a torrent than as a highway, and increasing the merits 
of the pilgrimage, when the heavy rains must make it difficult to 
strive against the steep ascent and rapid stream. In April and May, 
the season when the great concourse of people make their pilgrimage, 
there are generally heavy rains, which by causing a sudden rise in the 
mountain torrents, often occasion the loss of lives ; and great hard- 
ships are borne by those who, being detained without food or shelter, 
are alike unable to advance to their destination, or to return for sup- 
plies, until the waters subside. 

At Diabetme, the full extent of the grand and magnificent spec- 
tacle, which has been gradually developing itself, begins to be 
perceived. The view from hence embraces three fourths of a circle, 
and with the exception of water, presents every variety of the sublime 
and beautiful in forest and mountain landscape. The prevailing tints 
of the forest comprise an endless alternation of the richest reds and 
browns of every shade, which are produced by the young shoots and 
leaves, which generally appear in these colours, or exhibit the palest 
green ; and where so great a proportion of the trees are evergreen, 
greatly add to the general effect. 

The most striking views on the east are Samanala, four miles 
distant, of a remarkably regular bell shape, rising on a long ridge of 
mountains. The small temple on the summit is scarcely visible. On 
the west is the stupendous rock, Uno-Dhia. To those who hold the 
awful and the horrible to be necessary components of the sublime, 
the views in Ceylon would appear defective, from the general absence 
of water ; and the softness diffused over its scenes by an exuberant 
vegetation, which conceals the noblest cataracts, decks with foliage 
the steepest rocks, and clothes the summits of the highest mountains 
with majestic forests. 

Diabetme is four miles from Palabadoolla ; it contains a scarcely 
tenantable rest-house : there the fowls or other animals, required 
during the traveller's stay on the Peak, are killed ; as no Buddhist 
would break the first commandment of his religion, and destroy life 
within the hallowed precincts. The Kandy or north road is the only 
other approach to the Peak, and is not only free from dangerous pre- 
cipices, but can "scarcely be called difficult. It was the route by 
which the Kandian kings and chiefs always reached the Peak, and as 
they travelled with a great retinue, the pathway was annually cleared 
of the jungle, and other obstructions. It would be easy to unite 
the Diabetme with the Kandy path before it reaches the cone, were 
it not for the scruple against increasing the facility of communication, 
which by removing the perils, might decrease the merits of the pil- 
grimage. At Diabetme the thermometer undergoes great variation, 
frequently varying from 49° to 60°, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. 
A ravine, from which the ascent continues up an inclined plane 
by 130 rude steps cut in an immense face of the smooth rock, 


called Dharma Raja, that could not have been otherwise gained 
except by a most circuitous route, is next reached. On the 
left-hand side, about half way up, there is a grotesque figure of 
a man, and an inscription cut in Singhalese characters. The figure 
is but a poor specimen of native ideas of symmetrical proportion ; 
and the inscription which, though faintly traced, is comparatively 
modern, relates to the execution of the work. On other rocks are 
chiselled figures of Buddha. The wild areka tree is interspersed in 
the neighbouring jungle, and by its tall white stems and graceful form, 
creates an agreeable diversity in the sombre green and profuse vege- 
tation of the sullen forest, which in most parts limits the view to the 
abrupt path, at times facilitated by rough ladders or the thick jungle 
that hems it in. Uncertain and devious as is the path, being in many 
places worse defined than the elephant tracks which cross it, yet it is 
the chief approach by which many thousands of pilgrims annually 
reach the Peak : l it was the principal route even before the earliest 
dates which tradition has preserved, and every remarkable stone or 
peculiar bank has its appropriate name, generally blended with some 
myth of the early gods, airy spirits, or malignant demons of this 
mysterious region. 

On the summit of the steps, the torrent of the Seetla-ganga (cold 
river) is perceived, rushing through another ravine : here the pilgrims 
perform their ablutions, which they consider to have the efficacy of 
baptism, before they presume to approach the object of their reve- 
rence, and subsequently don their best attire. The stream of the 
Scetla-gauga, which is supposed to be the parent stream of the Kalu- 
ganga, precipitates itself over a ridge of rock, among whose detached 
masses below are several pools : the sides of the torrent are formed 
at this place of steep rocks, with large trees, whose branches close 
across the stream. The water, from its intense coldness, is apt to 
induce a sudden chill on all who have not been previously exposed to 
the cold of the mountain air. From the circumstance that various 
fruits have been occasionally carried down this stream, both the 
Moormen and Singhalese believe, the former that Adam, the latter 
that Buddha, had a fruit garden here, which still teems with the 
most splendid productions of the East, but that it is now inaccessible, 
and that its explorer would never return. 

In passing under the rock called Diwiyagalla, the marks of a tiger's 
foot, of gigantic proportions, but of the slightest pretensions as 
regards delineation, is shewn, to which a fabulous legend is as usual 
attached. For a mile from hence, the vegetation of the forest, though 
stunted and moss -covered, is so thick as to conceal the Peak, though 

1 Philalethes mentions that as soon as the pilgrim had reached the top of the 
Peak, he was required to pull the rope of a bell, pendant from two upright stone 
columns, on which a third stone was laid, to ascertain whether he were clean ; for 
if he were unclean, they believed the bell would return no sound, in which case 
the pilgrim had again to descend to the foot of the hill, and purify himself with 
greater solemnity. This notion is now thought to be incorrect, the pulling of the 
bell having reference to the number of times the pilgrim hud visited the Peak. 

614 CEYLON. [part IV. 

immediately over it, until a clear space of ground is reached at the 
base of the cone ; and on the summit of the continued ridge, called 
Aandiyamalle-tenne, here is the grave of an Aandia or mendicant 
priest, now a Mahommedan saint, who closed his pilgrimage, doubt- 
less to his great content, so near the place at which the father of 
mankind and the first of Mahommedan prophets, had in his belief 
been compelled, stans pede in uno, to perform so long and uncom- 
fortable a penance. After his body had lain for three months on this 
spot, resisting the most inveterate causes of decomposition, it was dis- 
covered by a hermit from the wilds below, who had undertaken, as an 
additional penance, the task of reaching the Peak, through trackless 
deserts, thorns, rocks, under caverns, and over barriers of every kind, 
where man had never trod before ; and he it was who came upon the 
dead body, and performed the last office of humanity over the sainted 

The path now becomes steeper, and two or three chains afford 
assistance, which is hardly as yet required, till at length a point is 
suddenly reached, where it is necessary to turn to the left on the 
brink of a tremendous precipice. The feelings are here anything but 
pleasant ; a very slight trepidation, a gust of wind, or the least degree 
of stumbling, being sufficient to precipitate a person into the untold 
depths below. Such is however the result of habit and experience, 
that the guides and natives in general will carry carpet bags and the 
necessary supplies up the steepest places, without availing themselves 
of the assistance of the chains ; the absence of shoes being an advan- 
tage in this part of the journey, and in an elevation where the region 
of leeches does not extend. Repressing his feelings, and firmly 
grasping the iron chains, will in a few minutes bring the traveller to 
the summit of this steep acclivity, whose ascent has even been accom- 
plished by ladies through the active intrepidity of the guides ; and 
an aged priest was once conveyed up in a light palancpiin. The ladder 
lies at the north-west face, up a perpendicular ascent of bare rock 
forty feet high. The steps are about four inches broad, barely suffi- 
cient for the toes to rest on, and about eighteen long. The chains rest 
upon and lie along the rock, being only attached to it at their upper 
ends. Hence natives have been blown over the precipice, and yet 
continued clinging to one of the chains during a heavy gust of wind ; 
but in such a situation they could receive no assistance, and they all 
perished. Natives have also become giddy and frightened in the act 
of looking down the precipice, and falling, have been dashed to atoms. 
Most of these chains are of very clumsy workmanship, and the links 
are of different sizes : some contain inscriptions mentioning who have 
placed and repaired them. These, though deserving of gratitude, 
would have been yet more worthy of it, if they had raised the chains 
from the ground, so that they might be used as a rail. 

The height of the Peak is 7,420 feet above the level of the sea, and 
its summit, of an elliptic form, 72 feet in length by 34 in breadth, is 
surrounded by a wall five feet high : immediately within this a level 


space of irregular breadth runs all the way round, and the centre is 
occupied by the apex of the mountain, a solid granite rock about nine 
feet high at the highest part ; on this is the Sree Pada or sacred foot- 

Whether this much cherished memorial is rightly attached to 
Saman (whence Samanala, Hamallel or Samautakuta) by a prior 
claim, the Sri Pada' is now held by the Buddhists as a memorial of 
Gautama Buddha ; by the Mahommedans it is claimed for Adam, 2 
and called Baba-Aadaraalai ; and the Malabars and other Hindoos 
maintain that it was Siva who left the impression of a monster foot- 
step, and call it Sivanolipadam. 

This venerated memorial is five feet seven inches in length, two 
feet seven inches in breadth, and the slight similitude it bears to the 
shape of a foot, is produced by a margin of plaster coloured to imitate 
the rock : it is upon this moulding that the yellow metal case, which 
is profusely ornamented with gems of plain and coloured glass, is 
fitted before the usual time of the pilgrims' arrival. A temple built 
of wood surmounts the rock, and is kept in its position only by several 
strong iron chains fastened to the stone and also to the trees which 
grow on the steep sides of the cone. The roof is lined with coloured 
cloths, and its margin decked with flowers and streamers. This 
wooden temple, three feet high, dedicated to Saman ; a pansala 
(priest's house), six feet square, built of mud ; one large and one 
small bell (the former cracked), complete the catalogue of objects 
discoverable on the summit. 3 A beautiful pagoda is said to have once 
stood on it, but there is no trace of such an erection now discoverable, 
any more than of the water tank, 4 which the Singhalese called the tank 

1 Many people pretend to trace the toes of a foot, and aver tliat they point to 
the westward, while the impress is that of the left foot. This, if true, would 
coincide in a remarkable manner with the Balic account of Sommona Codom's in 
Siam, which the Siamese call Prabat, or the venerated foot. M. de la Loubere, 
in his admirable description of Siam, derives this from the Balic words Pra, 
venerable, and Bat, foot, as Pad in Sanscrit ; and states that the Siamese call 
their deity Sommona Codom, the son of a king of the famous Ceylon, who placed 
his right foot upon their Prabat, and his left upon Lanka. A magnificent temple 
is erected in the vicinity, round which many of the priests of the country dwell. 

2 The Mahommedans believe that Adam, whose height was equal to a tall palm- 
tree, after having been cast down from Paradise, which was in the seventh heaven, 
alighted on a peak in the isle Serendib or Ceylon, and remained standing on one 
foot until years of penitence and suffering had expiated his offence, and formed the 
footstep. That Eve, on the contrary, fell near Jeddah or Mecca, in Arabia ; and 
that after a separation of 200 years, Adam was, on his repentance, conducted by 
the angel Gabriel to a mountain near Mecca, where he found and knew his wife — 
the mountain being thence named Arafat ; and that he afterwards retired with her 
to Ceylon, where they continued to propagate their species. — Note to chap. ii. of 
Sale's Al-Koran. 

3 Baldneus speaks of sixty statues or figures having been discovered in the 
crevices of the mountain. 

4 On the north side of the cone is a spring of the coldest water, which may pos- 
sibly have led to the error in question. 


of fecundity, the water being said to have been drunk by women who 
were unfruitful, and to whom it was brought by the Jogis. 

The devotions of the pilgrims are assisted by a priest, according to 
a prescribed ritual. It comprises, among other things, the utterance 
of the pan-sil or five precepts, and the tune-sarana. It is customary 
at the conclusion of the ceremony for relatives, young and old, to 
salute one another, and the usage is accompanied with symptoms of 
the liveliest affection. Each pilgrim makes a small offering ; these 
are placed on the sacred impression, and removed by a servant. They 
are the perquisites of the chief priest of the Malwatte Wihare. 

The view from Samanala is in every respect the grandest that can 
be conceived, though chequered somewhat by monotony : in every 
direction are seen mountains clothed to their very summits in eternal 
forests, with bare rocks and precipices of such huge size, that even 
the luxuriant vegetation which screens many of the most sublime pros- 
pects, has been unable to conceal their awful grandeur. 

Beyond the higher mountains, a few cultivated but distant valleys 
may be indistinctly seen amid the hills, gradually decreasing to the 
sea, which may be distinguished blending with the humid blue haze, 
in which all distant objects are confounded. Batugedera appears to 
be almost under the feet, and in the distance may be discovered the 
Kandian mountains interspersed with clouds. 

Over some of these, small cascades, shining like streams of light, 
may be seen to rush, serving by their flashes to attract the eye to 
the course of the meandering Mahavelle-ganga, and several streamr, 
which would not otherwise be discerned. The general impression of 
the scene is a feeling of dreariness, and an idea of desolation arising 
from the recollection that the vast forests beheld on every side, have 
in some places encroached on cultivated districts, and in many in- 
stances over cities, temples and tanks, scarcely exceeded in magnifi- 
cence by those of the. greatest nations of antiquity. 

A peak, called Deiya Guhawa (cave of the god), on one side over- 
hanging its base, rises at a short distance to the south of Samanala, 
and seems but little inferior to it in height ; and by natives its summit 
is believed to remain as yet unpolluted by human footsteps. A self- 
confident priest, presuming too much on his sacred character, is said 
to have ascended so far, that the light was observed which he had 
kindled at night beneath the overhanging summit of this haunted 
mountain ; next day he returned, a hopeless maniac, and unable to 
give any account of what he had seen. "There is nothing," says 
Forbes, "incredible in this story; for the dreaded mountain is appa- 
rently easier of ascent than Samanala ; and we need not be surprised 
at the melancholy fate of the priest, if we consider how strongly the 
mind of a native (nurtured in the belief of demons) would naturally 
be acted on when alone in an untrodden solitude, haunted by the 
vague terrors of superstition and the just dread of savage animals." 

On the eastern side of the Peak, is the Bhagawa-Lenna, a jutting 


rock, under which all the four Buddhas are said to have rested during 
their visits to the Peak. The mountain on this side is covered, 
from the summit to its very base, with large rhododendron trees, 
whose branches extending into the inclosure, there offer their superb 
crimson flowers to the shrine of Saman, as if in return for his 
guardianship. The Buddhas have certainly shewn that they were 
actuated by high motives of policy in selecting for the chief place of 
their worship a spot from whence such objects of natural grandeur 
and one of the fairest portions of earth are visible. On Samanala's 
Peak, as on a throne of clouds, no one can help being penetrated 
with the most profound emotion ; and the mind irresistibly led to a 
contemplation of the source whence all this grandeur has originated, 
cannot fail to trace it to the Being, whom, whether Buddhist, 
Mahommedau, Hindoo or Christian, he may respectively worship. 

The native annals record with due solemnity the visits of the four 
Buddhas of the present era, who left the impression of their feet (on 
which are the mystical symbols), as seals of their authenticity and 
evidences of their divine power. The first of these, Kakusanda, 
is supposed to have visited the Peak, then called Deiwakuta (Peak of 
the god), about 3000 years before Christ. Finding the traces of 
Buddhas of former eras on the summit, he would seem to have walked 
in their light and revived their doctrines. 

The second Buddha, Konagamma, appeared about 2099, B.C. and 
the Peak had even then obtained the name of Samantakuta 1 (Peak of 
Saman), which, with little variety, it has since preserved. 

The third Buddha, Kaasiyapa, followed at an interval of 1100 
years, or about 1014, B.C. The fourth, Gautama, having arrived at 
Kellania from the continent of India, passed on to the Peak, rested in 
Bhagawa-Lenna, and from thence proceeded to Diggauakhya, 
5/7, B.C. 

A night on the Peak is thus described by Forbes : — " Varied and 
extraordinary scenes of earth and air may here be witnessed. At 
first the moon shining bright, made the features of the nearer moun- 

1 Called probably after Saman, the brother and companion in arms of Rama, 
when he conquered Lanka, according to the Singhalese records in 2386, B.C. He 
is mentioned in the Ramayan and by the Hindoos under the name of Lakshrnan, 
Two miles below Ratnapoora is the principal temple dedicated to him, who is 
considered the tutelar deity of this portion of the island, and in the holiest part 
of this building is contained the bow and arrow of the god. The figure of Saman 
is always painted yellow, and in Singhalese traditions this prince is related to have 
retained dominion over the western and southern parts of Ceylon after the death 
of Rawana, and to have been distinguished as a legislator. The accounts of Saman 
seem to be involved in great confusion, owing to a convert and follower of Buddha's 
bearing the same name. This disciple of Gautama, appears to have retired to the 
Peak, and to have taken advantage of the locality to inculcate the doctrines he 
professed. The earliest mention of the Saffragam temple of Saman, which is 
either this or the one on the Peak, is that in the reign of Dappoola, a.d. 795, 
a statue of Ramachandra — an incarnation of Vishnu — formed of red sandal-wood, 
was sent from Dondera to be placed in the temple of Saman at Safl'ragam. 


tains appear distinct ; while the deep valleys looked fathomless from 
the dark shadows that fell on some and the cold grey mists that lay 
in others ; from these small clouds occasionally detached them- 
selves, and ascended, casting a chilling damp for the few seconds that 
they hung around the sacred pinnacle ere they slowly floated onward 
or sank back again upon the mountain. A breeze then stirred, and 
clouds that had hitherto lain in repose were at once in wild commotion, 
passing, enveloping, or pressing in tumultuous masses along the 
mountains, which overspreading, they seemed to engulph. When 
these airy billows rolled and heaved round the Peak, the rock 
appeared to sink in the abyss ; another second overwhelmed me in a 
sea of vapour. Every circumstance here conspired to recall the 
native legends, that here the spirits, 1 from unrecorded ages down to 
the present time, hover in clouds and darkness near their sacred fane 
and native forests. The wind fell and morning dawned on a smooth 
lake of matchless beauty, from the number of abrupt and richly 
wooded islands which it contained. This, far from being a creation 
of fancy, was a deception of nature, and required the aid of reflection 
and memory to recall the true features of the scene, and to assure 
me that it was but the troubled vapour of the night that had subsided 
into the calm expanse, and that I had previously admired those 
islands in their true form of rocks, woods, and mountains." The 
thermometer on the Peak is seldom below 50°, and at this point only 
a short time before and at the time of sunrise, in general fluctuating 
between 51 and 60°, but persons who are accustomed to the heat of 
the plains experience a chilly sensation. 

The south-western portion of Saffragam is generally low and un- 
interesting, and not so well cultivated as the other divisions. Within 
three or four miles of Ratnapoora it greatly improves in appearance, 
and affords a favourable example of the scenery of Saffragam : flat 
green meadows occur in succession, at times diversified by paddy 
fields, bounded by low wooded hills, and skirted with a border of 
palms and fruit trees, under which the scattered dwellings of the 
natives are here and there visible ; but the country suffers greatly 
from floods. 

Between Ratnapoora and Balangodde, on the eastern confines of 
Saffragam, twenty-nine miles distant, there is considerable variety of 
country. The first part of the way is through charming and ex- 
tensive meadows, bounded by lofty mountains ; the chain of which 
Adam's Peak is the summit towering magnificently on the left ; the 
latter part of the road is hilly, and the immediate ascent to Balan- 
godde is steep and mountainous. The scenery is in general of a very 
exquisite character, gradually increasing in wildness with the eleva- 
tion of the country. The valleys are very well watered, and appear 

1 The natives believe that none but priests or Europeans can pass a night on 
the Peak with impunity, and that sickness, and perhaps death, would follow their 
violation of the rule. 


to be populous and well cultivated. About two miles from Ratna- 
poora is tbe village of Batugedera, consisting of a single street, 
inhabited chiefly by Moormen pedlars from the low country, who 
supply the natives with salt, tobacco, and the finer cloths, bartering 
them generally for rice at a high profit. At Gonagamme, another 
village, there is a wihare, upwards of five hundred years old, but 
exhibiting no peculiarity. The country immediately around Balan- 
godde is rather hilly and covered with jungle, consisting of guavo, 
with forest trees interspersed ; it is very partially cultivated, and the 
fields being situated in hollows are generally hid from view. The 
neighbouring scenery is wild and picturesque, especially towards 
the north, in which direction four distinct chains of mountains have 
a fine effect, rising one above another, all of various colours, the 
nearest green, the most distant purple, and the intermediate two of 
different shades of blue. 

The Bentotte river separates the Southern from the Western pro- 
vince. The superficies of this province is 6032 square miles, and its 
population, which was 329,797 in 1843, may be estimated at 358,550 
in 1848, being about 59 to the square mile. 

The Western province is bounded on the west by the sea, on the 
south and south-east by the Southern province, on the east by the 
Central province, and on the north and north-east by the Northern 1 
province. The district of Caltura (Kalutotta), extends along the 
most southerly part of this province. Its greatest length from 
south-east to north-west is thirty-eight, and its breadth from east to 
west eleven miles, and it is one of the most salubrious, pleasant and 
populous parts of the island. The soil is remarkably fertile, the low- 
lands producing three crops of paddy in the year, while the highlands 
are covered with groves and plantations of cinnamon, cocoa-nut, arcka, 
&c. The cocoa-nut-tree affords the inhabitants the means of carrying 
on an extensive distillation of arrack, and also of manufacturing 
cordage and jaggery. The district is divided into three Korles, 
Pasdoom, Raygam, and Wallawitty ; which are sub-divided into 
ten pattoos, and upwards of three hundred and seventy villages. 

The next village, on the coast route from Bentotte, is Barberyn, 
(Beruwala) six miles and three-quarters distant, the road excellent, 
occasionally undulating and hilly, but well shaded with cocoa-nut 
palms, tamarind, and various other beautiful trees. Barberyn island, 
in lat. 6° 28' north, being small and close to the coast, is not 
easily perceived from the sea except when passing near. Ships 
can anchor to the northward of it in six or seven fathoms, and in 
a small bay farther in ; but large ships passing between Caltura 
and this place seldom approach nearer than two or three miles off 
shore. Barberyn is a large fishing villatro, with a spacious native 
bazaar. Fish is salted here in considerable quantities — but in the 

1 See Preface. 


usual careless manner of the Singhalese — for the Kandian markets, 
where, notwithstanding its inferior preparation, it is ever in demand. 
The trade coastwise is considerable, and a great deal of coir cord and 
rope is manufactured and exported coastwise, as well as cocoa and 
areka nuts. A considerable trade is carried on with Saffragam by the 
Kalu-ganga. Till recently there was no rest-house at Barberyn, but 
the traveller received every attention from the officer in charge of 
the minor custom-house there. Near the village, upon a projecting 
promontory, there is a small mosque, which is more remarkable for 
its delightful site than for any particular merit it possesses as a place 
of Mussulman worship. 

From Barberyn to Caltura, distant five and a half miles, the road 
is excellent, in some places cut through hills of Kabook clay, and the 
country is undulating and well cultivated. Nearly equi-distant 
between the two villages there is an extraordinary lusus naturce, on 
the right hand, in a double cocoa-nut tree, the heads of which branch 
off at about sixty feet from the ground, like the letter Y, and its 
average produce is equal to that of two good trees. It is considered 
by the superstitious natives an omen of great good to the family to 
whom it may belong. A rich undergrowth of yellow, red, and blue 
campanulas surround the old fashioned but neat dwellings, built in 
the Dutch style, with verandahs at their sides, which lie scattered on 
this coast road, and old Dutch inscriptions are to be met with in every 
direction on the decaying walls. 

Caltura is twenty-five miles south of Colombo, on the left bank 
of the Kalu-ganga. The coast is low, and should not be approached 
under fifteen or sixteen fathoms in large ships. Both to the north- 
ward and southward of the fort there is foul ground, which should 
not be approached under ten fathoms. The Government House is 
a large and substantial building, having a spacious verandah in front 
and rear ; the former shaded by several beautiful jambo trees, and 
the latter open to the ever welcome cool sea breeze passing over the 
Kalu-ganga, which winds between the grounds and the sandy ridge 
that intervenes between the river and the sea to its embouchure to 
to the westward of the village. The adjoining cutcherry is also a 
very substantial building and shaded in front by some fine specimens 
of the India-rubber tree. The Wesleyan mission has a large and 
commodious house, and a neat and well constructed chapel and 
school here, both of which are constantly and well attended. Coffee 
of a very superior kind is grown in this district. Land may be 
purchased at moderate prices where there are no cocoa-nut trees, 
its value being usually estimated by the number of those palms 
growing upon it. For cotton the soil is well adapted, as well as for 
the cultivation of the chocolate nut (Theobroma Cacao, L.J, which 
requires much shade. The rising grounds should be planted with 
the former, and the valleys with the latter. Pepper is fond of shade, 
and might be grown in sufficient quantities in this province alone to 
render the island altogether independent of the Malabar coast for 


that spice to fill up the interstices in the bales of cinnamon exported 
to Europe. The view from Mount Layard, on the left bank of the 
river, is beautiful, but one scarcely knows which of the two reaches 
of the river to admire most : the old fort, an island and the open sea 
over the sandy ridge, make the view down the river the finest, but 
for the Indian impression given by the areka trees and cocoa-nut 
topes ; but the mellow richness of the scenery up the river towards 
Gal-Pathe would appear to some most interesting. There is a canal 
from this river of which the naturalist may advantageously avail 
himself. On either side the Kalu-ganga are extensive paddy, 
Kurukkan, mustard, millet, and tannahal fields. 

The Kalu-ganga, little inferior to the Rhine in breadth or volume, 
though at first exhibiting no remarkable scenery, soon presents, as 
you ascend it, numerous picturesque river scenes, with rugged banks, 
wooded hills, rocks and rapids. The stream is so extremely rapid, 
that the ascent of the river in a boat, or pardie, is wearisome to the 
last degree, it having to be dragged by a number of natives at the 
falls, between the rocks or Ellas, with rattan ropes ; the return pas- 
sage is capable of being effected within a reasonable time. The trade 
is carried on by pardies between Caltura and Ratnapoora, freighted 
chiefly by the Moormen from Barberyn, with salt fish, white and 
coloured cotton cloths, kerchiefs, country soap, &c, for the Kandian 
markets, which they barter for areka-nuts, bees-wax and jaggery. 
The priests at the pansalas, near the river, offer great accommodation 
to the traders, by permitting depots for the collection of areka-nuts 
on their grounds, which are purchased by the ammomam of 25,000. 

At Galpathe, eight miles from Caltura, the scenery becomes 
romantic and pleasing, with little mounds or hillocks rising on either 
bank, covered with rich and dense foliage Here and there grassy 
vales, contrasting in their lighter green with the deeper shades of 
the rising grounds, beautifully diversify the scene. The left bank of 
the river, abounds with monkeys, and the sportsman will find pea- 
fowl, wild ducks, widgeon and snipes, in as great a profusion as any 
locality in the island, or perhaps in India. The numerous little 
landing places on either side first indicate to the tourist, as he steals 
along, the habitations of the peasants, and the small herds of cattle 
browsing on the open space near some group of cocoa-nut or plantain 
trees, mark the extent of their possessions, and the fruit of their in- 
dustry. A rise in the floods happens here occasionally, to the great 
damage of the grain fields, but not to the same extent as in the years 
preceding the opening of the new mouth of the river. The village 
of Koongodde is devoted to the growth of kurukkan and minere. 
The back-ground from the banks of the river is flanked by a con- 
tinuous range of hills, broken at short intervals by undulating sur- 
faces, which are used as pasture grounds, or rice fields. Rafts are 
occasionally seen floating down the Kalu-ganga laden with vegetables, 
which are either purchased by the villagers on the banks, or carried 
to the more populous sea coast ; the raft itself, composed of bamboo 

622 CEYLON. [part IV. 

and firewood, is in demand at Caltura for temporary buildings and 
fuel for the distilleries. The larger rafts, composed principally of 
heavy timber, are used for permanent buildings. The agricultural 
aspect of the country as one ascends, shews no great marks of im- 
provement. The people seem quite content to remain behind the 
age, and have not a thought beyond their immediate wants. The 
heavy impenetrable jungle, with which three-fourths of the country 
is covered, bespeaks their indolent character. Blessed with the 
superior advantages of soil and climate, if they had but a share of 
European energy, they might look to the attainment of means far 
beyond that which now supply their coarse and scanty enjoyments ; 
but with the limited capital they now hoard up, they might double 
the interest, and transmit to their children the advantages they may 
not live to reap. 

The first thing that almost always marks the entrance to a village, 
near the coast, is an arrack tavern. At Tebboene, a mile beyond 
Yattewere, the country assumes a beautiful appearance ; the land- 
scape becomes diversified with little detached cottages peeping through 
a grove of plantain and other fruit trees. The village stands on the 
right bank, and paddy cultivation is extensively carried on ; Odowere 
is a Chalia village, and exhibits marks of considerable industry. On 
the right bank is a conspicuous little hill called Dewul Kandi, rising 
very abruptly within a few yards of the stream. On its rock summit 
are a little tank, and the vestiges of ancient buildings, supposed to 
have been the retreat of a Kandian prince during his wars with the 
Portuguese. Two or three villages distinguished rather for the vege- 
tation lavished in rich and wild profusion by nature than the result 
of man's industry, succeed, and the first rapids are reached. These 
are occasioned by a layer of rocks stretching across the channel, 
which is rather narrow at this point. When the tide ebbs the pas- 
sage is difficult, as the boat has to pass through a narrow opening on 
the right, barely sufficient to admit of a pardie, and so shallow that 
the keel may at times be heard rattling over the rocks as the rush of 
the stream hurries it along. A sort of superstitious awe is attached" 
to the undertaking by the boatmen, who invoke the aid of their 
deity, Saman, with the most solemn expression of countenance. 
Several small villages being passed, Naragalle is reached, where there 
is an arrack godown that supplies the taverns of the vicinity. The 
people in this neighbourhood have already become greatly addicted 
to this baneful liquor, and it has increased "the callous indifference and 
listlessness which was before the characteristic of the Singhalese in 
the maritime provinces. When to this is added the encourage- 
ment to gambling, and the frequent robberies that ensue to make 
losses good, a frightful picture of demoralization is seen to loom on 
the future. The arrack is not distilled here, though the rich heavy 
clusters of cocoa-nuts shew the excellence of the «soil they grow on, 
and the rich returns it would give if the industry of the people were 
properly directed. As it is, the banks of the river only are continuously 


cultivated, and very few acres beyond a mile from them have ever been 
subjected to the plough share, or had their thick motley forests fall 
before the woodman's axe. At the second series of rapids, a reef of 
rocks again traverses the stream, and the rumbling of the waters as 
they force their way over the thick masses and through the passage, 
may be heard from afar. The banks of the stream are here flanked 
by massive rocks, over which the wild but nimble natives, that seem 
to emerge from some creek in them, or the scarce visible openings 
in the jungle around, run with the rope from the boat till they get 
up to the extreme end of the right flank, and then one at a time 
plunge into the boiling stream, and make head against a current that 
one would imagine that no living creature could buffet, till they 
come to another prominent rock, almost in a line a head of the 
critical passage from whence they pull up the boat till it reaches 
it, while two or more of them stand by on one edge of the rocks 
that form the narrow outlet, and some of the boat's-crew with poles 
to steady it and keep it from being dashed against the flanks by the 
irresistible pressure of the stream. At Illembe, in the Raygam 
Korle, the cocoa-nut thrives on both bauks ; the village is famous 
for its rich soil, but the paddy fields are liable to inundation, whence 
they are only cultivated triennially. Pasdoom Korle on theother bank 
is wilder, and the country is not so populous. 

The village of Wagwatte is remarkable for its beautiful cocoa-nut 
topes and its numerous and neat little cottages covered with Illook, 
a description of coarse long grass. The cleanliness and taste of these 
dwellings, and the independent tone and manners of the people, 
indicate strongly their industrial qualities and superior intelligence, 
ascribable perhaps to the proximity of European capitalists engaged 
in sugar and cocoa-nut cultivation. After passing some small 
secluded villages, with the rudest possible habitations, the scenery 
assumes the bold aspect and the wilder and loftier appearance 
peculiar to the mountain region. The hills are capped with frowning 
rocks that look down their steep declivities and rear their tall heads 
amid the solemn stillness of a dense waste, broken only at intervals 
by the shrill tones of the peacock, or distant cry of the elk, roaming 
in wild freedom around. Oroogalle is inhabited by the Hakooroo 
caste, who enjoy the exclusive right to the cultivated lands here, where 
paddy, kurukkan, minere, amoo, and various kinds of roots, thrive 
well on the rich soil, while the younger branches of the people be- 
take themselves to the wild sports of the forests around. The 
orange, the shaddock and plantain, may still be seen here, but no 
longer so plentiful as hitherto. Hill paddy is sown on the face of the 
hills, the rice looks reddish, has a high flavour, and is supposed to be 
more wholesome and nutritious than the varieties grown in the low 
muddy fields. The people here seem to look with some mistrust upon 
their countrymen from the coast, who in landing do not scruple to pilfer 
anything they can lay (heir hands upon unperceived. The banks of 
the river become steeper and higher as one ascends, being generally 

624 CEYLON. [part IV. 

twenty feet above the level of the stream, yet such is the mighty rush 
of waters from the mountain torrents in the rainy season, that not 
only are the banks overflowed, but hardly a relic of the cottage roofs, 
some twenty leet above, can at times be discerned ; and the women 
and children and the elderly men retreat to the hills in the back- 
ground, while the younger men remain perched up in lofts, placed 
on the larger trees near the house, to protect the fruit, &c. from the 
depredations of those, who availing themselves of the occasion, go 
about in canoes to pick up any stray property. 

Nambaapane, a Hakooroo village, boasts a rest-house, situate on 
the site of an old Kandian fort on the right bank of the river, and is 
about midway between Caltura and Ratnapoora. It presents just 
such a spot as a wine grower would select for a vineyard, the 
alluvial soil being both rich and stony, and water being abundant. 
The next rapids are at Pannigalle-Elle, where the scenery is ex- 
ceedingly picturesque. Two beautiful hills overlooking the surge, and 
richly clothed in eternal verdure, offer an enchanting scene ; here a 
more athletic description of men seem as it were to drop from the 
surrounding heights, and convey the boat through the rocks, strewn 
in careless confusion by the caprice of nature. It is needless to add, 
that the same dexterity is here shewn in mastering the impetuosity 
of the stream. At Kiri Elle the density of the mists may be 
said to define the more humid climate of the interior. The 
people also differ in appearance from those even at the last village. 
They are essentially Kandian in their costume and idiom, and some- 
what migratory. Occasionally a solitary hut is seen at intervals, and 
a scanty crop of grain, but the frail materials of the hut are borne 
away by the periodical flood, and its late tenant seeks elsewhere a 
precarious subsistence. Two or three villages, whose inhabitants live 
by the manufacture of jaggery, succeed, until the tourist enters 
Kooroo witty Korle, stretching north-east of the right bank. Re- 
markable as it may appear, at these villages and Idangodde the 
people have more of the lowland dress and cast of countenance than 
those below. The Kookool Korle, south-west of the left bank, 
appears wilder and thinly peopled. 

A succession of villages, none offering anything worthy of notice 
as far as Arukpittiya, succeed. The country, though infested by 
elephants, is very fertile and luxuriant. The bazaar at this village 
is well supplied. This part of the country is remarkable for its rich 
and magnificent groups of green and yellow bamboo, which droop 
over the stream, and give the country a beautiful rural character. 
Their massive floats lie around for conveyance down the river, and 
they form a considerable article of trade. Fishermen from the coast 
may here be seen in their canoes in the evening shade, catching fish 
by torchlight with the iron instrument they call a sword, something 
like a horse comb, being a pronged blade of iron about twelve inches 
long, with a wooden handle two feet long, fastened round the wrist 
of the fisherman, who strikes the fish with it, while another holds 


the torch over the fascinated creature as it rises to the surface and 
remains motionless till the deadly blow is inflicted. Mullets of from 
six to eight pounds are thus taken. At Damboolowene the talapat 
prevails, and at Dodampe paddy and cocoa-nut trees are extensively 
cultivated. The villages between this place and Ratuapoora are 
inhabited by the Hakooroo and Goewanse, who in this neighbour- 
hood live more frequently near each other than elsewhere in the 
island. The pride of caste, though no longer sanctioned as formerly 
by law, still frets the surface of society, and recently some of the 
low caste before-mentioned were assaulted by the other while attend 
ing a marriage in an attire deemed unfitting to their low position in 
the social scale. It is needless to add that they met with the punish- 
ment they deserved. Nevertheless, in this very neighbourhood 
lately resided a Dissave, animated by the noblest sentiments of 
humanity, who not only discouraged the oppression of the superior 
castes, but gave a practical proof of his sincerity by the manumission 
of every slave in his possession. Below Ratnapoora the Kalu-ganga 
divides into two streams, one of which flows due north, and the other 
in an easterly direction. The northern branch is remarkable, now 
for its impetuosity, the rocks through which it runs, and the forests 
that border it, now for its placid and tranquil bosom. It receives 
the water from a great many rivulets and watercourses as it descends 
till it meets the icy waters of the Seetla. 

To return to Caltura. The country between this place and Colombo 
becomes more beautiful at every step ; nature and art seem to conspire 
to render the landscape a charming one : picturesque country seats, 
a rich vegetation, several rivers flowing softly between banks of ex- 
quisite loveliness, and distant views of mountains, follow each other 
in rapid succession. The next stage from Caltura northwards is to 
Pantura (Panadura), situate upon the south bank of the river of the 
same name, and distant ten miles, the road level, good and well 
shaded. It derives its name from an abbreviation of the word 
" pambunratta," or " the country where lamps were broken," in 
allusion to a legend of the reign of Wijeya. Pantura has two rocks 
on the north side of the river entrance, and the anchorage is to the 
southward, in ten fathoms, two miles off shore. 

The rest-house at Pantura, which faces the ferry, is very substantial, 
and the verandah is generally so cool as to afford a pleasant reading- 
place during the heat of the day. Fish kraals extend directly across 
the river, just leaving space enough for the pardie boats to pass and 
repass. A few mats for palanquins and sofas may be purchased here, 
but it has neither scenery nor manufactures to recommend it. Like 
the whole of this coast it abounds with cocoa-nut trees, and the 
principal objects of agriculture are paddy and sweet potatoes. A 
district judge resides here, and there is a minor custom-house estab- 
lishment in charge of a supervisor. 

The district of Colombo is divided into five Korles ; the Salpitty 
Korle, Ilewagam Korle, Hina Korle, Hapitigam Korle, and Aloot- 

2 s 


koor Korle. These are subdivided into pattoos. The population 
of the district is, after that of Jaffna, the most numerous, in pro- 
portion to its surface, in the island, being little less than 280,000, 
and the villages are upwards of 800 in number. The face of the 
country is in general flat, at times liable to inundation, and the soil 
varies from red and white clay to a ferruginous sand. Every variety 
of tropical produce is grown with success ; and copperahs, cordage, 
and arrack are exported to the Coromandel coast. 

After crossing the river the road leads by the lake and through the 
village of Morotto, or Morottowa, near to which are the cinnamon gar- 
dens or plantations, occupying an extent of from three to four hundred 
square acres. The village is chiefly inbabited by carpenters, who fell 
jack-trees, saw them into planks, and work them into every article of 
household furniture on the spot, and generally after the most recent 
English patterns. Morotto is fifteen and a quarter miles distant from 
Colombo; the intermediate road lies through the large but straggling 
villages of Galkisse and Colpetty, and throughout the distance is as 
level as a bowling-green, thickly shaded by a variety of beautiful and 
useful trees, and the sea side is bordered by cocoa-nut palms. The 
former village may be said to be one continuous bazaar, and is very 
well supplied with fish, of which the seir is chiefly esteemed for the 
market, and therefore the most valuable to the fisherman. This 
delicious fish is caught with hook and line, while the canoes are 
apparently skimming the surface of the water at a railroad pace, and 
in such quantities, that, after supplying the bazaar at Galkisse, the 
renter of the fishery sends the surplus morning and evening to the 
Colombo bazaar by Coolies, who actually bend under the weight of 
their pingo loads. Strangers visiting the Buddhist temple near this 
place meet with every attention from the priest, who is a great adept 
at flattery and adulation. Galkisse is of some importance from its 
proximity to the Governor's country seat at Mount Lavinia, 
formerly a capacious bungalow, but now a palace in comparison, the 
former building having been pulled down by Sir Edward Barnes and 
the latter substituted in its place. It is now, however, little fre- 
quented, and is said to be in urgent need of repairs. There is a 
Protestant church at this place. At no great distance to the right 
of Galkisse is Cotta (Jayawardhanapoora), once a capital of Ceylon, 
containing a splendid palace of blue stone, and temples and 
monasteries for the priests, all now in ruins. The present village is 
on the banks of a small stream, which communicates with Colombo 
by the Kalane on one side, and with the Pantura-oya and Caltura on 
the other. In the rainy season it overflows its banks, and inundates 
the country around, rendering communication difficult except by 
water. Cotta is completely embosomed amid groves of cocoa-nut, 
areka, and jack-trees, entwined with pepper and betel vines. The 
Church Missionary Institution for the training of native masters 
and catechists is at this place, and several periodicals are issued 
from its press. Throughout the whole line of road between Gal- 


kisse and Colombo, the traveller may walk under cocoa-nut trees 
by the sea side without the least exposure to the sun. On the right 
of the high road, where cinnamon plantations do not intervene, groves 
of plantain and anatto would succeed. If the traveller have leisure, 
and sleep at Pantura, leaving before gun-fire with the view of break- 
fasting at Colombo, a halt at the Tamarind tree, about three miles 
from the fort, for a glass of the delicious toddy, always to be had 
there from sun-rise till eight o'clock fresh from the flower, will 
reward him for the delay. He then reaches the Galle-face, and the 
walk through the beautiful avenue of trees by which the whole road 
is lined will unfold the capital to his view. 

Colombo, the maritime capital and seat of Government, is in lat. 
6° 57' north, and long. 79° 50' east, distant about 368miles south-west 
from Madras, and about six leagues south south-west from Negombo. 
The bottom between these places is chiefly mud, with regular sound- 
ings, but the coast should not be approached close, on account of some 
rocks stretching out about two miles from the north point of the 
Kalane, at Mutwal Ganga, and in passing along shore a ship should 
keep in ten or twelve fathoms, and may anchor in Colombo road in six 
and a half to seven fathoms, with the flag-staff or light-house in the fort 
bearing from south to south by east of the town one and a half to two 
miles. The harbour, which is in the form of a semicircle, is only 
capable of receiving small vessels, and the road where the large ships 
cast anchor, at upwards of a mile from the shore, is exposed to the 
south-west monsoon, but severe gales seldom occur now, so that ships 
frequent it all the year through. The Drunken Sailor Rock bearing 
south-west by west, half west from the lighthouse, is two miles off t 
and is very dangerous. It is in the track of ships coming from the 
southward, when bound into Colombo roads in the north-east mon- 
soon, and the sea does not break upon it in fine weather. A steep 
bank of coral, about half a mile broad, having fifteen fathoms water 
on it, lies seven miles west of Colombo, stretching a few miles to the 
southward, and in a northerly direction towards Negombo, where its 
surface is sand. The water deepens at once to twenty-three fathoms 
outside the bank, and to twenty-eight fathoms, greenish sand, at two 
miles distant, which is not far from the edge of soundings. Within 
the bank are twenty-five fathoms, gradually shoaling towards the 
shore. The bar is a bank of sand, with seven feet water on its shoalest 
part. Small vessels drawing less than ten feet water, ride within the 
bar, protected from the sea and south-west wind. The sea breaks 
heavy on the bar in bad weather, rendering the crossing it from the 
shipping in the outer road dangerous for small boats. Pilotage is 
not now charged at Colombo, unless a pilot be employed, when the 
charge, according to a regulation of the Governor in Council, is fifteen 
shillings. The land about low near the sea, with some hills 
to the south-eastward, a little way in the country. The high mountain 
with a sharp cone, called Adam's Peak, is nearest to this part of the 
coast, being about two-thirds of the distance that it is from the east 
side of the island. 2 s 2 

628 CEYLON. [part IV. 

Colombo is mentioned in Singhalese history as early as the 
year 495 of the Christian era. Moogallaana, who afterwards reigned 
at Anuradhapoora, is said to have landed here with an army from 
the continent and erected a fort. About the year 1374 it was fre- 
quented by trading vessels, and a colony of Malabars, under Aareya 
Chakrawarti, took possession of the place, and threw up fortifications, 
but they were soon expelled from it by the minister Alakaiswara, who 
founded the city of Cotta in the neighbourhood. The Portuguese ar- 
rived in a.d . 1 51 0. The etymology of Colombo is commonly attributed 
to Colamba, a species of mango, which stood conspicuous at this 
place in olden time. In the Sidahartha Sangraha, or Singhalese gram- 
mar, the word Colamba is mentioned as signifying a sea-port and also 
a fort, and in the former sense it seems to have been applied to the 
metropolis of the island from its maritime situation by the natives, 
being corrupted into Colombo by the Portuguese in honour of that 
celebrated navigator. 

The fort of Colombo mounts 1 26 guns and six mortars, and is 
garrisoned by a European force of forty officers and 850 European 
troops. The Gun Lascars and the Ceylon Rifle regiment are stationed 
on Slave Island, where there are some good houses, usually occupied 
by the officers of the regiment. The latter body, consisting of 
Malays, Sepoys and Kaffres, has been recently augmented, and part 
of it transferred to Hong Kong. Its present force at Colombo is 
twenty-five officers and 650 men, and it is now being recruited by 
Kaffres from Mosambique, who are to receive the European rate of 
pay. Colombo would, perhaps, present difficulties in the way of 
defence, from the great extent of the works, which to be manned 
effectively would require at least 6000 troops, and the fort is capable, 
in case of emergency, of accommodating 10,000 persons. The 
present Governor being a civilian, the forces are commanded by a 
Major-General, who usually resides at Kew House, on the verge of 
the beautiful artificial lake, which adds so greatly to the appearance 
and health of Colombo. This residence was formerly called Blanker' s 
Garden, having belonged to a Dutch Major of that name, and was 
subsequently occupied by the commanding officer of the Ceylon 
regiment. In 1812 the ground was converted into a botanical 
garden, and the curator occupied the house. When this establish- 
ment was transferred to Paradiniya, the house and grounds reverted 
to the military, and have ever since been considered as appropriated 
to the commander of the forces. The fort, commenced by the 
Portuguese in 1518, and completed in its present extent and strength 
by their successors, the Dutch, is situate on a small projection of land, 
washed by the sea for about two-thirds of its extent, and embraces a 
a circuit of nearly a mile and a quarter. The ramparts are very strong, 
having eight principal bastions, and a number of lesser ones, with 
curtains, banquets, and parapets, communicating one with the other 
all round, but the exclusion of the sea breeze, as at Galle, is no slight 
drawback from this strong fortification. At the foot of the ramparts 


on the inside is a broadway, which extends round the whole fort, and 
is connected with the bastions and soldiers' barracks ; and also affords 
at the different angles open spaces for their private parades. The 
whole of the fort is surrounded, except that side which is next the 
sea, by a deep ditch or fosse ; and adjoining the covert way, and at 
the foot of the glacis, is a lake which communicates with the Mutwal 
river. The best houses in Colombo are within the fort. The Main 
or Queen's Street is wide and well planted with umbrageous 
sooria or tulip (Hibiscus Zeilanicus) and bread-fruit trees, and several 
of the houses have gardens for shrubs and flowers in front, and coach- 
houses and stables in the rear. The streets are well watered during 
the day, and the fallen foliage is regularly removed every morning 
and evening. One may walk from either extremity of the fort to 
the other in the heat of the day without being incommoded by the 
sun's rays. During dinner-time a large and heavy, but beautifully 
painted board, called a Punkah, equal in size to the table over which it 
is suspended, is kept in motion inside the houses by a servant by means 
of strings passing through the wall. All the rooms are quite open to 
the verandah, which for the sake of coolness surrounds each story. 

In the interior of the fort are several straight and regular streets with 
smaller ones crossing at right angles. Behind the Queen's House, 
the residence of the Governor, is the Lighthouse, an edifice the light 
of which is ninety-seven feet above the level of the sea, and in clear 
weather may be seen as far as the light is visible above the horizon. 
All the military offices, as well as those of the Colonial Secretary, the 
Commissioner of Revenue, the Vice- Admiralty Court, with the General 
Post Office, are within the fort; there are besides an English church, 
called St. Peters, a library, a medical museum, a hospital, two hotels, 
and numerous shops. 

The lake at the back of the fort almost insulates the town, being 
connected by a canal with the Mutwal- oya ; and a lock having been 
formed at St. Sebastian by Sir Edward Barnes, the inland navigation 
is carried through the fort to the sea beach. In the centre of the lake 
is a tongue of land, denominated Slave Island, from the use to which 
it was applied by the Dutch. That part of Slave Island nearest to 
the fort is very cool, being only separated from the sea by an isthmus, 
commonly called the Galle-face. Communication from this place with 
the fort or pettah is very easy by land, passing over a very pretty 
little stone bridge, which opens to the south end of the Galle-face near 
the village of Colpetty, or by boats, which cross the lake at all seasons. 
There is now also communication by a good bridge opposite the sally- 
port ; a new road has likewise been formed along the side of the lake 
leading from St. Sebastian to the fort, a portion of a new road along 
the sea shore at the back of Sea Street and facing the anchorage is 
formed, and will perhaps ultimately be continued outside the ramparts 
to the Custom House, and thus relieve the main gate of the fort ot 
two-thirds of the immense number of vehicles constantly crushing 
through it. 


The square comprehended within what are called the gravets, is 
about eight square miles ; the limits being the Fort, Tankesalgade, 
Mutwal (mouth of the Kalane-Ganga), Pass Betal, Qeroegodewatte, 
Maligawattc, Demettegode, Maraudhan cinnamon plantations, Col- 
petty, and Galle-face. The term gravets is a corruption of the 
Kandian word kaddewette, meaning the boundaries of a city, which 
were surrounded with a thorn fence. Its primary signification was 
perhaps the bounds within which certain low castes, such as Rhodias, 
Gahaleyas, Kinnerayas, &c. could not approach without the special 
consent of the Adigaar, or unless the occasion of certain religious 
ceremonies called for their presence and services. The Portuguese 
corrupted the word into garvette, the Dutch, in their rugged 
tongue, called it gravetten, and the British modified this into gravets. 

There are now upwards of twenty commercial houses in Colombo. 
Some handsome and well stocked shops have also been opened 
by Europeans ; a number of others belong to respectable burghers of 
Dutch descent, and Main Street pettah, is now one series of shops 
and stores. The Moormen own the greater number of the shops, 
the grain stalls are shared by Tamuls and Moormen, and a few 
wealthy Parsee tradesmen transact an extensive business in this street. 
Several respectable tradesmen of the same faith, who are connected 
with the Bombay trade, are settled in the fort as well as pettah of Co- 
lombo. They receive supplies from the former place during the south- 
west monsoon and make their returns, chiefly in produce, during the 
north-east monsoon, and, as is their custom elsewhere, they live as near 
as possible to each other. The Nateacottah (cloth merchants) gene- 
rally live in Sea Street, which swarms with their Tamul countrymen. 
Within the last year a company has been formed to import ice from 
America. A great impetus has been given to internal and petty 
trading by the abolition of the restrictions on auctioneers and auctions. 
There are several bazaars or market-places in the pettah for fish, flesh of 
every kind, fruits, grain, garden herbs, &c. Beef is to be had tolerably 
good at from fourpence-halfpenny to sixpence per pound ; mutton 
sells according to quality, when really good it is expensive. Ducks and 
fowls are plentiful at about two shillings each the former, and one 
shilling the latter ; geese and turkeys are expensive. Tropical herbs 
and fruit are abundant, and generally cheap and good ; mangoes 
from the hot climate and calcareous soil of Jaffna excel ; but for pine- 
apples and oranges, Colombo can compete with any part of India. 
Fish is generally of good quality and in great variety, but scarce and 
dear. Potatoes, for which some few years ago the island was altogether 
dependent upon Bombay and Madras, are now cheap and abundant, 
and exposed for sale soon after daylight. The bazaars are well and 
regularly supplied every day alike, except Sunday, on which no traffic 
is now allowed. There are also two steam engines and several native 
presses used for manufacturing cocoa-nut oil, which are worked by 
bullocks, and their vicinity is forcibly indicated by the tremendous 
creaking which accompanies their movements. The first foundry ever 


established in Ceylon is in operation on Slave Island. The Pettah or black 
town lies on the north side of the fort, on the margin of the sea, is 
regularly built and divided into fifteen streets, of which eight run 
east and west, and the others cross them at right angles. The 
houses are in general built of kabook, and neatly washed with chunam, 
which has all the appearance of marble ; some of them are of two 
stories, and all are lofty and have a good appearance. Several of the 
streets are lined on each side with rows of the Guilandina Moringa, 
Hibiscus Zeilanicus (Sooriya gaha, Singh.), the Hibiscus albinischus 
(Kapu Kinaisa gaha, Singh.), and the Melia sempervivens (Kas- 
samba gaha, Singh.) 

In 1814, the number of tiled houses within the gravets, was esti- 
mated at 2654. By virtue of a regulation passed in 1820, an 
assessment was imposed for lighting and repairing the streets ; the 
amount collected from 1820 to 1829, was ^6592, of which ^62140 
was laid out at interest, with the view of accumulating a fund, and 
by a further regulation in 1 830, it was arranged that four-fifths of 
the amount collected should be applied to the lighting and repairs, 
and one-fifth be added annually to the accumulation fund, to be lent 
out at interest under the direction of a committee. When the interest 
amounted to ^61200 per annum, the tax was to cease. Recently a 
town surveyor with an assistant has been appointed to survey and 
improve the town. Improvement was sadly called for, and the 
scantiness of funds leaves much yet to be effected. Vested right and 
the law of prescription, where they only rested on the ground of 
nuisances that had been permitted for years to exist with impunity, 
have been very properly set at defiance ; verandahs coexistent with 
the houses to which they are attached, where they encroach on the 
public way, have been either removed, or the owners have been called 
to pay so much per square foot for the general improvement of the 
town. This measure has of course produced much excitement and 
discontent among the householders, but it only requires firmness and 
strict impartiality in carrying out its regulations to ensure the con- 
currence of sensible persons. The streets have never yet been 
lighted in this important city, and the police, which is pretty efficient, 
is supported by a tax of five per cent on the value of buildings. 
The force has been assimilated within the last few years in dress and 
discipline to the new police of London, the present superintendant 
having been chosen from that body. The advantages resulting from 
clothing Asiatics, accustomed to free and flowing robes, in the stiff 
and close dress of Europeans remain to be seen, but there can be no 
question of the incongruity of the long hair and large coat of the 
Singhalese policemen, and the peaked cap which rests on them. 

The scene on landing at the Custom-house during business hours, 
is one of great and incessant bustle, boats, bullock bandies, and 
coolies hurrying to and fro, while coffee, cinnamon, and cocoa-nut 
oil arc being shipped, cotton cloth from Britain and India valued and 
passed, and grain from India and Arracan being landed and measured. 

(532 CEYiorr. [part rsr. 

The United Service Library, nearly opposite the Queen's House, 
contains a good selection of books, upon every scientific and amusing 
subject, the periodical publications of Europe and the Indian 
peninsula, newspapers, &c, but within the two last years, the insti- 
tution has lost a large body of supporters. The merchants and 
others not connected with the services, could only be admitted by 
ballot, and as honorary members were deprived of a voice in the 
management of the institution and the disposal of the funds, the 
humiliation was too much to be borne ; and a new Hall of Commerce 
or Exchange has been built, as a place of reunion for the professional 
and commercial classes, in connection with which is a small but 
increasing library and news-room, to which all persons of respecta- 
bility and intelligence are admitted. Assemblies are occasionally 
held in the rooms of the United Service Library. The situation of 
that building, which is considerably elevated above the street, and 
with its spacious verandah delightfully shaded by umbrageous trees, 
and exposed to the sea breeze, presents an agreeable lounge during 
the heat of the day. The Museum attached to the Medical Library 
is situated in Hospital Street, and is well worthy of a visit. There is. 
a large and varied collection of specimens of natural history, but the 
arrangement is not judicious. The Pettah Library is a very respect- 
able institution, with a large collection of books, the subscription is 
only one shilling per month, but the rich pay higher according to 
their means and inclination. It is a subject of regret that natives 
are not yet admitted, nor have they formed a library of their own. 

The two banks, the Ceylon and Oriental are side by side in Queen's 
Street, nearly opposite the Queen' 8 House, which they completely eclipse 
in appearance. Previous to their establishment, the mercantile interests 
no less than private individuals were made sensibly aware of the incon- 
venience of being altogether dependent on the limited sale of Govern- 
ment and missionary bills for remittances to England. The Savings' 
Bank has lately been a subject of legislative discussion, and in its rooms 
meet periodically the members of the newly formed Ceylon branch of 
the Royal Asiatic Society. This useful institution has branches at 
Trincomalee, Jaffna, Galle, and Kandy, by which loans are advanced 
upon good security, and deposits received, and business transacted on 
certain days in every month, and on special occasions when required. 
The extension of this bank to the various districts of the island 
would be attended with inconceivable advantages to the native 
population, who might receive advances at from eight to ten per cent, 
where they now pay from twenty-five to thirty to the Chitties or other 
usurers. The Council Room faces the fort esplanade, and is both 
externally and internally a handsome building, but a drawback exists, 
in the existence of an echo, which renders the speaker frequently 
inaudible. The Colonial Secretary's office is beneath the Council 
Room, and almost all the other Government offices adjoin it. There 
are three or four hotels within the fort, the Royal Hotel, formerly 
the Government rest-house, is a splendid building. A number of 


beautiful private residences have of late years been erected along the 
sea shore at Colpetty, and in the Maraudhan cinnamon garden, on 
which has been mapped out the plan of a future city. The elephant 
stables, which are an object of great interest, are at Kayman's Gate. 
The other public buildings are the Hall of the Supreme Court, 
situate at Hulfsdorp, in the heart of the town. A new edifice is now 
being raised for this purpose at a cost of .£10,000. ; the District 
Court of Colombo, the Court of Requests, the Fiscal's office, the 
Debtor's Jail and the Police office are all contiguous. A splendid 
new prison on the Pentonville plan is on the point of completion at 
Wellicadde, and a new lunatic asylum has been built in the same 
locality. The Cutcherry is pleasantly situated near the fort, and 
looks out upon the lake. The Wolfendahl Church stands on a hill 
in the centre of the town. It is a lofty building, and was erected by 
the Dutch in 1 746, and now belongs to the Presbyterians. In it are 
deposited the remains of the Dutch Governors who died in Ceylon. 
Besides this are St. Andrew's belonging to the same body, St. 
Thomas belonging to the Malabar, and St. Paul's to the Portuguese 
Protestants, Trinity church to the English members of the Church. 
The Romanist churches have been elsewhere noticed. The Wes- 
leyans, and Baptists, have both their chapels, and the Moors have 
two handsome mosques decorated with minarets ; the Hindoos also 
have their temples, covered with rudely sulptured figures of lions, 
dragons, &c, but strange to say, the Buddhists have none nearer than 
Kalane, five miles distant. 

The country about Colombo is flat, except a small part to the 
northward and eastward, the soil alluvial and sandy in some parts, 
and iron-stone, clay and gravel in others, is in all extremely fertile, the 
shores covered to the verge of the sea with cocoa-nut palms, and the 
inland beautifully diversified with umbrageous fruit and other trees, 
cinnamon plantations, gardens and pasture lands, intersected by canals 
and a fresh water lake, and to the northward by the Mutwal river or 
Kalane-ganga and the grand canal. Soon after daybreak, when the 
lofty mountain of the Sri Pada or Adam's Peak, is seen in the 
distance from the south esplanade orGalle-face,the view of Slave Island 
rising out of the placid bosom of the water, called the lake of 
Colombo, with its pretty houses, bungalows and other buildings, 
interspersed among stately areka, bread-fruit trees, and cocoa- 
nut palms, which afford an excellent shade, the bugles of the Ceylon 
Rifle corps alone breaking the tranquillity of the scene, affords inde- 
scribable pleasure to the recently arrived European. It is at this hour 
that on review days, the troops are seen marching to their ground 
on the race course, and that the early risers of Colombo are setting 
out upon their morning drives, rides or walks, many of them expec- 
tant of the rendezvous of the European civil and military officers and 
merchants, at the well known Tamarind Tree, near the third milestone 
on the Galle road, to quaff the wholesome and renovating nectar, 
fresh from the toddy palm before its fermentation, which isVery rapid, 

634 CEYLON. [part IV. 

commences. It is then that the natural sieve which nature presents 
in the envelope of the petioles in the cocoa-nut fronds is employed in 
one of its most useful offices for straining the liquid and clearing it 
from the various insects that may have fallen victims to their love of 
sweets during the night. The whole way from the esplanade to the 
Tamarind Tree is a wide carriage road, shaded with tulip, cocoa-nut, 
teak, hamhoo, banyan, silky cotton, areka, Adam's apple, (Cerbera 
manghas,!/.) andvarious other useful and ornamental trees, but the road 
generally preferred for returning to the fort leads along the margin 
of the sea, through a dense cocoa-nut tope to the verge of the esplan- 
ade. Emerging from the line of native huts upon the sea side of 
the high road, the splendid fortifications of Colombo, which form a 
prominent part of the grand panorama, are viewed with admiration. 

There is a Horticultural Society at Colombo, under the patronage 
of the Governor, but the Literary and Agricultural Societies have 
been abandoned for want of support. The mail coach establishment, 
commenced in 1832, by a joint stock company, conveyed passengers 
from Colombo to Kandy (which by palanquins it took several days to 
accomplish) in less than twelve hours. The coach started from 
Colombo every Monday, "Wednesday and Friday morning at gun-fire, 
and reached Kandy, a distance of 72 miles, between 5 and 6 o'clock 
on the same day, and left Kandy every Tuesday, Thursday, and 
Saturday at gun-fire, reaching Colombo at 5 p.m., the former 
journey being more up hill than the latter. The fare to and from 
Kandy is £2. 10s. for Europeans, but is somewhat less for native 
gentlemen, and considerably less for natives in general. There 
are now two coaches a day to and from Kandy, and the journey is 
performed in ten hours ; a mail coach between Colombo and Galle, 
fare £2. 10s., and another between Colombo and Negombo. There 
is also a Conveyance company between Colombo and Kandy, but its 
success has been neutralized by the extensive mortality among the 
cattle employed in the transit. The Ceylon Widows' and Orphans' 
Fund is under official management and security, and greatly benefits 
those widows and orphans whose provident husbands and fathers 
may by their contributions have preserved them from destitution. 
There the children of European soldiers and others are boarded 
and educated, and a portion of 3610. is given with each girl on her 

Among other charitable institutions, there are the Leper and Pauper 
Hospitals in the Pettah ; a Dispensary recently established ; So- 
ciety for the Propagation of the Gospel ; District Committee of the 
Society for promoting Christian Knowledge ; Bible Association for 
the Dutch and Portuguese inhabitants ; Church Missionary Society, 
&c. &c. Colombo Friend in Need Society, (for the purpose of reliev- 
ing the really necessitous and for suppressing mendicity), under the 
able management of a highly respectable and numerous Committee, 
over which the Senior Colonial Chaplain presides, and the Governor 
is Patron. And the Colombo Ladies Branch Society, composed of 
a Committee of amiable and benevolent ladies. 


The country between Colombo and Seetawaka, (Seetawade) every 
mile of which has witnessed the struggles of the Kandians with their 
European invaders, is seen to the greatest advantage on the Kalane, 
or Kellania-ganga, so called from an ancient city, now a mere village, 
situate on its right bank, " Kellania possesses a remnant of antiquity 
in its famous wihare, to which large bodies of pilgrims resort in July, 
and in a dagobah, which was erected by the tributary king Yatalatissa, 
B.C. 280, over one built on the same spot by the Naga king, Maho- 
dara, B.C. 580. Kellania was probably the capital, and has for 
ages been the chief place for the worship of Weebeeshana, a hero of 
the Ramayana, grandson of Pulastyia, friend of Rama, and the trai- 
torous brother and deified successor of Rawana on the throne of 
Lanka. At the time of Gautama Buddha's appearance, Kellania 
would seem to have been the capital of a division of the island, called 
Naga Diwayina, and its inhabitants called Nagas, were easily con- 
verted, and subsequently became zealous adherents to the doctrines 
of Buddha, for which they were rewarded by various relics, and a 
second visit of Buddha. In his first visit to Ceylon, Gautama con- 
verted the Nagas, and settled a dispute between two of their princes, 
Chulodara and Mahodara, who made an offering to him of the throne 
composed of gold inlaid with precious stones, which had been the 
original cause of their quarrel : over this throne, a dagobah was 
built, and is encased in the one now standing. At the request of 
Miniasa, uncle of the Naga King, Mahodara, Gautama made his 
third visit to Ceylon, and left the impression of his foot beneath the 
waters of the river : a deep eddy in the stream is now pointed out as 
the spot : it is near the temple, and the natives maintain that the 
circling of the current here is the Kellania-ganga descending in 
homage to this sacred memorial. Having arranged the disputes of 
the Nagas, and confirmed their faith, the prophet departed for 
Samanala, and the other places which had been rendered sacred by 
the presence of former Buddhas." — Forbes, pp. 152, 153. 

The Kalane-ganga, though inferior to the Mahavelle in magnitude, 
is the chief river of the island in importance, is rather superior to the 
Tay in size, and is formed by the union of several torrents which 
have their source in the western division of the mountainous range of 
Saffragam, connected with Adam's Peak, and just within the limits 
of the Southern Province. It only takes its real name of Kalane at 
the confluence of the Maskelle and Kehelgamua-oyas at Weraloo- 
Ella — where it is eighty-seven feet above the sea level — whence it flows 
to the sea, a distance of forty- three miles, debouching at Modera, 
about four miles to the north of the fort of Colombo, where its local 
name is Mutwal-oya. At this part the width of the river is consider- 
ably increased by a bra' of sand at the entrance, which occasionally 
acts as effectually as a dam in extending its bed, and though less 
obstructive than formerly, still serves to increase the inundation thai 
takes place during the season of the rains. The length of its course 
is seventy miles ; for nearly the first half of this distance, it flow* 


through a thinly inhabited forest covered country, and here its 
waters are clear, its bed rocky, and its current precipitous ; for the 
last forty miles this river is navigable for large boats, and well adap- 
ted for inland communication, for which it is much used. It is 
connected with the fort of Colombo by a canal constructed by the 
Dutch, and is now connected with the flourishing and healthy 
country lying between Colombo and the mountains by several roads. 
The villages on its banks between Colombo and Hangwelle are chiefly 
inhabited by potters, and the vegetation is for some distance very 
luxuriant, the trees are exceedingly lofty, and many of them yield 
the most fragrant odours. Lines of apparently interminable cocoa- 
nut trees succeed each other, with their white stems and tufted tops 
reflected on the water as in a mirror, except where diversified by 
some swampy plain of levelled rice fields, or low ridges covered with 
brushwood. Hangwelle is on the banks of the river, and contains a 
rest-house within its small redoubt, which though of great import- 
ance in the event of a Kandian insurrection, from its commanding 
the prmcipal routes both by land and water from Colombo to the 
interior, is said to be defended only by a dry ditch, now choked up 
with vegetation, and is unoccupied by troops. 

At Hangwelle the stranger begins to experience the difference 
between the damp heat of the sea coast and the sharp air of the in- 
terior. Between Hangwelle and Avisahavelle the scenery gradually 
improves in boldness and grandeur, the ground becomes more broken, 
and the country, owing to its having once bordered on the Kandian 
domains, is mostly covered with bamboos, which form one of the 
most impenetrable kinds of low sized jungle. At a little distance, 
a bamboo brushwood resembles gigantic rushes, each of which when 
approached nearer, proves to be of the size and shape of a common 
fishing rod ; as they are very tough, pliant and strong, they act as an 
excellent substitute for rope, and are employed in that way by the 
natives, and the ferry boat at Seetawaka, is propelled by a strong 
flexible cane stretched across, and fastened to the opposite bank. 
The situation of the village and rest-house at Avisahavelle is exceed- 
ingly picturesque, occupying a small spot at the base of bluff hills of 
black naked rock, which rise precipitously from a surface of rich 
foliage, to a height of nearly 1000 feet. There are various routes 
from Colombo to Ratnapoora. That vid Horona and Nambaapane is 
52 miles, but the route by the south bank of the Kalane is 58| miles. 
The face of the country along the latter road is alternately woody 
and hilly, undulating and champaign, but in all parts well irrigated, 
being intersected by the Kalane and its tributaries ; gems are obtained 
in many of these by streaming. Four miles from Hangwelle, the 
Kandian mountains and Adam's Peak appear through a wooded 
valley, and form a magnificent termination to the view from this 
point. From Avisahavelle in the direction of Ratnapoora, the road 
is almost level, passing along a delightful valley, on one side of which 
arise a variety of abrupt rocks and peaked hills, crowned with wood, 


while on the other and more inland side, the range of mountains is 
continuous. The Peak is here seen clearly unless hidden by a dense 
mass of vapour, as well as the square pillar like mountain, called 
Uno Dhia Parawatia which towers over ridges of nearer hills, its 
perpendicular sides, when reflecting the setting sun, contrasting pow- 
erfully with the verdant covering and deep shades that darken the 
valleys, the whole presenting a magnificent spectacle. 

The scenery along the bank of the Seetawaka-oya closely re- 
sembles an English park ; fine glades of green turf, with clumps, 
thickets, and forest trees of enormous size combine to complete the 
illusion, till a thick bamboo jungle serves to dissipate it. The ruins of 
Seetawaka, which is within the district of the Three Korles, and was 
once the residence of the centenarian Raja Singha, surnamed by Bud- 
dhists the Apostate, and for some time the capital of a lowland prin- 
cipality, are reached by a small but navigable river, a tributary 
stream of the Kellania-ganga. Here on an angular piece of ground, 
formed by a bend of the river and a ravine, and within several quad- 
rilateral inclosures, are situated the remains of the Bairainde 
Kowilla, erected for demon worship by Raja Singha, about the 
middle of the sixteenth century. It appears to have occupied the 
centre of an elevated stone platform of eighty feet square, and to 
have been about thirty feet long, formed of handsome carved pillars, 
supporting a cornice. The plan of the pillars of this building, appears 
to be as if eight ornamented pillars projected, two on each side from 
a plain square pillar. This building was overthrown when Seetawaka 
was taken and burnt by the Portuguese in the latter part of the six- 
teenth century, and the foundations and part of the walls of one of 
their forts (Kotua) which commanded the site of this town still 
remain on the elevated bank, and opposite side of the river. This 
fort was nearly square, formed of three walls, one within the other. 
The material was kabook, which hardens by exposure to the atmo- 
sphere. The outer wall was between eight and ten feet high, and six 
and eight feet wide. At the angles it was still wider, and communi- 
cated with the inclosure by steps. Within is a deep well lined 
with masonry. The second wall was only a very few feet from the inner, 
and seems to have been built for its defence. The inner inclosure 
was probably roofed and was the donjon keep of the fortress. 
Part of the stones of this picturesque ruin, which two centuries had 
spared, were many years ago employed in the erection of a new i*est- 
house. In the adjoining jungle other ruins have been said to exist, 
including the remains of temples and a royal palace. 

Eight miles and a half to the north-east of Avisahavelle, and on the 
old road to Kandy, lies Ruwanwelle, which, with the surrounding 
country was almost a desert under the Kandian dynasty, but is now a 
flourishing station. It is advantageously situated on a point of land at 
the confluence of the Kalane-ganga, and the turbid Gooragooya-oya ; 
a military post, with excellent quarters for officers and men, and a 
bazaar were established in 181 7, which have attracted a consider- 

G38 CEYLON. [part IV. 

able number of natives to the locality. The inferiority of the 
cocoa-nut trees grown in the interior, as compared with those on 
the sea shore, is here strikingly manifest, and certainly justifies the 
popular notion, that the sea air is conducive to their growth. 
Further, the natives believe that they do not flourish at a distance 
from their houses, hence their maxim, " that they will not thrive 
unless you walk among them and talk among them." 

Lower Bulatgamme, to the eastward of Seetawaka, is a broken 
and difficult country, now beginning to excite the attention of the 
agriculturist, but till lately was little cultivated, and thinly peopled. 
Thick low jungle, chiefly of cane, and much frequented by elephants, 
which the natives avoid by tying strong poles across the footpaths, 
under which they can escape, but by which their huge pursuer is 
completely stopped, prevails where the ground is low and damp, and 
forest where it is hilly and diy. Few parts of the island are so 
copiously watered as Lower Bulatgamme. Besides a great number 
of small streams, there are some of considerable size, which when 
flooded are not fordable, such as the "Waha-oya, which nearer its 
source exhibits the character of a mountain torrent, where pent up 
in a narrow gloomy valley, its fine volume of transparent water 
rushes down a rapid over immense masses of rock, and along with a 
variety of other attractive features, forms one of the wildest and most 
impressive scenes in Ceylon ; the Heeke-oya, a most tortuous stream, 
the Bibile-oya, and Garankette-oya. 

At Yateantotte, a little to the eastward of Ruwanwelle, a new road 
has been opened through Upper Bulatgamme with Gampola, and 
Kandy ; which is on some accounts preferable to the other routes. 
The country between Yateantotte and Kittoolgalle, is wild and billy, 
but that place itself is situated in a cultivated plain, embosomed in 
woody mountains. Beyond it the country becomes difficult and 
exceedingly mountainous, but the beauty of the scenery is remark- 
able. The prospects from the mountain range, which is 3000 feet 
above the sea level, are remarkably fine. On the one side is to be 
seen Ambagamma in the midst of cultivated green paddy fields, sur- 
rounded by bare green hills, to the south a succession of conical 
mountain tops, luxuriantly wooded. Ambagamma, though sixteen 
hundred feet above the sea, is in all directions surrounded by 
mountains, and the Mahavelle flows past it. 

To return to Ruwanwelle, Idamalpane is eleven miles from hence. 
The intervening country is better cultivated, and more populous 
than the preceding stage. For the greater part of the way the road 
is level, and through meadows or paddy fields, which possess a fresh- 
ness and peculiarity of verdure entirely their own. Idamalpane 
was once a small military post, but from its situation being com- 
manded by the hills, it was transferred to Arranderre, where the 
Dutch had once a fort, of which slight traces still remain. Hetty- 
mull e, also formerly a small military post, is only five miles from 
Idamalpane. All the intervening country is extremelv hilly if not 


mountainous, and the road is rugged, difficult and wearisome. The 
lover of nature will find, however, remuneration for his fatigues, in 
the beauties of the wild scenery, which are lavishly scattered over 
this bold and romantic part of the country. 

Fort King, (Attapittya Singh), the next stage inland, is seven 
miles distant. The character of the intermediate country, is hilly 
and picturesque, and well cultivated. Some of the valleys are so 
deep and narrow that persons on one hill may almost converse with 
those on the other. Fort King, derived its name from Captain King, 
who planned and superintended the works. It was erected in 1 820, and 
was built in the most substantial manner on a low hill, commanding the 
ferry of the Maha-oya, a considerable stream, on whose banks many a 
sanguinary battle was fought, between the Singhalese and Portuguese. 
In a picturesque point of view, the situation of the fort is unrivalled, 
being surrounded by a foreground of gentle hills, and bounded on 
every side by bold mountains, combining in one view the beautiful 
and the grand. The country around is productive, and the bazaar, 
which like the fort has sprung up, where jungle was before the sole 
occupant, is large and well supplied. Fort King would not seem to 
be occupied at present by a military force. This part of the country 
is elevated about G30 feet above the level of the sea, owing to which, 
and its proximity to the mountains, it enjoys an agreeable climate, 
the nights being generally cool, and the days seldom oppressively 

Amanapoora is eight miles from Fort King, the Ballane mountain, 
which is about .3000 feet above the level of the sea, intervening. Its as- 
cent is laborious, but much diminished by the new road. The traveller 
is amply rewarded for his toil, when he reaches the summit ; he there 
breathes a fresh cool air, is shaded by noble forest trees, with which 
the whole mountain is covered, and when he stops to rest himself, 
he enjoys every now and then magnificent prospects. Till the 
summit is reached, there are only two small descents ; one in a narrow 
deep glen through which a torrent rushes, and the other into a 
hollow. The torrent in the first glen is the boundary line between 
the Four Korles and Yattineura. It is impossible to conceive a 
wilder and grander tropical scene than this presents, in the rocky bed 
of the torrent a mere glimpse of the sky is obtained, but one looks up 
and sees on each side a mountain towering above, and on each side 
an overhanging gloomy forest. When the summit of the mountain is 
attained, there is a most extensive view of the country towards 
Colombo, which looks like a map laid out on a magnificent scale, 
with a glow of colouring, warmth of light, and charm of landscape 
rarely seen combined. After ascending the mountain, the road for 
two or three hundred yards is nearly level, the descent is short and 
pretty gradual. There is an extensive view of the country in front, 
extremely hilly, and bounded by distant and apparently lofty 
mountains, but scarcely comparable to the scenery on the other side. 
Amanapoora is seen quite close on a steep hill, merely divided from 


the Bailane mountain by a deep glen. Amanapoora was formerly a 
considerable military station. The fort situated on the top of a 
precipitous hill, about 2000 feet above the level of the sea, has a 
very commanding aspect, and is naturally strong. At the foot of the 
hill was a cantonment, consisting of officers' quarters and soldiers' 
barracks, and hard by is a considerable village and bazaar. 

The country to some extent around Amanapoora, except towards 
the Ballane, consists of small green hills of rather irregular forms, 
pretty free from jungle, and affording good pasture ; in the lower 
grounds there are paddy fields, and at a distance lofty grey mountains. 
Towards the Ballane the scenery is of a different character, every 
feature is grand, particularly that huge mountain, which is seen 
across the deep intervening glen and the lofty Narran-galle-Kandy, 
a little more distant to the right, shooting its angular rocky top into 
the very clouds. Kandy is twelve miles from Amanapoora. The 
country between the two places is hilly. The hills in general are 
covered with wood, the valleys which are narrow and deep are culti- 
vated with paddy. 

To return to the coast route. After having crossed the Mutwal-oya 
by the bridge of boats, the traveller comes to the village and rest-house 
of Jayelle (Kanuwane), a distance of nine and a quarter miles through 
a fertile, populous, and well cultivated country, which supplies the 
Colombo market with a vast quantity of fruit and vegetables ; from 
thence to Negombo the road lies chiefly through cinnamon plantations. 
Every where the sight and the smell are gratified ; for on each side may 
be seen the beautiful crimson Clerodendrum infortunatum, Linn, (the 
Pinna-mal-geddi, Singh.) Coffea triflora, Ixora coccinea, Nepenthes 
distillatoria of the climbing and dwarf varieties (scandens and nana), 
the former clinging to the cinnamon bushes for support, and display- 
ing its pitchers, some with the lid closed, others with it open, and in 
an erect position full of water, like so many fly traps, as if the liquid 
they contained, were too valuable to be lost ; the latter shrinking from 
exposure under the shade of the overhanging trees and grass, while 
the wild orange, lime, and shaddock trees ever in fruit and blossom, 
at the same time impart the most delicious fragrance to the surround- 
ing atmosphere. For a considerable distance through the cinnamon 
plantations, the road is sandy, and in many places it leads through 
large tracks of the pure white quartz sand, to which the cinnamon 
tree is partial. 

Negombo 1 is twenty-four miles distant from Colombo, and two 

1 The Singhalese ascribe the origin of the name to Meegamuwe, " the village 
of honey," in allusion to a swarm of bees settling there. The Malabars, however, 
with more reason, derive it from Nihumbala, so called from Nihumba, the 
younger son of Kumbakarna, one of the brothers of Rawana. In the Uttara 
Kanda of the Ramayana, Valmika relates that on the eleventh day of the siege of 
the citadel of Rawana by the troops of Rama, Indrajit, the crown prince, rinding 
himself unable to hold out any longer against the besiegers, withdrew from the 
place, and retired with a part of his army to Nihumbala, to make a YAga, or 
offering to the gods, to invoke their assistance, and render himself invulnerable. 


leagues south south-west of Kaymel. It is a place of some trade, 
but resorted to only by coasters. The coast between Negombo and 
Kaymel forms a bight, and the former is known from the offing by 
the point projecting a great way out, its being covered with cocoa-nut 
trees, and defended by a long reef beyond it. The bight should not be 
approached by large vessels nearer than two leagues off shore, nor 
in less than eight fathoms water, until the fort flag-staff, bears south- 
east by south, by which the rocky ledge, projecting from this part of 
the coast, and a rock with ten feet water on it, and six fathoms close 
by, bearing from the flag-staff, or north point of the fort, north north- 
west, will be avoided. For vessels bound to Negombo from the 
southward, the fort should be brought to bear south-east, a ship may 
then steer direct for it, and anchor in five or six fathoms abreast of 
the fort, which is an irregular pentagon, with a stone gateway. The 
country about Negombo abounds with excellent pasturage, and hay 
may be procured to any extent required, while an inland water com- 
munication with Colombo, enables the farmer to ship cattle over-night, 
and land them at Colombo by daybreak the next morning. Negombo 
is famous for its fish, kid, poultry, eggs, bread-fruit ; vegetables 
may be obtained here in great plenty at moderate prices, and the 
sportsman will find excellent snipe, curlew, and widgeon shooting. 
The water is extremely brackish, unless it be procured from Kottidewe, 
or Children's Island, where persons are employed for the purpose of 
sinking pitchers, in the sand over-night, which in the morning are 
found full of pure and sweet water that has filtered in the interval. 
Very fine mushrooms are found here during the rainy season, and from 
the care with which the country is irrigated, a great deal of paddy 
is produced ; indeed fertility and cultivation are every where 
conspicuous, the pastures being of a rich and delightful green 
interspersed with magnificent teak and fruit trees and toddy topes. 
Several respectable Dutch families formerly resided in the pettah, 
whose gardens were famous for their exotic fruits, originally intro- 
duced from Java and the Malay peninsula, but very few Dutch or 
Portuguese families possessing wealth remain in any part of the 
island, in comparison with their former numbers. The rest-house on 
the bank of the Muli Waddie, or salt lake, is a large and substantia! 
stone building, with a spacious avenue of very fine teak trees in its 
front. The revenue and customs are superintended by an assistant 
Government agent, who is also a Judge of the Colombo District Court 
No. 2, South, and there are several places of worship belonging to 
the different creeds. The neighbourhood of Negombo abounds with 
medicinal plants. 

Five miles beyond Negombo, the Kaymel (Kammale-oya) is crossed 
at Tope or Topoo ferry, near which are fine groves of teak ; from 
thence to Kirimctteane, in the district of Cbilaw, the distance is six 
miles, and to the bridge of Ging-oya, about four miles and a quarter, 
the road flat aud sandy, and the land but partially cultivated. The 
district of Chilaw extends as far north as Oedepenkarre, and is 

2 T 


upwards of thirty miles in length, and about seven in breadth. It 
consists of five pattoos, Anoewooloondan, Monesseram,i Yagam, 
Oetarapalata, Meddapalata, and Kaymel pattoo. The face of the 
country is wild and dreary in the north, but well cultivated and pic- 
turesque in the south, and the soil, which in the former is in many 
parts barren and sandy, in the latter is a rich clay. The chief pro- 
ducts are paddy, dry grain, tobacco, pepper, &c. and the manufac- 
tures are confined to salt, cloth, earthenware, bricks and jaggery. 
This district was anciently called Pittigal Korle. The next rest- 
house is that of Nattande, about a mile from the bridge over the 
Ging-oya. The naturalist and the sportsman may find the most 
delightful recreation and exercise in this neighbourhood ; the former 
in collecting specimens of the various aquatic plants, ferns, mosses, 
land shells, insects, and birds ; and the latter may select any game 
he pleases, for he has not to go far inland to find elephants, leopards, 
deer, elk, hares, and almost every variety of animal and bird the 
country produces. But if the tourist be neither botanist, naturalist, 
nor sportsman, and desire to have game procured for him, he has only 
to hint his wish to the keeper of the rest-house where he may halt, 
and a number of native sportsmen will soon be collected about him 
with their uncouth guns, ready to bring him whatever game he may 
recpiire, upon receiving a charge or two of powder and shot, and a 
promise of a similar quantity as their subsequent reward ; for as they 
never fire until too close upon their object to run the least risk of 
missing it, they always earn the promised gratuity. From Nattande 
rest-house to the bridge over the Kaddoopitte-oya, the distance is 
5f miles, and half a mile further is Madampe (Mahadampa), once a 
place of importance, and the residence of native sovereigns, but 
subsequently a swampy unhealthy locality, tenanted by mosquitoes, 
jackals, monkeys, and alligators, till Mr. Vanderstraaten obtained a 
grant of land from the Government, and formed pepper gardens 
there, rendering the island in some degree independent of the 
Malabar coast for that spice. The vines are clustered round the 
stems of high forest trees, and- besides producing a luxuriant cool 
appearance, form a pleasing shade over neatly kept walks ; on one 
side of this forest garden, extends a tank, covered with water-lilies, 
which with the base of the palace is the principal memorial left to 
show that Madampe was a residence of princes, who aspired to 
independence in the fifteenth century. Madampe produces large 
quantities of cocoa-nuts and paddy, and abounds with widgeon, snipe, 
curlews, sand-pipers, the large and small white and brown paddy- 
birds, flamingoes, and other aquatic birds. The canal contains 
abundance of small mud fish, of the genus Perca, i., and eels. 

1 The village of Monesseram (Muniyaiswara) lies a little to the east of Chilaw, 
and is remarkable for its ancient temple, which contains some scarcely legible in- 
scriptions in the Grantha character. Siva is worshipped here under the title of 
" Muniyaiswara," or " Iswara the Penitent ;" but the shrine is more particularly 
sacred to his consort, " Parvati." 


Seven and a half miles north of Madampe is Chilaw, on a penin- 
sula, formed by a river which runs from north to south, and commu- 
nicating with the Madampe canal, and the Kaymel-oya continues the 
water conveyance to Colombo. The rest-house at Chilaw is roomy 
and any. An assistant Government agent resides there. The place 
boasts an old fort commenced by the Portuguese, and completed 
by the Dutch, and has a Protestant and Roman Catholic church, 
manufactories of coarse paper, common cottons, table cloths and 
towels; but from the soil being impregnated with salt, yields little else 
than cocoa-nuts and tobacco, though the country in the neighbour- 
hood produces large quantities of paddy. Chilaw is called Salapam by 
the Malabars, according to Casie Chitty, from the pearl fishery 
formerly carried on in its neighbourhood, and Halawatta by the Sing- 
halese (the Halowat of Ibu Batuta), from a colony of Chalias having 
formed a settlement in the place, and built a number of salavas or 
halls, in which they carried on weaving ; hence it obtained the name 
of Salavagama, or the village of halls, which was afterwards corrupted 
into Halawatta, or the garden of the Chalias. By others it is 
derived from Hala, to shake off. Chilaw would seem to have been 
subject to the princes of Madampe during their local independence, 
and to have been more than once attacked by Malabars and Moors, 
but the latter were defeated in their attempts to form a settlement 

Leaving Chilaw and passing over the Dedroo-oya, the rest-house 
of Battooloo-oya is reached in 12^ miles; from thence to Moondel 
is four miles, and to Marrundamkoolle, in the Putlam district, Zo- 
nules. There are artificial leways or salt-pans at Oedepenkarre, 
Alempitty, Pulletchacolom, Moondel, Aneakadda, Pallandowe, Per- 
rea Natchicale, Karativoe island, Calpentyn, Chinne Natchicale and 

The district of Putlam is bounded on the east by Demelepattoo, 
and comprises six pattoos or hundreds, viz. Putlam, Calpentyn, 
Akkarapattoo, Pomparippoo, Rajawannipattoo, Kumara Wannipattoo. 
The face of the country is uniformly flat, and the soil is well adapted 
for agricultural purposes, except around Putlam, where it is im- 
pregnated with salt, but the greater part is uncultivated and waste, 
from the frequent droughts to which the country is subject, and the 
want of capital for the repair of the tanks. It exports cocoa-nuts in 
considerable quantities, and the palmyra-tree abounds. Tobacco and 
cotton are cultivated in some parts, and chaya root grows wild all 
over the district. The mango, bread-fruit, custard apple, yam, sweet 
potato, pine-apple, guava, pomegranate, shaddock, papai, plantain 
and grape of both kinds, all flourish. Its manufactures comprise 
salt, coarse cloth, jaggery, coir rope, fishing nets, baskets, earthen- 
ware, ghee and cocoa-nut oil. Moors and Malabars are the chief 
components of its population. By the canal a large number of 
bullocks are sent to Colombo for slaughter, and British manufactures, 
spices, &c. received in return. Full employment is found for the 

2 t 2 


fishermen by the demand for fish in the interior, into the various 
parts of which it is distributed from Kurunaigalla, to which it is 
conveyed by the road. 

Akkarapattoo, denominated in some maps Navakarre, extends along 
the peninsula, from Madikettan Ode to Oedepenkarre, is about 29 
miles long, and 5 broad, and comprehends 42 villages, almost entirely 
inhabited by Moors. Though the soil is sandy, the cocoa-nut tree 
thrives exceedingly well, and the whole tract bordering the gulf is 
covered with that most useful tree. In the southern parts, paddy is 
grown, and large quantities of tobacco are raised everywhere ; the 
highlands are sown with fine grain. Cinnamon grows wild in the 
jungle, but being of an inferior quality is not peeled for exportation. 
Salt is manufactured here in large quantities, and the produce of the 
dairy is conveyed to the Colombo markets by the canal. The village 
of Nawakadoo (Nawa, nine, and Kadoo, a sword,) in this pattoo, is 
remarkable for the pompous visits paid to it by the kings of Kandy, 
after their coronation, to assume the sword of state after bathing in 
the sea in the neighbourhood. Palikooda, another village, is cele- 
brated for a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to St. Anne, to which 
pilgrims resort from every part of the island, and even from the 
Coromandel coast. 

Calpentyn, the chief town of the hundred on the western shore of 
the gulf of that name, has often been taken for an island, from its 
being almost surrounded by water. It was anciently called Arasadi 
from an arasa (ficus religiosa) tree of great size, which once stood 
there, but it was subsequently changed for Kalputti or Kalpitti, 
from kal, a stone, and putti, an elevation. Calpentyn is thought by 
some to have been the site of a Hindoo city, several remains of that 
people having been from time to time discovered. The present 
Pettah contains but few large houses, yet it has a pretty appearance, 
from beiug embosomed in groves of cocoa-nut and suria trees, and 
contains a Protestant and Roman Catholic church, three Gentoo 
temples, and three Mahomedan mosques. A small square fort was 
built here by the Dutch in 1696, but it is now chiefly used as a 
store-house. Calpentyn has a small custom-house establishment, 
and is the station of a police magistrate. The harbour being full of 
shoals, is not accessible to vessels exceeding 1 00 tons ; larger craft 
unload therefore at Mutwal bay, and convey their cargoes to Cal- 
pentyn in dhonies and ballams. A considerable trade is carried on 
with the Coromandel coast and with Colombo (93 miles distant), 
by the inland navigation. Though the soil of this hundred is 
excessively sandy, yet it is scarcely inferior to any in vegetation, and 
its gardens produce every variety of fruit and vegetable, and vines 
both of the purple and white kind flourish here in great perfection. 
The fisheries of Calpentyn have greatly increased in importance 
within the last few years, from an influx of fishermen from other 
places. The gulf is rich in chanks of the best quality as well as 
beche de mer, which has been occasionally collected and exported to 


Singapore and Penang, and the naturalist may obtain various 
specimens of shells, mollusca, madrepore, pearl-oyster spawn, coral, 
and the fucus aurylaceus. It is also well stocked with fish, and 
mullets are caught in large quantities on the north-west coast. 
Porpoises, dolphins and turtle are abundant ; the latter are caught 
in the shallower parts in kraals. In the neighbourhood of Putlam, 
the bed of the gulf is muddy, and much infested with sea-snakes, the 
bite of which often proves mortal. Near Calpentyn it is studded 
with several small islands, and its bi'eadth is about eight miles, a 
little to the south of that place, between which and Putlam boats are 
constantly plying, but it gradually decreases towards the south- 
east. The entrance is by two passages, one near Mutwal on the 
west, and the other near Koodramalai point, where it forms a bight 
on the north-east, and it affords safe anchorage for small vessels as 
far as Calpentyn. Besides the navigation and fishery, the gulf is 
useful for the supply of the leways with water. Chunam is prepared 
here by burning shells ; wood oil is extracted from the forests, and 
chaya root is met with in great abundance. Mutwal (Muhatwaram) 
is a small island about ten miles long and from two to three broad, 
separated by a narrow strait from Calpentyn. The inhabitants are 
chiefly employed in the fishery, the cultivation of cocoa-nut trees, and 
the manufacture of chunam. 

Demelepattoo (the Malabar province), so called from its having 
been under the government of Malabar chiefs, is a small district, 
diversified with large plains and forests. It possesses an extremely 
fertile soil, and produces a large quantity of paddy and fine grain. 
Part of this district has been severed, and united with those of 
Chilaw and Putlam. 

Pootalama or Putlam, the next stage from Marrundankoole eight 
miles distant, is a populous village, on the shore of a shallow gulf, prin- 
cipally inhabited by Moormen and Hindoos. It derives its name from 
Wijeyas having landed there, and literally means a society of young 
men, such as those of this adventurous prince. Casie Chitty says it 
originally bore the name of Magultotamuna, or the port of marriage, 
from that prince, after having disembarked here, married Kuwani, 
who lived at Tamana Nuwara, a few miles to the east of it. The 
present name he derives from " pudu," new, and "alam," salt-pans, 
in allusion to the leways contiguous. Putlam is thought to be the 
Battala of Ibu Batuta, and was one of the royal villages belonging to 
the Gabada or treasury of the kings of Kandy. — (See p. 4G6.) When 
the Portuguese took this place in 1536, they erected a large church, 
and made it the head-quarters of propagandism. Subsequently the 
place having been taken by Raja Singha, the church was demolished, 
and the converts compelled to renounce their new creed. 

Salt is manufactured at Putlam in large quantities ; the coast 
being very flat and sandy, and evaporation extremely rapid : the 
artificial pans, soon after the salt has formed, appear at a distance as 
if covered with snow. The face of the country is flat, diversified by a 


succession of rice fields, jungles, and plains, and abounds in tanks and 
patches of water, all of which are infested with crocodiles. Putlam 
is connected with Colombo and Chilaw by a canal, which is 
formed by taking advantage of various streams, and the lake of 
Quiparawa, so called from the abundance of Qui fish found in it. 
The Moormen have one large and several small mosques at 
Putlam, and near the burial ground there is a fine specimen of a 
species of tamarind, distinguished from the common tamarind, 
and called by the natives Papparapooli, or the giant's tamarind; six 
feet from the ground its solid stem is nearly 40 feet in circumference, 
and at eight feet it divides into two branches, one 22 the other 26 
feet in circumference. It is nearly 100 feet high, and has the ap- 
pearance of a black rock, but its age does not exceed 120 years. 
The leaves are used medicinally, and to feed goats, and the pulp of 
its oblong fruit is eaten by the natives. 

Putlam was formerly a place of considerable trade and manufac- 
ture, and the coast vessels resorted to it in great numbers, with large 
cargoes of piece goods, consisting of long clotb, comboys, handker- 
chiefs, &c, which they exchanged for areka-nuts and pepper. At 
present its trade is chiefly confined to Colombo and Kurunaigalla. 
The manufacture of coarse cotton cloth for the Kandian market 
has sensibly declined since the duty on British manufactures 
has been diminished. The forests around Putlam yield good timber 
of nearly every kind, and shelter every description of game, including 
elephants, bears and chetahs. 

The next stages from Putlam to the Pomparipoo-oya are through 
the village of Nellich aar, distant 5 miles, and Wannataville, 6| miles 
further, and the Pomparipoo-oya is 4 miles distant. The face of 
the country is flat, but although none of the scenery of the more 
elevated parts of the island diversifies the prospect, magnificent forest 
trees and verdant plains, interspersed with neat native cottages and 
paddy fields, form an interesting landscape. The sea is skirted by 
low sands. The neighbouring jungle abounds with elk, deer, wild 
hogs, elephants, chetahs, bears, sloths, monkeys, and various other 
animals, besides birds and insects in great variety. On every side 
may be seen vestiges of the former agricultural importance of the 
district, where cotton might be grown in any quantity. 

The country between Colombo and Kurunaigalla affords every 
variety of scenery. At the Hattanagalla-oya, the road approaches 
one of the low ranges of hills, which diverge in all directions from 
the mountainous centre of the island, and four miles to the right is 
situated the rock of Hattanagalla, surmounted by religious buildings, 
the principal of which was erected a.o. 248, by Grooloo Abhaa, to the 
memory of King Siri Sangabo. The streams as one ascends into 
the Central province, not only flow more rapidly, but their waters are 
crystalline in comparison with the sluggish and greasy waters that 
steal through the low country, which are saturated with the slime and 
mud of the rice fields. Not only the lower part of the irrigated 


valleys, but the sides of every rivulet, as it descends from the hills, 
however steep they may be, are formed into terraces, and when these 
are cultivated, the brilliant green of the rice crops serves to diversify 
the general olive tint of the Kandian landscape. The watch huts, 
from whence the natives protect their fields, are often highly pictur- 
esque, perched as they often are on overhanging crags, or among the 
branches of some huge forest tree, from which the watchers can 
command a view of any intruding elephant, and to which they can 
flee, if their discordant yells and lighted brands prove insufficient to 
scare their giant foe. 

Crossing the Maha-oya by the elegant bridge at Mahanella, five 
miles beyond Ambapusse (the old mode was by a ferry at Allow), the 
traveller continues his route through Hondelle, 8f miles, where there 
is a large Government granary, to Kurunaigalla, eight miles from the 
latter place. 1 Allow (Alauwe) is a beautiful spot; the river is 
there clear and rapid, but the climate is variable, and at times pesti- 
lential, owing to its proximity to water. The defile of Allow was 
strongly guarded in the time of the Dutch, and was considered by 
them as one of the strongest points in the line of defence surrounding 
the Kandian country. There is a tradition of Alauwe having once 
been the seat of an independent chief or prince, probably in a period 
of anarchy or foreign occupation, whence it is sometimes called by 
the natives Alauwe nuwara. The rest-house stands on the left side 
of the river. This stream rises at the base of the mountains, which 
separate the four Korles from the Central province, and after a 
tortuous course of nearly seventy miles in a west north west and 
south-westerly direction, falls into the sea at Kaymel, a little above 
Negombo, where it takes the name of the Kaymel-oya. Dr. Davy 
suggested, that the rocks in the bed of the river should be cleared 
above Giriulla, but if this could be effected as high up as Allow, the 
benefit would be still greater. Judging from the difference of levels, 
and the nature of the intervening surface, he was of opinion that a 
canal to connect the Maha-oya with the Didroo was far from imprac- 
ticable, and bearing in mind the similarity of country, I would 
further venture to ask if a canal, of four miles, from Allow to the 
Gooroogooyae-oja, by which the Didroo-oya would be connected with 
the Kalane and Colombo, and by a further inland navigation with 
Caltura, in all more than eighty-five miles in a straight line, would 
not amply repay the sum required for the execution of the work. 

To the left of the high road to Kurunaigalla, and on the direct 
road between that place and Negombo, is Dambadiniya, once the 
capital of the Mayaa division of the island. It stands in a very pic- 
turesque valley, terminated by ranges of lofty naked hills, rising 

l The route is the same as that given in p. 663, as far as Ambapusse, from 
whence the road to Kandy, via Kaduganava, diverges to the right. The next stage 
from Ambapusse is to the Maha-oya, four and a half miles, to Hondelle, eight and 
three-quarters, to Kurunaigalla, seven and three-quarters. The rest-house at 
Ambapusse is a structure of some pretensions, and is situate in a valley formed by 
a semicircle of hills. 


perpendicularly in a variety of peaked forms. On one of these a 
fort was erected by the British during the Kandian war, but it was 
subsequently abandoned. North of Dambadiniya, and a few miles 
to the north-west of Kurunaigalla is the village of Kottadeniya, 
also a military post during the Kandian war. The country 
between the two places is well watered and fruitful. Padenia, further 
to the north, was also for a time occupied for the same purpose, but 
was in like manner abandoned for its insalubrity, though the soil in 
its vicinity is very fertile, and produces immense quantities of paddy. 

The Dedooroo, or Didroo-oya, which flows through this neighbour- 
hood is a considerable stream, which takes its rise at the base of the 
mountains in Toompane, and after receiving the Kospotte and 
Mongra-oyas, and several minor streams, pursues its sinuous course 
through the Seven Korles, and past the ruins of Panduwas Nuwara, 
and ultimately disembogues itself into the sea, two miles north of 
Chilaw. Its flow and ebb are so uncertain and abrupt, that, accord- 
ing to Casie Chitty, the Malabars call it Maayawen-aar, Maayawa 
being one of the titles of Vishnu, in the character of " Deluder." 

Kurunaigalla, mdg. Komegalle, is situated near the base of a rocky 
granite mountain, about 600 feet in height above the plain, called 
Aetagalla, from its striking resemblance to a tusk elephant. This is 
the last of a range, which derives its name from the likeness of dif- 
ferent portions of it to various animals, beginning at Andagalla (eel 
rock), Ibhagalla (tortoise rock), Kurunaikigalla 1 (elephant leader 
rock), and Aetagalla (tusk elephant rock), where the range abruptly 
terminates. The palace of the kings of Ceylon formerly stood where 
the Government house has been lately erected, and from thence a 
path, with occasional stone steps, leads up the rock to the top of the 
mountain, and passes by a dagobah and wihare, in which the footstep 
of Buddha, copied from that on Adam's Peak (Samanala), is modeled. 
Still further on, the remains of a wall built across a hollow, and pro- 
tecting a path, the only other approach to the summit except the one 
from the lower palace, are visible. Near this place are some small 
stone pillars, and a pond in the rock, partly natural, but improved by 
steps of masonry descending to the water. On the bare rock above, 
are the remains of buildings, which must have been intended to con- 
tain either penitents or prisoners, for none others could have lived 
where the rock gets so heated during the day, that its proper 
temperature is not regained until long after sunset, and is then suc- 
ceeded by chill blasts, or murky exhalations from the flat country 
beneath. On the summit are the remains of the buildings which 
contained the Dalada relic during the reigns of four pious and 

1 The Singhalese, whose etymological traditions are always fanciful and far- 
fetched, differ in opinion as to the true origin of the name. Some derive it from 
the circumstance of a part of its original inhabitants having come over from 
Kurukshetra, or Kururatta (the scene of the bloody wars between the Pandava and 
Kaurava princes), and settled there ; others from Kuruni, a bushel, and galla, a rock, 
in allusion to a relic of Buddha concealed in a bushel under a rock in the neigh- 


powerless kings who held their court at Hastisailapoora, as the Elu 
word Kurunaigalla is called in Pali history. From the time that this 
place became the capital, and even for hundreds of years after its 
abandonment, the rocks of Aetagalla and Andagalla were used in 
royal grants as symbols of duration ; thus, " So long as the sun and 
moon, so long as Aetagalla and Andagalla endure, this grant is made, 
and should any one violate the injunctions contained in this per- 
petual edict, he will be born as a dog or a crow." The impression 
of Buddha's foot in the temple was made at the time Kurunaigalla 
was a royal residence, that a princess who was unable to undertake a 
pilgrimage to the real Sri Pada might here make offerings to a copy. 
From the ruins on the summit of Aetagalla, the peak of Samanala is 
visible. It has never been satisfactorily determined from what cause 
Kurunaigalla was selected as the capital of Ceylon by the four kings 
who succeeded Praackramabahoo III. A tradition of the cause of 
its abandonment, is still, however, current among the people of this 
district : a natural son of one of the kings, who is said to have been 
the offspring of a Mahomedan woman, succeeded by stratagem in 
seizing the throne on his father's death over the legitimate heir, who, 
despairing of success, retired into exile ; for some time he endeared 
himself by his beneficence to the country, but having subsequently 
compromised the privileges of the priesthood, or shewn a preference 
for the faith of his mother, Vashthimi Kumaraya, they assembled 
on the summit of the rock to celebrate a religious ceremony, and 
invited the king to honour it with his presence. On his arrival, 
assassins, who lay in wait, rushed on the usurper, and hurled him 
headlong from the precipice. After the murder of the usurper, the 
legend runs, that the ministers made inquiries after the exiled prince, 
and, according to their custom, caparisoned the state elephant, and 
sent it blindfold to trace his retreat, themselves following with the 
usual appendages of royalty. The sagacious animal, after perambu- 
lating several villages in succession, at length discovered him at 
Kalundawe in the Udapalla Korle, engaged in ploughing. As soon 
as the prince perceived the state elephant and the people in its rear, 
he attempted to conceal himself under a rock in the neighbourhood, 
fearing that the usurper was in quest of him, but the animal 
approached the place where he was concealed, and making a profound 
obeisance to him as the sovereign of the country, took him up gently 
with his proboscis, and placing him on his back, conveyed him to 
Kurunaigalla. On his arrival he was crowned king of Ceylon with 
great pomp by the nobles and unusual joy by the people. Conceiving 
that the Moorish usurper, by sitting on the throne, had polluted the 
sanctity of the city, the young prince proposed to remove his 
court elsewhere, and abandon Kurunaigalla. The people coinciding 
in his views, Dambadiniya was selected as the future capital, and from 
that time the chiefs began gradually to desert it for that place, until 
it dwindled down to a Durawa village, in which state it remained, till 
its important position attracted the attention of the British. This 


legend would seem to be either an anachronism, or to have reference 
to the local sovereignty of an independent prince, as it by no means 
agrees with the more authentic annals. Since the opening of the 
eastern and other roads, Kurunaigalla has rapidly increased in 
population and importance, and many native dealers from the coast 
have migrated thither. The bazaar is now well supplied, and is the 
centre to which the inhabitants of the whole country round bring 
their produce to barter for the salt, salt fish, and manufactures 
imported from the coast. The country in the vicinity is extremely 
fertile and beautiful, and part of it is irrigated by a large tank, the 
outlet of which, unlike those of Kandelle and Mennairia, is formed 
in a natural manner by its embankment joining a low rocky hill. 
The rocky precipices, magnificent trees, and beautiful patches of 
bright green meadow, diversified with the profusion of jungle foliage, 
and the miniature and well wooded islets, contribute to produce a 
scene of mingled sublimity and beauty. In the vicinity of Kurunai- 
galla are sculptures of elephants, lions, and an animal resembling the 
unicorn. Kurunaigalla, though the head-quarters of the revenue, and 
judicial officers of the Government, and a military station, is much 
infested by elephants, who, regardless of its rising population, con- 
tinue to make it their house of call in passing into the low country, 
and vice versd. 

Kurunaigalla 1 is the chief station of the Seven Korles, and the 
residence of an assistant Government agent. That district is very 
extensive, containing the larger portion of the Western Province 
within its limits, and is separated from the Harisiapattoo, in the cen- 
tral province, by the Dik-oya ; on the south by the Maha-oya, which 
separates it from the Three Korles and Four Korles ; on the west by 
the districts of Chilaw and Putlam, and the Demelepattoo, and on the 
north by the Kalawa-oya, which separates it from Nuwera Kalawa. It 
was formerly divided into seven korles (the seat of a dissavony), and 
subdivided into twenty-four pattoos, called respectively the Eihala-dolos 
pattoo, or upper twelve pattoos, and the Palaha-dolos pattoo, or 
lower twelve pattoos. The face of the country in the former por- 
tion is diversified with mountains and huge abrupt rocks ; the latter 
is in general fiat. The climate in most parts is far from healthy, 
and endemic fever prevails in some parts, at certain seasons, which 
is to be attributed to the influence of miasma, arising from swamps 
and marshes. Kurunaigalla, from being situated to the westward of 
the mountains in the vicinity, is sheltered from the disagreeable in- 
fluences of the land wind, while it has all the benefits of the sea 
breeze. The soil is for the most part fertile, yielding paddy, fine 
grain, cotton and hemp, as also cocoa-nuts, jack-fruits, limes, and 
even cinnamon in small quantities, which are exchanged for the 
manufactures or produce of the coast. 

From Kurunaigalla to Anuradhapoora, the route lays nearly north, 

1 This place was attacked by the insurgents in the recent eiueute, but they were 
driven from it, after having done some injury to the public buildings. 


and the footpath is either through rice fields, or over gentle eleva- 
tions, covered with brushwood. After some miles the country be- 
comes more level, fewer villages are seen, and less cultivation, "with 
more extensive jungles, mark the difference between that part of the 
country which has a constant supply of river water, and the more 
northern districts, which depend upon rain to fill the tanks, and 
irrigate the fields. Although this part of the district is now little 
better than a desert, from the ruined state of most of its numerous 
tanks, yet the soil is extremely fertile wherever irrigated, and in the 
plains around Galgamma, a village of Malabar Christians, where 
there is a large tank, a proof is given of its capabilities. The dis- 
tance to Anuradhapoora is about eighty miles, through Koombakalawia, 
Hierapitia, Madawatchy, Kattapitia-weva, Neelicolom and Epanella. 
The rock of Ununugalla, near Hierapitia, Yakdessagalla (the devil- 
dancer, from its supposed resemblance to that character), visible 
from Kurunaigalla and Galgiriakandi, are the most prominent fea- 
tures on those ridges of hills, which gradually descend into the 
plains and jungles, which surround the ancient capital of the island. 
Near Koombakalawia are situated the remains of Yapahoo (Subha 
Pubhattoo), for some time the residence of a branch of the Singhalese 
royal race, one of whom succeeded to the throne a. d. 1303, and 
made this place the capital, but it only remained so for eleven years, 
when it was taken possession of by an army, sent by the King of Paudi 
(Madura), which destroyed the town and carried off the Dalada relic. 

The streams intersecting the route are the Dederoo-oya, Kimboola- 
oya, Mee-oya, and Kalawa-oya. The Mee-oya has its source in 
Matale, and is a very inconsiderable stream till it arrives at Mada- 
galla, a little to the east of Galgiria-Kandi, where it receives the 
waters of a ruined tank, and being joined by several tributary streams, 
it assumes some degree of magnitude, and after a wandering course 
through the Seven Korles, descends into the district of Putlam, 
where it is known by the name of Welukar or Waliker-aar, and 
empties itself by several channels into the gulf of Calpentyn. 

The superficies of the Western Province, previous to its division, 
was 4452 square miles, and the population which was 543,222 in 
1843, may be estimated at the current rate of increase, at 595,750, 
or upwards of 133 to the square mile. See preface for its repartition. 

The bounds of the Central Province have been already implied in 
those of the other provinces, and are more distinctly indicated in the 
map than can be done by a general description, however clear ; suffice it 
then to say, that the Mahavelle and one of its affluents separate it from 
the greater part of the Eastern Province, and a triangular line from 
the remainder ; that by another line running N.N.E. it is separated 
from the Northern Province ; that by a continuation of that line in a 
south and south-westerly direction, by the sources of the Didroo, 
and a line drawn along the eastern face of the districts of Toompane, 
the Four Korles, and Upper and Lower Bulatgamme, it is separated 


from the Western Province. The line of separation from the Southern 
Province has been described under that head. 

Mi'itale, the most extensive district in the Central Province, em- 
braces all the three peculiarities of surface by which Ceylon is distin- 
guished ; its southern division occupies the northern portion of the 
mountain zone, its central a part of the hilly region, and its northern 
the low and heated plains. The surface of the country is therefore 
very diversified, but the greater part of it is covered with a luxuriant 
vegetation. Its population is very scanty, probably it does not reach 
twenty to the square mile. Matale is subdivided into the following 
Korles : Ooodoogodde, Asgirie Korle, &c. &c. 

In entering Matale from the north-east, the traveller passes 
through Haburenne, sixteen miles from Dambool. Beyond Habu- 
renne to the north-eastward, stretches an extensive forest as far as 
Gantalawe, and the first open space is a very small plain near the 
banks of the Gal-oya, whose rocky bed is frequently dry in the hot 
season. The neighbourhood of Haburenne itself, is one of the 
hottest in Ceylon, and the water is of the worst quality. The flat 
bare rock of Haburenne was once the site of a dagobah and Buddhist 
establishment ; no remains of these now exist, although a long and 
partly obliterated inscription in the Nagara character points to their 
situation. From this place the rock fort of Sigiri, appears like a 
crested helmet resting on a cushion ; it is about six miles distant 
from Haburenne, and half way between it and the nearest hills of the 
Matale district. Between Dambool and Nalande, a distance of 
fifteen miles, lies the Andagalla pass, an abrupt ascent and stony 
path, shaded by magnificent trees, and hemmed in on either side 
by rocky mountains. 

The rock of Dambool, in which are the celebrated Buddhist cave 
temples, is a scene of peculiar interest, and appears to rise about 600 
feet above the surrounding forests : on the north side it is bare and 
black ; to the south its huge overhanging mass, by some art and much 
labour, has been formed into temples, which are the most extensive, 
perfect, and ancient in the island. The oidy easy ascent to these is 
from the eastern side ; and the steep path first passes over a bare 
shelving rock, then lies through a narrow patch of jungle, emerging 
from whence, the bare rock is again visible, near the miserable 
modern arch-way, which forms the entrance to the platform in front 
of the ancient fanes of Dambool. 

The first of the excavated chambers, which is seventy-five feet long, 
twenty-one wide, and twenty-seven high, is called the Maha-deiyo 
dewale, or temple of the great god, from a statue of Vishnu, held to 
possess peculiar sanctity, and before which the most solemn oaths 
were often sworn and litigated cases settled without any other trial : 
this was when one of the parties agreed to abide by the oath of the 
other, to be given in a specified form before this statue of Vishnu, 
which is a rudely executed figure rather larger than life, and in the 
form of Ramachandra. Although the great fame of this particular 


temple is derived from this statue of Vishnu, the chamber contains 
also a monstrous but well wrought figure of Buddha, recumbent, and 
the statue, as well as the couch and pillow on which he reclines, is 
cut from the solid rock. This figure is forty-seven feet long ; at its 
feet stands an attendant disciple, and it is opposite to the face in a 
dark corner, that the statue of Vishnu is placed. This chamber is 
long, narrow, and dark : Gautama Buddha's position and placid 
aspect, the stillness of the place, all tend to impress a stranger with 
the notion that he is in the chamber of death. The priests maintain 
that such was Gautama, and such were those who were spectators at 
his death. 

The fronts of all the temples at Dambool are formed by a wall 
raised under the beetling rock, rather more than four hundred feet 
long, perforated with a number of doors and windows, and sheltered 
and defended not only by the overhanging concave surface of rock, 
but also artificially by a rude verandah, and these sacred caverns are 
partly natural and partly excavated. The next temple, the Maha- 
raja wihare (temple of the great king), is by far the most extensive 
and magnificent in Ceylon, being painted all over in brilliant 
colours, and every part is in good repair. It derives its name from its 
founder, King Wallagam-Bahoo, who is supposed to have assisted 
personally in its formation ; it is 1 72 feet long, 75 broad, and 
21 feet high near the front wall, and is lighted by numerous 
windows and doors in front. The height from this place gradually 
decreases in the arc of a circle, towards the floor on the interior side ; 
but the bad effect otherwise resulting from such a design, is coun- 
teracted by a judicious disposition of the statues, and the drapery 
hung up to protect them from dust, or the gaze of the vulgar. In 
this temple are fifty figures of Buddha, many of them larger than 
life, arranged in a row at a little distance from the sides and inner 
walls of the room, but not grouped. Also a statue of each of the 
gods, Saman, in yellow, Vishnu, in blue, and Nata, in white robes, of 
the goddess Patine, and of the kings Walagam-Bahoo and Kirti Nis- 
sauga ; the first is the rudest figure, and its dress the simplest and 
the least ornamented ; Kirti Nissanga, after repairing the ruin caused 
by Malabar invaders, in a.d. 1 193, regilded the statues, at a cost of 
000,000 pieces of gold, and ornainented the fanes of Dambool so 
gaudily that it henceforward received the name of Rangiri, the 
golden rock. It is also designated in an inscription of that date, 
cut in the rock, Swarna-giri-guhaya, cave of the golden rock. Within 
the Maha-raja-wihare, there is a beautifully formed dagobah which 
touches the roof at the highest part, its broad circular pedestal is 
ornamented with four figures of Buddha, each seated on the coil of a 
cobra di capella, and shaded by its expanded hood ; and in a small 
square compartment, railed in, and sunk two feet below the level of 
the floor, a vessel is placed to receive water, which constantly drops 
from a fissure in the rock, and is exclusively kept for sacred purposes, 
no person daring to use it for any other. 

654 CEYLON. [part IV. 

The whole of the interior, whether rock, wall, or statue, is painted 
with brilliant colours, in which yellow much predominates ; in one 
place the artist has aimed at an illustration of an epoch in the early 
history of Ceylon, which commences with the voyage of Wijeya, 
who is pictured in a vessel with only the lower masts, and without 
sails ; in the sea are seen fishes as large as the vessel, and lotus 
leaves of the natural size are spread on its surface. In the represen- 
tation of the great dagobahs at Anuradhapoora, the proportions are 
no better observed, and these huge works are pictured as but little 
larger than the monarchs who ordered their erection. The dedi- 
cation of the island to Buddha after the arrival of the Dalada, is 
figured by a king guiding a plough drawn by a pair of elephants, 
attended by priests. The most successful attempt at historical 
painting, is one which depicts the passage at arms between 
Dootoo-gaimoonoo and Elaala, the delineation of which is spirited, 
and in better proportions than any other of the historical compart- 
ments. The Malabar king is described in the act of falling from 
his elephant, and transfixed by the javelin of his enemy. The 
ornamental paintings in the temples at Dambool are neatly executed, 
where an attention to proportion is of less consequence, and although 
some of the colours have not been renewed for more than fifty years, 
the whole appears bright and durable. The Passipilame (western) 
and two alut (new) wihares are formed on the same plan, but are 
inferior in size and decorations to the Maha-raja wihare, from which 
they are separated by a stone wall, the portal by which they are 
entered is therefore in front, and is a lofty archway, guarded on each 
side by stone figures, intended to represent janitors. In one of them 
is the statue of the King Kirti Sri, the last royal patron of Dambool, 
and a zealous supporter of Buddhism. The celebration of the Bud- 
dhist service in this primeval temple, and the loud response of the 
worshippers, are described by those who have attended it as a scene 
of the most awe-exciting effect . 

On the rocky platform, which extends in front of all the temples, 
a bo-tree and several cocoa-nut trees have been reared, and have 
reached a great size in defiance of their exposed situation, equally 
exposed to tempests, and the scorching heats and long droughts, to 
which this part of the country is periodically liable. Besides an 
inscription on the rock over the entrance to the temples, and several 
short inscriptions in the square character, called Nagara, there is near 
the Maha-Deiyo temple, neatly cut in the rock, a long inscription in 
the Singhalese character, as in use towards the end of the twelfth 
century. It records the power, wealth, and meritorious acts of the 
King Kirti Nissanga, and particularly his munificence in ornamenting 
the temples and gilding the seventy-two statues of Buddha at Dambool. i 

1 For the account of the scenery and antiquities of Matale, I am chiefly in- 
debted to a local publication of high standing ; but here, as in some other places, 
the real contributor was Major Forbes, of whose vivid and felicitous sketches of 
Singhalese scenery, it is impossible to speak in too high terms of praise. 


The summit of the rock commands a most extensive view over the 
surrounding country ; to the south lie the mountains of Matale 
and their intermediate valleys. The flat country immediately around 
is the patrimony of the temples, and under the superintendence of 
the priests, seven in number, who belong to the Asgirie wihare, to 
which the temples are attached ; on the north and east lie the 
wooded expanse and abrupt rocks of Nuwara-Kalawa. The most 
conspicuous of these are the circular rock of Sigiri, Dahiakandi, near 
the fort of Wigittapoora, memorable for its siege 2000 years ago, 
and the mountain Ritta-galla, elevated 2000 feet above the level of the 
plain, by which it is encompassed. The rock of Dambool was formerly 
surmounted by three dagobahs ; these have crumbled down and been 
washed away. About fifty feet below the summit of the rock there 
is a pond, said to retain water when the springs for miles around are 
dried up in the dry season. Ou the west side of the rock of 
Dambool, are the ruins of the Soma Dagobah, which was completed 
by Walagam-Bahoo, in the first century before the Christian era, 
the numerous inscriptions at this place are a mixture of the ancient 
Singhalese and Nagara characters. 

Five miles north-east of Dambool is the Meerisagona-oya, which 
for the greater part of the year is a bed of sand, though the banks 
are in most places from six to eight feet high, and are supported by 
matted roots of trees, more especially the kabook. During the north- 
east monsoon, it is impassable for days together, and is then an im- 
petuous torrent. In a forest eight miles from Dambool, and between 
the former precipitous path which led to Nalande through the Anda- 
galla pass and the new road which winds round the mountain of 
Lenadorra, are the ruins of an ancient town, called Menik Denna 
Nuwara, the remains of two tanks, the ruins of a dagobah, a wihare 
with numerous stone pillars, a stone bed (one end of which rests 
upon a rock, the other extremity being supported by pillars) ; there are 
also stone steps, and foundations of houses, to shew that this was at 
one time a station of some importance. The mountain of Nik-woolla 
or Heercedewatai Kandi rises behind these ruins, and a plain near 
its summit has apparently been a place of retreat in times of danger, 
as it is strewed with fragments of pottery ; and various kinds of fruit 
trees, not commonly found wild, still flourish on this bleak plateau. 
A pond, which contains water at all times in the driest seasons, was 
doubtless the attraction of fugitives to this natural stronghold ; such 
ponds, however remarkable, are not uncommonly to be met with near 
the top of the highest mountains, and even on the summit of the bare 
and elevated rocks of Ceylon. The traditions regarding Menik 
Denna Nuwara assert that it was a residence of the King Sirisangabo, 
but that it was greatly improved in the beginning of the fourth 
century by Sri Danta Kumara, the royal importer of Buddha's tooth. 

Twelve miles from Dambool is the village of Mahaellegamma, 
where there is an embankment of a large tank, which is in good con- 
dition, and contains a supply of water sufficient to irrigate a consider- 


able extent of paddy land. From this place to the sluice of the 
Kalawa tank is seven miles. 

Nalande, although only fifteen miles distant, has not the same 
moist and pleasant climate as Matale ; even at a distance of five 
miles from the latter place, coffee gardens are more rare, and less 
productive, cocoa-nut trees scarcer and less luxuriant. As a 
military post, which it was for some years, it proved very unhealthy ; 
its small fort occupied the summit of a rocky hillock, and in situation 
as well as insalubrity, resembled many of the military positions 
origiually selected for the British troops in the Kandian country. 
In the vicinity of Nalande are two caves, from which a small quantity 
of saltpetre was prepared, under the native Government. At 
Nalande the land leech is not seen ; at Matale it is abundant. 
Beyond Nalande the talapat tree is seldom to be met with. From 
Nalande to the lake of Mennairia is a distance of thirty- six miles, 
through Nyakoombura, Gonawe, and Pae-colom ; near the former 
place there is a small village, with a few paddy fields, forming the 
only break in the damp and dreary jungle, from whence issue streams 
that flow into the sea on either coast of the island. In traversing 
the forest of Wagapanaha a few openings shew the rugged outline 
and abrupt rocks of the range of Arrawella kandi. 

Eyhelapola is about nine miles from Matale, and is about 1200 
feet above the level of the sea ; it is the seat of the family of the 
late Adigaar of that name, consisting of a large house, with exten- 
sive grounds, encompassed by an elephant fence. Nine miles beyond 
is the village of Wahakotta, on the range of hills extending between 
the Seven Korles and Matale. In the forests on the side of Ambokka- 
kandi, a mountain forming part of this chain, are situated the 
remains of Rangalla Nuwara, and at its base a temple of the same 
name is dedicated to the goddess Patine. This goddess, and the 
temple of Ambokka, and the relics it contains, are supposed to have 
extraordinary efficacy in preventing, or averting, small-pox. The 
inhabitants of Wahakotta profess the Christian religion, and are the 
descendants of Portuguese prisoners taken by Raja Singha, and of 
some of their countrymen, who preferred retiring into the Kandian 
country, in 1640, to remaining under the Dutch Government. 
There is little difference either in feature, character, or colour, 
between them and the Kandians of pure descent. These descendants 
of Europeans are not so dark, and are free from the muddy complexion 
and rough skin, so common among those wearing hats, and styling 
themselves descendants of Europeans, in the maritime provinces. 

From the extremity of the mountains which terminate abruptly 
near Wahakotta, the view over the flat country, that extends to the 
northernmost parts of the island, is extremely curious, from the 
many detached rocks and precipitous mountains, which shoot up 
from amidst the forest, covering the extensive plains of Nuwara 
Kalawa. " At sunrise," says Forbes, " and for some time after, till 
the mists are dispelled by the sun, partial fogs assume the exact 


appearance of lakes, some of these calm and undisturbed, will at 
times reflect surrounding objects ; while others, agitated by a slight 
breeze, will seem to dash their mimic waves against the forest, which 
appears to bound these beautiful illusions. The descent from the 
mountainous district at this place to the flat country beneath, is 
through the wild, wooded and romantic pass of Kalugallahella (or 
the hill of the Black Rock), which terminates at Gallawella. 

A little to the north of the huge mountain of Artapola Kandi, 
which is to the southward of Ambooka- kandi, but forming a part 
of the same chain, is the village of Ollegamma, delightfully situate 
in a fine hilly country, well adapted for coffee cultivation. About 
two miles from it, on the side of a vast rock partly covered with fine 
old trees, are the excavated temples, where a great annual festival 
takes place. To reach the temples a steep flight of stairs is ascended, 
at the top of which is a fine view of the country around. The images 
and paintings are numerous ; the former are rudely executed, but 
the colouring of the latter, said perhaps erroneously to be many 
centuries old, is as brilliant as if only recently finished. There are 
several inscriptions on the rocks, but in a character unintelligible to 
the Singhalese of the present day. 

Matale is an extensive valley, encircled with mountains, some of 
which are 6000 feet in height, but clothed with thick wood to their 
very summits. In the jungles are to be found cinnamon, as well as 
various kinds of citrons, limes, oranges, mangoes, custard apples, and 
jack-fruit trees : wild plantains and cardamoms abound in some of 
the forests, and coffee, though not indigenous, is now found mixed 
with jungle plants, and is, besides, generally and extensively culti- 
vated in this district. On. the plain near the station of Matale, 
commonly called Fort M'Dowall by Europeans, many foundations of 
houses indicate the site of Walabanuwara. It was here that the 
king Walagambahoo established himself previous to recovering his 
capital of Anuradhapoora, and expelling the Malabar invaders of his 
kingdom, B.C. 90. Here also the rival kings or candidates for the 
throne, Gaja-bahoo and Siriwallaba, in the early part of the twelfth 
century, occasionally held their court, and assembled their levies. 
In a.d. 1635 Matale and the adjacent provinces were formed into a 
separate kingdom for Wijeya Paala, who fixed his court at Godapola, 
a small mount, whose top is gained by a stone staircase of one 
hundred and twenty steps ; the summit of this knoll is square and 
surrounded by a wall with four gates. The interior buildings must 
have been of frail materials, as the foundations of their walls alone 
remain, and could be distinctly traced when lately the whole site of 
the palace, from the innermost chamber to the public judgment-seat 
at the gate, was cultivated with the surrounding parts of the royal 

Godapola unites many advantages in its situation, and commands 
a varied and beautiful prospect, while its position on the verge of the 

2 u 

658 CEYLON. [part IV. 

Hunisgiri mountains, rendered escape easy and concealment secure. 
In the forest, which covers these mountains, and three miles from 
the palace are to he seen the ruins of a building called Kandi-nuwara 
(hill station), which had been prepared as a place of refuge in times 
of clanger, and was occupied by the king before he finally abandoned 
his dominions to his younger brother, the ambitious and crafty 
Raja Singha. In the Mahommedan village of Gongawelle, a very 
large spring of pure water rises in a basin of white sand, which is 
surrounded by a wall, and overshadowed by trees. This fountain is 
accounted for in ancient legends as having sprung up beside Seeta 
(Lakshmi), wife of Rama, who 2400 years before the Christian era 
rested here, when Rawana compelled her to journey from Lankapoora 
to the forests in the interior of the island. 

Two miles from Matale, on the side of the road to Trincomalee, 
are situated the Aluewihare rocks, which look as if a portion 
detached from the great mountain above had been precipitated into 
the plain, and riven by the shock into those pinnacles and rude 
masses which are heaped together in so remarkable a manner. A 
single solitary cocoa-nut tree grows in a recess among these clefts, 
and waves its thin stem and scanty leaves over the highest of the 
rocks, among which large flights of blue rock pigeons have hitherto 
found protection from the sanctity of the place, and the tenets of 
Buddhism. Among the recesses of these crags, the doctrines of 
Gautama Buddha were first reduced to writing, and under their 
huge masses many temples were formed at a very early period. 
These temples were destroyed by the British troops in 1803, and 
only two out of eight have been since restored. On one of the 
highest pinnacles is a print of Buddha's footstep, similar to that on 
Adam's Peak, from which it is imitated, and a small hollow is formed 
in the rock near it, for the purpose of receiving offerings. On a neigh- 
bouring crag are the remains of a dagobah, and amidst its scattered 
fragments, a stone cut into twenty-five compartments ; in the centre 
one of these the relic of Buddha is placed, and the remaining cells 
in the stone contain the offerings made when the relic was deposited. 
Through the middle of the Aluewihare rocks, there is a broad 
natural street of unequal height ; to reach this a flight of rude steps 
is ascended, a crevice is then passed through, and another ascent 
ensues, till a flat rock is reached, which is pointed out as the spot 
where the King Walagambahoo assembled the priests, who here 
compared their texts or versions, which were then or soon afterwards 
committed to writing, and form the Banapota or Buddhist Bible ; the 
doctrines of Gautama having previously descended by tradition for 
214 years. 

In passing from Kandy to Matale, a distance of seventeen miles 
by the road, the Mahavelle-ganga is crossed about three miles from 
the city. At the ferry before crossing the green hills and mountain 
peaks of Doombera, and from the opposite side looking back, the 
wooded heights and rocky range of Hantana offer two equally beauti- 


ful and very different landscapes. From the Mahavelle-ganga the 
road passes through seven miles of country, unincumbered with 
forests, until it reaches the summit of the Ballakadawe hills ; from 
thence the eye is directed through a narrow wooded pass to the 
station of Matale, five miles distant, and 700 feet lower than the top 
of the Ballakadawe pass. 

"A tree of great size," says Forbes, "growing near the stream in 
this forest pass, has for centuries marked the limits of two districts, 
and beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant has obtained the 
name of Loku-Bambera-gaha or great bee-tree. For eight months 
every year, from all its branches that stretch over the rivulet, one 
hundred or more swarms of bees may be seen depending, each having 
one large semicircular comb of the thickness of the branch so far as 
it is attached, and gradually diminishing towards the ends of the 
circle. These insects and their labour are considered to be under 
the protection of a spirit, and from that circumstance remain unmo- 
lested ; but in 1836, when the new road which passes near the tree 
was repairing, the community having taken umbrage at some pioneers, 
who were cutting down a hollow tree in their vicinity, sallied out, 
attacked the workmen, then the soldiers, and finally put to flight 
the whole party ; many of whom suffered severely, and one carriage 
bullock was stung to death. For days after this attack the bees 
were in great excitement, flying about the road in numbers, but they 
did not molest passengers, and at last became reconciled to the 
innovation upon their prescriptive right of solitude." 

From Randy to the mountains of Lakagalla, the traveller proceeds 
a short distance along the Trincomalee road, and then strikes into a 
jungle path on the right, and crossing a large stream, which rises 
near Doombera Peak, and flows by the base of the Hunisgiri range 
of mountains, enters the valley of Gantony. He then turns down 
the valley to the left by another path, which at a remote period, 
has evidently been a broad road, whose formation, though evincing 
no ingenuity on the part of the constructor, in avoiding the steep 
ascents that occasionally occur in its line of direction, shews that 
it must have been intended for carriages. 

" When a native king of the olden time," remarks Forbes, cc made a 
progress towards Adam's Peak, his carriage must have been impelled 
up these eminences by the force of people who were always at hand ; 
as the inhabitants of every district through which the royal proces- 
sion passed, were compelled to attend to provide its supplies and 
carry the baggage." Wherever a path crosses or diverges from this 
road, an ambulam exists, or its foundation may be perceived. An 
ambulam is generally a strong shed of small size, raised on a stone 
foundation, eight or ten feet in height, under its shade travellers 
rested during the heat of the day, or if benighted, its elevated 
position offered them security against elephants. Near these huts, 
is often seen the far-extending peepul, with its ever rustling leaves 

2 u 2 


and ample shade, or the light lively green foliage and solid trunk of 
the tamarind, the rise of which may be referred to the repast of 
wanderers, who centuries before had rested at the ambulam. At a 
bend of the river at Gigirinne, is an elephant kraal, where numbers 
of that quadruped were formerly decoyed. The route proceeds along 
the base of Opa^alla, a hill, on which may be traced the foundations 
of a small fort, whose formation is assigned by tradition to Yakkas, 
" tlie alleged architects of every ruin in Ceylon, whose origin is 
unknown, and of every work too difficult to be imitated, or too 
clumsy to be acknowledged by the Singhalese." 

At Ambona, the stream, along whose banks the road has lain, is 
joined by the Nalande-oya (which rises in the rocky mountains sur- 
rounding the romantic vale of Asgiri), and here changes its course 
from north to east. From this place till its junction with the Maha- 
velle ganga, at Kotawelle in Tamankada, a distance of forty miles, 
it retains the name of Ambanganga, and the spot where these two 
rivers join is nearly opposite to Dimbulugalla, a solitary mountain 
rising from the plains of Bintenne. At the entrance of a large canal 
near Ellaherra, completed (if not constructed) ' ' by the happy vic- 
torious and illustrious monarch of Ceylon, Praackramabahoo," a 
wall of immense strength has been formed across the river, yet 
notwithstanding the great size of the stones employed in the con- 
struction of this work, and although the remains of the dam are now 
at considerable distance from the usual course of the river, still part 
of it is occasionally displaced by floods in the rainy season. This 
embankment appears to have served for a bridge as well as a dam to 
turn water into the canal. This canal is said to have been formed 
not only for conveyiug part of the water of this river into tanks, and 
thus increasing the extent of irrigated lands, but also for purposes of 
inland navigation, so that loaded boats might pass from hence to 
Gantalawe, near Trincomalee, and by another branch of the same 
canal to the ancient capital of Pollonnaroowa. Near the junction 
of the Heerattee-oya with the Ambanganga, are situated the. dilapi- 
dated rock, temple, and dagobah, of Gaetyagamma. Farther down, 
the river for a distance of three miles, winds so as nearly to sur- 
round extensive ruins, now known by the name of Maluwava : this 
place is overgrown with jungle, and the principal remains are said to 
be three buildings situated at some distance from each other. One 
of these, founded on a rock, in which there is an excavated chamber, 
is called the Paterippoa ; at each of the others there is a stone trough ; 
one of them formed in the rock, the other having been removed to its 
present site. The river before being joined by a considerable stream, 
the Kalu-ganga, rushes through a narrow chasm called Namalku- 
mara-ella, and forms a large and very deep basin beneath the fall. 
From hence a hill is pointed out in the Tamankada district, on which 
there is said to be a tank, and the remains of Wijeya Nuwara. 

Turning to the northern extremity of the Hunisgiri range, by a 


path in some places overhanging the river, the district of Gangalla is 
entered, when the route proceeds through unbroken jungle to the 
flourishing village of Kamberawe, and from thence to Pallegamma, 
between which a precipitous and elevated range of wooded hills, 
separating Gangalla from Lagalla, is crossed : along the summit of 
the ridge, an elephant path extends, till the view embraces the wood- 
encumbered valleys of Lagalla, over which the grassy slopes and 
wooded summits of mountains rise to a height of 6000 feet. 

The rocky pinnacles of Lakagalla next attract the attention, and 
its precipices are seen beetling over the artificial-looking crags, called 
the Brahmin rocks. The village of Pallegamma, is on the banks 
of the Kalu-ganga, and the route proceeds by a rocky path, through 
several small but prettily situated villages, to Narrangamma : this is 
a large village, and from its proximity to the mountains, and its 
elevation, combines the advantages of a pleasant climate and pic- 
turesque situation. Amid its bright green rice fields, several masses 
of rock are to be seen, surmounted by watch-huts around the margin 
of the cultivated lands, a few of the houses may be distinguished, 
and the presence of the cocoa-nut trees shews the position of the 
remainder of the village scattered near the base of Lakagalla. In 
the ascent of the mountain, a cool clear stream, which flows from it, 
is passed, when the traveller enters a small level plain, covered with 
rich black mould. This place preserves the name of Uyangamma- 
tenna-wewa (lake of the garden flat), and here the growth of under- 
wood is prevented by the thick shade of forest trees and by the cir- 
cumstance of the ground being occasionally inundated. Into this 
rock encircled basin, huge masses of stone, which occasionally detach 
themselves from the Matale Peak, plunge with a tremendous crash, 
and the natives believe that such occurrences are the forerunners 
of domestic troubles in the country. 

Forbes opines from the various names of places in the vicinity, 
and the fact that although called Lankapoora in the Pali, it is 
called in the Elu or Singhalese history, Lagalla, that the site of the 
ancient capital was around this mountain. "If the narrow gap 
leading to the Uyangamma-tenna were filled up even to the height of 
four feet, the peaks of Lakagalla," he remarks, " might again be 
reflected in its embosomed lake." In the ascent, several springs of 
the purest water are found, and when an elevation of 3000 feet 
above the sea is reached, the deep narrow valley of Meemoorra on 
one side, and the districts in the rear to the plains on the north 
and east of the Kandian territory on the other, are clearly discerni- 
ble. Through these levels may be descried the course and the 
silver light of the Mahavelle-ganga, where it flows near the isolated 
mountain of Dimbulugalla in the direction of Trincomalee. From 
one side Lakagalla shews three peaks : one of them is so sharp - 
pointed and narrow, as to resemble a steeple of surpassing height, 
all of them are of solid rock. The upper part of Lakagalla is 
covered with coarse grass, which spreads in patches over the moist 

662 CETfLON. [part IV. 

mass of solid rock that forms the summits of the mountain ; trees 
and thickets occupy the sheltered ravines, and near its base the nelu 
forms a dark disagreeable jungle. 

The route to Puackpitia passes at a considerable elevation across 
successive ridges of hills, in most places free from jungle ; the higher 
parts of these open grounds being covered with illuk and common 
lemon grass, herbage too coarse for the pasture of any animals except 
buffaloes. The lower slopes produce, however, in immense quanti- 
ties some of the finest grass in the island, which has rendered the 
milk of Lagalla and the fatness of its cattle proverbial among the 
Kandians. " The people of the neighbouring districts," says 
Forbes, " profit by its rich grazing grounds, and drive bullocks 
and buffaloes in thousands (when their services in cultivation, or 
as beasts of burthen can be spared), to fatten in these luxuriant 
pastures : neither can the proprietors prevent this intrusion, as 
all pasturage is common, according to Kandian custom, unless fenced 
in by the proprietors. Puackpitia is a village built on either side of 
a rapid stream, that dashes through a narrow cultivated valley, over- 
shadowed by the steep Batandua mountain and its sombre forests. 
Through these, the top of the hill is ascended by a good foot- 
path. The forests of Dankandi being passed, the valley of Matale 
is descried. 

The southern portion of Doombera presents the same fascinating 
scenery as the northern, though it is more closely allied to the beau- 
tiful than to the sublime. The first part of the road between Kandy 
and Taldenia, situate at the foot of a mountain in the fertile valley 
of the Hulu-ganga, consists of a surface of green hills gently rounded, 
free from jungle, and well cultivated, the latter part is more rugged 
and rocky, and is in a great measure covered with forest. Near 
Taldenia is the Bamberra-galla-wihare, romantically situated on the 
side of a steep hill among great masses of rock, interspersed with 
fruit trees. An immense overhanging rock forms the roof and walls 
of the temple, except the front wall, which is of masonry. The 
cavity of the rock is divided into two compartments, very gaily 
painted. In the largest is a recumbent figure of Buddha, twenty- 
five feet long. The Hulu-ganga is here a considerable stream, and 
cannot be forded during the rains. A huge mountain covered with 
forest, flanks its eastern bank, from which there is a grand view of 
the wild and wooded mountain scenery around. Beyond it, and at 
its eastern base is the neat and picturesque village of Medda-maha- 
nuwara, in which a hiding place was constructed by the last of the 
Kandian kings. To the north of this place is Hanwelle, the country 
between is mountainous and difficult. The ascent is first through a 
steep valley, presenting a remarkable appearance, from the admix- 
ture of the wildest scenery, with the most artificial cultivation ; and 
no contrast can be stronger than the numerous paddy fields, ascend- 
ing by steps and terraces the steep sides of the mountain and the 
natural features of the country, the cloud-capped mountain, the 


overhanging wood, and the rapid torrent. In the middle of the 
forest which overtops the scene of cultivation, was formerly a strong 
Kadawette, which under the Kandian dynasty, was fortified and con- 
stantly guarded. It was flanked on each side by a thick stone wall, 
and there was a large overhanging rock in its rear. After emerging 
from this forest, an open and bold country succeeds, covered with 
a long, sweet smelling lemon grass. Beyond Hanwelle, to the north 
is a beautiful plain, with a park-like appearance, from which a splen- 
did prospect of the mountains towards Kandy behind, and Maha- 
veddah-ratte in front, is obtained. The country between here and 
Meemoorra is remarkable for its wild solitude and forest scenery ; 
at one place the narrow ridge of a mountain, hardly three feet wide 
has to be passed, bounded by naked perpendicular precipices. Near 
Meemoorra is a nitre cave of large dimensions, and striking appearance. 
It appears in a perpendicular face of rock, about 300 feet high, 
crowned with forest. The cave is 200 feet deep, and about SO feet 
high, and 100 wide at its mouth, which is nearly semi-circular. The 
cave is partly natural and partly artificial. 

The route to Kandy, the capital of the interior, from Colombo, is 
three and a half miles to the bridge of boats across the Mutwal- 
oya, constructed by Sir E. Barnes, to obviate the delay to which 
travellers and the troops were subjected, when there was merely a 
ferry boat to convey them. To Mahara, where there is a rest-house 
on the right, five miles. From thence to the mail-coach station at 
Kosrupe is 6g miles ; and to the rest-house of Henneratgodde, 
where there is also a barrack, two miles ; to Kellegedehaine, mail- 
coach station five miles. From thence to Veangodde, rest-house, 
three miles ; to Walweldenia, mail-coach station, about 4f miles. To 
Ambapusse rest-house, 6 g miles ; from thence to the mail-coach 
station at Ambanpittia, through Maha-haine, 9| miles. To Ootoo- 
ankandi, a rest-house and mail-coach station, 8£ miles. To Kaddooga- 
nava, rest-house, about seven miles ; from thence to Paradiniya 
6| miles, and to Kandy four miles. Total distance 72 miles. 

Though there are some very fine and richly varied scenes, chiefly 
of the cultivated kind, between Ambapusse and Ootooan Kandi, yet 
the mountain zone cannot be said to commence till the latter place is 
left behind, but the world might perhaps be searched in vain for a 
scene of greater sublimity than that viewed from the summit of the 
Kadduganava pass. The first view of the stupendous mountains in 
front seems to debar the hope of further progress, yet ravine after 
ravine is passed, and chasm after chasm, affording the most delight- 
ful variety of prospect. At one time a mountain seems to rise perpen- 
dicularly on the left, and descend as perpendicularly on the right. At 
another a roaring torrent appears to sweep over the head, as though 
ready to carry the ascending traveller into the abyss beneath. Now 
not a foot of earth is to be seen but that on which he stands, while 
on turning an angle of the road a wide spreading view of the country 
beyond meets the eye. Fearful chasms, frightful abysses, thunder- 

664 CEYLON. [part IV. 

ing torrents, and hanging rocks, succeed each other with marvellous 
rapidity, till one fancies oneself transported into a different country, 
an illusion hy no means dissipated by the delightful freshness of the 
air. A well proportioned column surmounts the pass, in honour of 
the military engineer who superintended this great work. 

Kandy is situate in latitude 7° 21' N., and in longitude 80° 48' E. 
in a spacious and fertile valley, 1467 feet above the level of the sea, 
surrounded by hills and mountains beautifully wooded and diver- 
sified with foliage of every hue, from the very darkest to the lightest 
green, and yellow tints of the young and the deep red brown of the 
falling leaf. The hundred of Udapalata, near to which it is situate, 
was the seat of a dissavony, and it included Nillembe Nuwara, the 
place to which Raja Singha retired after the rebellion. It yields 
abundant crops of paddy, kurrukkan, amoo, &c. 

Kandy (Senkada-galla) originally called Siriwardhanapoora, or 
more commonly Maha Nuwara, (the great city) as it is still termed 
by the natives, lies within the beautiful and fertile district of 
Yattineura, and originally contained but few tiled houses in pro- 
portion to the rest. Those belonging to the chiefs were elevated 
from the ground, and approached by steps. The other habitations 
were built of waretchie (sticks and mud), and thatched with paddy 
straw, the whole, including the great street, forming five streets, 
all of which ran in straight lines, and did not cross at right 
angles, and from their inclination from the eastward and westward 
towards the north, appeared as if the original intention had been to 
form the city in the shape of a triangle, with its apex to the north- 
ward, and its base bounded by the two artificial lakes, of which that 
called the New Lake, was formed during the reign of the late Mala- 
bar despot, Sree Wickrama Raja Singha. The present city con- 
sists of two main streets, Colombo street, running east and west, and 
Trincomalee street running north and south ; the principal bazaar is 
situated at the point of intersection between these streets. 

The relatives and connexions of the royal family, whom the 
jealousy of the reigning sovereign had separated from the rest of the 
Kandian community, were restricted to a part of the city called 
Malabar street, which takes a south-easterly direction, from the Da- 
lada Malagawa, having the hospital on its right, and between it and 
the lake. Such, however, have been the improvements in Kandy since 
the erection of the pavilion by Sir E. Barnes, which unites in a re- 
markable degree, the comforts necessary for a tropical climate, with 
an elegant exterior, that with the subsequent improvements in laying 
out the grounds by Sir Wilmot Horton, and the tasty villas which 
have sprung up as if by enchantment all around ; it is doubtful if the 
late Raja could revisit the former scene of his tyranny, whether he 
would recognize the site of his own palace ; for all that remains of it 
are the hall of audience, and the Pateripooa ; the former now employed 
as the court-house on week days, and as a chapel on Sundays, and 
the latter as a military blackhole. 


The king's palace occupies a considerable space of ground. The 
front, which was about 200 yards long, but of no great depth, still 
presents rather an imposing appearance, looking towards the principal 
temples, and rising above a handsome moat, the walls of which are 
pierced with triangular cavities for purposes of illumination. At 
one extremity it is terminated by the Pateripooa, an hexagonal 
building, of two stories, in which the king appeared to the people on 
important occasions, assembled in the square below. At the other 
extremity it was bounded by the women's apartments, on the front 
of which the insignia of royalty, the sun, moon and stars, were 
carved in stone : here, on public festivals, the king and the ladies of 
the harem stationed themselves to witness the processions. The in- 
termediate space was occupied chiefly by the great entrance to the 
palace and by the temple of the Dalada Malagawa, a little in the 
rear. The entrance, in front of which there is now a verandah, was 
by a drawbridge over the moat through a massive archway on one 
hand, up a flight of huge steps, closed by a door of clumsy device, 
supported by posts, in the shape of dragons, and through another 
archway to the hall of audience; and on the other hand up another 
flight of steps to the temple and the hexagonal building. The 
buildings in the background, with the exception of the hall of 
audience, were in no way remarkable, being chiefly sleeping rooms, 
offices, and baths, and were most of them dark, small and mean, and 
have since been removed. The hall of audience, where the king 
usually transacted business and kept his court, is a long room in 
which nothing ornamental is now to be seen, but the beautiful carved 
pillars of halmila wood by which the roof is supported, which were 
cut and squared at Nalande, and the traces of battle scenes on the 
walls, in which several leopards, a female figure, and that of a man, 
are still discernible in despite of the thick coat of whitewash with 
which some English would cover every thing. The walls of this 
building, like those of the ruins in Ceylon of remote date, are five 
feet thick. 

At the north-east extremity of Kandy, in the centre of a lawn car- 
peted with the smoothest and richest turf, adorned here and there 
with scattered groups of magnolias, or rocu trees, stands the pavi- 
lion, the first of public buildings, a handsome edifice of marble 
whiteness, surrounded by regular colonnades, and remarkable for the 
airy and elegant style, and the beautiful proportions of its archi- 
tecture. It is by far the finest structure in Ceylon, and commands 
a view of the whole town, except Malabar-street and its neighbour- 
hood, as well as an extensive prospect beyond in several directions, 
including the magnificent valley of Doombera, with the river winding 
beneath. The grounds are beautifully kept, and the extensive park, 
which stretches along the sides of the hills, encircling the whole 
valley, unfolds at every point an exquisite mountain landscape. 
Though not so large and commodious, it is fully equal, if not supe- 
rior, in outward appearance to any house in Chowringhee, in the 


neighbourhood of Calcutta, where all the most magnificent specimens 
of architecture of which the city of palaces can boast, are centered. 
It is composed of a centre and two wings, forming at the back three 
sides of a square, and it is encrusted with a preparation of fine lime, 
which takes a good polish, and has all the appearance of white 
marble. A neat building has been constructed for the Colonial Secre- 
tary in its vicinity. Near it is the Major-General's residence, for- 
merly the quarters of the Commandant, but now appropriated to 
married officers, a large and commodious edifice standing upon a 
hill in the range forming the western boundary of the town, and com- 
manding a fine panoramic view of Kandy with the Hunisgiri range 
and the Knuckles in the distance. Half way down this hill on a 
level surface is the royal cemetery, near to Trincomalee-street, in- 
teresting more from the circumstance of its possessing the bodies or 
ashes of kings and heroes, which were for many generations deposited 
there, than from any external advantages either of situation or ap- 
pearance. It contains a number of indifferent looking tombstones, 
(the best of which have lately been sacrilegiously abstracted for door- 
steps) each having a Singhalese inscription, as the monument of the 
august personages who repose beneath them. It is enclosed by a 
wall, and has within it a small temple, similar within and without to 
all the other native sanctuaries of the same dimensions. 

" The burial ground of the Kandian kings," says Forbes, " can- 
not be viewed without exciting reflections on the revolutions which 
alike occur to man's estate, and the most ancient monarchies. Ere 
the last of one of the longest lines of kings which history records, 
had by death expiated his crime by suffering previously a long im- 
prisonment among his victors, the solid tombs of his ancestors were 
ransacked by the hands of avarice, or riven in suuder and ruined by 
the aggressions of the jungle. This hallowed spot, where the funeral 
piles were raised, and the last solemn rites performed over the re- 
mains of the solar race, is now a wilderness where dank vegetation 
reigns supreme. In 1828 the tomb of Raja Singha and Kirti Sri 
were nearly perfect. In 1837 the former was a heap of rubbish 
from which the stones had been removed, and the beautiful propor- 
tions, and even the form of the latter could no longer be traced. 
Hopes of plunder or unmeaning wantonness, when the British entered 
Kandy, precipitated the fate of these monuments, whose very site 
may soon be forgotten." 

The Roman Catholics had formerly a very considerable establish- 
ment at Bogambera in the outskirts, with a magnificent church, 
erected by Padre Vaz, but on the accession of Narendra Singha 
(Koondasaala) to the throne, the establishment was broken up, 
and the church razed to the ground. Since the British conquest, 
however, some adherents of that faith settled in the town and erected 
a chapel for their use, and they are now numerous and active. The 
Church Missionary Society has a neat residence and school-house, 
used as a place of worship on Sundays, erected on a hill about the 


middle of Trincomalee-street on the east side. A large and hand- 
some edifice has recently been erected for the use of the Episcopa- 
lians ; the Baptists have built a chapel and mission -house ; a manse 
has been erected for a Scotch minister, and a Kirk is on the point of 
erection. Meanwhile worship, according to the Presbyterian form, 
is conducted on Sundays in the old Hall of Audience, the present 
district Court-house. The Mahomedans are a body of some import- 
ance, and have one or two mosques. 

The United Service Library, is, like its sister institution at Colom- 
bo, exclusive. The Central Town Library is, on the contrary, open 
to all classes. The engineering works at Bogambera and in Trinco- 
malee-street are interesting, from their shewing the advancement of 
the country. Singhalese mechanical skill and industry are sadly be- 
hind the day and its wants ; but with such establishments an im- 
provement may be looked for. The Medical Hall, part of which is 
used as a Post-office, is a handsome building. Kandy is the meeting 
place of the Ceylon Agricultural Society, from which the colony has 
derived no slight benefit. One of the prettiest objects in the town 
is the Military Magazine, situate in the middle of the lake. It was 
used by the late king of Kandy for the confinement of such women 
of his harem as had incurred his displeasure. The Jail is a large 
square building, much improved of late years, and would be yet fur- 
ther advantaged were the internal arrangements assimilated to those 
of the new jail at Colombo. 

Till 1832, Kandy was chiefly viewed as the central military post of 
the interior. Since then it has become the centre also of its com- 
mercial and agricultural operations, and has been as much improved 
in appearance, as it has thereby greatly increased in importance, 
population and wealth. In 1819 the population did not exceed 3000 
souls, it has now a settled population of more than double that 
number, exclusive of a military force of 750 men. The accommoda- 
tion for this body of men is ample, consisting of six barracks for 
English soldiers, capable of containing 500 men, eight for Ceylon 
Rifles, that will contain 300 men, one for artillery to lodge twenty 
men, and lines for gun lascars, sufficient for thirty men. The military 
hospital is in Malabar-street. Instead of the occupation the troops are 
now engaged in, forming gardens and raising vegetables, they would 
benefit the public to a greater degree by clearing away the rank vege- 
tation around. 

Deposits of magnesian limestone exist in the vicinity of Kandy, 
from which good lime for building purposes is obtained. Bricks and 
tiles are baked to some extent by the natives, and there is a very 
extensive brick kiln kept constantly at work by Government, elephants 
being employed to tread the clay, which is found deposited in black 
veins beneath silicious sand. 

House rent is very high at Kandy, having risen enormously in the 
course of a few years. Servants' wages are also much higher tban 


at Colombo, Appoos receiving from 25*. to 40*. per month ; 
" Ayahs," from 22*. 6d., to 25*. with food. Horse keepers, 18*. 
to 25*. 

The quantity of rice imported into Kandy for the supply of estates 
is enormous, but the difficulty and expense of carriage have kept it 
at a high price. A bushel, which can be purchased for 3*. 6d. in 
Colombo, has been on certain special occasions three times that price 
in Kandy, and has rarely sunk lower than 5*. 6d., until very recently, 
when the pressure on the money market, and the large influx of rice 
to secure return transport of coffee to Colombo, induced holders to 
accept of 4*. 9c?. Very good beef is procurable at A\d. per lb ; 
mutton is scarce, as the land leeches on the hills attack, and severely 
injure sheep there depastured, but joints can be had from 4*. 6c?., to 
6*. per quarter. Pork can be had at 6d. per lb., fowls at A\d., to 1*. 
Ducks are scarce and dear. Geese are reared by the Malay soldiers. 
The climate is far too damp for turkeys. Vegetables are pretty 
abundant, milk scarce and dear. Altogether the cost of living to 
Europeans is at present considerably in excess of what it is at 
Colombo, especially as dependence must be placed to a great extent 
on supplies of English beef, pork, butter, &c, which the cost of 
carriage renders dear. There are several stores kept by Europeans, 
and well supplied, in addition to native shops, boutiques, and bazaars, 
and several hotels and establishments for letting carriages and horses. 
Under the auspices of the recently formed Ice Company, the residents 
in the interior will receive large and welcome supplies of fish by the 
coaches from the coast. 

The tunnel on the Kurunaigalla road, one of the great public 
works undertaken by Sir Edward Barnes, has lately collapsed, and 
the road now winds round the hill, a further distance of two miles. 
The waste of treasure and human life on this undertaking, would 
scarcely appear defensible, but for the tradition current among the 
natives, that no foreign nation could conquer and retain the Kandian 
country, unless they obtained possession of Buddha's tooth, bridged 
the Mahavelle-ganga, and bored a road through a mountain. The two 
first feats accomplished, Sir Edward Barnes thought it politic to con- 
solidate our empire by displaying before the eyes of the astonished 
Kandians the completion of 'the third. In less than thirty years, 
his successors have felt the British power so firmly based, as to see 
with unconcern one of the tests of dominion destroyed, and volun- 
tarily to resign another. Nor can the recent emeute be said to falsify 
the grounds on which they have acted, for it was but the effervescence 
of ignorant men acted upon by a wily and falling priesthood. 

The first appearance of Kandy is striking, from its being surrounded 
by verdant hills rising in the form of an amphitheatre, and reflected 
in the silvery lake. A morning or evening ascent of any of the 
neighbouring eminences affords a panoramic view of great splendour 
and beauty. On closer inspection, however, the town does not justify 


the first favourable impressions. Situated in a basin, and on soil 
exceedingly pervious to wet, the streets are extremely unpleasant in 
rainy weather, and at no time can Kandy be considered particularly 
clean or healthy. Cholera has within the last few years visited it 
with awful severity, being particularly fatal to Europeans. But the 
march of improvement now going on, will ultimately earn for it a 
different character. The lower lake, l'eckoned the focus of disease, is 
being drained and fitted for building purposes, a large circular main 
drain is being run through the town, and the streets are being lined 
with side drains and pavements. There is one circumstance which 
will secure a rapid improvement in the appearance of the buildings. 
A few years ago a public meeting was held at Kandy to memorialise 
the Government for permanent grants in lieu of the thirty years 
leases, on which building lots were held. The request was complied 
with, but only on conditions which will ensure a certain amount of 
strength and uniformity in the buildings. There are some very 
handsome houses scattered over the face of the lower hills, about 200 
feet high, immediately overlooking the town, and this would become 
still more general, but for the scarcity of water. Kandy rests on 
a bed of gneiss, and basins containing water are rare, especially on the 
sides of the hills. The beautiful lake of Kandy, about a mile and a 
half in length, and ranging from one hundred to five hundred yards 
in breadth, is artificial, having been formed by the late king out of a 
number of paddy fields, of which he deprived the owners, compen- 
sating them by grants of land in other quarters. Thousands of per- 
sons were compelled to labour at the embankments, and many lives 
were sacrificed to the royal will. In the centre of the lake, and on a 
small artificial island, stands a sort of pavilion, rising as if from the 
water that encircles it. It was the bathing place of the king's 
seraglio, and his favourite summer house, and is now used as a powder 
magazine. The local Government is engaged in clearing away an 
artificial mound at Bogambera, which intercepts the view through an 
extensive gorge, and doubtless adds to the unhealthiness of the 
town by preventing ventilation. The height of the Kandy lake, 
which adds so much to the appearance of the city, is 1680 feet above 
the level of the sea. This lake might be stocked with excellent fresh 
water fish from the rivers of Bengal, which could be conveyed by 
the steamers. It was well stocked with fish by the late king, who 
would never allow them to be caught, but they are of inferior 

Kandy depends for its supply of labour on Tamil immigration, and 
this is now so full and steady, that wages, which within the last few 
years rose to an enormous figure, are now comparatively moderate. 
Native overseers obtaining 25*. to 40*. per month ; artificers, 1*. 6d. 
to 2*. per day, and labourers 15*. to £\. per month. On Sundays, 
when the labourers from the surrounding estates pour in for supplies, 
Kandy presents an animated appearance, Colombo Street, in which 


the principal bazaars and shops are situated, being filled with a living 
mass. The collection of heterogeneous articles ranged along its sides, 
is calculated to create astonishment, and to convey a very vivid idea 
of the impetus given in late years to native trade and industry. Here 
may be procured catties and cumblies, rice, salt fish, curry stuffs, 
crockery, cloth, and in short every article calculated to supply the 
wants of an estate and all employed upon it from the European pro- 
prietor, or superintendent, to the simple Tamil cooly. 

Branches of two banks, the Bank of Ceylon and the Oriental, have 
been in operation at Kandy for some years. The Bank of Ceylon 
was incorporated by charter the 24th September, 1840. Capital 
j61 25,000, with power to increase the same to ^6250,000, and as 
circumstances require, to .=6750,000. There are eight Directors in 
London, two in Colombo. The terms are as usual in such institu- 
tions, but there is a special clause, empowering loans to planters 
under agreement, for the purpose of securing their crops. 

The Oriental bank, which has a branch at Kandy, has a capital of 
562,000,000, in shares of s6100 each; half paid. There are no 
Directors connected with this bank in Ceylon, to which circumstance 
the greater popularity of the institution has been ascribed, inasmuch 
as there is a natural disinclination among the planters to have their 
operations scanned by a local direction. Previously to the establish- 
ment of these branches at Kandy, it was customary for mercantile 
agents at Colombo to furnish planters with funds by Treasury drafts 
on Government agents at out-stations, these were usually at three days' 
sight, but paid at sight if the " register" of the drafts had reached 
the Cutcherry. There having been a considerable trade in rice, cocoa- 
nuts, fish, &c. between Colombo and Kandy, planters paid to a 
certain extent for their supplies and cash for coolies by drawing at 
sight, or at three days, as might be agreed on upon Colombo, or at 
a certain fixed rate of exchange on Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. 
These drafts on other countries were remitted to natives in Colombo 
by their native friends in Kandy, and the exchange was invariably 
paid by the planter. The rate varied from 1*. ll^d. to Is. ll^d. per 
rupee. The establishment of branches at Kandy was considered a 
great convenience, for at the time that they opened much trouble was 
occasioned to the planter by the scarcity of silver. A commission of 
one-half per cent, was charged for letters of credit on the banks, 
which rate was afterwards increased to one per cent. For every pur- 
pose of remittance and discount, the banks have proved of very 
great utility, but in other respects it is to be feared they have stimu- 
lated over-trading and over-cultivation, so that when the intelligence 
of the monetary pressure in the mother country arrived in Ceylon, 
they were at once compelled to limit discounts, and so narrowed their 
transactions, that many were seriously injured. 

The buildings erected for the accommodation of the banks are sub- 
stantial and handsome. They are close to the Esplanade, and oppo- 
site the pleasant promenades, which skirt the lake of Kandy. 


Between the Kandian part of the town and Malabar-street there is 
a large intervening space, which contains the principal temple of Da- 
lada Malagawa (palace of the tooth), a lofty but unpretending 
edifice. The sanctuary is closed with folding doors of gilded bronze, 
into which a ray of day-light never penetrates. Within its sacred 
walls, on a large table hung with white shawls and gold brocades, 
stands the shrine of the Dalada, behind it are large plates of gold in- 
scribed with a variety of characters and emblems ; on two side tables, 
loaded with gold and silver brocades, are placed lamps of silver gilt, 
fragrant from the sweet cocoa-nut oil, that feeds their flames. The 
walls are hung round with costly Indian shawls of the most beautiful 
design. In the other apartment is a statue of Buddha as large as 
life. The Hindoo pagodas or Dewales of Patine and Nata, the 
former of which stands to the southward and westward, and the latter 
to the westward of the palace, and between it and the pagoda of Patine 
are in separate and extensive areas. The Maha Vishnu Dewale is 
situate nearly north of the Nata Dewale, and the Kattragamme Dewale 
about west of the Patine Dewale, and are all shaded by umbrageous 
palms and other trees. 

In the vicinity of Kandy, the temples are kept in better repair 
than elsewhere, and the Ganga-rama (river temple), and other 
establishments near the town are good specimens of a complete 
Buddhist establishment. 

The Asgirie wihare adjoins the original burying-place of the Kan- 
dian kings, and is situate to the north-westward of the principal street 
from which one enters the enclosure of the Awadana madima or Royal 
cemetery, and the Malwatte wihare is situate on the south side of the 
new lake. 

There is a solemnity about the Malwatte wihare, that is altoge- 
ther opposed to the notion we form of Pagan worship, or its temples ; 
and in contemplating the massive pillars of stone, sixteen cubits high 
and of proportionate circumference, each formed of one block only, 
which support the roof of the College hall, and contrasting these and 
innumerable other vestiges of the remotest antiquity with the best 
specimens of modern Singhalese architecture, one would conclude 
that a different race reared these gigantic monuments, which have so 
long set time and the destructive efforts of the ultra-barbarous Por- 
tuguese at defiance. 

In addition to the splendid natural amphitheatre, which Kandy 
presents, and the magnificence of the surrounding scenery, Mattan- 
Pattana, the hill over it is 3 1 92 feet, and the rocky ridge of Hantaua, 
about a mile farther off, is 4380 feet above the sea level. Hoonis- 
giri 4 990, the Knuckles 6180, Diatalawa 5030, Aloogalla 3440, and 
Ettapola and Pannegaum about 4000 feet, all remarkable features in 
the views seen from Lady Horton's walk, which winds round the 
wooded hills immediately behind the pavilion. The rapid Mahavelle- 
ganga is seen winding below ; beyond are the green hills and forest- 
clad mountains, while clumps of palmyra and cocoa-nut trees, with 
every variety of foliage continue to exhibit themselves, till Kandy 

6/2 CEYLON. [part IV. 

and its lakes appear in the hollow. The road has a hranch to com- 
municate with one which winds round the upper lake of Kandy, an 
additional distance of about two miles. 

Paradiniya, three miles south-west of Kandy, on the Colombo 
road, may* justly boast of its botanic garden, (presided over by a 
distinguished botanist, who is indefatigable in tracing out the riches 
of the island) ; its race-course, and bridge of satin-wood of a single 
arch, having a span of 205 feet over the Mahavelle-ganga. The 
colony is indebted for the former to Governor Brownrigg in 1819, 
and for the two latter to Sir E. Barnes. For police and assessment 
purposes, the gravets of Kandy extend to Paradiniya bridge. Dodon- 
welle is about eight miles from Kandy, through a delightful but 
steep and rugged country. The temples there are of ancient con- 
struction, but very small and paltry, and are unworthy of notice, 
except by way of contrast to the magnificent avenue of iron-wood 
trees (Mesua ferrea, L.) and Na-gaha Singh. From the entrance, the 
avenue is upwards of a quarter of a mile in length, and from fifty to 
sixty feet in width, and at the extremity is a circular area containing 
the temples, shaded by an umbrageous Bogaha in all its majesty and 
luxuriance, which is venerated from its great size and age. 

Northward from Kandy, 26 h miles, lies Kurunaigalla, just beyond 
the limits of the Central province. From Kandy (the tunnel is now 
disused) to the Mahavelle-ganga 3 miles ; to Madawallatenne rest- 
house 8| miles, from thence to Kospotte Oya 6£ miles, and from 
thence to Kurunaigalla 8£ miles. The road which traverses the 
charming Harisiapattoo for some distance, and then Toompane, 
is excellent, and the country salubrious. The most magnificent 
scenery here meets the eye in every direction, forests abounding 
with game, plains covered with verdure or the golden tints of the 
ripening paddy crops, and the Mahavelle-ganga is seen meandering 
through the immense area, which it intersects in its course and fer- 
tilises as it flows. Madawallatenne in Toompane is an important 
military post, commanding the entrance into the Central province 
from the west. It is situate on a rising ground, at the foot of the 
Girriagamme pass, and at the head of the Galgedera pass. These 
two passes, which this post commands, are naturally strong, being 
narrow, steep and rocky, though not long, and are flanked by wooded 
hills, which on the right present the appearance of perpendicular 
walls. In addition the Galgedera pass is rendered more difficult of 
access by the Deek-oya, through whose rocky bed the traveller has 
to wade. The route from hence to Trincomalee by the new road is 
to the Dedroo-oya, 5\ miles, over which there is a curious native 
bridge for pedestrians of rattan (Calamus rudentum, Maha-we- 
wela Singh.), Ibbagamme-oya 3 miles ; Polegala 3 miles ; 
Ambanpola 3 miles ; Himbalwana-oya 2k miles ; Omaragalla Ella 
3f miles ; Gallawalla 4f miles ; Tolumbagalla 2 miles ; Dambcola- 
oya b\ miles; to the junction Kandy road 2 miles. Total to Dam- 
bool 33 miles. For route from hence to Trincomalee, see p. 549. 


The face of the country presents on every side a variety of the 
wildest and most romantic scenery ; hill and dale, mountain and 
valley, forest and plain, rivers, streamlets and tanks alternating in 
endless succession. Elephants and game of every description abound 

The citadel of Kandy, situate on One-tree hill, communicates by 
signals with Atgalle, a strong military post, about eight miles from 
Kandy on the Trincomalee road, beautifully situate on a command- 
ing eminence, and during the rebellion it was of great importance. 
From Atgalle the mountains of Ilellemoette are distinctly seen over 
the Ballane mountain, and the prospect, like the generality of Kandian 
views, from the bold and romantic highlands, over a beautiful and 
fertile country is transcendantly grand. The culture of the potato, 
cabbage, cauliflower, and turnip at Atgalle has proved successful ; and 
excellent wheat has for many years been grown there. 

. No station in Ceylon is more fortunate than Kandy in the beauty 
of the surrounding country. Of the many magnificent views in the 
island that of the Doombera plains in the immediate vicinity, is one of 
the most remarkable. From the heights to the eastward of the town, 
the best view of this sublime landscape may be obtained. ,The plains 
comprise a vast extent of beautifully undulating country, dotted here 
and there with groups of large and majestic trees, the intervals be- 
tween which are open and entirely free from jungle. The whole 
bears a striking resemblance to an English park on an immense scale, 
which would be complete, but for the total absence of cultivation, 
and of the dwellings of man. A death-like stillness seems to reign over 
this apparently deserted valley, through the midst of whose mag- 
nificent scenery rolls the Mahavelle-ganga. Being much interrupted 
with rocks and shoals, no boats appear on its majestic stream, and 
the lonely river wanders sullenly through a region that appears to 
sympathise with and share in its solitude. The dark and lofty cone 
of Hoonisgiri, which attains an altitude of 6000 feet, raises itself up 
in the distance, and supported by a rugged and elevated range of 
mountains that fill up the background, lends an additional charm 
and grandeur to this enchanting scene. Nearly in the centre of the 
valley of Doombera may be descried a slight eminence, crowned by a 
solitary and ancient tree, generally known as Davie's tree. It is thus 
denominated on account of its vicinity to the site of the massacre of 
Major Davie's detachment in the Kandian war of 1803. 

On each of the passes by which Kandy is approached, scenery but 
little inferior to that of the plains of Doombera meets the eye. The 
Kurunaigalla tunnel which ran through one of these passes, and was 
540 feet in length, gave a finishing blow to the ideas the Kandians 
entertained of ever regaining their lost nationality. An ancient 
legend informed them that their country would never be subdued 
until the invaders bored a hole through one of the mountains that 
encircled the Kandian capital. This great object having been at 


(J74 CEYLON. [PAllT IV. 

length accomplished, they believed that it was their destiny to 
submit to foreign domination The road through the tunnel, which 
has now collapsed, united itself at the foot of the Kandian hills with 
the principal road to Colombo. By means of this circuitous route, 
troops advancing on Kandy would turn the heights near Kaduganava, 
on which the natives used to place great reliance as a strong natural 
position for the defence of the capital. 

The road between Kandy and Nuvvera-Elliya is to the Paradiniya 
bridge, near which the road branches off from that to Colombo, and 
follows the course of the valley of the Mahavelle-ganga. The 
country continues flat for some miles, and little of interest occurs 
until the large village of Gampolai is reached, where there is a 
tolerable rest-house standing on a rising ground on the left bank of 
the river, which is at that point confined and rapid, and commanding 
a view of the distant blue mountains shortly to be ascended. The 
river is crossed by means of a ferry boat, which acts as a substitute for a 
bridge. The country on the opposite bank now begins gradually to 
ascend, from the well watered and highly cultivated plain, and 
assume a more wild and romantic aspect. 

In the dry season, the coarse vegetation with which the mountain 

of Ambulawe over Gampola is overgrown, presents a brilliant and 

interesting sight, dotted lines of ruddy flame at times rage along its 

whole extent, and consume it, casting back a lurid light on the 

blackened and smouldering surface over which the fire has passed. 

Lemon grass is the general covering of such parts of the hills in 

this division of the country, as are not overgrown with jungle ; 

although apparently with an even surface about seven or eight feet 

in height, this grass groAvs in tufts, and it is this peculiarity that 

gives to the conflagrations here that peculiar dotted appearance. The 

burning proceeds rapidly against the wind, as it bends the long 

grass over the plains, in which it is immediately withered and 

scorched ; then bursts forth in a blaze succeeded by showers of 

sparks and clouds of half illumined smoke. In this manner the 

fire extends itself, a loud crackling noise being distinguished by any 

one who is near, and a hollow roaring sound being heard by those at 

a greater distance, until the progress of the conflagration is arrested 

by the dark woods that occupy every deep ravine. The roots of the 

grass are not destroyed by the raging flames that pass over the land, 

1 Gampola is mentioned in Singhalese history as early as B.C. 502, when 
Sudhodana, a brother or cousin of the queen who then reigned, and who had ac- 
companied her from Kimbulwatte-nuwara settled in this place. About 200 years 
later, Uttiya, the brother of Kellania-tissa fled to Gampola, when his intercourse 
with the cmeenwas detected at Kellania. In a.d. 1347, it became the capital of 
the island under Bhuwaneka-Bahoo IV. and continued so for forty years, 
it was then dignified with the name of Gangasripoora, (the royal city on the 
river.) A few carved stones are the only remains of a royal residence, whose very 
foundations are now obliterated. 


and after two or three days rain the blackened bushes and calcined 
earth are hid by herbage of the most brilliant green, and in that 
state, young and tender, even lemon grass affords good pasture to 

Before reaching Pusilava, the next station, the steep pass of 
Attabagge has to be surmounted. Near the head of this pass stands 
the Pusilava rest-house, which is nearly 1 200 feet above the level of 
Kandy, and therefore 3000 above the level of the sea. At this 
elevation the most delightful and salubrious temperature is ex- 
perienced, partaking neither of the intense murky heat of the 
maritime districts, nor of the bitter keen mountain air of the lofty 
plains of Nuwera-Elliya. Invalids who fear the sudden transition 
from the damp sultry atmosphere of the valleys, to the chilly sensation 
on tbe mountain's brow, frequently establish themselves here, where 
may be enjoyed the bracing breezes without the frosts of the temperate 
zones, to acclimatise themselves ere they advance to tbe summit of 
their ambition. In this neighbourhood some valuable coffee plan- 
tations exist, and the temperature of the station is considered 
especially adapted for the full development and perfection of the 
coffee tree. The plantations near Pusilava flourish in great luxuri- 
ance, arising either from the favourable nature of the soil or climate. 
Numerous plantations are scattered also over the country between 
Pusilava and Nuwera-Elliya. The road frequently winds through 
estates almost without an exception in a high state of cultivation. 
After passing through Pusilava, the road immediately enters the 
forest of that name, which extends for several miles, and contains 
some majestic trees, the appearance of which is not injured by the 
presence of any unsightly jungle. The forest of Pusilava from 
consisting of detached trees of considerable size, affords a striking 
contrast to the low jungle which skirts its edges, and scarcely any 
part of the Kandian provinces combines so many charms as that in 
the vicinity of this picturesque and extensive woodland. At Ilel- 
bodde the forest terminates, and the magnificent valley of Kotmale 
spreads its gently undulating and varied surface before the fascinated 
traveller. The winding mountains here form a vast basin, in the 
centre of which the various torrents that descend from them unite 
into one deep and rapid stream, which after winding a long and 
tortuous course, caused by the peculiar and almost chaotic formation 
of the country that it traverses, ultimately discharges itself into the 

The Mahavelle-ganga, 1 the largest river in the island, whose course 
we have already traced from its mouth to the place where it receives 
the waters of the Ooma-oya, drains about two-thirds of the Central 
Province ; its principal branch has its source near Nuwera-Elliya, and 

' This river, whose name is erroneously supposed by a contributor to the 
Asiatic Researches to be derived from Maha Bali, one of the heroes of Indian 
romance, is from a Singhalese compound — maha, great, and wclle or velle, sandy. 


676 CEYLON. [part IV. 

flowing through the valley of Kotmale, tinder the name of the Kot- 
male-ganga, joins at Passbage a smaller branch rising near Adam's 
Peak, which is dignified with the name of the main river, Dr. Davy 
very intelligently suggested a quarter of a century ago, that it would 
he practicable to connect the Mahavelle and Kalane, the two most 
important rivers of the island at this point, viz. between Kittoolgalle 
and Ambagamma, by a good road of about eight miles in length, 
from the spot where either ceased to be navigable. " The interven- 
ing mountain," says he, "is indeed high, perhaps three or four 
thousand feet, which must be crossed, but is not the object 
worthy the labour that might be required to overcome this difficulty ?" 
Could this enlightened writer have viewed the subject through the 
vista of futurity, and have foreseen the celerity, perfection and cheap- 
ness with which tunnelling is now conducted, I may venture to 
surmise that he would have recommended instead the clearance of 
the bed of the two rivers, so as to diminish the distance from which 
either is unnavigable, and would have finally joined them by a canal 
bored through the intervening four miles of mountain. At this 
lapse of time, when an excellent highway already connects Colombo 
with Kandv and Trincomalee, and when a railwav is on the eve of 
construction, the policy of undertaking such a work might be 
questionable, though it might possibly still yield an adequate return 
for the carriage of heavy goods. Had Ceylon been in the possession 
of the younger branch of our race for the same number of years that 
we have held it, I do not hesitate to maintain that this work would 
long ago have been completed. The Mahavelle-ganga is already 
navigable for boats between Kandy and Gampola, and at no great 
expense a channel could be cleared beyond Ambagamma. 

Between Kandy and Bintenne, a distance of thirty miles, in which 
it receives a great accession of waters, there is a descent of upwards 
of 1 000 perpendicular feet, but it has not yet been shewn that this 
difficulty could not be remedied by locks. At Bintenne, at the foot 
of the mountains, it reaches its greatest magnitude, there, when of a 
medium height, and the water at the foot is about five feet deep, the 
river from bank to bank is 540 feet wide. In its sluggish course 
from Bintenne to the sea through a comparatively level country, and 
for the greater part of the year excessively dry, it doubtless loses 
by evaporation, and other exhausting causes a considerable portion 
of its water. 

The road to Nuwera-Elliya winds round the precipitous slopes of 
the mountains, and at its salient angles are many points from which 
the gaze may be extended into the inmost recesses of what may be 
aptly termed "the Devil's Punch Bowl." Between Pusilava and 
Rambodde a glimpse of the towering cone of Adam's Peak may be 
occasionally obtained. Its distance from those villages is upwards 
of forty miles, and its elevation above them nearly 4000 feet. 

The vicinity of Rambodde is announced by the stunning roar of 
the falls of the Poona-ella and Girinde-ella in its neighbourhood, which 


greatly contribute to complete the effect of the surrounding scenery. 
The forest above it rises to a gigantic height, and appears nearly 
black from its vast bowers of dark foliage. This village is situate at 
the base of the apparently inaccessible heights that girdle the plains 
of Nuwera-Elliya. From the rest-house the valley of Kotmale is seen 
to great advantage, and while the ceaseless, yet soothing, sound of 
the cascades which pour down on every side affords to the ear that 
indescribable pleasure which the noise of falling water rarely fails to 
produce, the eye is gratified by the surpassing grandeur of their 
appearance. These falls vary considerably in their volume of water 
at different periods of the year. Influenced by the same causes as 
those which so greatly affect the magnitude of the rivers in Ceylon, 
the streams which supply the Rambodde cascades dwindle to com- 
parative insignificance during the fervour of the summer heats, but 
this temporary diminution is more than compensated by the magnifi- 
cent appearance they assume on the commencement of the rainy 
season ; when the aspect of their roaring and whirling eddies partakes 
of the highest attributes of the sublime. The vale of Kotmale is, in 
the opinion of many, the most enchanting spot in Ceylon. Its 
sequestered situation and sublime scenery recommend it to the notice 
of the melancholy, equally with the recent votary of Hymen, whose 
followers may often be descried by the margin of the foaming torrents 
into which the waters, after descending the falls, immediately resolve 

It is in the pass of Rambodde, which emerges on the plains of 
Nuwera-Elliya, that the greatest physical obstacles on the line of 
road between that alpine station and Kandy were surmounted. The 
elevation above the plains above Rambodde, from whence the ascent 
commences, is between three and four thousand feet. Measured in 
an horizontal plane, the distance between that village and Nuwera- 
Elliya does not exceed eight miles. The result is that the greatest 
portion of the road through the pass is on an inclined plane, which 
ascends one foot in twelve or thirteen, an inclination nearly parallel 
to that which occurs in the great military road over the Simplon. 
To keep this difficult road in repair, and clear it of the slips of soil 
which not unfrequently come thundering down, a strong working 
party of Kaffres, of about sixty or seventy men, are constantly em- 
ployed on different parts of the pass. The head of the pass is nearly 
three miles distant from Nuwera Elliya, and from thence is obtained 
the first view of the plains. 1 From this point the road sensibly 

1 Though called a plain, Nuwera Elliya is not really such, a ridge of hills run- 
ning from south-west to north-east, divides it into unequal portions, the larger 
one being about two and a-half miles long by three-quarters broad ; the other 
portion, in which the military buildings, consisting of the commandant's and two 
subaltern's quarters, a barrack for 100 men, a hospital, jail, and cutcherry are 
situate, is an extensive ravine. There is a third division, of intermediate size, 
which is a bleak barren waste, the soil of which is a black peat, with a substratum 
of gravel, marl, and kabook, that is prolific under cultivation. The whole is well 
supplied with water. 

678 CEYLON. [PAttT IV. 

descends, and at length debouches suddenly on the wide and open 
valley in which the village of Nuwera-Elliya stands. 

This place was little known until 1829, when some Europeans 
having accidentally wandered thither in the chase, reported its merits 
to Sir Edward Barnes, who fixed upon it as a military convalescent 
station, and ordered the erection of the necessary buildings. The only 
evidence of former occupancy was a ruined temple, and the natives 
only resorted thither in pursuit of the elk. There is nothing particularly 
fine in this part of the plains, but the scene strikes forcibly on the mnid 
of the person first beholding it, from the contrast it offers to the gene- 
rality of oriental landscapes, and leaves an impression not easily effaced 
from the memory. The thatched cottages, the chimneys with their 
columns of smoke wreathing upwards, and the keen blast encountered 
when the cover of the woods is past, and you emerge on the open 
plain among moorlands, are so entirely dissimilar from any view or 
sensation within the tropics, that the novelty is at first delightful and 
exhilarating. This effect is much increased by the appearance of 
the flowers and plants proper to the colder climes. On every side 
may be seen splendid wild rhododendrons, which in this alpine 
region seem to rival the best specimens of those nurtured in the 
valleys of other lands. The violet, the geranium and the rose, all 
flourish in perfection in and around the plains. Nor are the less 
strong but more valuable plants of the vegetable kingdom in any 
degree unappreciated or neglected by the dwellers in these elevated 
plains, where the fruits and productions of Europe appear com- 
mingled with those of Asia. In addition to potatoes, cabbages, &c. 
strawberries and gooseberries are found in great abundance in the 
garden of the European residents, but neither peach nor cherry-trees 
will bear fruit. The natives inhabiting the bazaar cultivate potatoes, 
which they send to Kandy and Colombo. 

The plains of Nuwera-Elliya contain about seven square miles. A 
road circumscribes their entire extent, and forms the fashionable 
drive, which it is long likely to remain. The centre of the valley 
is occupied by rich grass land, through which a little river, one 
of the sources of the MahaA r elle-ganga, slowly meanders. The 
scattered houses of the European i-esidents, having a sombre and 
melancholy appearance in their solitude, lie around. Nuwera- 
Elliya is a new creation, and still in its transition state from 
the state of wilderness to the less sublime, but more pleasing 
charms belonging to cultivation. Many have left it with the 
most grateful reminiscence of an invigorated 1 constitution, but it 

1 Though Nuwera-Elliya is invaluable within the trojrics, there is a sense of dry- 
ness and constriction of the skin, says Dr. Beatson, the inevitable consequence 
of diminished atmospheric pressure, which distinguishes climate cold from elevation 
from that where temperature is the effect of latitude, rendering the former inferior 
in therapeutic efficacy ; to the healthy constitution, however, it is stimulant and 
exciting, improving the appetite and mental organs, and producing an increase of 
bodily and mental energy. The diseases most likely to receive relief here are 
functional derangements of the gastric, hepatic, enteritic, and nervous systems, 


must be confessed that the merit of these plains rests rather on the 
climate of the favoured region wherein they are located than on their 
claims to beauty. An European climate within the tropics is not 
however to be lightly thought of, even though it be obtained in the 
presence of a tame landscape and a thick mist, which, owing to the 
elevation and the attraction of the encircling mountains, constantly 
overhangs the plains. Nuwera-Elliya is to Ceylon what the Neil- 
gherries and the more southern of the snow-capped Himalayas are to 
the presidencies of Madras and Calcutta ; but it possesses a great 
advantage over them from its proximity to the principal stations in 
the island, not being more than one hundred miles distant from 
Colombo. The accommodations of the rest-house at Nuwera-Elliya 
being intended for less ephemeral travellers than the generality of 
hostelries is therefore much superior. There are about a dozen rooms 
divided into three suites of apartments for the reception of different 
parties. The windows look out on the plains, and command a bird's- 
eye view of the principal houses, which are occupied by the Com- 
mandant of the station, the Assistant-government agent, and the few 
military stationed at the place. Behind the house are the sources of 
the rivulet that wanders through the plains. In pursuing its impe- 
tuous course down the sides of the neighbouring mountains, the 
constant attrition of the stream has worn several natural baths in its 
rocky bed, the intense frigidity of which operates like a charm on 
the relaxed nervous system of the inhabitants of the lowlands. It 
was at one period intended to dam up this little river, and by thus 
inundating the plain through which it flows, to form a small lake. A • 
narrow gorge, through which the stream makes its egress from the 
plains, offers every facility for the proposed improvement. In that 
event the place will attract nearly as much attention on the score of 
beauty, as it now most deservedly does on account of its salubrity. 
Till that improvement is effected, it will be difficult to discover pic- 
turesque scenery in a broad flat valley, skirted by a few desolate 
white-washed cottages which are here in the worst possible taste. 
From the summits of nearly all the craggy heights that encircle the 
Nuwera-Elliya plains, extensive and magnificent views may be ob- 
tained. These heights when viewed from the valley they surround, 
do not redeem the otherwise tame features of the landscape, their 
outline being in general monotonous, rather resembling vast protu- 
berances than majestic mountains. 

Pedrotallagalla, (Pedura-talla-galla,)i which attains an altitude of 

unaccompanied by organic lesion, fevers uncomplicated with local affections, 
debility arising from tedious convalescence or long residence within the tropics — 
almost all the diseases of children ; but the chief advantage of a temporary 
residence is the prevention rather than the cure of disease. At times the sun, on 
a cloudless day, is very powerful here, but Europeans expose themselves to it 
without danger. 

1 The real etymology is, Pedura talla-galla, a mat wove rock, in reference to a 
rush used in mat-making, which is found in abundance on the mountain. 


8280 feet above the sea, and rise immediately above the Nuwera- 
Elliya rest-house, is especially characterised by the absence of those 
undulations and lower features, which so greatly add to the effect of 
mountain scenery. Its reputation, therefore, rests on its loftiness 
rather than its external grandeur, it being the highest elevation in 
the island, and Adam's Peak, long considered so, only ranking 
fourth in the scale of altitude. Pedrotallagalla is so frequently 
enveloped in thick mist, that visitors to it are generally disappointed 
in the object of their ambition. But as the view which it commands 
in clear weather is unsurpassed for magnificence, few leave this 
district without trying their fortune. The ascent is in many places 
remarkably steep and tiresome, from the mountain ^ath being fre- 
quently choked up with the surrounding luxuriant jungle, that unless 
kept in check by the pruning-hook, would speedily be lost. Several 
peeps through the intervals of the jungle at the grand scenery of the 
surrounding country may be enjoyed before you reach the highest 
point of the mountain, but when that is attained, the magnificent 
prospect which is beheld in every direction, far surpasses all descrip- 
tion. Immediately at the base of the chain of heights, which is 
crowned by Pedrotallagalla, the plains of Nuwera-Elliya stretch away, 
as it were, beneath the feet of the spectator. The fine districts of 
Upper and Lower Ouva, which are considered the richest parts of 
the island, are seen more in the distance, and behind, in the back 
ground, towers Adam's Peak, which is visible in all its glory. In 
whatever direction the eye wanders, it may feast on the gorgeous 
handiworks of nature unassisted by art, on every side meeting it. 
Traces of the presence of mankind are no where distinguishable in 
the landscape that rewards the exertions of those scaling the steep 
and rugged sides of Pedrotallagalla. Mountains upon mountains, 
horrid crags and impervious forests appear to defy the power and 
progress of man in every direction, and serve to impart a stern and 
magnificent, yet somewhat savage and awe-striking aspect to the face 
of the country. The descent of the mountain is almost if not quite 
as fatiguing as the ascent ; so that the traveller will experience the 
most gnawing sensations of hunger, unless provided with food ere he 
reaches Nuwera-Elliya. 

The elevated portion of the island, famous in the Ramayana and 
the most ancient Hindoo legends, as the Asoka Aramaya, is perhaps 
seen to the greatest advantage on the Koondasala road, from Kandy, 
where the varied scenery affords many beautiful views of the course 
of the Mahavelle-ganga, and over the green hills to the mountain 
ranges of Doombera and Matale ; these sweeping round, confine the 
view down the river, and form a lofty barrier to the heated plains of 
Bintenne. Four miles from Kaudy, on the opposite side of the river, 
are the remains of the palace of Koondasala, the residence of Sree 
Weera Praackrama Narendra Singha, the last king of the Singhalese 
royal race. Dying without issue in 1739, the family became extinct, 


and a brother-in-law of the deceased monarch, a prince of Madura, 
was chosen as his successor, and ascended the throne by the name of 
Sree Wijeya Raja Singha. 

Beyond Koondasala, the path continues near the bank of the 
Mahavelle-ganga, whose waters may be heard dashing among the 
rocks and echoed by the woods through which the road passes for 
several miles before reaching the Maha-oya, a stream, which having 
its source in the mountains bounding the valley of Hangurankette 
to the southward, runs through its whole extent. After passing 
this stream there is an ascent of three miles to the rest-house of 
Gonagamma, fifteen miles from Kandy, and in the Hewahette ratte, 
a rich and beautiful country diversified with high mountains and 
valleys, well cultivated with paddy, and containing a large population. 
From hence, Hangurankette may be reached over a ridge of the 
Dhiatalawa mountain, 5030 feet above the sea level, from whence 
there is an extensive view over the Walapane and Doombera districts, 
only separated by the Mahavelle-ganga, which is seen for a consider- 
able distance, foaming and rushing through forests in a succession of 
rapids down to the plains of Bintenne. Hangurankette possesses two 
temples, one dedicated to Vishnu, the other to the goddess Patine ; 
they are of mean appearance and in bad repair, but serve to remind 
the traveller that this place was a regal residence in the eighteenth 
century. The palace was accidentally destroyed in the rebellion of 
1818, and its foundations cannot now even be traced. The following 
inscription, however, shews that its royal architect had no deficiency 
of lofty epithets. 

" Be it known that this is the patent, whereby the victorious king, 
who kept his court in the city of Hangurankette, of illustrious and 
royal lineage, and effulgent with prosperity, did, while abiding at this 
place, dedicate lands in the Wanny district unto the sacred bo-tree 
on this day, Thursday, the 10th day of the 'increasing moon, in the 
month Wesack, of the 1646th year of the glorious era of Saka." 

From Hangurankette, the rugged tract winds over stones, along 
watercourses, and through swamps, then crosses the Bilhool-oya, a 
mountain torrent, after which for two miles there is a steep ascent to 
Maturatta, a military post, the commandant of which had civil juris- 
diction over the surrounding districts. Untenable as a military 
position against an intelligent enemy, this station appears to be only 
commendable for its cool climate. Leaving Maturatta, the traveller 
ascends the Halgaran-oya plains, about 4000 feet above the level of 
the sea. For the beauty of the scenery they are surpassed by few 
spots in Ceylon, but the whole region is uninhabited. 

Turning to the left through the Bingulan Talawa, which signifies 
an elevated and open space, the descent to the valley and village of 
Alut-nuwara is by a precipitous path. Alut-nuwara derives its name 
of nuwara (city, i. e. royal residence) from having been the place of 
refuge of a fugitive king : when pressed by powerful enemies, Singha- 


lcse monarchs were accustomed to seek shelter on the mountains or 
in the secluded valleys of this district, and the places where they 
resided, have, in many instances, the addition of nuwara to their 
names, although the royal residence may have been little beyond a 
Leaf hut. Kolagalla-nuwara, on the banks of the Bilhool-oya below 
Maturatta, is one of these stations, and on the other side in a deep 
valley beneath the lofty Pedratella mountain, a small hamlet bears the 
poetic yet correctly descriptive name of Mandara-nuwara, "the city 
of shadow." Near Alut-nuwara the Halgaran or Kooroonda-oya 
descends in cascades, and with several smaller mountain streams, 
supplies water to the numerous rice fields into which the valleys, 
small hills, and declivities of the mountains have been formed. The 
o-oro-e of the Halgaran-oya valley facing the Doombera mountains, 
opens from Alut-nuwara between the Yakkagalla (Devil's rock) and 
a wooded precipice, on the verge and summit of which stands the 
Buddhist temple of "Waaterangodda ; beneath the entire slope is 
niched into rice fields laid out in terraces, many of them not more 
than three feet in breadth, and looking like the seats of this moun- 
tain amphitheatre. From Alut-nuwara, the way lies over a moun- 
tain ridge covered with grass. The site of the ancient station of 
Madoolla is ascertainable by the straight fields still retaining the 
name of streets, as Tom-tom beater's Street, Potter's Street, &c. 
From this place which is within the dissavony of Walapane, so 
called according to Knox, from the broken character of the country, 
Gampaha is arrived at by passing over a ridge of hills. The Ooma- 
oya which separates Walapane from Wiyaloowa, is a beautiful 
stream, which like most of the rivers in Ceylon rises rapidly during 
the rains. The Badulla-oya intersects Wiyaloowa, and the Medda- 
oya separates it from Welasse. 

Beyond Bobola is the primeval forest. Its deep and awful gloom 
is enough to make the * stranger shudder. The huge stems of its 
trees stand close beside each other ; creepers of almost tree-like 
growth often bind together three or four of the sturdiest among them, 
already partly dead. Often no more than one stem of ordinary 
thickness, and winding round in a spiral form, is to be seen like a 
gigantic cork-screw tree. This is the stem of the creeper, the 
trunk around which it has twined, oppressed by its weight has 
rotted and worn away, and it has been left alone and unsupported. In 
some places foaming mountain torrents, which have washed away the 
soil from the roots of the trees to the depth of four or five feet, 
present great impediments to proceeding. The next place is 

To return to Maturatta ; about three miles from that place, on the 
south, a steep descent begins and lasts without interruption to the bot- 
tom of the valley, probably little less than 4000 feet below the loftiest 
summit of its including mountains. This elevated mountain tract 
bears some resemblance to Upper Ouva. Like it it is generally en- 


closed by higher mountains, and like it its surface is composed of hills 
of a conical and undulating form. Its scenery is of such a nature that 
any description of it would be feeble and inadequate to convey a 
correct idea of it. The most beautiful part of the way, and the 
most interesting is between two mountains, about a mile and a half 
on each side of the Halgaran-oya. Here the country is compara- 
tively open. It is bounded on one side by a mountain ridge covered 
with forest, and on the other by the blue summits of a few distant 
mountains. The hills between Fort M'Donald and Maturatta are of 
the liveliest verdure, ornamented with a profusion of rare flowers 
and flowering shrubs, and the hollows between the hills are luxu- 
riantly wooded, presenting surfaces of the richest foliage of an aston- 
ishing variety of colour and tint, from admixture probably of different 
kinds of trees in different stages of vegetation. An interest is given 
to this wild and beautiful scenery by traces of ancient works on a 
hill to the right, not far from a remarkably bold facade of rock pro- 
jecting from the side of the mountain like a promontory, and by a 
new building to the left situated on a green declivity skirted by 
forest. The ancient works consist of trenches and of low stone walls, 
both as if intended not for fortifications, but as simple inclosures. 
They arc attributed to a native prince who, according to tradition, 
being banished, stopped passing travellers and compelled them to 
labour for him. The forests between Fort M'Donald and Maturatta 
have a very peculiar character, especially one nearest the latter place, 
whose gloom exceeds imagination. The trees small but lofty are 
crowded together in the most confused manner — the young and old, 
the living and dead intermixed. But the melancholy appearance 
does not so much arise from this as from the density of the shade 
and the extraordinary maimer by which it is in great measure pro- 
duced by an exuberance of mosses, with which the trunks and 
branches and even delicate twigs of the trees in general are covered. 
The moss hanging in filaments actually conceals the leaves, and is 
often mistaken for natural foliage. Farther, the dismalness of the 
scene is increased by the closeness and chilling dampness of the air, 
and by the profound silence that prevails. The country beyond this 
forest descending to Maturatta is partly wooded, and partly open, 
only covered with long lemon-grass and low shrubs. The prospects 
which open at times in the descent, are very striking, and may 
without exaggeration be called sublime, especially the view of the 
deep valley, exhibiting at the same time an extraordinary assemblage 
of clouds and torrents, rocky heights and wooded mountains, green 
fields and diminutive cottages. 

The superficies of the Central Province is 30 16 square miles, and 
the population, which was 206,497 in 1843, may be estimated at 
the current rate of increase at 227,350 in 1818. 



Climate— How classified in Ceylon— Climate of Colombo throughout the year — 
Humidity .and variableness of the atmosphere at Kandy— Climate of the 
Mahagamapattoo, of the northern and interior districts of the Eastern Pro- 
vince, of the Northern Province, exclusive of Jaffna, and the northern por- 
tion of the Western Province — Climate of the mountain zone — Improvement 
of the climate of Ceylon in general — Misrepresentations — Description of a 
storm, and its awful effects — Diseases — Affections of the skin — Intermittent 
and remittent fevers, diarrhoea, dysentery, Beriberia, Elephantiasis, Goitre, 
the small pox, hydrophobia, diseases of the eye, spasmodic cholera. 

Ceylon possesses, perhaps, a greater variety of climate 1 than any 
other country on the face of the globe ; for the sake of classification, 
it may be well to generalize it under the three heads of hot, inter- 
mediate and temperate, the reader bearing in mind that a consider- 
able difference is to be found in the several divisions of each, in pro- 
portion to their aspect and other natural causes. The first prevails 
in the maritime provinces ; the second in the hilly region intervening 
between the maritime provinces and the mountainous belt ; and the 
third in and about the centi'eof the southern half of the island, com- 
prising the mountain zone, most of which is included within the 
Central, and the remainder within the Southern province. In reference 

1 At Trincomalee the greatest daily variation is 17°, and the annual range 
from 74^° to 912°. The mean annual temperature of the greater part of the 
maritime provinces is between 79° and 81° ; the extreme range of the thermometer 
between 68° and 90°, and the medium range between 75° and 85°. The mean 
daily variation of the temperature at Kandy is 6°, and the annual range of the 
thermometer from 56° to 66° ; the climate is therefore, inmost respects European. 
In the hilly districts between the Western and Central provinces, seed time and 
harvest never cease, and while the heat is scarcely oppressive, cold and winter are 
alike unknown. At Nuwera-Elliya the mean daily variation of the temperature 
is stated to be as great as 10° and from that to 11° Fahrenheit, being more than 
three times the mean daily variation on the coast, and the diurnal range of the ther- 
mometer from 36° to 81°. Yet it is free from that piercing wind so frequently 
complained of in England, and so productive of pulmonary complaints. Both on 
the Ballane and Idalgashina mountains, which may be said to represent the 
extremes of the mountain zone, warm clothing is necessary, the thermometer 
seldom ranging above 77°, and in the colder months of January, February, and 
March, it varies from 63° to 70°. At night a good fire is indispensable, for the 
thermometer is occasionally below 50°, and the mean temperature 72° in the 
day and 63° in the night. In these very districts ice is not uncommon, and yet 
sugar, cotton, coffee, and all other tropical products are cultivated in the vicinity 
under different circumstances of climate. During the north-east monsoon in the 
mornings the level grounds and Kandian valleys are commonly overspread by a 
dense white fog above which the mountains rise in clear relief and peculiar beauty. 


to the supply of rain, the Northern and Eastern Provinces may be 
said to be occasionally subject to long continued droughts, and' the 
Central, the Southern portion of the Western, and the Southern pro- 
vinces, are moist and comparatively cool. 

The following notes of the weather at Colombo through the year, 
have been taken by an intelligent and experienced observer. January 
— This month may be conveniently taken as the commencement of 
the meteorological as well as of the civil year. The rains which 
accompany the setting in of the north-east monsoon, are usually just 
over, the soil is moist, the sky is clear, and the nights cold, with an 
along-shore or land wind blowing, which must be guarded against. 
February — The along-shore wind, (a strong parching wind from the 
north-east) often continues to blow the greater part of this month, 
night and day. It carries off the moisture of the ground and the 
skin rapidly, and gives rheumatism, &c. to those who expose them- 
selves incautiously to it. The difference between the wet bulb and 
the dry thermometer sometimes amounts to 12°. March — The dry 
earth now receives far more heat from the sun than it parts with by 
evaporation or terrestrial radiation. The weather is becoming very 
warm. The calmness of the ocean, however, and the > alternate sea 
breezes by day and land winds by night, give a pleasing variety. 
But the heat is oppressive compared with that of the rest of the year. 
April — Indications of the approach of the south-west monsoon are to 
be observed in a ground swell in the sea, and south-west breeze, more 
steady than the sea breeze of last month ; the temperature, however, 
continues to rise, and all who can afford it, obtain leave or escape, and 
are among the mountains. May — By the middle of this month 
general showers usually begin to fall. The wind is steadily in the 
south-west, and toward the close of the month there are usually thun- 
der and lightning every afternoon in the south-west, with heavy 
showers, each preceded by a squall. June — It now rains heavily, 
with squalls from the south-west. The sky is often clouded for a 
fortnight, but it seldom rains twenty-four hours without intermission. 
July — The rains are now over, and a steady south-west wind blows 
day and night, perfectly balmy and innocent, the difference between 
the wet and dry thermometer seldom exceeding six degrees. August 
— Weather the same as July, but somewhat warmer, in consequence 
of the smaller amount of evaporation. September — Weather the 
same as in July and August, but still warmer, in consequence of the 
still smaller amount of evaporation. These months are usually cool, 
however, compared with March, April, and May ; and towards the 
end of this month, heavy showers usually fall, which are very accept- 
able. October — The first half of this month is usually marked by 
rains, which are very heavy, though of short duration. By these 
the air is cooled and the soil refreshed, though extensive inundations 
often result. November — The pleasant weather of the latter part of 
October is usually continued to the middle of this month, when 


thunder clouds gather every afternoon in the north-east, and night 
rains fall, followed by land winds. It is the north-east monsoon. 
December— The rains 'from the north-east of the preceding month 
often continue during this, usually with much thunder and lightning, 
and with alternate sea breezes and land winds, so that the new year 
usually sets in with the soil saturated with moisture, and colder than 
at any other time, from the enjoyment of which, however, the along- 
shore winds which now set in and blowing fresh, detract not a little. 

The climate of Kandy is generally much cooler than that of Co- 
lombo, but much more variable and trying to some constitutions. 
The range of the thermometer being from 54° to 87°, the mean about 
74 . The quantity of rain that falls in the course of a year at both 
places does not differ so much as we might expect, being 84 inches 
at Colombo and 90 at Kandy. But the mountain capital sees the 
hills around it almost daily enveloped in misty drizzly clouds, which 
ever and anon descend in showers. In Colombo the rains are occa- 
sionally tremendous, but there are long intervals of dry weather on 
which Kandy can rarely count. The result is that Kandy is at pre- 
sent not so healthy a residence for Europeans as Colombo, and in- 
valids from the latter place find it beneficial to move further up 
among the hills. Dysentery and fever are the prevalent diseases, and 
for the cure of these a journey to the coast is the most efficacious. 
The Tamul coolies suffer much from the humid climate of the inte- 
rior, and many of them die from the before-named diseases, which 
are aggravated by their filthy habits, penurious mode of living, and 
want of warm clothing. The positively unhealthy districts of Ceylon 
are the Mahagamapatoo, in the Southern Province, where the pre- 
valence of jungle and its accompanying miasm, together with a sparse 
population, and a backward state of agriculture, combine to produce 
the never-failing result. Hence the mortality was formerly so great 
here, that the Governor on one occasion withdrew the officers of the 
detachment stationed at Hambantotte for six months until the 
jungle fever had subsided. The climate of the adjoining districts of 
Matura and Galle, though so damp, that unless books and clothes 
are frequently exposed to the sun, they become covered with mildew 
and decay, is sufficiently salubrious. The northern and interior dis- 
tricts of the Eastern Province are no less unhealthy than the Maha- 
gamapattoo, and from much the same causes ; the greater part of the 
Northern Province, exclusive of the Jaffna peninsula and the northern 
portion of the Western Province, may with some modifications be 
classed under the same category. Of the climate of the mountain 
zone to which we would fain draw the attention of the small capi- 
talist, who is desirous of adding health to the other advantages result- 
ing from leaving an over-peopled country, it is impossible to speak 
in too high terms of praise. 

The increase of cultivation has already produced a wonderful change 
in every district, improving their salubrity by rendering the climate 


more equable, and removing the standing water, that great source of 
disease in tropical countries. With the clearance of the dense 
jungles and impervious forests, where the decomposition of vegetable 
matter bad continued through countless ages and the evaporation of 
mephitic gases bad been obstructed, malaria has disappeared, and in 
places where only a partial clearance has taken place, a correspond- 
ing degree of salubrity has followed, and disease has ceased to 
be permanent in its former habitat. When three-fourths, in- 
stead of one-fourth of the island, shall have been added to the 
domains of agriculture, Ceylon will rank in point of salubrity scarcely 
below Great Britain herself. I have endeavoured to view tins ques- 
tion dispassionately. Attempts have been made by some to decry 
the climate of Ceylon, and without any qualification, to class it in 
the list of human charnel houses. Others on the contrary have 
pronounced it a sanatorial Elysium. It is needless to add, that both 
are in great measure incorrect. We have already pointed out the 
deductions necessary to be made before the general nature of the 
climate can be accurately determined, and it only remains for us to 
state, tbat, taking into consideration its geographical position, it has 
no parallel in the East for general salubrity, Thus the maritime 
provinces, where the heat would be otherwise insupportable, are 
favoured with an almost continual sea breeze, rendering them much 
more temperate than the climate of the peninsula. Yet the natives, 
and even the Dutch, appear to have had an insuperable objection to 
this antidote against the torrid heat, and allowed underwood to 
grow around their houses to exclude its cooling and wholesome in- 
fluence- The great elevation of the mountains not only insures a cer- 
tain degree of cold to the interior, but attracts so many clouds and 
so much moisture, as to perpetuate the evergreen of its forests and 
permit the unceasing cultivation of the fields over one-half of the 
country. The side of the great Kandian range of hills nearest to 
the eastern coast, partakes, in part, of the deficiency of moisture 
which distinguishes the maritime provinces nearest the range, and it 
is remarkable that on one side of these hills the climate is moist and 
cool, its vegetation rich, and continually refreshed by showers, while 
on the other side, except during the rainy season, there prevail 
oppressive heats and parching winds. The coolest season, at least in 
one-half of the island, is during the prevalence of the south-west 
monsoon, which sets in in May, and continues till the end of October, 
when the sun is to the northward of the equator. The change of 
the monsoon is generally preceded by copious and refreshing rains, 
which continue at intervals more or less for three months. The 
north-east monsoon is of shorter duration, beginning in Novem- 
ber and continuing till March, when the sun has passed to the 
southward of the equator. The northern parts of the island arc 
then deluged with the heavy rains, and either monsoon is attended 
with the most tremendous thunder and vivid lightning conceivable. 

688 CEYLON. [part IV. 

The results of these awful outbursts of elemental strife are in 
great measure unattended with the casualties occurring in northern 
countries, as if nature, conscious of her immense power, magnani- 
mously withheld the shock from engines of destruction that would 
infallibly convulse the locality on which it might fall. 

Previous to the fall of these deluges the sky in the quarter from 
whence they approach, becomes gradually darkened upward from 
the horizon, and appears of an inky hue so dense, that the distant 
hills look less solid than the advancing curtain of clouds. The plains 
seem lost in dull shadows, and the mountains are lighted with a 
lurid gleam of dusky red that escapes from the open part of the 
heavens. Every second this clear space with its pale, cold blue 
sky is visible, contracted by dark swollen masses of vapour, which 
are gradually subduing the sickly lights that linger on the highest 
pinnacles. At first during these symptoms there is an oppressive 
calm under which in great measure every thing in nature seems 
to droop. The leaves hang listless on the boughs, the beasts 
retire to the forest glades, the birds seek shelter in the coverts ; 
numerous flocks of white cranes following each other in lines, 
or forming themselves in angles, alone attract tbe eye as they seek 
new ground, and prepare for the approaching storm. Before a 
breath of air is felt, tiny whirlwinds are seen beneath the bushes 
twirling round a few light withered leaves, or trundling them along 
the footpath. These fairy hurricanes are succeeded by a rushing sound 
among the trees overhead, accompanied by the rustling and falling 
of decayed leaves, then a gentle and refreshing air suddenly gives 
place to cold breezes, gusts, squalls, until heavy drops of rain crowd 
into descending sheets of water, transforming steep paths into cata- 
racts, and broad roads into beds of rivers. Before the murky cur- 
tain that is closing over the sky, flickers a cold misty veil, and a 
dull vapour rolls in advance along the ground; these appearances 
arise from the rain drops splashing on the dusty ground, or jostling 
and splintering as they descend from the teeming darkness. The 
stream that before the storm did not exceed three inches in depth, 
has now to be swum over, so immense and sudden is the rainy 
avalanche, and the smallest rivers become for a time impassable. 
Down these streams may at these times be seen the dead carcases of 
buffaloes rolling and tumbling. Occasionally some one alive, and 
lately swept off, may be seen hurried along, while still plunging and 
struggling in hopeless strife with the raging waters. The soil of the 
mountains, softened and saturated by the continued floods, and 
having no longer tenacity to retain the great stones or loose masses 
of rock that rest on their steep sides and arched summit, they are 
loosened, and rush with resistless force, crashing through the forest, 
or thundering over the bare rocks until they reach the level grounds, 
and there find a resting place. Landslips, entombing houses and 
burying their inhabitants, are occasionally happening, and roads, 


bridges and rice fields, deluged oi' destroyed. The destruction of 
cattle and the loss of human life is frequently great from the same 

A peculiar and beautiful meteor is sometimes seen in Ceylon, 
called Buddha-rays ; it is supposed by the natives only to appear 
over a temple or tomb of Buddha's relics, and from thence to 
emanate. It is seen by day only in clear weather, and generally 
after a long continued drought. Buddhists believe that these rays 
appear in the heavens as a sign to the faithful that the religion of 
Gautama will endure for 5000 years from the time of his death. 
These bright rays are often sharply defined on the blue sky, and will 
rise from one and sometimes from two opposite sides of the horizon, 
but this beautiful phenomenon has been known to arise from the 
four points of the compass, until the gradually expanded rays crossed 
in the ethereal dome. 

Few intertropical islands suffer less from violent storms and hurri- 
canes than Ceylon ; when the latter occur they are generally attended 
with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain and hail, and will in a mo- 
ment unroof a house, and tear up from the roots the largest trees. 
Hail is a phenomenon of rare occurrence in the maritime provinces, 
where indeed it is hardly seen once a century. On the higher moun- 
tains it is of constant occurrence. 

The ailments that visit the European immediately on his arrival in 
Ceylon are of a trifling nature, and arising as they do from a change of 
air, are generally the companions of good health. The prickly heat 
(Lichen tropicus) consists of a troublesome affection of the skin, 
which is allayed by taking mild aperient medicine, abstaining from 
acidulated drinks and using a light diet. Fever is the most common 
disease of any severity to which the newly arrived are subject, and 
commonly arises from imprudent exposure to the sun or from intem- 
perance. There is another disease which acts on the texture of the 
skin, and is indicated by redness, slight swelling and severe itching, 
and in most cases by a serous discharge. It is sometimes accom- 
panied with minute irritable pimples, still more rarely with minute 
pustules that give rise to small superficial ulcers that heal readily if 
not neglected. The diseased action commonly begins between the 
toes and in the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. It is a 
wandering malady, and leaves one part for another till it wears itself 
out or heals spontaneously. Exercise has a beneficial effect upon 
it, and it is thought would alone cure it, if extensively taken. The 
itching, which is often intense, and always the most troublesome 
symptom, is allayed by covering the parts affected with simple dress- 
ing after washing them in lukewarm water. 

Intermittent and remittent fever are common at certain seasons, 
the former most frequently attacks the natives, the latter Europeans. 
Though remittent fever rarely terminates in ague, in case of relapse 
ague mostlv succeeds it, so that it is not usual for the same indi- 

2 Y 


vidual to experience two attacks of the disease, except after an inter- 
val of some years. Both species are modified and diversified by 
circumstances ; the fever of almost every year and season and place 
has something peculiar to mark it ; sometimes there is a tendency to 
delirium, sometimes to intermission and relapse, and disease of the 
spleen, at others to dysentery. The use of opium would appear to be 
very beneficial in remittent fever. There is one remarkable fact con- 
nected with diseases in Ceylon, that its climate does not breed or 
tolerate any infectious fever. Typhus and the plague are both 
equally unknown to the eastward of the Indus. 

Diarrhoea is frequent, and there is one species in which the dejec- 
tions are white, the body becomes debilitated, emaciated and 
feverish. Dysentery is a terrible disease in Ceylon from the severity 
of its symptoms, the rapidity with winch it runs its course, the diffi- 
culty of checking it, and its frequently fatal termination ; at its very 
commencement it is attended with ulceration ; the mode of treating 
this disease is still far from settled, but opium acts in a favourable 
manner. Intemperance either in eating or drinking, the immoderate 
use of fruit and exposure of the abdomen to the night air would 
seem to be the predisposing causes. Nervous affections are not 
common among the natives in their lighter development, but insa- 
nity is not unfrequent. Beri-beria, a disease almost peculiar to Cey- 
lon, is perhaps to be traced to an extraordinary state of atmosphere. 
It only occasionally occurs. 

Elephantiasis (Elephant leprosy) is prevalent in some districts in 
the south of the island where the temperature through the year is 
uniformly high, and the air loaded with moisture, though the cause 
of the disease is unknown. It is truly distressing ; the legs assume 
the shape and size of those of a young elephant, and the skin, their 
asperity and wrinkles ; these the sufferer drags slowly along with 
difficulty. This malady is without cure, unless powerful remedies 
are applied at its first appearance ; in which case instances have been 
known, where the native doctors, who are extremely skilful in the 
treatment of cutaneous diseases, have succeeded in eradicating it. The 
native name for this complaint is Alia and Koraah, and arsenic if re- 
sorted to in the incipient stage mixed with ghee and applied exter- 
nally, is the alleged means of cure. The two kinds of this disease, 
" the leprosy of the joints" and the tuberculated species, are some- 
times here combined.' 

1 Dr. Davy describes the symptoms of a Singhalese in the last stage of the dis- 
ease by which he had been affected fourteen years. The face and ears puffy, de- 
formed with tubercles, and the latter as well as the lips were enlarged. The eye- 
brows were without hair, the skin of most parts of the body was thickened and 
tuberculated, the feet swollen and ulcerated, the fingers and toes were disfigured 
and several joints of the former had dropped off in the course of the disease. The 
patient was debilitated, and his health was greatly deranged. Shortly after, he 
died, when the surface of the body was fissured and excoriated in a hundred dif- 


Goitre is by no means uncommon in the Galle district. The same 
disease, which in Switzerland is attributed to the use of snow water, 
arises here from a different but as yet inexplicable cause. The 
water of the fort of Galle, though exceedingly transparent, is objected 
to by all Europeans, except for culinary service, and the wells outside 
the town are resorted to for the purpose. Neither Europeans nor 
the native males are affected with this disease, and it seems to be 
confined to native females, to whom it gives a disgusting guttural 

The small-pox is perhaps the most awful disease by which the 
island has been visited, and has doubtless been one great cause of its 
depopulation. Forbes thinks it was this visitation which is recorded 
by the native annalists as the red-eyed demon of pestilence thai 
swept the country of half its people in the third century, and in the 
reign of Sirisangabo. The natives term it Mahailada, or the great 
sickness, and believe it to be a direct infliction of the gods, and so 
terrified were they a few years ago at its appearance, that near rela- 
tions, who were not on ordinary occasions deficient in fraternal feel- 
ing, would leave 1 their afflicted kinsmen to perish unheeded and unat- 
tended, and would not be induced by bribes or entreaties to interfere 
with a corpse, as they believed marked by the wrath of their gods. 
In the forests on the side of Ambokka Kandi are situated, says 
Forbes, the remains of Rangalla Nuwara, and at its base a temple of 
the same name is dedicated to the goddess Patine ; this goddess, and 
this particular temple or the relics it contained, were supposed to be 
of extraordinary efficacy in preventing or averting small-pox, so that 
when that dreadful disease raged in Matale, the kappuralle (priest) of 
Ambokka was in constant request, and reaped an abundant harvest 
from the terror and superstition of his neighbours. Every village in 
the vicinity of an infected place by means of presents nominally of- 
fered to the goddess, the most valuable of which were appropriated 
by the kappuralle, procured his presence and the relics from the 
temple, consisting of a shield and bangle (armlet), which were borne 
through the village followed by all the inhabitants, and duly ho- 
noured by the noise of every tom-tom, pipe, chanque shell or trumpet 
which they could procure. The kappuralle had been at a former 
period afflicted with the natural small-pox, and was shrewd enough to 

ferent places, the left foot was in a state of gangrene. After death the whole sys- 
tem appeared to have been disorganised, and the ramifications of the disease ap- 
peared ecpially minute and extended. 

1 The devastations committed by wild animals during the absence of the fugitive 
members of a family are described as heart-rending in the extreme, a whole 
property being rendered desolate. Inoculation, discountenanced under the 
Dutch, was introduced soon after the arrival of the British, and the Jennerian 
improvement followed in 1802. Hospitals were also erected for the special re- 
ception of persons affected with the malady, and medical officers were allotted to 
various districts, through which they were expected to itinerate. The result bas 
been most encouraging, and the red-eyed demon no longer decimates the population. 

2 Y 2 

6!>2 CEYLON. [part IV. 

have his own family vaccinated, though his supposed temerity in 
visiting infected villages, and his good fortune in escaping contagion 
were accounted for by himself, and believed by the people, to 
arise from the protection of the goddess. His influence was hence 
considerable, and his selfishness led him to use every secret means of 
checking the progress of vaccination among the dupes by whom he 
was enriching himself. 

Active measures have been taken of late years and with some 
success to supply vaccinators, and to induce the natives to profit 
by their exertions, hence a scene, such as I am about to pourtray, 
may in a few years not be expected to recur. " I found," says 
Forbes, " lying in a field, with her head close to a well, the body of 
a woman, who had but lately expired. Tormented by thirst, and 
deserted by her friends, she had crept to the water, whilst in the 
last agonies of this loathsome disease. By permission of her relatives, 
I offered her property, including a portion of land, to whoever would 
bury the body, but all my arguments and entreaties would not induce 
any one, even the most wretched pauper, to acquire a competency by 
burying it." The same writer mentions another case, where a man 
of weak intellect and eccentric habits had two children lying dead, 
whom he had carefully tended, and another whose case seemed 
desperate. In a paroxysm of grief, the old man caught up the only 
survivor, and carrying her several miles over a mountain before 
morning, laid her down beside a temple in another district, where he 
made his offerings, and bore back his charge. The affectionate 
parent was rewarded by the speedy recovery of his daughter, who 
had probably benefited by the cool mountain air. 

Hydrophobia, to which remedies have been applied in Europe, the 
natives acknowledge their inability to cure, though they can heal the 
wound. Three months is the time after which they consider any 
one safe who has been bitten by a mad dog, but in this they are mis- 
taken. Hydrophobia is a frequent disease during the hot season, 
and jackalls are sometimes affected with it, when they will attack 
man or any other animal. 

In relieving complaints of the eye, the native medical practitioners 
are very skilful, and use most powerful medicines, though from their 
ignorance of other branches of surgery, they are known sometimes to 
do injury. In Ceylon there is a disease common to cattle and horses, 
from which human beings are free, it is a worm that finds its way 
into the aqueous humour of the eye, which it first distends, then 
dims its colour, and eventually deprives of its functions. The appli- 
cations used, are almost, if not wholly, preparations or portions of 
vegetables, which though causing intense pain, generally prove 
successful, and the insect being destroyed, the eye eventually recovers 
its transparency. In their management of boils and tumours (com- 
mon visitations in Ceylon) they are particularly successful, and 
among many different forms of treatment, occasionally make most 
daring and extensive use of the actual cautery. 


Spasmodic cholera is an epidemic, that has at different periods, 
made fearful havoc in the island. In 1832, 59 out of a body 
of 252 of the 78th Highlanders were carried off in less than a month, 
— the cheerful falling victims no less than the desponding, the tem- 
perate as well as the drunkard, though the latter was of course the 
soonest victim, to the fatal malady. This disease was fed by, if indeed, 
it did not originate in the position and construction of the Trinco- 
malee barracks, to which an ill-ventilated hospital was attached. In 
the preceding year, a vast number of elephants and other wild 
animals had been carried off by an epidemic, which did not affect the 
people. The natives account for this by a belief, that sickness among 
wild animals, and cattle generally, precedes by a year any pestilence 
amongst the population of the country. 


Geology and Mineralogy of Ceylon — Soils — Rocks, Minerals, Gems, &c. — 

Springs — Salts. 

The soils of Ceylon have certain points of general resemblance, as 
indeed the geological conformation of the island would indicate. 
Without an exception perhaps they are all derived from the decom- 
position of gneiss, of granitic rock, or of clay-iron-stone, or, as it is 
called, kabook ; the principal ingredients of which are quartz in the 
form of sand or gravel, and decomposed felspar in the state of clay, 
with more or less oxide of iron. According to Dr. Gardner, kabook 
is decomposed gneiss. Quartz is, in most instances, the predominat- 
ing ingredient, and often constitutes more than nine-tenths of the 
whole. Carbonate of lime is rarely to be detected in the soil, and 
phosphate of lime never. Carbonate of lime, or of magnesia, is not 
always found, even in soil lying incumbent in dolomite rock, as at 
Nalande, or on limestone rock, as at Jaffnapatam. 

The soils of Ceylon do not, as is the case in other tropical coun- 
tries, abound in vegetable matter, seldom containing more than be- 
tween one and three per cent., and the only exceptional case is that 
of soil at an elevation of from four to five thousand feet above the 
level of the sea, where the temperature is comparatively low, and the 
ground very damp. Thus among the mountains of Upper Ouva, 
the soil is black, and contains between seven and ten per cent, of 
vegetable matter in a state analogous to that of peat. The small pro- 
portion of vegetable matter that usually occurs, may with reason be 
referred to the high temperature of the climate producing rapid 
decomposition, and to the heavy rains which carry off any accumu- 
lations. To the latter cause also may probably be assigned the great 
scarcity of calcareous matter. 

604 CEYLON. [1'ART IV. 

The best and most productive soils in Ceylon are a brown loam, 
resulting from a decomposition of gneiss, or granitic rock, abounding 
in felspar, or a reddish brown loam, resulting from the decomposi- 
tion of the clay-iron-stone. The power this soil possesses of retain- 
ing water to a great degree, is an excellent quality in such a climate, 
and to it may be attributed its singular productiveness. The result 
of a well dried specimen has shewn this soil to consist of 83-5 of 
ferruginous clay, and 16'5 of water. The worst soils are those 
which abound most in quartz, derived from the disintegration of 
quartz rock, or of granite or gneiss, containing a very large propor- 
tion of this mineral. 

The common soil of the coral island Delft, off the north coast, 
celebrated/or its excellent pasturage, is destitute of calcareous matter, 
though it" is incumbent on a bed of coral. The colour^ is a dirty 
yellow sand, very fine, slightly cohering, and consisting in its dried 
state of 95 per cent, of silicious sand, tinged with iron, and perhaps 
a little alumine, 2*5 vegetable matter, and 2-5 water. No less 
remarkable are some of the soils of Jaffnapatam ; thus the soil of a 
tobacco field of a reddish brown colour, which had been manured 
by sheep like a turnip field in England, but collected when perhaps 
partially exhausted, the crop not having been long taken off the 
ground, consisted of 95*5 silicious sand, coloured by iron, with a 
few particles of calcareous matter, 2 vegetable matter, 2-5 water. 
The soil of a rice field in the same district, which received no manure, 
but was carefully irrigated, and was of a light grey colour, contain- 
ing a good deal of straw in minute particles, consisted of 95*5 sili- 
cious sand with traces of iron, carbonate of lime, and alumine, 2*5 
vegetable matter, and 2 water. It is a subject of consideration 
whether the fine silicious sand may not be drifted by strong winds 
from a distance, as frequently happens at the Cape of Good Hope 
during a south-east wind, but this does not wholly account for 
the extraordinary circumstance that in islands, the foundations of 
which are calcareous, there should be so little calcareous and so 
large a proportion of silicious matter in the soil. The action of the 
heavy periodical rains by gradually washing out the calcareous mat- 
ter, would, perhaps, joined with the other theory, in a great measure, 
solve the problem. 

The above description of the soils of Ceylon is equally applicable 
to the Kandian and to the maritime provinces. In reference to 
agricultural improvement, the subject is highly important, and no 
where is it more deserving of attention and investigation than in 
Ceylon, where the ground is in its original state, and where, with 
few exceptions, now happily becoming more extended, little or no 
attempt has been made by man either to correct the defects, or to 
increase the productiveness of the soil by the use of manure. 

In Ceylon there is not that order and succession of rocks to be 
found as in England and other parts of Europe. Uniformity of for- 


mation is the distinguishing characteristic of the geological character 
of the island, and with but few and partial exceptions, such as at 
Jaffna and the contiguous islets, and here and there along the shore 
about high water mark, it may be said to consist of primitive rock, 
and unconnected with any other class of rock, exclusive of those of 
very recent formation. 

Another remarkable geological fact is, that though the varieties of 
primitive rock are extremely numerous, and indeed almost infinite : 
the species are very few, and seldom well defined. The most pre- 
vailing species are granite or gneiss ; the less frequent are quartz-rock, 
hornblende rock, and dolomite rock, which may be classed under 
the head of imbedded minerals. 

The varieties of granite and gneiss are endless, passing often from 
one into another, and at times losing their character by the transition, 
and assuming appearances for which, in small masses, there would 
be a difficulty in finding appropriate names. These mutations and 
remarkable variations are traceable chiefly to composition, the pro- 
portions of the elements, the excess or deficiency of one or more, 
or on the addition of new ingredients. Nor should mechanical 
structure, variation in which, though hardly palpable in reference to 
causes, has an evident effect in regulating appearances, be omitted. 
Regular granite is rare ; where found it is generally of a grey colour 
and fine grained. Graphic granite is still rarer. The quartz, where 
it is found, is black or grey rock crystal, and the felspar highly crys- 
talline and of a bright flesh colour. The quartz envelopes the felspar 
in very thin hexagonal or triagonal cases, so that nothing can more 
vary in appearance than the longitudinal and transverse fracture of 
of the rock. Petrifactions of wood, combining quartz and felspar, 
have been occasionally found in the interior. This is a mineralogical 
novelty, the latter substance never having been found in petrifactions 
of a similar nature. 

Moonstone has also been found embodied in porphyric rocks in large 
masses, and is more beautiful than moonstone hitherto dug from rocks 
of decomposed white clay. Sienite is uncommon. It occurs in the 
interior, rather forming a part of rocks of a different kind thau in 
great mountain masses. 

Well formed gneiss is more abundant than granite. Its peculiar 
structure may be seen in many places, but no where so clearly as at 
Amanapoora in the Central province, where it consists of white fel- 
spar and quartz in a finely crystalline state, with layers of black 
mica, containing, disseminated through it, numerous crystals of a 
light-coloured garnet. Both the granite and gneiss are very much 
qualified by an excess or deficiency of one or other of the ingre- 
dients. When quartz abounds in a fine granular state, the rock 
often looks very like sandstone ; of this there is an instance in the 
vicinity of Kandy. When felspar or adularia abound, the rock 
acquires a new external character : this variety is common. In a 

(J96 CEYLON. [PAltT IV. 

few places the rock contains so much of these minerals that it might 
he correctly called adularia, or felspar rock. When mica prevails in 
gneiss, which in Ceylon is very rare, it acquires not only the appear- 
ance, but very much the structure of mica slate. The instances of 
change of appearance in the granitic varieties from the presence of 
unusual ingredients, are neither few in number nor unfrequent in 


The more limited varieties of primitive rock, as quartz, horn- 
blende, and dolomite rock, seldom occur in the form of mountain 
masses. Quartz is found in some places so abundantly in granite 
rocks as even to rival mountain masses. It is generally quite bare, 
and stands erect like denuded veins. From its precipitousness it 
often exhibits the appearance of buildings in ruins. The quartz is 
in general milk-white, translucent, full of rents, and so very friable 
as to resemble unannealed glass. Pure hornblende rock and primi- 
tive greenstone are not uncommon, and though they constitute no 
entire mountain, form a part of many, particularly of Samanala and 
the Kandian mountains. 

Dolomite rock is almost entirely confined to the interior, where it 
is found in veins and imbedded, and sometimes constitutes low hills. 
The varieties of dolomite rock are almost as numerous as those of 
granite. When purest it is snow-white, generally crystalline, com- 
posed of rhombs that are easily separated by a blow, but rarely 
finely granular. When highly crystalline it is composed of about 
56 of carbonate of magnesia, 36*9 carbonate of lime, 4*1 alumina, 
1 silica, 2 water. A very fine granular kind is found, but it is so 
uncommon, that it was appropriated under the Kandian dynasty to 
the sole use of the king. The great variety of this rock arises both 
from the proportion of carbonate of lime and of magnesia being 
seldom the same, and from the commixture of other minerals. The 
varieties most frequent are mixtures of dolomite with felspar and 
mica, and even quartz. It is from the purer kinds of dolomite rock 
that all the lime employed in building in the interior is procured. 
The presence of magnesia injures its qualities as a cement ; but 
though inferior in this respect to the lime from shell and coral, it 
answers sufficiently well for ordinary uses. 

In external character and general structure, the varieties of primi- 
tive rock exhibit fewer marked differences than might have been ex- 
pected. The masses that are exposed, are generally rounded, seldom 
rising to craggy points or appearing in grotesque shapes. The 
nature of the rock may often be surmised, from its external appear- 
ance, but generally cannot be precisely determined but by an exami- 
nation of a recently fractured surface. In structure the granitic 
varieties most commonly exhibit an appearance of stratification, but 
is not easy to decide positively whether this appearance is to be 
attributed to the mass being composed of strata or of large laminae 
or layers. Some great masses of insulated rock, several hundred 


feet in height, exhibit incontrovertible proofs of this structure. In 
these the same layer may be seen extending over the rock, like the 
coat of an onion, and which if but partially exposed, might be adduced 
as a strong proof of stratification, and if examined in different places on 
the top and at each side, might be deemed an extraordinary instance 
of the dip of the strata in opposite directions. With this hypothesis 
of the structure of the rocks, the appearance of stratification in all 
the granitic varieties may be easily reconciled. 

Rocks of recent formation are of two kinds, limestone and sand- 
stone. The first is said to be confined to the province of Jaffna, 
the most productive and populous district of Ceylon, which is an 
extended level plain without a single hill or valley, and contains 
numerous decomposed shells, and other marine productions ; it is 
generally grey or light brown, very fine grained and compact, and 
breaks with a conchoidal fracture. It is generally nearly a pure 
carbonate of lime, affording but slight traces of the presence of vege- 
table or animal matter, and containing a little water. Where it 
occurs, the whole of the country is similar, and elevated but a few 
feet above the surface of the sea, by which it was once probably 
covered. The recession of the sea from this district is even now 
going on, many natives recollecting the waves covering spots now far 
above high water mark. It is proved also from the fact of coral 
rock being found mixed with the limestone rock several miles from 
the sea. Minute inquiry on the spot might elicit some valuable 
information on the formation of this rock, which is still probably 
extending in the shallows of the adjoining seas, and along the coasts 
of Jaffnapatam. Its formation may possibly be connected with coral, 
which is so abundant in the narrow seas between Ceylon and the 
Indian Peninsula, that most, if not all, of the islets in the strait are 
composed of it, and the gradual increase of coralline in the waters near 
these shores proves the natural and steady encroachment of the 
land. The only difficulty is, to find the cause of the solution of cal- 
careous matter in some places, and its precipitation in others 

Sandstone, the other rock belonging to the recent formation, may 
be considered to surround the island with an almost uninterrupted 
chain. It exhibits in every part the same general character, and is 
found under the same circumstances, in horizontal beds along the 
shore, chiefly between high and low water mark, which in Ceylon, 
where the tide rises only about three feet in perpendicular height, is 
a very limited extent. In shallow water, it may extend perhaps 
further into the sea. Towards the land, it does not extend beyond 
the beach. A remarkable instance of this rock is found on the north 
side of the Kalane-ganga. In width the bed varies from a few to 
fifty or even a hundred feet. Towards the sea, it presents a bold 
face, above twelve feet deep, perpendicular like a wall, over which 
the waves break, and which, when the sea runs high, as it does on 

698 CEYLON. [part IV. 

this shore, a great part of the year, is completely under water. On 
the other side, towards the land, the rock commonly terminates in 
sand, the heach generally rising above it. This bed is in most places dis- 
tinctly stratified, and where the strata are not deranged by fractures, and 
subsidences, they are quite horizontal. The appearance of the rock is 
not uniform : its principal varieties are a yellowish-grey sandstone, 
another almost black, and a third of the first kind, but containing 
nodules of the latter. These varieties occur in the same stratum, 
and a vertical section often exhibits successive layers of the two first 
kinds. They all consist of sand agglutinated by carbonate of lime, 
which, from its texture, appears to have been deposited from water. 
Thus the stone crumbles to pieces, and is reduced to sand when 
heated before the blow-pipe or immersed in an acid. The proportion 
of carbonate of lime is variable, being from 26*5 to 1 1 per cent. 
The larger the proportion, the harder is the sandstone ; thus the 
last-mentioned is soft and taken from a depth in an incipient state of 
formation, while the former is taken from the surface, is completely 
formed and extremely hard. Irrespectively of the proportion of 
carbonate of lime, the sand of which the stone is formed, is of 
different kinds. The sand of the light-coloured variety is chiefly 
silicious, consisting of fine water-worn particles of quartz, like the 
sand of the shore, and like it, it occasionally contains shells and 
pebbles. The sand of the variety nearly black, is a mixture of sili- 
cious particles, and of particles of iron glance becoming magnetic by 
wasting. It is extremely hard, the iron no doubt acting the part of 
a cement, as well as the carbonate of lime. 

The question of the formation of the sandstone is involved in 
much of the same obscurity as that of the limestone of Jaffnapatam, 
and the same conjectures might be offered respecting the probable 
cause of the deposit of the calcareous cement. This instance of the 
formation of rock from the dissolved and disintegrated materials of 
old rocks is not peculiar to Ceylon, as it is quite as common as those 
of decomposition itself. Both the limestone and saudstone of this 
recent formation, may become very useful. Very good lime may be 
made of the former, and serviceable millstones perhaps of the latter, 
if it can be found, as is very probable, of a coarse quality. For 
architectural purposes both stones are well adapted, more especially 
the saudstone for great public works, as it may be wrought at little 
expense, and when the wind blows off the land, may be easily 

The mineralogy of Ceylon, is, in some respects, remarkable and 
curious. The island is remarkable for its richness in gems, and, so 
far as has yet been ascertained, for its comparative poverty in the 
useful metals. It is remarkable also for the number of rare minerals 
that it affords, and for the small variety of the ordinary species : 
thus in its miueralogical character, it accorded with the taste of its 
late native rulers, who were more prone to display than any work of 


utility, to pomp than profit. Its mineral productions may be classed 
under two heads, those attached to granitic, which constitute the 
greater part, and those pertaining to dolomite rock. The only 
metallic ores that can be hitherto said to be found in any quantity 
deserving of notice, are of iron and manganese. Iron in different 
forms is pretty generally diffused, and somewhat abundant. Iron 
pyrites, magnetic iron ore, specular iron ore, red hematite, bog-iron 
ore, and earthy blue phosphate of iron are all found. Red hematite 
and bog-iron ore are more common than the other species. It is 
from these ores that the natives extract the metal. With the excep- 
tion of iron pyrites, magnetic ironstone and the blue phosphate, the 
species of iron occur so frequently in granitic rock or its detritus, as 
not to require notice. The first, iron pyrites, is found at Itatnapoora, 
disseminated through a grey felspar rock, and in veins of quartz at 
Mount Lavinia on the sea-shore. Magnetic iron ore is found in 
masses, imbedded in gneiss in the vicinity of Kandy and in granitic 
rocks in Welasse and Trincomalee. The earthy blue phosphate of 
iron is procurable from a marshy ground near Colombo, and from a 
bed of bog-iron ore near Kandy. It is said to be used by the natives 
as a pigment. 

It is to be observed that no great bed, and that no considerable 
vein of iron ore has yet been found in Ceylon ; though we must 
remark, that a full half i of the island is comparatively speaking a terra 
incognita to the Europeans in Ceylon capable of investigating it. No 
foundery on an extensive scale could then, judging from present ap- 
pearances, be established with success. To the natives it may possibly 
be worth while to collect scattered masses of ore for their little 
furnaces, but unless an extensive bed or vein of ore be found, the 
attempt to establish a foundery would be idle. Iron is melted by 
the natives in crucibles, over a fire which is blown with two bellows. 
The scoria is separated from it with tongs made expressly for the 
purpose, and the melted mass is poured into a mould of clay, after 
which it is purified further, and forged for smaller uses. But one 
ore of manganese, the grey or the black oxide, is yet known in Cey- 
lon, and that occurs in parts of Saffragam and Upper Ouva. Like 
most of the ores of iron it occurs finely disseminated, and imbedded 
in small masses in granitic rock ; some specimens are pure, and in 
some places a considerable quantity might be collected. Hitherto 
it has been applied to no useful purpose, nor from its locale and dis- 
persed state is it likely to be exported with profit. 

1 Coal is said to have been discovered in the island by the Dutch ; but from the 
abundance of wood, and charcoal being the only fuel used by the native cooks, no 
notice was taken of the discovery, so that its habitat is now unknown. The 
discovery of coal would now be considered one of the greatest acquisitions of which 
this favoured land could boast. It is not at all improbable that it exists in parts of 
the scarcely explored districts in the north, where I venture to predict the mineral 
wealth of Ceylon will be found to lie. 


From the nature of the rocks other metals might have been ex- 
pected in Ceylon, says a learned geologist, who mentions that he has 
sought in vain among the mountains for tin, copper, and lead. All 
three, however, are reported to exist by persons who have themselves 
discovered them, and quicksilver and plumbago (kalu mirinan, Singh.) 
which of late years has been largely exported to England, may be 
added to the list. Gold and mercury, which are said to occur 
native in Ceylon, according to this writer are rarely found, but small 
lumps of the former have been at times met with. " Did any," he 
continues, " of the common, and what is more, of the precious metals 
occur in Ceylon it would have been known long ago ; for the natives 
are inquisitive and curious, and being in the habit of searching for 
gems, and collecting everything that glitters, or that is in the least 
likely to sell, even bits of iron pyrites and ores of iron, it would be 
very extraordinary were they to pass unnoticed substances more 
attractive, with the value of which they are well acquainted." I 
may cursorily observe that this remark is rather applicable to the 
natives of the southern, than any of the other provinces of Ceylon, 
and that the opposite conclusion of another learned geologist, 
embodied in the note, 1 is nearer the truth. Dr. Davy's erroneous 
conclusion on these points must have arisen from the imperfect 
opportunities at his disposal for the survey of the whole island, not 
more than one-third of which he ever visited, and not from any 
want of sagacity in observing, or ardour in pursuing the various 
branches of natural science. Stahlstein, or crystallized pyrites, im- 
pregnated with a little copper, is used by the Singhalese for making 

Most of the gems for which Ceylon is celebrated, occur in granitic 
rock ; for though found in alluvial soil and the beds of rivers, their 
true source may be conjectured from the nature of the surrounding 
rocks and the quality of the sand and alluvium in which they are 
found. The minerals pertaining to this rock are of the quartz family, 
quartz, iron-flint, chalcedony and hyalite. Ceylon affords all the 
varieties of quartz, as rock-crystal, amethyst, rose-quartz, cat's-eye, 
and prase. Rock crystal occurs in abundance, both massive and 
crystallized, of various colours, good quality, and in large masses. 
Its localities do not need noticing. Buttons are made of it. The 
black crystal is of a shining fracture, and falls into slate-like shivers, 
which are transparent at the edges. It possesses electrical properties. 

1 The sciences of geology, mineralogy, &c. in all their branches are but imperfectly 
understood by the natives, notwithstanding Ceylon is the depository of such an 
extensive variety of specimens. Their attention seems never to have extended 
much beyond the valuable gems and the common ores. As to a thousand other 
objects, both on the surface of the earth and imbedded in the hidden substrata of 
nature, so interesting to men of science, they have allowed them an almost 
undisturbed repose, never having exerted themselves either to quarry out a know- 
ledge of their latent properties or ascertain their intrinsic worth. 


The natives use it instead of glass for the lenses of spectacles ; they 
employ it too for ornamental purposes and statuary. In the Maha- 
wihare, in Kandy, there is a small well-executed figure of Buddha of 
this stone. Amethyst (Skuandi, Singh.) also is pretty abundant ; 
very beautiful specimens of this mineral are found in the alluvium 
derived from the decomposition of gneiss and granitic rock in Saf- 
fragam and the Seven Korles. The largest specimens are cut for 
buttons, and the smaller for a smaller sized button. The more 
saturated the colour is in them, the riper they are. They were 
probably once in a fluid state, and previous to their crystallization 
were tinged with a violet colour, which incorporated itself with a part 
or else with the whole of the fluid. It is of a purple violet colour, 
differing much in the degrees in which they are coloured. Some are 
so saturated as to appear almost black. They seldom reach the size 
of a walnut ; the larger they are the paler, and less esteemed. Crys- 
tals of it, containing apparently two distinct drops of water, have 
been found. Rose-quartz, which is pretty common, is often found in 
the same place as amethyst. 

Ceylon produces the finest cat's-eyes ("Wairodi, Singh.) in the world ; 
indeed, the only kiud that is highly esteemed and that brings a high 
price. The best specimens of this singular mineral have been found 
in the granitic alluvium of Saffragam and Matura. It is a hard 
stone, approaching more or less to white or green, semi-diaphanous, 
with a streak of the breadth of a line in the middle, whiter than the 
stone itself, and throws its light to the side that it is turned. It is 
a pseudo-opal, averaging the size of a hazel nut. Prase is a variety 
of quartz that seldom occurs in the island. The second species, 
iron-flint, is not uncommon in the Central Province, Saffragam, and 
Lower Ouva. Some varieties of it much resemble hornstone. The 
third species, chalcedony, undoubtedly exists somewhere in the moun- 
tains of the interior, as fragments of it have been observed in the 
possession of the natives. The fourth species, hyalite, is extremely 
rare, being met with only in a nitre cave in Doombera, partially en- 
crusting a granitic rock. 

Belonging to the schorl family are two species, the topaz and 
schorl (Purperagan, Singh.) The former is generally known as the 
white or water sapphire. It is commonly white, or bluish, or yellow- 
ish white ; much water-worn, and perfect crystals of it are very rare. 
It occurs in many places in the alluvium of granitic rock, about the 
size of a large nut, and is clearer than white crystal. Schorl is not 
abundant ; common schorl is perhaps an exception, it is to be seen in 
many places in the granitic rocks, and in places in Lower Ouva, 
mixed with quartz and felspar, it constitutes a rock of considerable 
magnitude. Tourmaline is rare, and the common varieties of green 
(patje turemali), a name given both to chrysolites with tetraedal 
prisms, and even sometimes to the chrysoprasi. It is often opaque, 
and various shades, bordering on yellow, blue, and black, are classed 


under it ; honey yellow (kaneke turemali), is a topaz of a greenish 
yellow in appearance, resembling amber ; some are more saturated 
and ripe, almost of an orange colour. Red (pana turemali), is a 
quartz ; when laid on a table it appears opaque ; held to the light it 
has a pale red hue. They vary in size from a grain of rice to a pea. 
They are seldom crystallized, and most of them are worn smooth and 
polisbed from the action of the water. Blue (neela turemali), is a 
quartz ; white (sudu turemali), is a topaz of a pale yellow, called the 
Matura diamond. It is not perfectly transparent ; for this reason, it 
is often calcined in the fire, which has an effect on the colour but the 
stone is made clearer. It is then enveloped in fine lime and burned 
with rice chaff. It is cut for setting in rings, &c. With the ex- 
ception of the last, most of these are of an indifferent quality, and 
their locality is unknown. Some writers have maintained that both 
the emerald and beryl are found in Ceylon. The former, says Davy, 
is certainly not found, and there is much doubt as to the existence 
of the latter, most of those offered for sale being imported ; and 
those said to be found in the island being improperly so, as affording 
an excuse for a higher price than that asked for those of the con- 
tinent, which are contemptuously called " coast stones." 

Of the garnet family three species occur, in gneiss or granitic rock, 
viz. the garnet, pyrope, and cinnamon stone. The common garnet is 
abundantly disseminated through gneiss in almost every part of the 
country. Its crystals are in general indistinct, small, contain a large 
proportion of iron, and are very apt to decompose. The best and 
most perfect crystals of this mineral are in quartz rock. The precious 
garnet occurs but in few places, and not in first-rate quality. It is 
contained in hornblende rock at Trincomalee. 

Cinnamon stone, though an abundant mineral in this island, to 
which it exclusively pertains, is found only in few places, and chiefly 
in the Matura district. It occurs in granitic alluvium in small ir- 
regularly shaped pieces, and in large masses of several pounds weight. 
Near Belligam a large detached rock is partly composed of this 
mineral ; the other ingredients of the rock are felspar, tablespar, 
quartz, hornblende, and graphite. " The thick jungle," says Dr. 
Davy, " round the spot where this interesting rock stands, prevents a 
minute examination of the neighbouring country ;" but his opinion 
seems to be that this rock had been detached from a vein or bed 
included in gneiss or granitic rock in the hill above. Another mineral 
of a doubtful nature, disseminated in small masses, occurs in many 
places, as at Colombo, Mount Lavinia, &c. It is semi-transparent, 
and never crystallized, and has the fracture and lustre of cinnamon- 
stone. It certainly belongs to the garnet family, and is probably 
merely a variety of cinnamon stone ; from which it appears to differ 
chiefly in being of a redder hue, and in this respect approaches 

The zircon family is richer in Ceylon than in any other part of the 


world. It is chiefly confined to the districts of Matura and Saf- 
fragam, more especially to the former, and is indicated by the popular 
name ' Matura diamond,' which is applied to its finest varieties by 
the dealers in gems. Besides the well known species, common zircon 
and hyacinth, a third species, massive, opaque, uncrystallized, and of 
a dark brown colour, some specimens of which, from Saffragam, have 
been known to weigh two or three ounces, has been also found. The 
natives are completely ignorant of the true nature of zircon. The 
yellow varieties are sold by them as a peculiar kind of topaz ; the 
green as tourmaline ; the red hyacinth as inferior rubies ; and the very 
light grey as imperfect diamonds. All the varieties on sale are found 
in the beds of rivers, or in alluvial ground derived from the decompo- 
sition of gneiss or granitic rock. It is to be seen, however, in its 
original site in these districts sparingly disseminated through quartz 
and schorl rocks, or quartz and felspar with tablespar and graphite. 
The zircon in some parts of the mass so largely preponderates as 
almost to entitle the rock to be called zircon rock. The mineral in 
such a case is crystalline, and most commonly green or brown ; the 
rock is remarkable for its heaviness, and for the resinous lustre of its 

For the ruby family (Lankaratte, Singh.) Ceylon is no less cele- 
brated. Four species of it, spinell, sapphire, corundum and chryso- 
beryl occur in gneiss or granitic rock. Spinell is comparatively 
rare, though there are some small and most beautiful crystals of it 
found in the interior, and it is found in specimens of clay iron-ore in 
parts of the Central Province, where gneiss prevails. Sapphire is 
common though widely scattered ; it occurs in great perfection and 
in considerable abundance and magnitude in the granitic alluvium of 
Matura and Saflragam, and about Nuwera-Elliya ; the principal 
varieties being the blue, purple, red, yellow, white and star-stone. 
Barbosa remarks that the Singhalese in his day bleacbed sapphires 
in such perfection that they might be taken for the finest diamonds. 
Fragments of blue sapphire of indifferent quality have been found as 
large as a goose's egg. The purple variety or the oriental amethyst 
is rare. A green variety is still rarer, and when found perhaps owes 
its colour to a blending of blue and yellow, two colours of frequent 
occurrence in the same stone. The black sapphire is no less rare. 
It is not uncommon to find some other mineral included in the sub- 
stance of the sapphire, such as crystals of iron glance, or a small 
mass of crystallized mica. Corundum is less frequently met with 
than the sapphire, being rarely found except in Ouva, where it 
is found in the bed and in the banks of a small stream ; the 
sand, gravel, and pebbles among which the corundum occurs, in 
their nature correspond with varieties of granite, gneiss and 
hornblende rock. The corundum is often found in large six-sided 
prisms, it is commonly of a brown colour, whence it is called by the 
natives koroondu galle, (cinnamon stone). Occasionally it is to be 


met with partially or entirely covered with a black crust, perhaps 
merely the stone with an unusual proportion of iron. The corundum 
and sapphire arc so closely akin, that the natives have even observed 
the similarity. The two minerals are linked together by the coarse 
and opaque varieties of the latter, which are common enough in 
Saffagram. Chrysoberyl is of very rare occurrence, and is said to be 
brought from Saffragam. The more perfect crystals of all the 
varieties of ruby, sapphire, corundum and chrysoberyl, exhibiting in 
every direction smooth facets like the garnet, the diamond, and so 
many other minerals, seem to shew that they are contemporaneous 
in their formation with the rock from whence they are derived ; that 
they have crystallized in its substance ; and that they are not de- 
tached till it undergoes disintegration or decomposition, when they 
are washed by the heavy rains and torrents with the detritus of their 
parent rock to lower ground to reward the perseverance of the native 
explorers who might search in vain in the mountain mass. Corun- 
dum is the only species of this family that is not esteemed as a gem, 
and the only one that is applied to any purpose of utility. In its 
powdered state it is extensively employed by the lapidary in cutting 
and polishing stones, and by the armourer in polishing arms. It 
enters, too, into the composition of an excellent hone made by the 
natives, consisting chiefly of this mineral in very fine pow r der, and of 
kapitia, a peculiar kind of resin. 

Of the felspar family, it is highly probable that several species 
exist in the island. Tablespar has been already alluded to, and the 
subdivisions of felspar viz. adularia (including glassy felspar), Labra- 
dor-stone, common felspar, and compact felspar. These minerals are 
common in gneiss and granitic rock, with the exception of Labrador 
stone, which is seldom found, and then in a bed of graphic granite. 
Adularia is very abundant in some parts of the interior, particularly 
in the neighbourhood of Kandy, where it is occasionally the predo- 
minating ingredient of the rock. 

Of the hornblende family, two species occur, common horn- 
blende, the constituent of the rock of this name and glassy tremolite 
which has been observed at Trincomalee in a narrow vein of quartz 
in gneiss. 

Pitchstone is perhaps the only mineral of the family of this name to 
be found in Ceylon, a small vein of it occurs near Trincomalee in 
granite. Mica or glimmer (Mirinan, Singh.), as a constituent part 
of granite and gneiss is abundant, besides, it often occurs in large 
plates imbedded in these rocks. It is collected by the natives, who 
use it for purposes of ordinary decoration, and for ornamenting tala- 
pat parapluies. Common chlorite is occasionally to be met with 
both at Galle and Trincomalee disseminated through quartz. Green 
earth is more rare ; it is found in Lower Ouva, where it is pretty 
abundant near Alipoot in small veins, and includes masses in clay 
derived from the decomposition of a granitic rock. This mineral 


is of an unusually light colour, varying from green to light apple- 

Magnesian minerals are far from abundant in Ceylon, and are per- 
haps confined to dolomite, carbonate of magnesia and talc. The 
very rare mineral, native carbonate of magnesia, has been discovered 
in a nitre cave, accompanied with dolomite and encrusting and in- 
cluded in gneiss. The best specimens of it were of a pure snow- 
white, earthy texture, rather harsh to the touch, destitute of smell 
when breathed on, and not adhesive. A specimen of it, examined by 
Dr. Davy, contained 86 carbonate of magnesia, 5 water, 9 silica, 
with some slight traces of carbonate of lime. 

This mineral is perhaps co-temporary with the rock in which it 
occurs, and not deposited subsequently from water. It has long 
been used by the natives of the adjoining country in whitewashing 
their temples. Talc is very rare in Ceylon. It has been met with 
at Doombera in a nitre cave, where, with calcspar, felspar and quartz, 
it entered into the composition of a highly crystalline rock. 

Calcspar, anhydrous gypsum, and calcsinter are the only pure 
calcareous minerals to be found in Ceylon. The two former, well 
crystallised, have been met with at Doombera nitre cave. They 
occur in the compound rock just alluded to in reference to talc. 
Calcsinter is not uncommon ; encrusting rocks of dolomite and 
gneiss, it abounds in Matale, and is plentiful in Lower Ouva, and in 
many places in the vicinity of dolomite rock, from which in all pro- 
bability it is derived. 

There are two kinds of the inflammable class of minerals that 
occur in Ceylon, graphite and sulphur Graphite in minute scales is 
very commonly disseminated through gneiss, and it occasionally 
occurs imbedded in this rock in small masses. In the latter form, 
it is found to some extent in parts of Upper Saffragam, and might 
probably be found in sufficient quantity to be collected and exported 
profitably. Sulphur is extremely rare in Ceylon, indeed its very ex- 
istence is not indisputably proved. A specimen of this mineral was 
some time ago picked up in Doombera, which contained a large por- 
tion of sulphate, a small portion of sulphate of iron, and slight traces 
of alum. The stone itself was composed chiefly of quartz, felspar 
and oxide of iron, and of some grey crystalline grains. Had the 
specimen been broken from a rock, little room for doubt would have 
remained, but even as the case stood, it appeared more likely to be 
native sulphur than an artificial accidental impregnation, for which 
indeed it would be almost impossible to account. The mineral pro- 
ductions occurring in the dolomite rock are of two kinds, those pecu- 
liar to it and hitherto found in no other rock in Ceylon, and those 
common to it and to granitic rock. Belonging to the latter, the fol- 
lowing minerals may be enumerated. Iron pyrites, mica, white clay, 
probably derived from the decomposition of felspar and graphite. 
With the exception of mica, none of these minerals are common or 

2 z 


abundant in dolomite. The mica is generally of a light brown or 
straw-colour, translucent and crystallised in small six-sided prisms. 
The minerals peculiar to dolomite are three in number, Ceylanite, 
apatite and a bright yellow mineral, perhaps a variety of cinnamon- 
stone. Ceylanite is pretty abundant in this rock and very generally 
disseminated through it. It occurs crystallised and amorphous, and 
exhibits a variety of colours, as bright azure-blue, resembling the blue 
sapphire, violet, pink-red, grey and white. Its crystals are generally 
very small. The fine sapphire blue Ceylanite is almost confined to 
one locality. Of the pink-red, some good specimens have been met 
with from a vein of dolomite in Saffragam, on the banks of a stream 
that flows into the Kalu-ganga. Ceylanite of the other colours is 
common, particularly in the dolomite rock near Kandy and Badulla, 
where it generally occurs amorphous, or very indistinctly crystallised. 
Apatite, of a bright sapphire- blue colour, is frequently to be seen in 
dolomite, disseminated in very minute particles. It occurs in one 
place well crystallised, in six-sided prisms in few places. The bright 
yellow mineral, perhaps, a variety of the cinnamon-stone, which it 
resembles in its general properties, and has never been seen crystal- 
lised, is not uncommon in dolomite in the vicinity of Kandy. This 
result is difficult to ascertain from the small particles in which it is 
found. Though, then, the number of minerals hitherto found in do- 
lomite rock is small, it is highly probable more may yet be found to 
reward the mineralogist, who may search in the quarries of the inte- 
rior, where it is broken for making lime. 

Mineral or medicinal waters do not abound in Ceylon, owing pro- 
bably to the peculiar geological structure of the island. The hot 
springs of Kannya, near Trincomalee (see pp. 543-4), are situated in 
low ground, abounding in quartz. The bottoms of all the wells are 
formed of quartz, sand and gravel, without encrustation, and clear, 
except in those where the water is not quite clear, and in these there 
is a little mud. The depth of the wells ranges from one to five feet, 
and from one to four feet in width. They do not discharge much 
water, comparatively speaking. The water of all has no smell 
or peculiar taste : it has the same specific gravity as distilled water, 
and nothing but slight traces of common salt, a little carbonic acid 
gas and azote are perceptible ; a current of air bubbles may be per- 
ceived rising from the bottom of some. The temperature of the 
wells constantly changes, ranging from about 85° to 110°. Though 
the temperature of each differs, yet it is probable that all are supplied 
with water from the same source. This may be reconciled by con- 
sidering the quantity of water discharged, which is greatest in the 
hottest springs. The singular nature of these springs ; the purity 
of their water ; their high temperature, its fluctuations, the quan- 
tity of azotic gas so nearly pure disengaged, are circumstances that 
cannot fail to interest the natural philosopher, who ponders on the 
causes of the mysterious and awful phenomena that are thus shewn 
to exist beneath the earth's surface. 


Two very hot springs are found in the Veddah-ratte of Bintenne, 
and one in Welasse. The former lie in the midst of an immense jungle, 
in an extremely unhealthy country, swarming with wild animals. The 
temperature of their water is said to be too high to be borne by man, 
and sufficiently high to dress meat and vegetables, a use to which it is 
applied by the Veddahs ; there is in both springs a constant bubbling. 
The water of the hot spring in Welasse is clear, too hot for the hand 
to bear, and constantly emits air bubbles. Slight traces of common 
salt, vegetable matter, and carbonic acid may be detected in both. 
Of the two warm springs in the province of Ouva, the one at Badulla 
is 1861 feet above the level of the sea, where the mean annual tem- 
perature is about 69° ; the other, in Lower Ouva, is about 1061 feet 
above the level of the sea, and the mean annual temperature is about 
76°. The Badulla spring is a very fine one, and supplies the inha- 
bitants with excellent water ; the well is about five feet deep, and 
eight or nine in circumference, discharging a stream of transparent 
water, that on rising rapidly through the sand in the bottom, pro- 
duces considerable commotion, which is occasionally increased by the 
disengagement of air. The temperature of the water is high, perhaps 
about 90°. The other spring is quite neglected ; it is copious and 
clear, has no peculiar taste or smell, and like the other, air bubbles 
now and then appear in it. Two warm springs are found also in the 
Central Province, and others are probably discoverable elsewhere. 

" In many parts of the country," remarks Davy, " particularly in 
the interior, there are appearances of chalybeate springs : the water 
is often seen covered with an ochreous crust, and its channel marked 
by a similar deposit. This crust I have found to be a mixture of 
hydrate of alumine, and of red oxide of iron, with a little vegetable 
matter. The water itself, immediately as it issues from the earth, 
gives no indications of iron, when freed by filtration from a few 
ferruginous particles suspended in it ; whence it seems highly pro- 
bable that these springs are not genuine chalybeate, and not dis- 
coloured by iron dissolved bv means of an acid, but onlv bv the 
peroxide in a state of mechanical suspension washed out of the 
ground, where it had probably formed." No true medicinal spring 
can yet be said to have been found. In the Seven Korles the water 
of Yapahoo is said to effect cures in certain diseases, but a specimen 
seen by Davy did not confirm such a character. 

" With the exception of these springs," says Davy, " the great 
depth of the harbour of Trincomalee, which in some places not far 
from shore is unfathomable, and the occurrence of iron ores at times 
bearing a slight resemblance to lava, there are no circumstances that 
can suggest even the idea of volcanic action in Ceylon, and much 
less prove that such an action has taken place, and that Samanala 
is one of the results of such an operation." Without venturing so 
far as to controvert the opinion of Dr. Davy, in reference to the last 
mentioned point, or to prefer positive proofs of the presence of vol- 
canic agency, it is but right to state that there arc other collateral 


circumstances that might be added to those already bearing in favour 
of the supposed agent. Experience has shewn that Dr. Davy, 
though deservedly eminent, and in general to be relied on, somewhat 
lost sight of his habitual caution in determining this and other mat- 
ters from the casual and desultory course of inquiry he had the 
means of pursuing. If then he may be pronounced in general trust- 
worthy, the reader will perceive that we have been fully alive to the 
points in which experience has proved his opinion to be erroneous. 
The general springs and streams of the island are remarkable for the 
purity of their waters. Those in the mountains differ from rain- 
water only by their containing slight traces of common salt and of 
vegetable matter, and occasionally of carbonate of lime and suspended 

The saline productions of Ceylon are not numerous, consisting of 
nitre, nitrate of lime, sulphate of magnesia, alum, and common salt. 
With the exception of the last, these salts have been found nowhere 
but in the interior, and in certain caves, where, from remaining un- 
exposed to the heavy tropical rains, they may be seen intact. Common 
salt, on the other hand, is seldom or never found in the interior, ex- 
cept in minute quantities, dissolved in water. The only known 
exception is at the nitre cave at Maturatta, where it is found in the 
solid form mixed with silica and carbonate of magnesia, and forms 
a white crust on a small portion of dolomite rock, decomposing fel- 
spar and mica. Nitre and nitrate of lime are of frequent occurrence. 
The names of nearly thirty places might be mentioned where salt- 
petre is produced and has been manufactured. The caves are gene- 
rally remote from inhabited places, being situated in the wildest and 
most desolate parts of the country, and there is little doubt that this 
salt will be found in other places when the interior is more explored 
by Europeans. Most of the nitre caves are very similar as regards 
geological formation ; the rock in which they occur contains felspar 
and carbonate of lime, from the decomposition of the former of 
which the alkaline base of the salt is generally derived, and the acid 
principle is generated by the peculiar influence of the latter on the 
oxygen and azote of the atmosphere. Thus, wherever air can have 
access, saltpetre cannot be perceived except superficially ; is never 
unaccompanied by nitrate of lime or magnesia ; in no rock not con- 
taining lime and felspar ; that the richness of the rock in general has 
been proportional to the abundance and intimate mixture of these 
two ingredients. Besides the important facts of the presence of 
atmospheric air, lime, and an alkaline mineral, there are other cir- 
cumstances which greatly aid in the operation of forming the salt, 
such as humidity, and the presence of a little animal matter. 
Humidity may be absolutely necessary, for how otherwise can spots 
in a nitre cave, which, with this exception, seem to possess every 
requisite for the production of salt, be accounted for. Animal matter 
is by some considered the chief source of nitre, and the dung of bats, 
with which the caves are more or less infested, has been assigned as 


the cause. That this is a merely co-operative, and not an essential 
circumstance, is proved by the nitre cave near Doombera, where a 
rich impregnation of saltpetre is found in a very compounded rock, 
consisting of calespar, felspar, quartz, mica, and talc, in a humid 
state, exposed to the air and slowly decomposing, and free from bat 
dung or other animal matter. Added to this, no traces of this salt 
are discoverable in bat dung. The composition of the most pro- 
ductive nitre rock near Doombera, which was free from animal mat- 
ter, was found to consist of 60 v earthy matter, insoluble in dilute 
nitric acid, 26 '5 carbonate of lime, 9*4 water, 02 sulphate of mag- 
nesia, 0'7 nitrate of magnesia, 2 - 4 nitrate of potash. 

The nitre earth from the great cave in Lower Ouva, near Wella- 
way, was found to consist of 51*2 carbonate of lime and earthy 
matter, 1 animal matter, easily soluble in water, 25*7 animal matter ; 
of difficult solubility, 15*3 water, 35 nitrate of lime, 3*3 nitrate of 
potash, with traces of common salt and sulphate of lime. 

Nitrate of lime is never met with, except in combination with nitre. 
Sulphate of magnesia is seldom or never found, the only instance 
being the cave near Doombera. In the same cave, and nowhere else, 
alum is discoverable in a minute quantity. The acid of both these 
salts is probably derived from decomposing pyrites and the magnesia 
of the sulphate by decomposing talc. This sulphate forms with the 
nitre, and crystallises with it. It is rejected by the ignorant natives 
in their preparation of saltpetre. 


Natural history : — Vertebrated animals — Mammalia — Elephants of Ceylon, 
thought by some to be a distinct species, alluded to by Pliny, Dionysius, &c. 
— Cuvier's definition — Tusk Elephants — Ceylon ivory — Intelligence and 
sagacity of Elephants exaggerated, but their docility great — Rogue Elephants 
— Elephant charmers — Injury done by Elephants to the crops of the peasants 
— A great Elephant Hunt, under Mr. North, in its several stages— An 
Elephant kraal — Various modes pursued in different localities — Atmaddoos and 
Gasmaddoos — Elephant stables — Training — Employed as executioners under 
the Kandian kings — Kept also as playthings — Frequent insanity of Ele- 
phants — Numbers now beginning to decrease, owing to the premium offered 
for their extirpation — Qualities requisite in the sportsman — Modes of pro- 
curing the game ; one by encircling the herd, another by the sportsman enter- 
ing the jungle himself — Mistakes sometimes made as to the degree of vitality 
in a prostrate Elephant, and its frequently fatal results— Death of Major 
Haddock by a Tusk Elephant — How revenged — Barrels best adapted for the 
sport — An Elephant charge — Parts where a wound proves mortal— Best 
time of the day for Elephant shooting — Elephants greatly tormented by 
flies — Description of the remaining animals of Ceylon — Birds — Fishes — 
Reptiles — Invertebrated Animals — Insects, viz. Coleoptera, Diptoptera, 
Hymenoptera, Neuroptera, Hemiptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera -Myriapoda — 
Crustacea — Leeches — Shells — Plants of Ceylon. 

Ceylon has been renowned from the earliest times for its breed of 
elephants. It is mentioned by Pliny : " Elephantos ibi multo majores 


et bellicosiores' quam quos fert India," and Dionysius styles it 
Mrjrepa Aaniyerewv EXe^airwv. It would seem also that so highly 
did the princes of the Peninsula prize the elephants of Ceylon, 2 both 
for size and docility, that they formed one of the most important 
branches of the island trade. Cuvier thus defines the difference be- 
tween the African aud Ceylon or Asiatic elephant: "ElephasCapensis, 
fronte convexa, lamellis molarium rhomboidalibus." "Elephaslndicus, 
ftonte plano-concava, lamellis molarium arcuatis undatis." 

The larger number of Ceylon elephants, more especially tuskers, 
have part of their head and ears of a flesh-colour, speckled with 
small brown spots, and some are mottled nearly all over. White 
elephants have, however, seldom or never been known in the island, 
though common enough in Siam. Not more than one in fifty ele- 
phants have tusks, and the formation of those differs little from the 
common elephant. All tuskers are males, but this proposition, as 
has been already shewn, cannot be inverted ; the vast majority having 
short tushes like the females, which always incline downwards, and 
never project more than six or eight inches beyond the mouth. 
Tusks, on the contrary, in all cases, incline upwards from the centre, 
though sometimes almost straight, and those of a full grown elephant 
vary from two to seven feet in length. Some tusks are curved, some 
turned out, others project straight forward or across one another in 
front of the trunk. The weight of tusks is as various as their appear- 
ance, and in no way depends upon their length, ranging from 40 to 
150 pounds, but 60 is the common average. 

Ceylon ivory is considered the most valuable for manufacturing 
purposes, being whiter, and of finer grain than any other. Elephants 
tusks are occasionally found buried in the jungle, but whether by 
the natives for concealment, or by the animals themselves, is still pro- 
blematical, though it is known that they will often fall on their 
tusks, and shiver them to the sockets. It has not yet been decided 
whether the elephant of Ceylon is the smallest of the race, as men- 
tioned by Tavernier, and whether its courage exceeds all others, nor 
is his assertion proved in reference to the first elephant the female pro- 
duces alone bearing tusks, for in that case they must inevitably be 
more numerous. The modus copulandi is the same as that of the 
horse. The elephant seldom exceeds ten feet in height, and rarely 
even nine, yet we are assured by Finlayson, that the elephants of 
Ceylon are larger than those of the Ultra-Gangetic peninsula, and 
tame are in general larger than wild elephants. Their intelligence 
and sagacity has been much exaggerated, aud the ease with which 
they have thrown down and pulled up trees, or removed timber, at 

1 The elephants engaged in the Persian wars, the wars of Pyrrhus, the Punic 
wars, and indeed in all the struggles between the various nations of the east, were 
procured from Ceylon, from whence they were shipped to the Persian Gulf, or to 
the various ports on the Red Sea, by the Phoenicians. 

2 I have heard it remarked by a naturalist of some authority that he believed 
the Ceylon to be a distinct species of the Asiatic elephant. 


the direction of the keeper, who communicates his ideas on the sub- 
ject to them by means of an iron instrument like a boat-hook, has 
been cited as an example, but the real agent at work is their enor- 
mous strength. The cocoa-nut trees, which are thrown down by 
wild elephants, are upset by continual shaking, produced by pressing 
their heads against those plants which are least able to resist; but a 
goat will shew more ingenuity, and contrive to reach leaves or the 
top of such plants as he may covet, in comparatively more difficult 
positions than can be done by an elephant. Their sparing the lives 
of human beings, which has been assigned to magnanimity, is now 
thought to be traceable to stupidity and ignorance of their own 
power, aud how to apply it ; for they have oftener failed than suc- 
ceeded in their fierce but awkward attempts to kill persons com- 
pletely in their power. The ease with which half-trained elephants 
have been re-caught, after having escaped into the jungle, is a proof 
also that their instinct is not of a superior kind ; for so far from be- 
coming more wary from being partially trained, they are rather the 
reverse They are fond of climbing steep hills, and do not shun 
slippery rocks, on which, from their clumsiness, they are necessarily 
in peril ; indeed, they are frequently known to be killed by falling 
down precipices. If not theu pre-eminently sagacious, elephants are 
peculiarly docile, though there is great difference among them both 
in temper and tractability, and some few are found to be so sulky 
and ferocious as to be entirely useless. In all the sense of smell and 
hearing is acute, while that of sight is dim, particularly in a bright 
light, which they generally avoid. On plain ground their long step 
or shufliing trot does not exceed the speed of an active man, and 
sportsmen have in an open path escaped by their speed from a pur- 
suing elephant, but in jungle, the pace of an elephant is but little re- 
tarded by forcing through brushwood so thick as to be impervious 
to man. The marks of elephants and their paths are as abundant 
in most of the elevated and thickly wooded regions of the interior, 
as in other parts of the country, thus disproving the general impres- 
sion that these animals are unfitted to endure any great vicissitudes of 
climate ; for they will range over every part of the island, voluntarily 
clambering to the summits of the highest mountains, and undergoing 
a change of temperature frequently nearly 50°, and an elevation 
approaching from water level to 8000 feet. 

The skin of the elephant is not so impervious as might be expected, 
being pierced by a large grey fly about au inch in length, with power- 
ful fangs. When elephants emerge from the jungle, they are gene- 
rally of a dusky red colour, from the quantity of sand and red earth 
with which they cover their hides, as a preventive against the jungle 
tick, and their much dreaded foe, the mosquito. 

Au elephant found alone is in general called hora-alia, or rogue 
elephant. The Singhalese believe them to be turbulent members 
expelled by the unanimous will of the herd. Also that they are 
destructive to crops and dangerous to people, and they are alike 


dreaded by their own kindred, and by the inhabitants near their 
haunts, as they seldom range more than ten or fifteen miles, and are 
generally to be found in the same forest. Rogue elephants have killed 
many people ; for their dread of man being once overcome, homicide 
seems to become to them a favourite amusement, and they have been 
known to remain quiet and concealed, contrary to their usual habit, 
which is to be always in motion, until a victim comes within their 
reach, and without provocation to trample or otherwise put him to 
death, and then leisurely retire into the forest. During the Kandian 
rebellion, great numbers of native baggage porters were alleged to 
have been killed by rogue elephants, when carrying loads of rice. 
Formerly elephants were so numerous in some neighbourhoods, that 
a rough ladder was placed against every large tree on the sides of the 
paths, to facilitate the escape of travellers. " In 1835," says Forbes, 
" the Kapuralle, priest of Vishnu, a shrewd and intelligent man, 
met his death while endeavouring to sustain his character of elephant 
charmer in the face of a wounded and savage rogue elephant. The 
Kapuralle had accompanied a party of gentlemen, who, coming acci- 
dentally upon the elephant, wounded him with balls, but not mor- 
tally; the animal continued to charge the party ; the Kapuralle stood 
forward, and while holding up his hand in an imposing attitude, was 
seized by the uplifted arm, which was torn from his body, and the 
elephant passed on, leaving him a mangled corpse." Elephants will 
frequently enter villages in the Southern and Eastern Provinces at 
night, and removing the thatch from houses containing a store of 
paddy, deliberately help themselves, and walk off leisurely before 
daybreak . 

The damage done to paddy fields, bo-trees, of whose leaves they 
are remarkably fond, and cocoa-nut topes in the course of a night is 
so great, that whenever these destructive animals are known to be 
near, watchmen are stationed under a shed, upon a platform fixed 
upon four lofty poles, having a rustic ladder at one side, or against 
trees commanding a view of the whole field, to give an alarm upon 
their approach. In cases where one of the herd is mutilated or 
killed, its carcass is an object of aversion and irritation to the others, 
who will stroke or butt it; yet the Singhalese maintain, that they have 
the greatest affection for their young of all irrational creatures, and 
the female will cherish and assist the young of any one of the herd 
equally with her own. In crossing a stream, which is here in gene- 
ral swift, they will combine with their trunks to convey their young 
ones over. They are fond of lying and tumbling in the water, and 
swim well. 

The Southern Province was the chief seat of the great elephant 
hunts under the Dutch and the early British rule, and while the 
Honourable F. North was Governor, 1 two thousand men would be 

l As the aim of this work is completeness in all its parts, it would seem to be 
only consistent to give the reader, in a condensed form, an account of the former 


employed under the system of Raja Karia, for three months, in 
driving 300 elephants into a kraal, to the oppression and destruction 

mode of capturing elephants, more especially as it is now seldom adopted, and 
then only in a modified form, and is contained in a work now rare and almost un- 
known. There were three great inclosures in the district of Matura for ensnaring 
elephants, which were used alternately, as the foliage of the thickets was so com- 
pletely destroyed as not at once to afford the necessary food. When a capture had 
been determined on, natives were sent into the forests to mark in what spots the 
elephants ranged in the greatest numbers. As soon as the locale of two or three 
herds had been ascertained, an order was issued to all the inhabitants of the dis- 
trict to surround the forest in which they fed, with a chain of fires, which were 
kept constantly burning, and commenced thirty miles from the snare. To sup- 
port this, three thousand men were employed for two months. The fires were 
raised four feet from the ground on moveable stands, formed of four perpendicular 
sticks and twigs wattled across them, on which earth was laid to receive the fuel, 
and covered with a sloping roof of cocoa-nut leaves to ward off rain. Placed at 
first about four hundred paces from each other, they were gradually drawn nearer, 
till at last the distance between them did not exceed ten paces. The chain ap- 
proached the snare at the rate of from a furlong to a mile daily, which was effected 
by cutting off corners of the ground, out of which the elephants had departed. At 
length the people entered at opposite sides into a foot-path in the woods with 
hurdles of fire, and a mutual communication being opened the enclosure was 
diminished. Their vigilance now augmented, as the efforts of the elephants to 
escape increased with the narrowing of the space. The shouts and flames how- 
ever sufficed to repulse them whenever they attempted to charge. Were it not for 
this timidity, no barrier of the stoutest timber could withstand the shock of these 
enormous animals rushing on impetuously in a compact and impenetrable phalanx. 
At the end of two months they were enclosed in a circle, of which the wide entrance 
of the snare formed a part, and were at last brought near to it. The grand busi- 
ness of the campaign was then considered terminated, and the unthinking herd 
were in the power of their captors. 

Now the various persons who intended witnessing the scene to ensue, resorted 
to the place selected for the purpose, where the utmost silence was recpiired to be 
observed. This was a critical stage of the proceedings ; for accustomed as the 
elephants had been to the fires and noise of the people, it was to be feared that 
being less terrified by these than by their captivity, they might attempt to break 
out of the narrow ring into which they had been pressed. To guard against this, 
a party of natives, armed with muskets, squibs, and rockets, acted in concert 
with the men stationed on the line of fires, now forming a sweep of three-quarters 
of a mile. The funnel-like enclosure had a palisade six hundred feet broad, run- 
ning across a little way within its wide end, and containing four open gates, at 
which the elephants entered. The enclosure was formed of the strongest trees in 
the island, from eight to ten inches in diameter, bending inwards, sunk four 
feet into the ground, and from sixteen to twenty feet high above it, at a distance 
of sixteen inches from each other, and crossed by four rows of powerful beams 
bound fast to them with pliant canes. To this palisade were added supporters 
more inclined, several feet asunder, to augment the strength of the fence. The 
part of the fold in which the elephants were at first confined, was 1800 feet in 
circumference, but it communicated with a smaller fold 100 feet in length and 
40 broad, through which a rivulet five feet in depth flowed. The elephants 
entered this place of confinement at only one gate, and the fence gradually con- 
tracted beyond the water, ending in a strong passage five feet broad. The signal 
having been given, the wild roaring of the elephants, the shouts, muskets and 
rockets of the drivers, betokened their approach. Then crashed the forest, and 
the tumultuous herd, in pushing forward, levelled every tree which opposed their 
passage. The people followed, with their lights, each waving in their hand a 
blazing torch, which illuminated the foliage around ; at times a strong elephant 


of the animals, and to the danger and ruin of the men's health, so 
long detained in pestiferous jungles, and with no corresponding advan- 

would dart through his pursuers and effect his escape, but the others were now 
within the enclosure, and the gates were secured and closed. Large stakes were 
driven into the ground, connected together with transverse beams, &c. and fresh 
boughs were strewed over the various parts of the palisade to deceive the elephants 
as to the structure of the fence. 

A chain of fire and torches, was now formed within the enclosure to drive them 
into the smaller fold at the narrow end of the snare. The drivers easily passed in 
and out through the interstices of the pale, and escaped or advanced at pleasure. 
The gate of the water fold was formed of horizontal round sticks, fastened together 
with ropes and pliant twigs, and rolled up like a curtain, which were cut on a 
given signal by axes. The pliable nature of this door added greatly to its strength, 
and, with the vigilant activity of the spearmen, never failed to resist the attempts of 
the distracted elephants to burst it open. As soon as a sufficient number had 
been driven into the water snare, the barricade was dropped down, and the ani- 
mals were so closely wedged together as scarcely to have the power of motion. 
The remainder of the herd were left for a time to range at greater freedom within 
the larger prison. The appearance of a great number of enormous animals within 
so small a compass, was a strange and moving spectacle. Pressing heavily upon 
each other, incapable of any movement but convulsions of distress, their parox- 
ysms of anguish were of the most piteous kind : from the water toil to the dis- 
charging passage, the ground rose, and the elephants ascended part of it on steps 
formed in the bank. The gallery was so narrow, as only to admit one animal at 
a time. In entering, they, imagining that they had discovered an opening through 
which they could escape, eagerly ran to the end, and being checked and unable to 
wheel round, attempted to return by moving backwards, but bars let down behind 
them secured them fast. When but few remained they had to be pricked with 
spears from the top of the fence, and burning torches, rockets and muskets were 
used before they could be forced out of the water. The moans of their friends in 
distress, and their never seeing any of them return, filled them with dread, and 
caused them to prefer their present condition. When at length compelled to move, 
they would press so much upon one another that many of the young were drowned, 
and some of the full grown crushed to death. Every exertion was made by them 
to regain their liberty, but their powers were greatly lessened by the pressure of 
the surrounding water, and the incumbrance of their unwieldy bodies crowding in 
all directions upon each other. The confinement in the discharging passage, by 
contracting the powers of their prodigious strength, permitted the binding their 
legs without danger. The transverse beams also prevented the elephants from 
rearing on their hind legs, and enabled the people to pass cordage round their 
necks. Here their efforts to regain their freedom were made with extraordinary 
violence, often raising their fore legs, they crushed the beams laid acros their backs, 
and shook the whole fabric to its foundation. The people on the top opposed 
them with sharp-pointed spears, and additional bars were shoved in above them, 
and fastened down with ropes. Great ropes formed with nooses were laid down 
to catch their hind legs, and drawn tight. Meanwhile a man stood before the gate, 
tickling the trunk, or otherwise turning their attention. When the wild elephant 
was completely harnessed, two tame ones, trained to the business, were brought to 
the gate, and placed one on each side of it. These, surveying their prisoner, and 
feeling his mouth to see whether he had tusks or not, laid hold of his proboscis to 
ascertain what degree of resistance he was likely to make. Ropes being then 
passed through the collar of the wild, and fastened to those of the tame elephants, 
the bars of the gate were unloosed and drawn out, when the wild captive darted 
forward between his tame keepers ; he could, however, only advance a little way ; 
as the ropes securing his hind legs, still continued fastened to the strong stakes of 
the toil. Thus he remained, until the riders mounted on the tame elephants had 
drawn tight the cords which bound him to the necks of his sagacious conductors. 


tage to the community. Gangs of elephant catchers from Bengal, 
under the command of a military officer, were formerly employed in 

The knots of these he would try to undo with his trunk, and aim a destructive 
blow at the agents of his captivity. They, however, were vigilantly observant of 
his motions, and never failed to prevent him from doing any mischief, by gently 
lowering his proboscis, and if he continued long refractory, battered him with their 
heads, and brought him to the most perfect submission. The nooses of the ropes 
were then opened, his hind legs left at freedom, and himself entirely disengaged 
from the snare. His tame keepers still pressed close to his side, and proceeded 
leisurely to the garden of stalls, where they delivered up their charge to experience 
another species of hardship. On the march the riders struck up a rustic lay, 
which, with their position on the necks of the tame elephants, of which they kept 
hold by short inverted spear hooks struck perpendicularly into their collars, helped 
to form an unique spectacle. 

On reaching their destination,, the tedious process of fastening them began. 
This was done with expertness and ease, for the tame elephants continued close on 
each side of him, and acted their part with so much judgment, that their wild com- 
panion kept as quiet as a lamb. When an elephant was not very formidable nor 
unruly, it was sufficient to place him lengthways between two large trees about 
forty feet from each other, and binding his hind legs in contact together, to fasten 
them close to one of the trees with five or six turns of thick rope, and to bind one 
fore leg, to which greater freedom was given by the length and slackness of the 
cordage. His disengagement from his tame guardians, was the most trying 
moment to a wild elephant. While guided and soothed by them, he stood tranquil 
and gentle, appearing to forget his sorrows, but as soon as they had marched away, 
finding himself closely bound, a solitary and helpless prisoner, he was agitated 
with despair, broke out into a roaring, which made the forest tremble, and, in the 
fury of his grief, often fell a sacrifice to his exertions to regain his liberty. The 
tempting provender laid before him he tossed contemptuously away, or trampled 
with indignation under his feet. But the cravings of hunger at length induced 
him to eat, he became gradually more resigned, and fed tranquilly at the end of a 
few hours. 

When of large size, and apparently fierce and stubborn, they were led to stalls 
erected for the purpose. Four strong stakes were driven into the ground in a 
front line, with two large trees, which helped to support them, and thence hori- 
zontal bars were made fast across them, uniting the upright posts together. These 
were likewise strengthened by a second line of stakes joined in the same manner, 
and all were secured by ropes like the yards of a ship. The head of the wild ele- 
phant entered in between the two middle stakes, and was enclosed above and below 
by two of the cross bars. On the backs of tame elephants, posted between the 
stakes and trees, five or six men were employed fastening his neck, and as many 
more busy tying his legs in the most complete and secure manner, and binding 
the ropes to the large trees, generally living ones. In defiance of the web cast 
around him, the huge animal would at times shake the whole fabric to its founda- 
tion, making the loftiest trees to tremble to their very roots, and bellow so tre- 
mendously as to fill the spectators with terror. 

The casualties on these occasions were numerous. Some strangled themselves 
in their exertions to get loose, others fell down between the tame ones, and though 
those sagacious animals, aware of their hazardous situation, knelt to the ground 
to prevent their suffering, and used every means in their power to induce them to 
rise, yet they often fell victims. Some fell down in the discharging passage, and 
though a strong fire were kindled around their bodies, and forced them to move, as 
the business of the hunt would be retarded by the choking up of the passage, 
they would proceed but a few paces and die. One, perhaps, would in the face of 
every precaution get loose, and though soon surrounded by a thousand armed 
men, break through the line and escape. At times, three or mere of the larger 
elephants would charge up to the end of the narrow passage, pressing one alter 


procuring; elephants for the East India Company's service. The 
Ceylon elephant establishment was attached to the Civil Engineer 
and Surveyor- General's department. 

There are several modes of snaring elephants in Ceylon ; the most 
simple, and yet most dexterous, is noosing them in an open forest. 
With this view, the hunters having ascertained the position of one, 
steal up to leeward, carrying their atmaddoos, or ropes of bullock's 
hide, with a noose at one end. Having closed upon tbe enemy's 
flank, they watch for the time of his starting off or turning round, 
near some fallen tree or other impediment, to slip the noose under 
one of his hind feet, simultaneously running round a tree with the 
other end of the rope. Checked and tripped, the animal stumbles, 
and ere he can rally, additional hide ropes are fastened to his other 
legs, which are afterwards entangled by cords made from the 
kittul, or sugar palm-tree, aud twisted from one foot to another, in 
the form of a figure of eight. The elephant is then fixed to the 
nearest tree, and a shed erected over him, unless tame ones can be 
procured to escort him to the stable. 

Another and less dangerous mode of capturing elephants is, by 
laying a large noose of gasmaddoo, a thicker kind of rope, called 
" tree snares," to distinguish it from atmaddco, or hand snares, in a 
path, covering it slightly with earth, and fixing the other end to a 
shady tree, in which a man lies hid, who holds a leading rope 
attached to the noose. The elephants being driven towards the 
snare, if any of them put a foot within the noose, it is raised around 
his leg by the man who is on watch : by the animal's exertions to 
escape, the noose is tightened, and the hunters coming up, the 
capture is completed. This mode is dangerous as respects the 
animal, which will often overstrain itself before the hunter can 
come up. 

another, crashing the intervening bars, and shaking the whole structure. But 
the activity of the hunters in separating them by new rollers lashed together with 
ropes, and the dexterity of the spearmen in mounting the toil and penetrating 
their foreheads, prevented the terrible effects that might otherwise have ensued. 
Now and then a man would tumble down in the passage, and would be immediately 
trampled to death under the elephants' feet. 

An elephant has often been tamed in eight days, but where obstinate, in not less 
than two months. His first abhorrence of the human species was diminished by 
seeing his wants regularly supplied through that channel ; he soon gained a 
thorough knowledge of his keeper, and at last followed his commands with the 
most implicit obedience. The cries of a captive elephant had all the expressions 
of sorrow, grief", and despair. The female, from natural causes, felt the oppres- 
sion of the yoke with keener sensibility, and more frequently fell a sacrifice in the 
struggle than the male. Though the Singhalese were expert in this operation, 
they seldom secured more than twenty animals in a day. 

The grandeur of this spectacle principally consisted in the crowd of elephants 
confined within a narrow compass, the enormous size of that quadruped, the 
danger of the pursuit, and the striking example it afforded of the supremacy of 
human intellect. When sufficiently docile, the whole body of elephants were sent 
to Jaffna, where they were sold by public auction, and thence transported to the 
continent, in open boats adapted for the purpose. Elephant kraals were at times 
formed in other parts of the maritime provinces, as occasion required. 


In the Kandian provinces, both the systems of capturing elephants 
and driving them into kraals, and then using the gasmaddoos and 
atmaddoos were formerly practised together. In the Doombera dis- 
trict near Kandy, there were kept a herd of half tame elephants for 
the purpose of inducing passing herds to continue in the vicinity of a 
kraal formed at a short distance from the villages of the elephant 
hunters. Two or three good tusked elephants, of a large size, two 
female decoys, a large body of people, bearing a due proportion of 
pipes, tom-toms, hide ropes and hunters' spears, formed what was the 
requisite array, and all the necessary apparatus for driving in and 
securing a herd not exceeding twenty elephants. 

The enclosure for catching elephants, commonly called a kraal, is 
composed of trees, about a foot in diameter, of a triangular form, 
sunk three or four feet into the ground, and rising twelve feet above 
it : on the outside of these upright timbers, trees are placed length- 
ways, and tied to each post by jungle ropes (tough creeping plants) ; 
these longitudinal pieces are farther supported by trees with forked 
ends sloping from them, and resting in the ground at some distance 
from the fence. The space between the upright timbers is left of 
sufficient size to admit of a man passing through, and in choosing 
the situation and arranging the plan of the enclosure, it is absolutely 
necessary that the entrance should be at a spot where the elephants 
are in the habit of passing, and that the kraal should have a copious 
supply of running water. As elephants cannot be driven far without 
a great expenditure of human labour and risk of accidents, small 
kraals are preferable to large ones, and the sides of a ravine, ledges 
of rock, or other natural barriers, may, in general, be made available. 
An enclosure of fragile construction has availed for this purpose 
when the hunters have found it to their interest. 

The kraal having been completed, and the people arranged, so as 
to surround the herd, driving is commenced by firing a few blank 
shots, followed by the rolling pattering sound of tom-toms and shouts 
from the beaters. On the large trees persons are stationed to give 
notice of the elephants' movements, and prevent their resting under 
the shade ; for if the day be clear, and the underwood low, it is dif- 
ficult to dislodge them from the protection of a forest tree with thick 
foliage. To gain this point, the watchers would not hesitate to lower 
themselves down from a branch, of which they still retained hold, 
upon the backs of wild elephants, and regain their position in the 
tree, while the animals were effectually and speedily dislodged by the 
loud shout, sharp goad and unlooked for descent of these watchers. 
When the herd approaches the kraal, the decoys, which are without 
any trappings whatever, are taken in front, and they, following the 
keepers, who are on foot, become leaders to the wild ones, who, thus 
seduced, enter the snare, while the hunting tusk elephants being 
close on their track, move up, and the gate is fastened under their 
protection and by their assistance. At the same time the hunters 
spread themselves around the fence ready to resist the first efforts of 


the animals ; for, frightened by the tumult, and enraged at their en- 
trapment, they sometimes charge furiously at the barricades, but are 
soon repelled by sharp sticks, blunt spears, and smoking brands. 
They have beenknown, however, to disregard all obstacles, and rush 
with such violence against the enclosure, as to force a portion asunder, 
and falling upon the watchers outside, to injure several of them. 
The Vederalles (native doctors) are skilful in amputation, though their 
whole surgical apparatus consists of a knife, a pair of scissors, and a 
searing iron. In general the violent excitement of the leaders of a 
herd on their entrapment is soon over, and the whole draw up with 
their heads in a line in the thickest brushwood within the enclosure. 
Occasionally some one more valiant than the rest, after various 
scrapes of his feet, having duly elevated his trunk and sounded a 
charge, rushes forward as if irresistible, but a few pricks from spears 
directed against his feet and proboscis are sufficient to send the single 
champion sulky and discomfited back to his ranks. There is scarcely 
a more awkward figure to be found than an elephant charging, with 
his great triangular ears set out like studding-sails from a huge head, 
in front of which ascends the trunk like a funnel of a steam engine, 
while the main body comes lumbering after, terminated by a half- 
cocked scanty scrubby tail. The tails of elephants ranging in thick 
jungles, are generally denuded of hair, or at most but a few broken 
stumps near the extremity : when the hairs are thick, and seven or 
eight inches in length, they are used for forming bracelets and other 
ornaments, and being difficult to procure, are proportionably es- 
teemed. Amidst the confusion and shouting by the people about 
the kraal, the note of a Kandiau pipe may be distinguished, an in- 
strument supposed to soothe the captive, and it does appear to 
produce some effect in restoring them to tranquillity. Nothing, on 
the contrary, excites their anger so much as the barking of a dog, 
and the intrusion of that animal into a kraal, has infuriated a whole 
herd. At night fires are kept burning round the enclosure, and 
against its supporting beams the hunters and watchers bivoviac next 
day, the wives and families of the men, having donned their gayest 
and best attire, bring their husbands' provisions, and display their own 
ornaments to the surrounding throng. The elephant catchers 
having completed their preparations, the entrance is unfastened, the 
hunting elephants introduced, and with their protection, the people 
fix their gasmaddoos and arrange their hand snares. A tame elephant 
is brought up close to the wild one that is to be secured, who is as- 
sailed from under cover of his civilized brother : one of the hunters 
pricks the animal's foot ; if he lifts it, another whips a noose under, 
and raising it up, pulls the cord tight ; if successful, a shout an- 
nounces the feat, as a premium is bestowed on each of those who fix 
the two first ropes. These prizes are generally dress clothes. It is 
the duty of the two riders that are placed on each trained elephant, 
and hold short inverted spear hooks, to prevent, as much as possible, 
any annoyance to the hunters, and it is a very remarkable fact, that 


the wild elephants seldom offer to molest a tame one or his riders 
under any provocation. After having secured one of the herd, and 
tied him, so that he can harely put one foot before another, a tame 
elephant is brought up on each side, and to these he is fastened in 
such a manner that he can neither resist nor lie down, the hunter 
turning them by means of the spear and by pressing it to their skin, 
makes them move in any direction required : the three then move 
off in state, and according to ancient custom, if the captive be a tusk 
elephant, the pipes and tom-toms play before him until he reaches the 

Elephant stables, when filled with animals recently caught, present 
a most unpleasant sight : in front the appearance is that of a number 
of malefactors in the stocks, the animals being so fixed, as to be 
unable to move their heads or legs ; the latter are bound to four 
separate posts, and their heads project from between two large beams 
that reach to the top of the building. The cords with which they 
are bound produce numerous soi'es, and to prevent flies from irritat- 
ing these and annoying the animals, fires of green wood are kept 
smouldering in every part of the building. In such a miserable po- 
sition, few would survive, if they were not taken to water and allowed 
to lie in it for several hours every day, and as this cannot be done 
without the assistance of tame elephants, it is useless and cruel to 
catch too many at one time ; for the number will depend on the nu- 
merical strength of those already trained and attached to the hunting 

Elephants, from the period of their capture until tame enough to 
be fastened to one post only, are not permitted to lie down in the 
stable, and the time required to make them sufficiently tractable for 
this indulgence, varies from one to three months, according to the 
disposition of the animal and skill of the keepers. When removed 
from the stables to the water, it is the duty of the keepers daily to 
scrub their elephants with rubbers formed by cutting across the 
fibrous covering of the cocoa-nut ; sometimes a rough stone is used 
instead of this instrument of luxury, and appears to gratify the 
animal in no slight degree. 

Under the native sovereigns in the Kandian country elephants 
without tusks were seldom captured, as they were not used in state 
processions, nor had any been trained for agricultural purposes, and 
but few as a means of conveying baggage, until the British set the 
example of employing the strength of elephants to clear forests and 
move heavy bodies. The general weapon of offence against elephants 
in ancient times in the Kandian territories would appear to have 
been bows and arrows, and the natives, by dodging about the trees, 
contrived to escape the animal's charges. 

By the assistance of female decoys and the inhabitants surround- 
ing and driving the herd, elephants were sometimes brought into the 
town, and their capture completed under the eye of the king in the 
square before the palace at Kandy, but the speckled and tusked 


alone were retained. Knox adds, that if the elephants canght did 
not please the king, he ordered their liberation, but if they did, he 
selected some spot in the vicinity of the city whither they were to be 
driven with the females, for without them they would not stay, and 
there they were kept until the king ordered their secural, which 
might not take place for three or four years, during which interval 
headmen and watchers were set over them, and if they should chance 
to stray beyond the royal bounds, they immediately brought them 
back, apprehensive of the king's displeasure, which was little short 
of death. These elephants did great damage to the country, eating 
up the corn or trampling it, throwing down cocoa-nut trees, and 
frequently houses ; nor could they be resisted, as it was considered 
to be the king's will, and the result of their devastation frequently 
was that they were liberated and sent back to the woods, being caught 
for no use or benefit but for the king's recreation and pastime. This 
was by no means so difficult an undertaking as might at first sight 
appear, for the approaches to the capital, and even the paths in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the palace, were more likely to deter 
travellers than to excite suspicion in an elephant following his Dalilah. 
It appears that the Kandian kings made use of them as executioners, 
first, by treading on the culprit, and then running their tusks 
through the body, and tearing it in pieces. For this they were fur- 
nished with a sharp iron and a socket with three edges, which they 
put on their tusks, for the king's elephants had all the ends of their 
tusks cut to strengthen and increase them in size. The keepers would 
sometimes force the elephants to take water in their trunks, and 
then to squirt it at somebody, and with such force that a man could 
hardly stand against it. 

If it be intended to use the tree snares in catching elephants, they 
are driven towards the place where the noose is concealed under a 
slight covering of earth or leaves ; they however carefully avoid the 
spot where the earth appears disturbed, and may be seen with their 
huge snouts pointed up and smelling at the man who watches in the 
tree above, holding a line communicating with the noose. While 
thus engaged, a push from a tame elephant sends some of them 
staggering into the snare, which is immediately, by pulling the lead- 
ing rope, raised up round one of their legs, the first step the animal 
takes tightens the noose, and the rest of the herd being driven away, 
the farther securing of the captive is easily accomplished. 

So accustomed formerly were the natives of the interior to elephants, 
that those persons who were unconnected with the hunting establish- 
ment might be seen crossing through the kraal rather than go a few 
yards further by the outside of the enclosure ; and on their way, if 
charged by any of the captives, the people seemed to calculate "to a 
nicety the pace necessary to insure a safe retreat, and skipped through 
between the barricades, while the pursuer's head was met by a suffi- 
cient number of spear points to prevent his rushing against the 
timbers. A case has happened where a fierce and very large 


elephant has charged towards the entrance before it could he closed ; 
the hunting elephant, who should have defended the post, fled ; the 
people followed, with the exception of one old man who remained 
unmoved supporting a great beam poised on its end, which his party 
had been in the act of placing when the charge commenced. Con- 
fident in his own intrepidity the old man looked round in triumph, 
then gradually lowered the piece of timber, and so well did he judge 
both time and distance, that the furious animal was brought up by 
her forehead being dashed right against the end of the descending 
beam. The shock actually shook the ground for some distance, and 
the half-stunned animal recoiled for several paces, while the headman 
reassembled his fugitive followers, who were now as eager to shew 
their zeal as before they had been backward in displaying their 
courage. Spears used in elephant hunting should have their handles 
of a tough light wood, ten fe6t in length, and for heads have iron 
balls, from which a small point projects, but not so far as to permit 
it to pierce entirely through the thick skin of an elephant. With com- 
mon spears dangerous wounds have been sometimes given, and sores 
formed which are aggravated by the discipline of the stable. Spears 
are no efficient protection to the hunters, and are apt to induce 
recklessness, yet all are most anxious to have them. A man has 
been known, when run at by an elephant, to place his spear against 
the animal's forehead and allow himself to be pushed back till he has 
made his exit between two trees of the enclosure. At times, from 
a sudden panic, the movements of the more experienced hunters 
have been impeded by the inexperienced, and their spears shivered ; 
the animal has seized them in its trunk and griped them so severely 
as to draw blood from their mouths and ears, till a ball sent through 
the elephant's head has released them. At other times they have 
been caught, thrown down, and shuffled first between the forefeet, 
and then through the hind ones of a wild elephant, and killed, or 
their ribs have been broken, and their bodies roughly grated. 

The capture of a herd of elephants by torch-light is one of those 
scenes never to be forgotten. Surrounded on every side by blazing 
chides, confused by the noise of tom-toms, and the screeching of 
Kandians, the bewildered animals rush into the snare, at the same 
time that the hunting elephants come up and occupy the gate by 
which the herd has entered until the beams can be secured. The 
hunters immediately close around the barricade, intimidating the 
enraged captives by waving lighted brands in whatever direction 
they rush. After a few violent efforts the whole herd will draw 
up closely pressed together in a small spot of thick brushwood, from 
which their eyes may be seen glaring at the blaze of torches which 
lights up the surrounding forest. 

When any of the tame male elephants become furious (which they 
do periodically), they are bound to a tree with a strong iron chain, 
and supplied with food and water, but cannot be unloosed till the 

3 A 


symptoms abate : the time of this infirmity, which is a species of mad- 
ness, and is preceded by an oily discharge from their cheeks, varies 
from four days to four weeks, and is said to continue longer in tuskers 
than other elephants. When this season is approaching they be- 
come dangerous even to their keepers, and there are few, if any, of 
the old hunting elephants that have not killed persons employed 
about them, often with peculiar trickery and cunning. Sometimes 
when secured to a tree, and as the keeper has barely stood within 
reach, the elephant has suddenly seized him at the moment another 
elephant was passing and pressed the unfortunate man against this 
animal until one of the thick blunt tusks has passed through the 
keeper's body. At other times the tame elephant has in a capricious 
and irritable mood, contrived to unseat his riders by violent exertions 
in the midst of a herd of wild ones, when the men would run the 
greatest risks of death. 

Under the forced labour system various classes of labour, such as 
hunters, trainers, leaf-cutters, and elephant doctors, were always em- 
ployed. Since 1831 the government of Ceylon has permitted, nay 
encouraged, the destruction of these animals, which in certain dis- 
tricts rendered useless the labours of the agriculturist, by breaking 
through the fences of the paddy fields, and a premium is given 
in some districts for elephant's tails, which being minced into a 
thousand pieces to prevent imposition, are then buried. The 
decrease in numbers of this comparatively useless animal, is doubt- 
less owing to this cause, and the thinning they undergo at the hands 
of the sportsman ; but while thousands of square miles of fertile but 
uncultivated land remain, they will find a covert from extinction. 
The dead carcass of an elephant is sufficient to induce an effluvia in 
its vicinity for two months, and becomes the nightly prey of jack- 
alls and other beasts, who fight for the precious morceaux amidst 
terrific howling. Hence the natives will endeavour to frighten away 
an elephant from their villages, if they chance to hear of a sports- 
man being in the locality, or they would be unbearable. Elephants 
petit-toes pickled in strong toddy, vinegar and cayenne pepper, are 
by some considered an Apician luxury. 

The magnificent sport of elephant shooting demands the most 
unflinching aim, the most imperturbable coolness, great promptitude, 
and a complete knowledge of the animal's organization, in a sports- 
man, or he will not only fail in bagging them (as it is here facetiously 
called), but probably be truncated by the animal. The brain of an 
elephant occupies but a small space of the head, the bones of which 
are thin and very light. The fore part of the head — in front of the 
brain — for a thickness of eight inches, is formed of cells, separated 
by thin plates of bone : this, with the muscles necessary to move 
their trunks and support their enormous heads, is the cause why 
sportsmen have always missed their game when distant more than 
a few paces. 

The mode in which elephants are procured for sportsmen is, by 


encircling, or rather semi-circling the herd with a numher of persons 
who drive them forward with tom-toms. It is a moment in which 
every conceivable form of excitement is concentrated ; the signal 
being given generally by persons stationed on trees, who can see the 
whole proceedings, the sportsman taking his station on the sheltered 
side of the cl^er, as otherwise from the keen sense of smell of these 
animals they would avoid breaking out of the jungle near his ambush. 
The beaters commence operations : then follows a distant shout upon 
the breeze, and then silence for a considerable time, while the beaters 
are cautiously advancing into the position just abandoned by the 
elephants, as the latter will sometimes shew unmistakeable signs of 
keeping their ground. 

This concluded, the shouts near upon the ear, and the sound of 
the tom-toms is distinguished ; the general effect of the long con- 
tinued shouting, and the noise of the approaching elephants, is that 
of the rushing sound and heavy fall of a great volume of water ; but 
as the mass approaches, the breaking of branches, the beating of 
tom-toms, the wild shouts of the people, and the crash of decayed 
and falling trees can be distinguished from the ponderous tread of 
the advancing herds, as they press through the yielding forest. The 
elephants are now near the sportsman, who is advantageously posted, 
remaining perfectly still lest the elephants should be turned back ; 
and for the same reason the leader of a herd should be allowed to 
pass, as the others will endeavour to follow at all hazards and in the 
same direction, while there will be a greater chance of sport. The 
beaters close in, and loud shouts of people propel the animal forward 
to become a mark for his human enemy. Out of a herd of twenty 
from six to eight will generally fall before the sportsman, who will carry 
away their tails as a trophy ; and 106 elephants have been bagged 
in three days by four sportsmen, but accidents frequently occur to 
the inexperienced that in some degree mar the otherwise insurpass- 
able pleasure of the sport, and laughable scenes have occurred by 
young sportsmen proceeding to dock the elephant's tail before 
making sure of his death. A case once occurred where a sportsman 
having shot an elephant, apparently in full vigour, was surprised to 
find its deficiency in that respect ; his companion coming up soon 
after, produced the trophy, and was requested to point out the 
carcass from which he had cut it. He proceeded to the spot, but 
the marks of blood alone remained to vouch for his having amputated 
the tail of a live elephant. 

The present mode of shooting elephants is for the sportsman him- 
self to enter the jungle ; this is more sportsmanlike, and the only 
risk is to himself and immediate followers. 

Instances have been known where what has been considered a life- 
less trunk and been treated accordingly, has on a sudden sprung up 
and dealt death on its persecutors. Major Forbes thus describes an 
occurrence of this sort. " We were leisurely descending the hill and 

3 a 2 


approaching the bulky mass — a dead elephant - as we had for the 
last twenty minutes supposed it to be. Around the carcass fifty or 
sixty people had assembled, and were squatted on their haunches 
chewing betel. Suddenly we saw them spring to their feet, and the 
assembly appeared to be rapidly diverging from the late centre of 
attraction. We could now distinguish the elephant rdfrving on the 
ground, then heard him blowing shrilly through his trunk, and per- 
ceived that he was attempting to rise. We had discharged our good 
guns, and they were not reloaded, so that three cut down muskets 
were all we had left, except one single barrel, which had been given 
to a young boy to carry, and he was still far behind. The elephant 
w r as already on his knees ; no time was to be lost : we rushed for- 
ward and discharged the three muskets close to his head. Luckily 
for us he moved off in the opposite direction from where we stood. 
At this moment the gallant little native boy came up and thrust the 
single barrel into my hand. I fired ; the elephant dropped on his 
knees, and in that situation remained full half a minute, then 
recovered himself and dashed into the jungle near to where he first 
broke cover. While we were loading our guns the beaters again 
surrounded the jungle. This was only completed when we saw the 
elephant dash through the bamboo thicket, which yielded before his 
furious charge and weighty body, as if it was but a field of water- 
reeds. His trunk was now erect, and emitting a loud and long con- 
tinued squeal, he directed his headlong force against a withered tree 
which grew on a rocky bank. The tree was broken and hurled to 
the ground. The day was now far spent, and the animal appeared 
so furious that the beaters were recalled, and we were about to pro- 
ceed homewards when the modeliar was informed that there was the 
mangled body of a man lying near the tree which the elephant had 
cast down. We were not long in getting a path cleared to the place, 
and in having the unfortunate man removed to the outside of the 
jungle ; he was still alive, but insensible and dreadfully mangled. 
One native asserted that he was near when the accident happened, 
and saw the elephant strike the man as he was falling from the tree, 
but from the nature of the wounds I believe they were occasioned by 
the man being pitched from a considerable height and alighting head 
foremost among broken rocks. The man survived three days ; the 
elephant died the same night, after making his way to a neighbour- 
ing stream." 

The death of Major Haddock, to whom a stone pillar, with an 
inscription, marking the spot on which the melancholy catastrophe 
occurred, was erected by Sir W. Horton, was caused in the follow- 
ing manner : — The elephant he was in pursuit of, after being severely 
wounded and driven back into the forest, reappeared close to him, 
when he immediately fired and moved to one side : his servant, who 
had stood behind him, then fired, and the animal turned off towards 
Major Haddock, whom he seized, threw down and trampled to 


death. This was the work of a moment ; for the servant flew to the 
spot, and while he was raising the mangled remains of his master, 
the elephant slowly retreated. Shortly after another officer was 
killed in a somewhat similar manner, by a tusker in the same neigh- 
bourhood. Two of his brother officers having determined to revenge 
his death, effected it in the following manner :' 

A sportsman, fairly equipped for elephant shooting, ought to have 
at least four barrels, consisting of two double-barrelled guns, carry- 
ing balls of an ounce and a third in weight, and of strength sufficient 
to take a large charge of powder. Plain are to be preferred to rifle 
barrels, as they occupy less time in loading, which is sometimes of 
great consequence, and smooth barrels carry balls with sufficient 
accuracy ; for shooting at a distance is seldom or never successful in 
this sport, and it is not advisable to fire until you are within fifteen 
yards of the animal, and half that distance is preferable ; as then 
your shot, if it fail to kill, will in all probability check him for a 

1 "The elephant having been constantly watched, no delay took place in point- 
ing out his position ; but owing to heavy rain, it was not till the afternoon that 
they could go in search of him. Shortly after entering a dense bamboo jungle, 
they discovered him slowly approaching them, anil having allowed him to come 
pretty close, botli gentlemen tired together at his head. The atmosphere being 
exceedingly damp and heavy, the smoke hung around for some seconds, during 
which they were in the most anxious suspense, from their ignorance of the posi- 
tion of the elephant, till on its clearing a little, they saw him still advancing on 
them, when, on receiving the contents of their two remaining barrels, he turned 
round and fell on his knees. Quickly recovering himself, however, he retreated 
rapidly through the jungle, closely followed by his pursuers, who again tired three, 
shots at him without any apparent effect, his position rendering it exceedingly 
difficult to see a vulnerable spot. The fourth shot, fired as the elephant turned 
half round, took effect somewhere in the side of his head, and again brought him 
to his knees. A halt now took place, to load the guns, and the sportsmen ran 
on the elephant's track, tor nearly half a mile, at their utmost speed, without 
letting a sight of him, till at last, on reaching the commencement of a slight 
descent, he was discovered about twenty yards off, still retreating, but on seeing 
his pursuers, he wheeled round and rushed furiously at them. The one in front 
tired both barrels deliberately into his head, but without stopping him for an in- 
stant, and had barely time to throw himself to one side of the path of the infu- 
riated animal, whose trunk was within sLx feet of him. At this instant, his friend, 
who was about six yards behind, tired at the right temple of the elephant, and 
the next moment had to crouch to one side to allow the brute to pass him, which 
he did. almost touching his companion, without appearing to notice him. Directlv 
he had passed, one of them ran for a yard or two across the jungle, hoping to get 
a side shot at his head, and in this he succeeded ; for the moment he crossed the 
path, so as to come on the left side of the elephant, the brute wheeled round to 
get at him, and when in the act of doing so, he fired his last barrel, which taking 
effect, immediately behind the left ear, produced instant death. On examining 
tlu- head, it appeared that the shot fired at the right temple, when one of them 
jumped to one side had providentially knocked out the elephant's right eye ; and 
as both gentlemen fortunately took to their own left in getting out of the brute's 
path, this circumstance accounted for their escape. Had they taken the other 
side, one, if not both, must have perished. This elephant was one of the largest 
ever seen." — Colombo Observer, 1838. 

726 CEYLON. [PAltT IV. 

sufficient time to allow of exchanging your gun and hitting again. 
Brass balls are recommended by old sportsmen, or the American 
plan of cutting a small portion of the surface of two balls flat, and 
screwing them together, is equally useful. As the sportsman's 
attention must be entirely occupied in forcing through the jungle, 
and keeping a good look out, his followers should have good nerves, 
sufficient activity, and some experience ; if this is the case, there is 
little risk, as his follower will hand him the loaded gun immediately 
on hearing the other discharged. 

This is done by those accustomed to it in such a way that the 
sportsman is not required to withdraw his eye from the animal, 
whose advance might not allow him time to return to his proper 
position, and take a steady aim. When an elephant charges, he 
rushes headlong forward with the trunk upright, at the same time 
making a wild, loud, long continued noise, resembling the sound of 
a bad trumpet, and very different from the deep hollow growl which 
he utters when alarmed or slightly irritated. It is necessary to know 
those parts of an elephant's head, by hitting which your ball can reach 
the brain ; for this occupies but a small space in proportion to the 
size of their skulls. It is also necessary to bear in your eye the 
height of the elephant before you relative to the position in which 
you stand. A tall elephant advancing straight upon you, if the 
ground be level and his head erect, cannot receive a mortal hit, and 
it was in this way that one near Gampola, famed for the number of 
natives he is said to have killed, always advanced ; certain it is, that 
__ he had often escaped the vengeance due for his numerous victims, 
and was at last killed while charging, up a steep hill, at a gentleman 
who, with only one gun, accidentally encountered him in the dusk of 
the evening. Luckily, however, advancing with the head erect when 
they approach any obstacle is not usual with elephants, and it seems 
natural for them to lower their heads and curl up their trunks when 
resolved on removing any thing that obstructs their progress. 
Through fear of mutilating their trunk, they seldom strike with any 
great force when they make use of it, though a wounded elephant 
has been known, in running away, to strike and kill with one blow 
of its trunk, an unlucky buffalo that crossed its path ; and on an- 
other occasion, an elephant that had turned and broken through the 
line of beaters at an elephant hunt, reached up in passing, and killed 
a man who had taken refuge in a tree. The man had hold, with 
both his hands, of a branch above that on which he stood, and could 
easily have raised himself higher, but he was looking down, and con- 
sidered himself beyond reach of danger ; it was at this moment that 
the elephant, stretching up, struck the man with such force as to 
break both his thighs, and hurl him to the ground ; the elephant 
took no further notice of his victim, but passed on : the man lived 
but a few minutes. A herd of elephants never charges en masse, 
although affection for their young may induce some of the females, 


if closely pursued, to turn upon the sportsman ; and on reaching very- 
thick jungles, they generally turn round, either from feeling them- 
selves secure of a retreat, or afraid of being taken in forcing their 

In shooting elephants, by forcing up to them in the jungle, the 
forenoon is the best time, as then they are least inclined to move 
from the shade, under which they may be seen flapping their ears, 
crossing and rubbing their legs, swinging their bodies ; in short, 
always moving, unless alarmed 1 or listening, in which case they seem 
to trust most to their sense of smell, and move their trunk in every 
direction, trying to fix the point from whence they may expect dis- 
turbance. If the wind should favour them, after a short time the 
trunk will be found pointed in the proper direction, and the whole 
endeavour to steal off as quietly as they can, but never allowing any 
of the young ones to fall behind. 

In dry weather, and daring the heat of the day, elephants are 
seldom to be found without a leafy branch held in their trunk, with 
which they switch off the flies, by which they are especially tor- 
mented. When lying down, they sleep soundly, and may be easily 
surprised, but they do not often indulge in this mode of rest, and gene- 
rally recline against a tree, on which they have been rubbing themselves 
with the red earth scattered over their bodies ; the trees are so marked 
as to enable those who are employed in watching them to form an 
idea of the size of the largest elephants in the herd. The elephant 
hunters are seldom mistaken as to the size and numbers of a herd, 
though they may not have fallen in with it, as they can trace the 
foot marks on the hardest soil. If the sportsman has alarmed the 
herd, he should make a dash forward before they have time to turn 
themselves round and commence their retreat. If unsuccessful in 
this, and unable to get a shot at their heads, an active man, by fol- 
lowing them closely, may sometimes succeed in overtaking them, and 
causing them to turn upon him. 

When elephant shooting was in its infancy, the sportsman who re- 
turned to his native country, and had anticipated no little pleasure 
from the credit his achievements in this untrodden field would bring 
him, was woefully disappointed when he found that the relation of 
his deeds was met by laughter that could not be suppressed, and 
looking round saw incredibility in every eye, and having " practical" 
men to deal with, was fain to explain away what would, if persisted 
in, at once have ruined his character for veracity. 

" The Elk," (Cervusuni color) or Gona Rusa. — Is a shy and appa- 
rently solitary, though really a gregarious animal, which soon detects 

1 An elephant may be approached to leeward within reach, and sportsmen 
have been known to clap their hands and shout, and upon the animal's looking 
round, plant a two-ounce ball in the centre of the os frontis, or immediately be- 
liiinl the ear, when in a moment the mighty animal would roll lifeless on the 


the approach of an intruder, and shrinks from his presence into the 
thickest covert. In appearance, it closely resembles the Scottish red 
deer, but is soon tired, and remains at bay, making a feeble resistance 
to the hounds. The colour is a dark dusky brown, approaching to 
black on the neck, belly, and hind part of the thigh. When full 
grown, it attains to the height of five feet. It differs from the stag 
kind by its short mane on the neck and throat. Those attempted to 
be tamed have been playful and harmless, till the second year, after 
which they have become vicious, and it is never safe to come near it 
in the rutting season. It is found in great plenty near all the woods 
and thickets of the island. The Singhalese call it Gona. 

Axis Deer — (Cervus axis, or Axis niaculata), Muwa, Singh. 
Is to be met with in great numbers in the Northern Province, ven- 
turing out to graze in the open country, only before sun-rise and 
after sun-set, and affording good sport to those who are fond of 
coursing. These deer are prettily spotted, the colour being a choco- 
late brown, are in general from three to three and a half feet high, 
and more elegantly formed than the fallow deer, which, how- 
ever, they much resemble : they are easily tamed, but the males be- 
come dangerous when old, and even the does are apt to butt and bite 
when they are full grown. Albinos are not uncommon in this species 
of deer, with peculiar red eyes. There are two species, the spotted 
and middle sized ; the latter is never spotted. It has rough and 
strong horns, trifurcated. In a state of nature both are exceedingly 
shy and timid, but become bold and ferocious, and not to be trusted, 
when domesticated. The flesh is not much esteemed, having little 
fat upon it, and being very dry. The male only has horns. 

The Indian Samver, or Musk Deer, called in India Meminna, 
hence its Linnean name Moschus Meminna — in Ceylon, Mooua ? is no 
larger than a common hare, viz. one foot five inches long, five pound 
weight, of an cinereous olive colour ; throat, breast, and belly white ; 
sides and haunches spotted and barred transversely with white ; 
ears large and open ; tail very short. It is, nevertheless, as beauti- 
fully made, and as perfect in form as the larger species, and has 
tusks. It is considered fit to eat. 

Stylocerus Muntjak— the size of the roebuck, horns small, with 
only one anterior snag ; standing upon elevated pedicles ; long canines 
in most males; deep suborbital sinus ; small muzzle ; colour fulvous. 
Pariar Dog. — These animals, are all mongrels, and rank per- 
haps the lowest in the canine scale, holding a similar position to that 
of vagrants and vagabonds among the human castes, but are en- 
dowed with great sharpness of wits and facility of digestion, which 
enables them to exist where the higher bred animal would starve. 
When pressed by hunger they will feed on fallen jack fruit, and the 
most juvenile of the species will display a precociousness in providing 
the ways and means, which is truly wonderful. The general appear- 
ance of these dogs is wretched in the extreme, lank sides, lame legs, 


blind eyes and blotched bodies being a characteristic of the race. The 
length of the body is about twenty-two inches, of the tail sixteen ; the 
latter tapers to a point. The nose is long, thick, and blunt at the end. 
The claws are more like those of a cat than a dog : the colour 
cinereous yellow; belly ash-coloured; the legs almost entirely brown; 
the hair close set and soft. One kind look is sufficient to attach one 
of these dogs to a stranger for ever ; yet such is the inveteracy of 
habit, that these dogs, when adopted and placed in good quarters, 
where they soon become fat, cannot break off their partiality for 
marauding excursions, in which indeed they are frequently killed. 
To diminish the number of this next to useless animal the Govern- 
ment has lately imposed a small tax on the owners, greatly to their 

The Gaura, or Gauvera of Knox, formerly supposed to have been 
a large and fierce animal, that had once existed, but had subsequently 
become extiuct in Ceylon, but of which several localities retain the 
name ; as the Gaura-flat, Gaura-ellia, &c. is nothing more than the 
Ceylon buffalo {Bos bubalus), a variety of the Malabar. This animal 
is commonly found in the thinly inhabited districts of the flat coun- 
try : it is strong and fierce, and the form of the head is such, that 
a ball fired against it, is apt to glance off. Hence the shoulder 
is the mark for the sportsman's fire ; but to secure a fair shot, 
the best way is for two persons to place themselves so that one 
may be opposite to the side of the animal, when it charges at the 
other in front. A wild buffalo, when charging, advances in a curved 
line, with the head down, and inclined sideways in such a manner 
that one horn is advanced. Their courage and perseverance in attack 
is as remarkable as their tenacity of life : good guns of a large size 
are therefore absolutely requisite. The wild buffalo differs so much 
in spirit and appearance from the tame, that a person ignorant of 
their common origin, might readily take them for two distinct species : 
this arises from domestication and labour. See p. 563. 

Wild Hog (Phacochcerus), Singh. Wal uru — Is a variety of the 
Malabar hog. This animal has great strength and ferocity, and will 
make up for any traveller it may see approaching. The only re- 
markable feature about the animal is the snout, which nature seems 
to have particularly adapted to the employment designed by it, which 
is that of ploughing up the ground in search of roots. It is found 
in almost every part of Ceylon, especially in the jungle, where large 
herds are not unfrequently met with, which are not to be molested 
with impunity, though perfectly inoffensive when not disturbed. Its 
usual size is that of the common hog of Europe. The colour is in 
general black, inclining to grey on the neck and shoulders. The 
flesh being dry and of a high flavour, is not much relished by 
Europeans, but the natives are exceedingly partial to it. 

The Cheetah (Felis jubuta) Kotia, Singh. — Is very destructive 
to cattle : it is sometimes eight feet in length, yet it seldom attacks 


human beings, unless when wounded, and in self-defence. Children 
have been seized, but doubtless from the animal's anticipation 
of an attack from them ; as they have been generally abandoned 
when grown-up people were perceived. Cheetahs are destroyed 
in the Kandian province by spring-guns or by cross-bows, set with 
large bladed arrows, and caught in enclosures having a fallen 
gate, and formed round some animal they have recently destroyed. 
They are also caught in pitfalls and by a platform, supporting a great 
weight of stones, suspended over some bullock recently killed, the 
whole being so constructed as to descend and secure any animal 
which passes underneath. The best way to destroy cheetahs, is to 
employ natives who are accustomed to watch and shoot these destruc- 
tive animals, as they will not only guess the time of their approach 
to a certainty, but kill the intruder with equal precision. A cheetah, 
when wounded, is able to spring and strike a man down, and will 
strip the member it seizes of its flesh. This animal is so fond of 
preying on dogs, that they will seize them when running before their 
master, and dash back with them into the jungle. The mere smell 
of a cheetah will produce a panic in cattle ; as also the imprint of its 
feet, and they will start off kicking and plunging. The Ceylon 
cheetah has some peculiarities distinct both from the panther and 
leopard, one of which is that it cannot entirely retract its claws into 
their sheath. 

There are several species of the Viverrinse and Felidse, including 
Felis rubiginosa. It is a brownish yellow cat, with dark-brown 
streaks on the forehead, and spots along the back. The remainder 
are undescribed. 

Bear (Pi-ochilus labiatus) — The Ceylon bear, though of small size, 
is fierce, and much dreaded by the natives, some of whom have been 
terribly disfigured, where they have been fortunate enough to escape 
with life from the strong arms and sharp teeth of these animals. 
Major Forbes relates an interesting anecdote, wherein a military 
officer was attacked by two of these formidable animals, one of which 
he struck so severe a blow with a brandy bottle, the contents of which 
dashed over his face, that the bear made a precipitate retreat, fol- 
lowed by his companion. 

" Sloth" (Manis 'pentadactyla.') 

Porcupine (Hystrix Leucura.) — This animal is one of the most 
destructive to the agriculturist, as it will destroy the labour of years 
in a very short time. Its favourite food is the heart of young cocoa- 
nut trees, which it is difficult to guard against its attacks : as it 
will burrow under and destroy the plant, even if surrounded with 
stones and a wall. They are also very destructive to fences, through 
which they easily gnaw a passage. If disturbed in their pursuit 
(and they are the most capricious of animals) a porcupine will cut a 
new gap every succeeding night for a week before hitting on one that 
will serve them for a permanent approach. They can be entirely 


domesticated, but will sometimes absent themselves, and then return 
to their old haunts. They are fond of crickets, for which they sniff 
about a house, and soon remark any change in the position of the 
furniture of a room. The porcupine is one of the most fretful of 
animals, and when indulged with perfect liberty, will constantly 
exhibit some act of pettishness or passion. When hunted by dogs, 
and they have seen no chance of escape, they have been known to 
turn upon their pursuers and maim them with their sharp quills. 
The hystrix has frequently bezoar stones in its stomach, which, 
scraped to a fine powder, are here often administered in all kinds of 
disorders. These stones consist of very fine hair, which has con- 
creted with the juices of the stomach, and laying one over the other, 
consist of rings of ditferent colour. They vary in size from a hen's 
to a goose's egg, are perfectly globular, and entirely brown. The 
reign of its pretended alexipharmic qualities is now over as regards 
Europeans. Tavernier mentions that he gave five hundred crowns 
for one, which he sold to advantage. 

The Hare (Lepus nigricollis) - is very abundant, but is seldom 
eaten, being considered unwholesome, It is often caught for the 
pleasure of seeing it leap, and then released or given to the dogs. It 
would quite overrun the fields but for the Jackal, its great destroyer, 
which robs it of its young, and surprises the old ones when asleep. 

The Malabar Jackal is to be found in every jungle ; it resembles 
the European fox, except that the hair of its coat is somewhat longer, 
and of a greyer colour. 

The Malabar Goat is a delicate animal, that browzes on the rocks : 
it is more sought after than any other game, for, contrary to the gene- 
ral nature of the goat, its flesh is tender and excellent when broiled. 

A species of Chakal either the Corsac or Adive (the Nougi hari 
of the Malabar s). It is not larger than the common weasel, and the 
tail descends three inches lower than the feet when it is completely 
pendulous. All the upper parts of the body and the tail are of a 
greyish fawn, and the lower of a yellowish white. 

Baboons (Ce?-copithecus latibarbatus). — Purple-faced monkey. 
With a great triangular white beard, short and pointed at the 
bottom ; face and hands purple ; body black ; tail much longer 
than the body, terminated with a dirty white tuft. (Simia Silenus, L.) 
Wanderoo, Singh. Nil Bundar of the Hindoos. This species of mon- 
key is large, of a dark grey colour, almost black, with long white 
beards, which give them a sedate appearance. The face is long, 
with a greenish mane, and like that of a dog. The tail terminates 
with a tuft of hair, like that of a lion ; large canine teeth. Their 
habits are grave, and their voices hoarse. This ape frequently voids 
a stone from its gall-bladder, called Bezoar, which is very scarce. It 
is commonly called ape-stone, and is smooth on the outside. 

There are two other monkeys nearly allied to the above, published 
in Bligh's collection. 

732 CEYLON. [part IV. 

Cercopithecus Pileatus — Rilawah or Rollewai, Singh, — are of a 
reddish fawn-colour, with the hair on the top of their heads standing 
erect like an upright crest, besides which it has a peculiar and appro- 
priate character in the rim of the under lip being of a deep black 
colour, forming a remarkable contrast with the light tan-colour of the 
surrounding parts : their appearance is sober, but their manners do 
not correspond, as they are restless, inquisitive, and unsurpassingly 
mischievous. From this hallowed race, which roam up and down 
the country in large parties, the peasant often receives great damage ; 
as they will rob him of his fruit and rice, &c. They have been 
known to snatch hold of a native child, and run up a tree with it, and, 
after admiring it for some time, bring it down unhurt, and lay it 
gently down on the same place where they took it up — a circum- 
stance, thought by the natives to forebode gooH fortune to the child. 
The mother handles her young cub and lays it to her breast for 
suckle, far more like a human creature, than a brute. The natives 
have been frequently shot by each other in mistake for these animals, 
whom they highly reverence, and will never pursue. 

Stenops Gracilis {The Slender Loris), — the Lemur Loris of 
Shaw, and the Loris Macauco of Pennant. The fur reddish, with a 
white spot on the forehead. Loris Ceylonicus : fur, brownish black ; 
back, quite black ; cutting teeth. 

The common Rat (Mus decumanus) and the common Mouse, both 
abound, the former is most destructive to the young coffee plants. 

Musk Rat or Shrew (Mygale).— This animal abounds in the 
maritime provinces, and is a great nuisance from its strong smell. In 
appearance, the musk-rat is more like a small-sized light-coloured 
mole, and may be heard uttering a most particularly shrill, but faint 
squeal, as it goes along the edge of a wall, and behind the furniture, 
searching for crickets. So searching and subtle is its smell, that it 
is said to taint the wine in any bottles it may have passed, but this 
opinion is thought by some to be fallacious, "and the smell to arise 
from a previous contact with the cork, before the wine is bottled, or 
with the mouth of the bottle. It has a long slender nose : the upper 
jaw extends far beyond the lower : whiskers long and white : feet 
naked and pink-coloured. Length, from nose to tail, nearly eight 
inches : tail thick at the base, tapering to a point. 

There are three or four varieties of Squirrels, viz. the Sciurus Cey- 
lonensis, S. trivittatus, and the S.Macrourus or Dandoeloena. The 
palm squirrel, Sciurus trivittatus, lives chiefly in the cocoa-nut trees, 
and is very fond of the liquor extracted from the palms. Upper part 
of the body grey- brown, marked with three longitudinal bands, of a 
pale-white ; length of the body, almost six inches. 

Sciurus Macrourus (Dandoeloena or Roekea, Singh).— This squir- 
rel, in appearance, differs little from the other species, except in 
size, and by its wonderful leaps or flights, which it commences at the 
close of the evening, now leaping from branch to branch, and ascend- 


ing the highest bough of the loftiest trees. It assumes every variety 
of form in its different gyrations, now appearing quite flat, about 
eighteen inches square, and with a long tail projecting from the 
middle of one side : without the slightest exertion or noise, the 
animal will float through the air to its object, only its flight is still 
getting lower, until depressing its tail, when near and a little below the 
place it is about to light on, the creature glides upon the branch, and 
in its original shape resumes its course along the boughs of the trees. 
Flying squirrels do much mischief in the cocoa-nut grounds. They 
average about two feet three inches in length, including the tail, and 
resemble the cat in appearance : they are easily tamed. The ears 
are tufted with black hairs : the end of the nose is pink-coloured : 
the cheeks, legs, and belly, are of a dull yellow, between the ears is a 
yellow spot : the crown of the head and the back are black : from 
each ear, is a bifurcated line of the same colour, pointing down the 
cheeks : the upper part of the feet is covered with black hairs, the 
lower part, naked and red. The tail is nearly twice the length of the 
body, of a light ash colour, and extremely bushy. The part near the 
body, quite surrounded with hairs : on the remainder the hairs are 
separated and lie flat. 

The Pteromys Petaurista, is of a chestnut-colour, with the 
hairs tipped with white on the shoulders ; whitish grey underneath ; 
thighs red ; feet brown, tail black and cylindrical. 

There are, also, three varieties of the Bat, viz. the Cordate bat, 
with its heart-shaped appendage to the nose, and the striped, Ves- 
pertilio picta (Keriwoula, Singh.) : no tail; a web between the hind 
legs, broad and long ears, length two inches, a small short nose ; 
wings striped with black, and sometimes with tawny and brown ; 
varies in colour ; the upper part of the body being sometimes of a 
clear reddish- brown, the lower whitish ; and the Pteropus medius, 
without a tail, with long extended toes to the fore feet, connected 
by thin broad membranes, extending to the hind legs ; has large 
canine teeth ; four cutting above, the same below, a sharp black nose ; 
large naked ears ; pointed tongue, terminated by sharp aculeated 
papillae ; exterior toe detached from the membrane ; claw strong and 
hooked ; talons very crooked, strong, and compressed sideways ; 
head of a dark ferruginous colour ; on the neck, shoulders, and 
under side, of a much lighter and brighter red ; on the back, the 
hair shoi'ter, dusky and smooth. This very large and hideous 
looking animal, commonly called the flying-fox, abounds in most 
parts of Ceylon, and may be seen in thousands, suspended by 
the wings from the branches of some decayed tree : they may be 
always perceived in the evening hovering round fruit trees, and at 
night may be known by the flapping of their leathern wings, and 
their offensive smell. They generally move in flocks, and will strip 
a mango-tree of its fruit in a few hours. The Pteropus margiuatus 
is another species. 

734 CEYLON. [part IV, 

In addition to these the Rhinolophus spcoris, and another variety 
are also found. 

The common Indian Genette is also found here. The Mangusta 
Mungos has been elsewhere described. There are two or three 
varieties of it. Seep. 752. The Otter (LutraDukhanensis of Sykes.) 

TheCetaceee comprise the Gladiator Dolphin, (Delphinus gladiator, 
Ciiv.), Grampus (D. orca, Cuv.), Common Porpoise (D. phocsena, 
Cuv.), Dolphin (D. Delphis, Cuv.) 1 

Bieds of Ceylon. 

Malabar or Wreathed Hornbill (Buceros Malabaricus) 

Called in Ceylon " the year bird," being supposed to have an annual addition 

of a wreath to its bill. They make a great noise when they fly, are sluggish in 

their motions, perch on the highest trees, feed on berries, and are reckoned a 

very sweet food. They swallow raw flesh, and devour rats, mice and small birds. 

B. Bengalensis. 

Bill, smooth, large, black-brown ; wing, blue-grey ; coverts, black tipped. 

Bhinoceros bird, or Hornbill (B. Singhalensis) . 

Called Dubbeld Bek by the Dutch, from its singular recurvated accessory beak : 
three feet long, nearly three broad, and almost as big as a turkey. Bill, ten 
inches long - , and two and a half thick at base. On the top of the upper mandible 
is an appendage as large as the bill itself, and turning upwards contrary to the 
direction of the bill, both of the mandibles of which bend downwards. This 
curved horn is eight inches long and four broad, varied with white and black, 
and divided longitudinally by a line of black on each side : head, neck, back, 
breast, and upper part of the belly, black : lower part a dirty white : tail twelve 
inches long : the feathers white at the base and ends, and black in the middle : 
legs and claws a dull grey. Supposed to feed on flesh and carrion, and to chase 
rats and mice, and after pressing them flat with the bill in a peculiar manner, 
toss them up in the ah, and swallow them in their descent. This is the Kaendatta 
of the Singhalese. 

" Jackdaw" (Corvus sp. Pennant). 

Is the largest of the genus, weig-hs three pounds, and is two feet long and four 
broad : bill, strong and thick, nearly three inches long, and covered with bristles 
for two-thirds of its length, completely hiding- its nostrils : colour of its 
plumage a fine rich g'lossy blue-black : under parts of a dull and more dusky hue. 
The Bishop of Norwich thus describes this bird : — " In the island of Ceylon these 
birds are exceedingly impudent and troublesome, and it is found very difficult to 
exclude them from the houses, which, on account of the heat, are built open, and 
much exposed to intruders. In the city of Colombo, where they are in the habit 
of picking- up bones and other things from the streets and yards, and carrying 
them to the tops of the houses, a battle usually takes place for the plunder, to the 
great annoyance of the people below, on whose heads they shower down the 
loosened tiles, leaving the roofs exposed to the weather. They will frequently 
snatch bread and meat from the dining-table, even when it is surrounded with, 
guests, always seeming to prefer the company of man ; as they are continually 
seen hopping about near houses, and are rarely to be met with in woods and re- 
tired places. They are, however, important benefactors to the natives, making- 

1 I must apologise to the naturalist for the somewhat unmethodical manner of 
my classification, an evil, which has arisen from circumstances I could not alto- 
gether control, but which will be remedied in a future edition. This he would the 
sooner excuse, if he were made fully aware of the great variety of sources to 
which I have been compelled to have recourse. 


ample compensation for their intrusion and knavery ; as they are all voracious 
devourers of carrion, and consume all sorts of dirt, offal, and dead vermin ; in 
fact, carrying- off those substances, which, if allowed to remain, would in that hot 
climate produce the most noxious smells, and give rise to putrid disorders. Hence 
they are much esteemed, their mischievous tricks are put up with, and they are 
never suffered to be shot or otherwise molested." 

Jungle Crow. 

This bird closely resembles the magpie : its body, head, and tail are black ; 
wings of a light brown colour, and its eyes bright red. It vociferates " ouk, ouk." 

Purple-shouldered Pigeon (Columba Phoenicoptera). 
Front, pale green : head and neck, fine light purple : breast, orange : back, 
scapulars, and belly, light green : vent, scarlet : quills, dusky. Girrawe. Singh. 

Pompadour Pigeon (Vinago Aromatica. Shaw). 

Cuvier makes this Colomba pompadora, and a variety of phaenicoptera. The 
general colour of this bird is a fine pale green : the male is distinguished by 
having the coverts of the wings of a fine pompadour colour. They are found in 
vast multitudes in the banyan and wariugen trees, when their fruits are ripe, 
and are caught with bird-lime by the natives, who prepare the twigs against their 
arrival. They are excellent food, and are often shot by Europeans. Waringen 
Grothebein. Singh. 

Spotted Green Pigeon (C. maculata). 

Cinnamon Pigeon (C. Cinnamomea). 

Great-tailed Pigeon (C. Macroura). Also the black capped pigeon, 
(Ptilinopus melanocephalus.) 

Tail as long as body, white tipped : body, cinnamon, beneath whitish. 

Ring Dove (C. palumbus). — Turtle Dove (C. Turtur). 

Bamboo Dove (Palumba Bambutina). 

Black-backed Goose (Anas Melanotos). 

Notwithstanding that Ceylon swarms with crocodiles, yet no country abounds 
more with aquatic birds to which nature has given a quickness of sight and an 
instantaneous locomotive power that enables them to elude the jaws of an enemy, 
which it is well known cannot turn without difficulty. It is by a fine instinct that 
the lesser and more agile species of duck frequent, in innumerable flocks, the 
shores, the mouths of rivers, and the marshes, and are, with the crocodiles, joint 
tenants of the waters ; while the larger and heavier fowl avoid those places, and, 
dividing into small families, haunt only the lakes and streams that lie in the deep 
recesses of the lofty and craggy mountains, protected by the cataracts, that pre- 
vent the approach of their enemy. This goose is very common and is equal in 
size to our wild goose : the bill is long and black ; at the base is a knot, which in 
old birds is very large. The head and neck are white, marked with small black 
spots : the breast and belly of a pure white : the back and wings are black, but the 
ends of the primary feathers of a fine variable green. The tail is sharp-pointed 
and black : the legs of the same colour. 

Anhinga (Plotus Melanogaster, Linn.) 

This bird sits on the shrubs that overhang water, and in a country where 
every one's ideas are filled with serpents, often terrifies the stranger, by shooting- 
out its long, slender neck, which in his first surprise, he takes for the darting 
of some fatal reptile. Its body is about the size of that of the common duck, 
but the neck is extremely long : the bill straight, long - , and sharp pointed ; the 
upper part of a pale blue, and the lower reddish. The eye is very piercing. The 
brail, neck, and upper part of the breasl air of a light brown: each side of the 
head, and the upper part of the neck marked with a broad white line. The crop 
is very large. The back, scapulars, and coverts of the wings arc marked length- 
ways in equal portions with stripes of black and white. The <|iiill feathers, belly, 
thighs, tail, of a deep black ; the tail remarkably long and slender. The legs and 

736 CEYLON. [part IV. 

feet of a pale green ; the four toes united by webs, after the manner of those of 
the cormorant. 

Spotted-billed Duck (Anas Poicilorhynchos). 

The bill of this species is black, tipped with yellow, and marked on each side 
of the base with a red spot : a white line passes from thence to and beyond the 
eye. The cheeks and under side of the neck and body white, more and more 
clouded from the chin to the vent, which is totally black ; the wings, back, and 
tail are black, each feather slightly edged with white ; some of the tertials wholly 
white : the speculum of a variable green, bounded above and below with a narrow 
line of white. Also Anas arcuata. 

Wild Duck. 

Pea Fowl(Pavo cristatus). 

Are to be met with in numbers, at nearly every open space in the jungle where 
water is to be found. They are naturally wary, and if they have been disturbed, 
it requires great caution to get near enough for a shot at them. The morning- is 
the best time for pea-fowl shooting, as they keep near the edge of the jungle in 
the evening, and in the forenoon they retire to some thick dark copse, generally 
overhanging water, and there rest during the heat of the day : it is then the 
natives kill them at roost. 

Jungle Fowl (Gallus Lafayettii), Wal Keekula. Singh. 
The appearance of the male bird approaches the red dunghill cock, but has 
more glossy plumage, and a yellow spot in the centre of the red upright comb. 
The female is much smaller in proportion, and in colour resembles the heath hen 
of the moors. This bird continually reminds one of its presence by a shrill double 
call, somewhat resembling the cry of the partridge, but unlike the crowing of a 
cock. It is very pugnacious, and two jungle cocks have only to meet to give 
battle to each other. In taste it resembles a pheasant. 

Red-tailed Gallinule. R. Phoenicurus. 

Forehead bare, flesh-coloured ; plumage above black ; vent and under tail 
coverts, ferruginous-red. 

Crested Gallinule (Gallinula cristata). 

Forehead and crown bare, reddish, rising into a knot on the back part ; body 
and wings greenish ash-colour : beneath, pale ash. 

Ortolan (Emberiza sp.) 

Coromandel Quail (Coturnix textilis). 

Found here as well as in the Dekkan. 

Widgeon (Anas Penelope.) 

Woodcock (Scolopax Rusticola, Linn.) 

Curlew (Numenius sp.) 

Is as large as a duck, with white plumage, and black legs and beak. 

Teal — Jack Snipe (S. Gallinula, Linn.) 

Grey-sand Piper (Triuga squatarola, Linn.) 

Large and small white, large and small brown Paddy Birds. (Loxia 

This genus resembles the heron in shape, and comprises five or six species, 
varying in size. Their name is derived from their general habitat. Koka, Singh. 

" Bitterns" — Tetrao bicalcaratus (Ceylon Partridge of Latham.) 

Red-legged Partridge (Perdix Janninus.) 

The same as the Perdix bicalcaratus of Forster, or double-spurred partridge : 
the bill of the male is red : from that to the region of the eyes is a naked red 
space. The head is varied with black and white streaks. The whole neck above 
and below is black, elegantly marked with sagittal lines, the points tending up- 
wards. The thighs white. The primaries dusky, edged with rufous. The back 
covered with rufous feathers, dusky on each sides of their shafts : tail dusky : 


leg's red, on each a pair of strong- sharp spurs. The head of the female is cinereous : 
the colour of the hack and helly rufous, brightest below. The tail dusky. Legs 
red and unarmed. Haben-Kukella, Singh. 

Indian Parrot (Psittacus orientalist 

Small size. Bill bright orange : skin round the eyes of a pale flesh colour : 
top of tbe head red or deep orange : rest of the body green, or palest beneath : 
lower half of the rump and upper tail coverts red, like that of the head : inside of 
the quills and under the tail bluish green : legs and claws flesh-colour. 

Ceylon Parakeet (P. Zeylanicus.) 

Pigmy Parakeet (P. Pygmaeus.) 

Length six inches : body small : bill whitish : cere dusky : tail cuneated : the 
tops of all the feathers of a greenish yellow : legs lead colour. 

Alexandrine Parakeet. 

Red-headed Cnckoo (Cuculus Pyrrhocephalus.) Malkoha, Singh. 

Is found in the woods, and lives on fruits. Length sixteen inches : the bill 
much arched, strong', and of a greenish-yellow colour : the crown of the head and 
part of the cheeks are of a bright crimson, entirely surrounded by a band of 
white. The hind part of the head and neck black, marked with small white spots : 
the fore part of the neck entirely black : the back and wings black : the tail very 
long, composed of feathers of unequal lengths, their lower part black : the ends 
white. The breast and belly white : legs of a pale blue. 

Cuculus dicruroides is another species. 

Cheela Falcon (Falco Cheela.) 

Rhomboidal Falcon (F. Rhombeus.) 

Black and white Indian Falcon (F. melanoleucos.) 

Length sixteen inches. Bill black : head, neck, back, scapulars, quill feathers, 
and some of the middle coverts of the wings are black : the rest of the coverts, 
those of the tail, the tail itself, the breast, and the belly, are of a pure white. It is 
not known whether it is trained for falconry. Claws black. Kaloe Koeroelgoya, 

Brown's Hawk (F. Badius, Lath.) 

About thirteen inches long. Bill blue, with a black tip : iris yellow : upper 
part of the head, hack, and tail coverts brown : scapulars brown, with white spots : 
quills dusky, with pale brown edges : fore part of the neck and the under parts 
white, covered with numerous semicircular yellow lines : tail pale brown : legs 
pale yellow : claws black. 

Ceylonese eared Owl (Strix Ceylonensis.) 

About one foot eleven inches long, and weighs two pounds nine ounces. Bill 
horn colour : irides yellow : parts above of a pale reddish brown, beneath yellowish 
white : ears, short and pointed : prime quills and tail barred with black, white, 
and pale red : legs naked to the knees. Raja- Alia, Singh. 

Coromandel eared Owl (S. Coronianda.) 

Indian eared Owl (S. Bakkamana.) 

This elegant bird is called Bakkamana by the Singhalese. The irides are 
scarlet : the horns take their source from the base of the bill, and point to the 
sides of the head : on their inner side they are dusky, on their exterior, white. 
The bill is dusky, surrounded with long bristles. The circle of feathers round the 
eyes is of a very pale ash colour : the external circle of a yellowish brown. The 
head is of a deep ash colour, the back, dusky : coverts of the wings grey, marked 
with narrow lines of black, pointing downwards : the quill feathers regularly 
barred with black and white: the breast buft'-coloured, marked with small sagittal 
black spots : the legs feathered half way down : the naked part of a reddish 

Devil's Bird (Strix Gaulama or Ulania, Singh.) 

A species of Owl. The wild and wailing cry of this bird is considered a sure 

3 13 


presage of death or misfortune, unless measures be taken to avert its infernal 
threats and refuse its warning'. Though often heard even on the tops of their 
houses, the natives maintain that it has never been caught or distinctly seen, and 
they consider it one of the most annoying- of the evil spirits which haunt their 
country. Knox, in his credulity, pronounced it to he a devil. It is, probably, a 
species of owl, but certainly its cry is far more like that of a human being- in dis- 
tress than any other species of that melancholy and ill-omened family. 

Tufted Flycatcher (Muscicapa comata.) 

Is very common in the interior, and may be seen flitting- about in the thick 
copses and dark ravines. It is about the size of a sparrow, with a black head, 
and a tail live times its own length, composed of very flexible feathers of pure 
white : the disproportioned length of this bird's tail gives it the appearance of 
having a narrow piece of cloth fastened to it ; hence arises its native name, Redi- 
hora, cloth stealer. It is called by Europeans the Ceylon bird of Paradise. The 
bill is black, and crooked at the point : head, crested : hind part of the neck, 
back, wings, and tail, black : rump, sides of the neck, breast, and belly, white. 

Red- vented Flycatcher (M. Hsemorrhoa.) 

This bird has a rufous back and tail, and two feathers exceeding the others in 
length by nearly nine inches : neck, and upper parts of the body clouded brown : 
breast and belly, white : vent, red : tail, black : legs, dusky : bill, bluish : head, 

Yellow-breasted Flycatcher (M. Melanictera.) Malkala kourlu, 

Singh . 

Size of a goldfinch. Bill, grey : head and cheeks, black : back and wing 
coverts cinereous brown, mixed with yellow : breast, yellow : quills and tail 
dusky, edged with pale yellow : legs, pale blue. It is much admired for its notes 
by the natives. 

Cinnamon Flycatcher (M. Cinnamomea.) 

Eight inches long. Bill, straight and black : plumage in general of a yellowish 
cinnamon-colour, variously shaded on the upper parts : under, much paler, almost 
yellow. The quills dusky, marked with ferruginous. 

Flammeous Flycatcher (M. flaramea.) 

The bill, head, neck, fore part of the back, and lesser coverts of the wings, 
black : rest of the back, bright orange or flame colour : primaries, partly black, 
partly orange : breast and belly orange, sinking into pale yellow below : tail 
dusky, yellow towards the point: legs, black. The upper part of the head and 
whole back of the female is ash-coloured : about the cheeks and throat, dusky : 
breast, orange : belly, white : across the primaries a flammeous band, bounded 
above and below with black : tail, black above. 

Malabar Lark (Alauda Malabarica.) — Skylark (A. arvensis.) 

Cinnamon Creeper (Certhia Cinnamomea.) 

Length, five inches. Bill, slightly bent, and black ; about three-quarters of an 
inch long- : upper part of the plumage cinnamon-colour : under, white : legs, 

Green Gold Creeper (C. omnicolor.) 

Green, with a shade of all colours. 

Indigo Creeper (C. parietum ) —Yellow-billed Creeper (C. lepida.) 
— Tufted Creeper (C. Erythrorynchos.) 

Ceylonese Creeper (C. Zeylanica.) 

Size of a wren, four inches long. Bill, three-quarters of an inch, and black : 
the upper parts of the body are of a dull brownish olive : the under parts yellow : 
but the throat, fore part of the neck, and breast, are of a beautiful deep, bright 
violet : quills, brown ; the edges of the feathers dull olive : tail, the same colour 
as wings : legs and claws black. 

Loten's Creeper (C. Lotenia.) 

Five inches long. Head, neck, back, rump scapulars, and upper tail coverts 


are green gold : beneath, from the breast to the vent, velvet black, which is 
separated from the green on the neck by a transverse bright violet band : the 
lesser wing coverts are of the same colour, middle coverts are green gold : greater 
coverts are very fine black, edged with green gold on the outer edge : the quills 
are the same colour : legs, black. The female differs in having the breast, belly, 
sides, thighs, under wing, and tail coverts, of a dirty white, spotted with black ; 
called by the natives Angala-dian. 

Yellow-crowned Thrush (Turdus Ochrocephalus.) Tsutju crawan. 

Size of the common thrush. Bill, black : crown of the head and cheeks, pale 
yellow : breast and belly cinereous ; the first marked with white and dusky 
sagittal lines : greater quills, tail, and legs, dull green. It is remarkable for its 
power of mimicking every note that is whistled to it. 

Long-tailed Thrush (T. macrourus.) 

Size of a lark, eleven and a half inches. Bill, slightly notched near the tip : 
colour, black : head, neck, back, and wing coverts, glossy purplish black : rump, 
white : the under part, from the breast ferruginous orange : quills, dusky black : 
the tail is cuneiform in shape : the two middle feathers being six and a half inches 
long, and the outer ones only two and a half inches. The four middle feathers are 
wholly black, the next on each side half black, half white ; and the three outer 
ones wholly white : legs, pale yellow : claws, black. 

Ceylon Thrush (T. Zeylanicus ; Lanius Erythropterus, Swainson.) 

Size of a blackbird. Bill, black : crown of the head cinereous olive ; from 
thence to the tail, a fine olive green : chin and throat yellow : belly, vent and 
thighs yellow, tail cuneiform, the two midddle feathers are like the back : the 
others are black, with yellow tips : legs blackish. In the female, the upper parts 
are greenish yellow : the throat grey, and the breast and belly greenish-yellow, 
but paler than the upper parts. 

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo sp.) 

Length seven, and breadth eleven inches : bill long and black, but the base of 
the lower mandible is yellow. 

Violet Kingfisher (A. Coromanda.) 

A. Bengalensis. 

Blue-green above : rufous beneath ; head striped blue and rufous. Four and 
a half inches. 

Pied Kingfisher (A. rudis.) 

Eleven inches long : bill, black, and nearly three inches long : head, and hind 
part of the neck, covered with black feathers, edged with white on each side : 
back, wings, and upper part of the body, are spotted irregularly with black and 
white : the breast and sides the same : throat, and under parts to the tail, wholly 
white : quills spotted white and black. 

Smyrna Kingfisher (Halcyon Smyrnensis.) 

Length, eight and a half inches. Bill more than two inches long and red : 
irides whitish. Head, neck, breast and belly, sides, thighs, under wing, and tail 
coverts of an elegant chestnut : throat white : the lesser wing coverts dull-green : 
the greater coverts, farthest from the body of the same colour, on the outside and 
tips, but blackish within. Quills the same : tail feathers blackish, but the two 
middle ones are wholly of a dull-green, and the outer edges of the rest, of the 
same colour, but all of them are blackish on the under side : the legs are red : the 
claws, blackish. 

White-headed Ibis (Tantalus Leucocephalus.) 

In size, it is much superior to our largest curlews. The bill is yellow, very long 
and thick at the base, and a little incurvated. The nostrils very narrow and 
placed near the head : all the fore part of the head is covered with a pure yellow, 
and seems a continuance of the bill, and the eyes are in a very singular manner 
placed very near its base. The rest of the head, and the plumage, are of a pure 

3 B 2 


white : a transverse broad band of black crosses the breast : the quill feathers 
and coverts of the wings are black : the coverts of the tail are very long-, and of a 
fine pink-colour. They hang over and conceal the tail. The legs and thighs are 
very long, and of a dull flesh-colour : the feet, semi-palmated or connected by 
webs, as far as the first joint. It makes a snapping noise, with its bill, like a 
stork, and its fine rosy feathers lose their brilliant colour during the rainy 

Black-headed Ibis (T. melanocephalus.) 

Maldivian Pratincole. 

Taken at open sea, in the latitude of Ceylon, and the Maldives. Nine inches long. 
Bill black : the head, and upper parts of the body, the colour of umber : under 
wing coverts, red-brown : throat white, surrounded with a black band, and each 
feather has a longitudinal black line : the quills and tail are black : the rump, 
belly, and vent white. 

The Frigate Pelican (Tachypetes.) 

Is found about the coasts, as well as the Pelicanus Onocrotalus of Linnaeus. 

White Albatross (Diomedea.) 

Green Wagtail (Motacilla viridis.) 

Four inches long : head, cinereous : neck, back and breast, pale green : wings 
and tail cinereous, edged with white : belly white. 

Pink Warbler (Sylvia Caryophyllacea.) 

Size of the willow wren. Bill reddish : general colour of the plumage, a pale 
pink : wings and tail inclined to dusky : legs, red. 

Green and Yellow Fig-eater (S. Zeylanica.) 

The Zosterops palpebrosus of Horsfield. 

Length, four inches and a half. Bill brown, plumage above changeable green : 
beneath the neck, orange : breast and belly, yellow. Var. (Erithina Atricapilla. 
Head black, upper parts olivaceous : breast and belly, yellow : tail tipped with white. 

Black-necked Warbler (S. nigvicollis.) 

Length, four and a half inches. Bill, a trifle bent, and of a bluish grey colour : 
crown and nape, black : back, green : beneath, wholly of a light yellow : wings, 
black, crossed with two bars of white, 

Tailor Warbler (S. sutorea.) 

This bird, says Pennant, is remarkable for its nest. It has a greater shyness 
than any other : it will not trust its nest even to the extremity of a slender twig, 
but makes one more advance to safety, by fixing it on the leaf itself. It picks up 
a dead leaf, and strange to relate, sews it to the side of a living one : its slender 
bill being its needle, and its thread some fine fibres ; the lining, feathers, gossamer 
and down. Its eggs are white : the colour of the bird light -yellow ; its length, 
three inches ; its weight only three-tenths of an ounce ; so that the materials of 
the nest, and its own size, are not likely to draw down a habitation that depends 
on so light a tenure. 

Cinnamon Warbler (S. cinnamon) ea.) 

Very like the red-tail. The upper parts of the body are hoary : the throat, 
black : breast, belly, and rump, crimson : the quills black : tail, black : the four 
middle feathers obliquely rufous on the sides. 

Olive coloured Warbler (S. olivacea.) 

Size of a hedge sparrow. Bill, whitish, beset with pale-yellow feathers ; the 
head, upper parts of the body, wings and tail olive : breast and belly, white. It 
jerks up the tail so high as to make an acute angle. 

Gaur Bunting (Emberiza Asiatica.) 

Olive Bunting (E. olivacea ) 

This species is scarce bigger than a wren, being only three-quarters of an inch 
long. The bill grey brown : the head and upper parts of" the body are olive-green : 
throat, orange ; fore part of the neck and upper part of the breast, black : the 
est of the under parts olive grey : quills, brown, edged with olive-green. 


Picas Ceylonensis. 

Forehead, with long sharp feathers, scarlet : chin and throat black. 
Red-winged Woodpecker (P. miniatus.) 

Commonly called the Carpenter, from the noise it makes in boring trees. The 
bill is of a dusky blue, the head of a deep dull red, and adorned with a long crest 
pointing backwards : on the chin, is a spot of yellow. The hind part of the neck, 
the back, the coverts and secondary feathers of the wings, are of the colour of 
red-lead. The fore part of the neck is of a rose colour : the belly, white. The 
quill feathers, black, marked with large white spots : the coverts of the tail, 
green : the tail consists of sharp pointed feathers, like the European kind, and is 
of a deep blue. 

Malacca Woodpecker (P. Malaccensis.) 

Lesser spotted, and another variety, (P. Minor.) 

Bill one inch in length, of a lead-colour. It has white spots on the head, and 
the upper part of the back is black, the under yellowish : throat and breast 
brown, irregularly spotted with white : tail brown. Kirella. Singh. 

Ceylon Finch ( Fringilla Zeylanica.) 

Small sized : bill and head black : the whole body yellow, inclining to green on 
the back : the under parts white and dusky : quills and tail dusky : the outer 
edges yellow. 

Green-rumped Finch (F. butyracea.) 

Bill, bluish : head, hind part of the neck, upper part of the back and tail 
black : cheeks, chin, and the rest of the under parts, light yellow : vent, yellow : 
wings black : on the coverts a white spot : lower part of the back and thighs 
green : legs, grey. 

Red-crowned Barbet (Bucco rubrocapillus.) 

Size of a goldfinch : length five and a half inches ; prime quills, dusky : breast, 
yellow : belly, white : tail, green : the exterior feathers dusky : legs pale red. 

Yellow-cheeked Barbet (B. Zeylanicus ) 

Same size as the last. Bill red : head and neck, pale brown : back, pale 
green : belly, pea green : tail, green : legs, pale yellow : the middle of each 
feather spotted with white. Kottoreya, Singh. 

Blue Barbet (B. Gerini.) 

Green Barbet (B. viridis.) 
Top of head and back of neck, olive green : body and wings green : paler beneath. 

Yellow-fronted Barbet (B. flavifrons.) 

Yellow Grosbeak (Loxia flavicans ) 

Baya of the Hindoos. Size of a canary bird. Bill, short and thick : head, neck, 
breast, belly and vent yellow ; top of the head the same, but paler : back, wings, 
and tail, greenish yellow : quills and tail margined with yellow : legs, pale. This 
bird which, in some respects, resembles our yellow-hammer, is remarkable for its 
pensile nest, and their curious position at the extremity of the branches of trees. 

Yellow-rumped Grosbeak (L. Hordacea.) 

Size of the white wagtail. Head, neck, and rump fulvous : temples white ; from 
thence to the bill, the breast, wings and tail black : shoulders, thighs : and tail 
feathers grey. 

Eastern Grosbeak (L. undulata.) 

Brown Grosbeak (L. fusca.) 

Size of a Canary bird. Bill, short, thick and of a lead colour : the head and 
upper parts of the body brown : lower, of a pale ash colour : quills, dusky black : 
tail the colour of the quills with palish ends : legs, pale. 

Ash-headed Grosbeak (L. Indica.) 
Malabar Grosbeak (L. Malabarica.) 

Size and shape of a tit-mouse. Bill, black : throat, white : body, Cinereous :. 
quills and tail black : vent, whitish. 

742 CEYLON. [part IV. 

Dwarf Grosbeak (L. minima.) 

Size of a wren : bill, short and thick : the upper parts of the quills, white at the 
base : secondaries, white on the inside towards the base : tail, even. 

Black Tanager (Tanagra atrata.) 

Size of a thrush : the colour of the plumage, wholly black, with a gloss of blue 
on the back : bill, and legs, black : is a Lamprotornis ? 

Ceylon Rail (Rallus Zeylanicus) 

Larger than the common rail : bill, red : head, dusky : neck, back and tail fer- 
ruginous : prime quills, black; fore part of the neck, breast and belly, reddish, 
clouded with brown : legs, red. 

Cape Rail (R. Capensis.) 

This bird is also found in Ceylon, and is nearly the size of the Crake gaUinule : 
head, neck, back and upper part of the breast, ferruginous : lower parts of the 
breast, belly, thighs, vent, quills and tail, undulated with black and white : two 
middle tail feathers ferruginous : legs, of a deep blood red. 

Boulboul Shrike (Lanius Boulboul.) 

Size of a field fare : bill, yellow, and crooked at the end : head, neck, back and 
tail, black : breast and belly, ash colour : legs, yellow. 

There is another variety. (L. Melanotus.) 

"Common Hoopoe" or Widow Bird. 

Is about twelve inches long, nineteen broad. Bill, black, slender and incur - 
vated : neck, a pale reddish brown : breast and belly, white, but in young birds 
marked with narrow dusky lines pointing down : back, scapulars and wings 
crossed with broad bars of white and black : rump white. The tail consists of 
only two feathers, white, marked with black, in the form of a crescent : the legs 
are short and black : this bird is said to have two or three broods in a year, and 
to lay the eggs in the holes of trees. It is a bird of passage. There are two 
species ; one of which the natives call Ratoo Pili Hora ; the other, Sudu Pili 
Hora, both are elegant little birds. 

Mango Bird or Golden Oriole. (O. melanocephalus.) 

So called, from its feeding on the fruit of that tree. 

Sun birds (Cinnyridse.) 

Ceylonese Starling. (Pastor.) 

Bill, black : head, pale yellow : breast, light grey, marked with oblong yellow- 
ish white spots : back and belly, grey, marked with white and dusky semicircular 
lines : quill feathers, dull green : tail, ban - ed with pea green and black : legs, 
bluish grey. Is said to whistle in a mocking way. 

Grand Lory (Psittacus Grandis.) 

The largest of all the Lorys, being thirteen inches long : bill, black : head and 
neck, a fine red : lower part of neck, near the back, violet blue : breast richly 
clouded with red, blue, violet and green : quills, and edge of the wing, from the 
shoulder, sky blue : rest of the plumage, a deep red : half of the tail, red, and the 
end yellow ; legs, ash-coloured. 

Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster.) 

And the greater Red Start, are both found here. 

Short-Tailed Pye. 

Approaching the size of a blackbird : bill, a brownish flesh-colour. Head par- 
tially black. Beneath from the throat to the tail, is a buff-colour, reddish near 
the vent : legs, reddish yellow : quills and tail, black. 

Grey-Tailed Roller (Irena vagabunda.) — Fairy Roller (I. puella.) 
— Indian Roller (I. Indiea.) 

Fasciated Couroucou (Trogon fasciatus.) 

This species is rare. Rantvan-kondea, Singh. Length, ten inches : bill, 
black, thick, strong and arched, the base, beset with bristles : the orbits, naked, 
'and of a deep blue : the irides, yellow : head and neck, of a deep dusky blue, 


fading- into a pale orange-colour. The back, is tawny : the coverts of the tail 
grey : the coverts of the wings and the scapulars elegantly barred with narrow 
undulated lines of black and white : the quill feathers dusky, striped with white, 
on their outward webs. The tail is very long, tipped with black, and composed 
of feathers of unequal lengths, the exterior being the shortest. The legs and feet, 
small and dusky, the toes disposed, two backwards, and two forwards ; as in the 
woodpecker tribe. 

Spotted Couroucou (T. maculatus.) 

Size of a nut-hatch. Bill, brown : neck, breast and belly, pale brown : edges 
of wings, white : tail, dusky ; barred with white. 

The Heme. — Brahmin Kite. —The Vulture. — Sparrow. — Fla- 
mingo (Phoenicopterus ruher.) — Crane. — Bomhay Goat-Sucker 
(Caprimulgus Asiaticus.) — Indian Plover (Charadrius Indicus.) — 
Indian Jacana (Parra Indica.) — Swallow (Hirundo esculenta.) — 
Ilaliaetus Pondiceriensis. — Bracbypterus Zeylonensis. — Gecinus chlo- 
rogaster. — Iora Zeylanica. — Zosterops palpebrosus. — Phyllonus. — 
Pycnonotus flaveolus. — P. Haemorrhous. — Tephrodornis Pondieeria- 
nus. — Dicrurus. — Campephaga Sykesii. — Pericrocotus flammeus. — 
P. peregrinus. — Praticola caprata. — Brachyurus. — Pomatorhina 
Horsfieldii. — Malacocercus striatus. — Anthus Malayensis. — Den- 
drophila. — Turtur duratensis. — Totanus glareola. — Ortygometra 
Zeylanica. — Porzana phcenicea — Tigrisoma. — Ardeola malaccensis. 
— Ardetta cinnamomea. — A. Sinensis. — Herodias intermedia. — 
Hydrophasianus sinensis. — Rhynchsea bengalensis. — Gallinula 
stenura. — Palseornis Alexandri. — P. torquatus. — P. Cyanocephalus. 
— Athene castanopterus. — Ninox Scutellatus. — Eurystoma orientalis. 
— Phcenicophaus viridirostris. — Centropus philippensis. — Gracula 
religiosa. — Acridotheres tristis. — Nectarinia Zeylanica. — Spoonbill. 

Dicrurus LeucopliEeus. 

Grey lead colour ; tail, long, forked, nine inches long. 


Seirfish, Cybium guttatum (Sora-malu, Singh), a species of Scomber. 

This is generally considered the finest flavoured of the finny race that swarm 
in tbese seas ; it has a good deal of the flavour of salmon ; its sole habitat is salt 
water, and its colour is white. 

Synanceia brachio is found in the seas round Ceylon. 

Kalandah (Singh.) 

A species of Gadus ; a Merlangus or whiting. 

Several species of the Pegasus, Linn. — Fistularia paradoxa. — 
Albicore or Thunny (Scomber Thynnus, Linn.) — Bonetta (S. 
Pelamis, Linn.) — Scad, Scomber Trachurus. — Mackarel, gen. Scom- 
beroidse. — Gadus carbonarius, Coal-fish. 

Pomfret Bull's eye (Holocentrus ruber) Ratoo Pahaya, Singh. 

Body, head, and fins bright red. Scales partially tinged with gold. Is found 
at certain seasons in abundance on the southern coast of Ceylon in deep water. 
It is greatly esteemed by the natives as an article of food, and reaches a consider- 
able size, frequently nearly two feet in length. The flesh white and solid. For 
splendour and beauty, tins fish is almost unsurpassed. 

Snook or Cape Salmon, Inguru Parawah (Scomber Heberi.) 
Body smooth and silvery, shot with gold, a tinge of grey (probably caused by 
the removal of the silver by the hands of the fishermen), graduated from the buck 


to the lateral line, which is much curved above the pectoral fin, and thence 
passes in a straight line, strongly serrated, to the centre of the caudal fin. Pec- 
toral tin elongated and curved: dorsal fin divided in two, with spines of various 
lengths : two" spines detached in front of the anal fin, the extremity of the upper 
division nearly black. Head large: shoulders high: eye, full and prominent. 
Fins different tinges of yellow. This fish is found in deep water, and is much 
esteemed. It frequently exceeds two feet in length. 
Sea Perch (Perca marina, Linn.) 
Bearded Ophidium (Ophidium barbatum, Linn.) 
Pampas (Stromateus Paru, Linn.) 
Swordfish (Xipbias Gladius, Linn.) 

Grows to the length of thirty feet. It is at perpetual enmity with the whale 
tribe, and a most dangerous enemy ; for it will sink beneath those monstrous 
animals and rising with great force, transfix them with its vast snout. There 
have been instances in which it has mistaken a ship for one of the cetaceous 
o-enus. An East Indiaman once had its bottom pierced through by a swordfish, 
and the weapon quite embedded to the very base in the timber. The fish was 
killed by the violence of the shock ; but had it been able to withdraw the sword, 
the vessel must have sunk in consequence of the leak. 

Gemmeous Dragonet (Callionymis Lyra, Linn.) — Kurtus (Kurtus 
Indicus, Linn.)— Dorado (Coryphsena Equisetis, Linn.) — Doree 
(Zeus Faber, Linn.) — Sole (Pleuronoctes Solea, Zmrc.)--Red or 
Sur mullet (Mullus barbatus, Linn.) — Striped Sur mullet (Mullus 
Surmuletus) . — Great Garfish (Esox osseus, Linn.) —Poisonous 
sprat (Clapea). — Rock Cod, several species — Skate (Raia Batis, 
Linn.) — Rays, great variety of — Sting Ray (Raia pastinaca, Linn.) 
—Sharks.— White Shark (Squalus Carcharias, Linn.) — Sawfish 
(S. Pristis, Linn.) Depta Mora, Singh. — Perca Pulchella (Holo- 
centrus diadema.) 

Tik-Girawe, Singh. (Labrus aureo-maculatus.) 

Body light brown, inclining to yellow, a white line vertically passing from the 
back to the commencement of the anal fin ; from this white division to the snout 
there are numerous black spots, those on the plates of the head surrounded by a 
circle of blue, and on the other side of the white division on the back there are 
three brilliant orange spots diminishing towards the caudal fin, which, with the 
anal and dorsal fins, are variously spotted with black, and marked with a yellow 
band on their extremities. It is a beautiful species, and thence called in Ceylon 
the spotted parrot. Lateral line very visible, bow-shaped, convexing under the 
sixteenth ray of the dorsal fin, and thence extending in a slightly curved line to 
the sixth or seventh ray of the caudal fin. Is rarely taken ; delights in rocky 
coverts ; seldom eaten by the natives, being at times held unwholesome. Attains 
sometimes the length of eighteen inches. 

Jul Potobara, Singh. (Tetrodon Ocellatus.) 

Body variously spotted : a large black mark at the base of the dorsal fin, sur-? 
rounded by stripes and dots, extending in regular elliptical forms toward the 
pectoral and caudal fins. The eye placed high, and distant from the mouth : 
small blue and pink stripes intermingled with spots on either side of the mouth 
and eyes. Xo ventral fin. Found in great abundance on the coasts. From a 
supposed resemblance of the colour of the belly to that of the rind of the " Jul," 
a fruit known to Europeans by the name of Wood Apple, when ripe, the natives 
have designated it accordingly. It seldom exceeds five or six inches in length, 
and is not eaten, being considered poisonous. 

Tik Kossah (Gerranus Tankervillse.) 

Body yellow, with longitudinal streaks of pale red. A large irregularly formed 
stain approaching to black, above the lateral line, and towards the caudal fin. 


Head of a dull purple hue, spotted with darker tones of purple. Fins, various 
shades of yellow, with reddish rays. This fish inhabits rocky spots, averages 
seventeen inches in length, and is firm fleshed and wholesome. 
Radiya (Chsetodon Tyrwhitti. ) 

Body yellowish on the upper part, graduating to a pale grey beneath ; fine 
perpendicular equi-distant dark stripes graduated below, dark spots intervening. 
Dorsal fin striated between each spine with grey or yelloAv, the upper parts 
terminating diagonally in bluish grey. Head of the prevailing grey, with a pink 
hue, and dark mark on the chief plate. Eye near the mouth : iris silvery, but 
remarkably dull. This fish inhabits rocky spots, rarely exceeds five inches in 
length, and is esteemed a wholesome food. Is occasionally found at a considerable 
distance from the mouths of fresh water rivei>, and beyond the influence of the tides. 
Panoo Girawe (Scams quinque fasciatus), or worm Parrot. 
Body dark purple, approaching to black, with five perpendicular light stripes ; 
three touching on the dorsal fin, the third also touches the anal fin, the other two 
near the caudal. The head beautifully variegated with pink, green and yellow 
interspersed with markings of black, somewhat representing a highly coloured 
map. Eye projecting, iris golden, surrounded by black, strongly marked on the 
upper part. This splendid fish has been known to reach the length of thirty 
inches ; its flesh is delicately white, firm, and wholesome. It derives its native 
name from a fancied resemblance of the vertical stripes of yellow and green on its 
body to a species of Palm worm. 

Laboo Girawe (S. Pepo-or Magrathii.) 

Body covered with scales, resembling a regularly mai'ked net or trellis-work of 
yellow, on a blue ground, graduating towards the under parts. Head yellow, 
with various forms and spots of blue. Eye brilliant ; iris golden ; caudal fin 
dark green, vertically tinged with reddish brown ; dorsal and anal fins reddish 
brown, bordered with dark green. Pectoral and ventral fins yellowish brown, 
the front rays green ; no spines. Laboo is the name of a species of gourd or 
pumpkin, to which the marks and colour of the fish have a resemblance. 

Balance Shark, or Hammer head (S. Zygsena, Linn.) — Zope 
(Squalus Galeus, Linn.) — Blue Shark (S. glaucus, Linn.) — 
Shagreen or basking shark (S. Maximus, Linn.) — Squalus malleus. 
Sea Dragon (Pegasus draconis, Cuv.) 
Sepelawah (Perca argentea.) 

Body silvery, back bluish, graduating towards the lateral line, which is strongly 
marked. Fins pale yellow ; the caudal singularly marked with fine black longi- 
tudinal stripes. The lower plate of the head marked with radii. The iris large, 
black, and brilliant. This fish inhabits the deep waters of the surrounding seas, 
and is found on the shores of Ceylon at certain seasons, when driven into shallow 
water by larger fishes of which it is the prey : it is then taken by the fishermen 
in large quantities within the shoal water of the coral banks. Rarely exceeds 
seven inches in length, and is excellent food. 

Lena Girawe or Squirrel Parrot (Scarus Georgii quarti.) 
Body green, with three longitudinal bright red lines, between which, on the 
green parts, are various irregularly placed touches of red ; the form of each scale 
on the green portions is defined by an edging of blue. The dorsal and anal fins 
have each a stripe of red passing between their stripes of green, and each ray of 
the caudal fin is touched with red at its base, and terminates in a tinge of yellow, 
between the predominating green. Head irregularly marked with bright red ; 
sharply defined. This, the most splendid of the Parrot fish, is found in rocky 
spots. About eighteen inches in length. Is not sought for food. Derives its 
Singhalese name from the three longitudinal stripes which distinguish the beautiful 
but common Lena or Squirrel of the Singhalese. 

Gini-Maha or Great Fire (Scorpsena volitans.) 

Pectoral fins Longer than the body; the colours stronger on the spinous rays 

746 CEYLON. [part IV. 

than on the others ; the connecting 1 membrane bluish and brown ; one spinous, 
bluish, spotted with white. Some say it is never used as food ; but the native 
fishermen maintain that it may be eaten, and that its flesh is white, solid, and 
nutritive. Linnaeus describes the flesh as delicious ; but he is, perhaps, in error 
hi his opinion that it possesses the power of flying', the pectoral fins not appearing 1 
sufficiently united or proportioned to the body to admit of volitation. 

Seweya (Acanthurus vittatus.) 

Body striated. This fish is scarce on the southern coast, inhabiting rocky loca- 
lities ; not in request as an article of food. Seldom exceeds sixteen or seventeen 
inches in length, and is well armed near the caudal fin with a sharp curved 
spine, which it raises or depresses at pleasure, but seldom exhibits except excited 
or enraged. When depressed it is scarcely visible within its scabbard, which in 
appearance resembles a recent incision in the body of the animal. Specimens vary 
in the arrangement of the blue and yellow streaks near the caudal fin. 

Koppra Girawe (Gomphosus fuscus, or Porpus Parrot Fish.) 
Body brown. Gills, dorsal and anal fins brownish red. This fish "inhabits 
rocky situations. The Singhalese sometimes eat it ; but it is not nutritious. 

Kola Handah or Leaf Moon (Chsetodon vespertilio.) 
Dorsal and anal fins broad. Caudal fin with a brown band. Head without 
scales, iris golden, mouth small, lips thick, lateral line arched. This fish is occa- 
sionally found in rocky spots, but generally in deep water. It attains a large 
size, and derives its native name from the resemblance it bears in the dorsal fin 
to the leaf of a marine plant, and in the shape of the body to that of the moon. 
Is considered unwholesome by the natives, from its partiality for copperas and 
other food. 

Pookoorowah (Holocentrus Argenteus.) 

Body silvery, with reddish brown longitudinal lines. Pectoral, ventral, and anal 
fins yellow, tinged with red. Dorsal fin neutral tint. Caudal fin, dark indigo, 
inclining to black. This is a very delicious fish, seldom exceeding twelve or 
thirteen inches in length, and is fond of rocky situations. 

Gal-Lellah or Stone Plank (Chsetodon vagabundus.) 
Body striate, snout cylindrical. Body pale yellow, with brownish purple lines ; 
above the eyes a black band ; another at the end of the trunk ; and a third 
through the middle of the tail. Scales of the body large ; of the head small. 
Flesh good. Inhabits rocky situations ; about twelve or thirteen inches long ; is 
eaten by the natives. In some specimens the purple lines on the body are 
straight ; in others, nearly so, or partially curved. 

Kaha Bart iky ah (C. Brownriggii.) 

Tail entire. Body and fins yellow ; above the lateral line bright, small. Body, 
beneath the lateral line, and fins, yellow ; a deep black spot at the extremity of 
the dorsal fin. Lateral line marked by the termination of the yellow and bright 
blue of the body. From its. small size — not exceeding two inches in length — not 

Ratoo Gini Maha, Great Red Fire (Scorpsena miles.) 
Spines round the eyes and partially on the lateral line near the head. Head 
large, with six cirri on the gills. Pectoral fin with large irregular black spots. 
Ventral, anal, dorsal, and caudal fins with small black spots. Inhabits rocky 
situations, and is described as a most voracious animal. The Singhalese fisher- 
men vary in opinion with respect to its fitness for food. The S. miles, besides 
its colour, differs from S. volitans in the length of the pectoral fins, which in the 
former are not so long as the body, in the cirri on the top of the head, and in the 
formation of the membranes of the pectoral fins, which though in this animal 
they are more united, are certainly not sufficiently proportioned to the body to 
admit of volitation. 


Ratoo-polobarab, or Mol-Kolah, Rice pounder (Balistes aculeatus) 
— B. viridis. 

First dorsal fin three-rayed. Tail entire, with two rows of recumbent spines 
at its base, three in each row. Ventral spine strong-toothed. Fins short, first 
dorsal, very broad, and serrate forwards. Frequents rocky spots. Is eaten 
by the natives ; but from its insignificance, and its almost impenetrable skin, is 
not sought after by the fishermen. This fish seldom exceeds ten inches in length, 
and when that size, the green colour of the body gives place to a darker hue, 
and the fine orange of its lines and fins become of a dusky yellow. 

Kara-Hamoowah (Acanthurus hirudo.) 

Body strongly marked with five black stripes, three of them resembling leeches. 
Lateral line much curved, and armed near the caudal fin with a sharp spine. 
Inhabits rocky situations. Seldom exceeds twelve inches in length, and is esteemed 
wholesome by the Singhalese. The sharp spine, horizontally situated near the 
caudal fin, and pointing towards the head of the animal, can be raised or 
depressed at pleasure ; but when recumbent, is scarcely visible to the naked eye. 

Mal-Girawe (Sparus Ilardwickii.) 

The body marked with six perpendicular dark stripes intersected with horizon- 
tal lines of purple, green, red, yellow, blue and grey, in gaudy colours. The 
head is variegated with red and green marks, radiating from the eye. The Mal- 
Girawe owes its name to the brilliant variety of its colours, mal signifying flower. 
This fish, though not sought after by the fishermen, is not objected to as food. It 
seldom exceeds fourteen inches in length , and loves rocky situations. 

Dewi Boraloowah (Bodianus Cuvieri.) 

The body marked with strong brown longitudinal lines ; the head, back, and 
tail, bright yellow, alternating with the brown stripes of the body. This is a 
wholesome, but very scarce fish, inhabiting rocky situations on the southern coast 
of Ceylon. Seldom exceeds eighteen inches in length. 

Hembili Girawe, Basket Parrot (Sparus decussatus.) 

The back green, gradually softening into a yellow tinge towards the lower fins ; 
the body regularly marked, like wicker-work, by graduated purple and grey tints. 
The head, green, ornamented with orange-coloured stripes and spots. The fins 
and tail yellow. The Hembili-Girawe derives its name from a sort of pouch or 
basket, in which the natives carry their betel leaf, chunam (shell lime) tobacco, 
and areka-nut, called Hembili ; Girawe, the Singhalese name for parrot, is a term 
indiscriminately applied by the natives to a variety of splendid fishes with which 
the coast of Ceylon abounds. This fish is edible, but not sought after for that 
purpose. It inhabits rocky situations, and seldom exceeds fourteen or fifteen 
inches in length. 

Ankatilla (Balistes biaculeatus.) 

Body silvery throughout. The fins of a dull yellow, except the first dorsal, 
which is black towards the base. Lateral line from the head to near the ex- 
tremity of the dorsal fin, arched. This fish derives its specific name from the pe- 
culiar structure of the ventral fin. It is found principally on the northern coast. 
The outer skin is without scales and very tough. This fish seldom exceeds twelve 
or thirteen inches in length, and is considered wholesome food. 

Ratoo-Girawe (Labrus formosus.) 

Body grey, irregularly marked with circular black spots. Head bright yellow, 
intersected by two beautiful diagonal lines of blue, verging towards sea-green, one 
of which ranges with the eye. The first dorsal spine twice the length of the fin, 
and of a bright red colour, which passes through the extremity of the fin, above 
and through the centre of which passes a greenish blue line ; the caudal fin is 
curiously adapted, having its radii circular at the base, and alternately ornamented 
with circular black dots ; rather more than half of the fin is bright red, the re- 
mainder semi-transparent white, inclining to a very pale yellow. Lateral line 
very visible, convexing towards the head and also under the fifteenth ray, from 


the termination of which it proceeds in a direct line to the centre of the caudal 
fin. This fish is one of the most heautiful of its species. It is scarce, and not 
sought for as food. Its flesh is firm, white, and nutritious. It is generally found 
in rocky situations, and has heen known to reach twenty-four inches. 

Gal-Handah (Chsetodon araneus.) 

Body very obtuse, perpendicularly striped with dark grey, approaching to 
black ; the first stripe taking .part of the dorsal fin, the shoulder, and the eye ; 
the second about one-third of the centre of the dorsal fin, stretching forward to the 
pectoral, and terminating with the ventral fin ; the third stripe takes a portion of 
the dorsal fin, crossing the body and terminating with the anal fin : the caudal 
fin is coloured like the stripes, the intervals are white, tinged with blue. The 
iris silvery. Lateral line very visible and arched, convexing towards the eye. 
This is a singular and much admired fish. Found among rocks, where it can 
escape from larger fish of prey. Flesh delicate and white, and much esteemed. 
About three inches in length. 

Nil Talapat-Girawe (Gomphosus viridis.) 

Body dark green. Snout elongated. The pectoral fin marked with a black 
streak ; the other fins of a paler green than the body. Eyes rather dim ; iris 
golden. This fish is very scarce on the southern coasts. It is found in rocky 
situations, but is not sought after by the fishermen as an article of food. The 
dorsal fin of this fish is thought to resemble the young leaf of the talapat tree when 

Green Talapat Parrot Fish. 

Remarkable for losing its green colour after exceeding ten or twelve inches. 

Dewi Koraleyah, Singh. (Chsetodon Atro-maculatus. ) 

Body silvery, apparently shot with a lilac and pink hue above the lateral line, 
and irregularly marked with black spots of various forms. The fins remarkably- 
prominent, and with radii strongly indicated ; the spines on the dorsal and lower 
fins very powerful ; the pectoral fin pale yellow. The general appearance inele- 
gant and formidable. Lateral line very visible, and arched. This fish is found 
on rocky situations near the mouths of rivers, and as high as the tide flows. Its 
flesh partakes of the flavour of trout, and is much esteemed. It is found wherever 
the sea-weed, called by the Singhelese " Pendah," grows, of which it is particu- 
larly fond, and with this weed anglers bait their hooks for it. 

Kaha Laweyah, Singh. (Perca flavo-purpurea.) 

Body, from the eye to the dorsal and anal fins, purple ; gradually lighter towards 
the latter part: the remainder of the body, and all the fins, bright yellow ; the upper 
part and lower extremity of the caudal fin touched with an irregular black spot ; 
the ventral has also a large and a smaller spot in conformity with the caudal fin. 
The iris of the eye is golden. The teeth are numerous. The general appearance 
of this fish is spendid and graceful. Is principally found on the eastern coast. 
Its flesh is considered excellent. It inhabits rocky situations, and is found only 
in deep water. 

Pol Kitchyah, Singh. lAnthias Clarkii.) 

Body dark purple, approaching to black, divided by three white streaks ; the 
first curves from the front of the dorsal fin near the eye, and terminates on the 
lower plate ; the second streak crosses the body from about the middle of the 
dorsal to the front spine of the anal fin ; the third streak curves inwards from the 
outer rays of the caudal fin. Part of the head, the body between the pectoral 
and ventral fins, and the caudal fin are bright yellow, tinged with orange ; dorsal 
and anal fins, purple. Mouth situated high ; iris, golden. This fish is scarce ; 
its name is derived from the beautiful Java sparrow. It is rarely more than four 
inches long, and is good, firm, and wholesome. 

There is also a Balistes, the kangewena of the Singhalese, with one 
horn on the forehead ; it grows to the length of tw T o feet, and is 
esteemed good eating. — Balistes maculosus, or Pottoe bora elegantly 
spotted, also a good fish, grows to the length of fifteen inches. — 


Balistes truncatus, seemingly cut in two, like our Mola. — A Diodon, 
a singular species, armed with strong short spines. The Ikon 
Toetomba, or box fish of the Malayans. — Among the fresh-water 
fish are the Cat fish (angoloowa, Singh.) ; the Eel, Barbet, Grey 
mullet, and the Mud fish, of the Perca genus 

Dschirau-Malu (Labrus Ze, lauicus.) 

The Ceylon wrasse. This species resembles in form (he elegant European 
species, the L. Pavo and L. Julis. The head is blue ; the coverts of the gills green, 
marked with purple lines ; the whole body of a rich green, the dorsal and anal 
fins purple, edged with pale sky-blue ; on the middle of the pectoral fin is an ob- 
long purple spot, environed with light blue : the tail is lineated ; the base blue : 
the two side rays purple : the intervening rays yellow. The size about a foot and 
a half. Is eaten by the natives. 


The Ophidia of Ceylon are numerous. Nos. I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 
8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 21, 23, are said by the Singhalese to be 
venomous ; the rest are harmless. Noya, Naga, or hooded snake ; 
Cobra di Capello. 

This snake, though of the deadliest and largest, frequently attaining to six feet 
in length, is much venerated by the Singhalese, being thought to have an amiable 
disposition as regards mankind. It varies much in colour, those of a light hue 
are called high caste, and those of a dark, low caste snakes; and was formerly an 
object of worship. Accordingly it is never killed like the other species, which are 
gibbeted on branches of trees. The Nagas inhabiting the western coast of Ceylon, 
and converted by Gautama, were probably worshippers of this snake. The bite of 
the hooded snake is not necessarily fatal to other animals, fowls for instance ; and 
in its effect varies a good deal, according to circumstances not easy to calculate ; 
the poison is capable of being soon exhausted, the symptoms produced by it, 
though not uniformly the same, pretty generally correspond, and along with the 
appearances on dissection indicate that the lungs are the principal scene of action. 
In four experiments with fowls, by Dr. Davy, three, where the animals were seve- 
rally bitten on the left pectoral muscle, breast, and thigh, were fatal ; and one, 
where a cock was bitten on the comb, harmless. Three experiments on do°s 
all proved innocuous. For a detailed account, see Davy. 

Berawa Naga. — Koboe Naga is said by the Singhalese to be the 
Naga (Cobra di Capello, or Coluber Naja, Linn.) 

In its last stage, and that every time it has expended its poison, the reptile loses 
a joint of its tail, until it changes its nature, and assumes wings like the pectoral 
fins of the Hying fish, at which time the head and mouth resemble the toad's. This 
transformation is credited by the most intelligent of the natives. With the ex- 
ception of the various species of Nagas, and the Tik polonga, the bite of no other 
snake in Ceylon is known to be positively fatal to man, and recovery follows in 
the case of the former as often as death. The poison of each kind of snake beinf 
peculiar, requires a different mode of treatment ; a circumstance not always kept 
in view. 

Soeloe Naga.— Deput Naga, Dia Naga according to the Sing- 
halese, is amphibious, living six months in water, during whichperiod 
it is venomous ; and for six months on land, when it is entirely harm- 
less.— Polonga. -Lee Polonga. — Nidi Polonga; mortiferous sleep is 
said to follow the bite of this snake. — Pala Polonga. 

The Tik Polonga,' 

1 A legend illustrative of the contrast which exists between the dispositions of 
the Cobra and the Tik-polonga, the former of which is considered a benevolent, the 


Is difficult of procural, and is perhaps the most dangerous snake in the island. 
"When full grown it is from four to five feet long, and very thick in proportion. 
The head is small, and nearly triangular ; the tail tapering, round, and short. 
The colour of the upper surface is a dark, dull brownish grey ; of the under, light 
yellow. The belly is not spotted, but the back is regularly marked. In some 
specimens the marks are oval ; and in some more pointed, and rather trapezoidal ; 
in others, surrounded with a white margin ; in a fourth, lightest in the middle. 
This snake is rather indolent and inactive. It is averse to attack, lies coiled up, 
and when irritated, hisses furiously, and darts forward. The difference between 
a harmless and poisonous snake may be said to consist in the former being pro- 
vided with a double row of teeth, and the other with a single row and two fangs, 
each of which is perforated with a canal ; that at the base of the tooth communi- 
cates with the poison-duct from the poison-gland, and terminates in a longitudinal 
opening, just below the point of the fang, which is solid. The action of the poison 
of this snake is peculiar, judging from the symptoms, and the appearances on dis- 
section, it seems to affect the blood and muscular system principally, tending to 
coagulate the former, and convulse and paralyse the latter. In six experiments, 
in each of which the bite affected a different member, it proved almost immediately 

Pimbera or anaconda, is of the genus Python, Cuv., and is known 
in English as the rock snake. 

This snake has been known to attain twenty-five feet in length, and the thick- 
ness of a man. It twines round its prey like the boa, but is not much dreaded by 
the natives, as it seldom seizes any animal larger than a jackal. A couple of 
horny processes, in form and curvature not unlike the spurs of a common fowl, 
penetrate the skin, and project a little anterior to the anus ; in this it differs from 
the genus Coluber, which it resembles in abdominal scuta and subcaudal squamae. 
These horny spurs are useful to the animal in climbing trees and retaining its 
prey. They vary slightly in colour, but are generally a mixture of brown, and 
yellow ; the back and sides are strongly and rather handsomely marked with irre- 
gular patches of dark brown, with very dark margins. The jaws are powerful, 

latter a malevolent being, runs as follows : — " In the isle of Serendib there is a happy 
valley, that men call the vale of Kotmale. It is watered by numerous streams, 
and its fields produce rice in abundance ; but at one season great drought prevails, 
and the mountain torrents then cease their constant roar, and subside into rivulets, 
or altogether disappear. At this period when the rays of the noontide sun beat 
fiercely and hotly on the parched earth, a tik-polonga encountered a cobra di 
capello. The polonga had in vain sought to quench his burning thirst, and gazed 
with envy on the cobra, who had been more successful in his search for the pure 
beverage. ' Oh ! puissant cobra, I perish with thirst ; tell me where I may find 
the stream wherein thou hast revelled.' ' Accursed polonga,' replied the cobra, 
' thou cumberest the earth, wherefore should I add to the span of thy vile existence. 
Lo, near to this flows a mountain rill, but an only child is disporting herself 
therein, while her mother watches the offspring of her heart. Wilt thou then 
swear not to injure the infant, if I impart to thee where thou mayest cool thy 
parched tongue.' ' I swear by all the gods of Serendib,' rejoined the polonga, 
' that I will not harm the infant.' ' Thou seest yonder hamlet ; in front of it 
gushes forth a spring of water, that abates not during the intensity of the summer 
heat.' The polonga wended his way to the spot, and there beheld a dark-eyed 
girl bathing in the rushing waters. Having quaffed the delicious liquid, he re- 
pented him of his oath touching the infant. His evil soul prompted him to kill her, 
and as she lay beneath the shade of a leafy tamarind tree, he approached and in- 
flicted a mortal wound. As he retired from his dying victim, he again met the 
cobra, who seeing blood on his fangs, and perceiving the cause, thus addressed 
him. ' Hast thou forgotten the sacred oath thou swearest unto me ? The blood of 
thy victim cries for vengeance. Thou shalt surely die.' And darting his fan°-s 
into the body of the polonga, he slew him instantly." 


and capable of great dilatation, and they are armed with large, strong- sharp teeth, 
reclining backwards. As the muscular strength of this snake is immense, and its 
activity and courage great, it has been known to attack man : deer it overpowers, 
and swallows entire. The natives have the most absurd notions respecting it ; hold 
that when young it was a polonga, and had poisonous fangs, but at a certain age it 
loses them, acquires spurs, and becomes a pimbera. Its spurs they suppose poisonous, 
and that the animal uses them in striking- its prey. Parturition they believe to be 
fatal to the female, owing to the bursting- of the abdomen, and that hence the 
males avoid them, and choose female nag-as. 

Ahedoella. The movements of this snake are rapid, and from 
its power of springing, it is called a flying snake. 

Mapilla. The Karawilla 

Is, after the hooded snake, the most common of the poisonous kind in Ceylon. 
It averages a foot in leng-th, the back is of a dull, reddish brown colour : belly, a 
silvery white, greyish towards the tail. On each side, between the ridg-e of the 
back and the boundary line, between the back and the belly, there are two rows 
of black velvety spots. The head is nearly triangular and is compressed, darker 
than the body, and free from spots. The jaws are very dilatable. The fang teeth, 
long-, slender, and sharp. It lies coiled up, its head projecting at right angles 
nearly to its body. When provoked, it hisses, darts its head with great rapidity, 
at the irritating object, and wounds almost to a certainty. It is active, and when 
frightened, and anxious to escape, moves with great rapidity. From experiments, 
it would appear that the bite of the Karawilla is rarely fatal to small animals ; 
that its poison is not easily exhausted ; that the symptoms it produces are pretty 
uniform, and different from those produced by the naga, the diseased action 
being more local and much more inflammatory, commencing- in the part bitten, 
spreading progressively, losing its force as it extends, and seldom or never proving 
fatal except it reaches a vital organ. In the experiments made by Dr. Davy, 
dogs bitten by it, though suffering intense pain, much swollen in the affected part, 
and discharging an ichorous fluid, recovered in a few days, and of three fowls 
bitten, two recovered. 

Pala Panoowa. — Dia Berya. — Garrendiya (rat snake). — Ahare 
Kocka. — Wal-Garwendiya. — Doenoo-Karawilla — Mai Karawilla. — 
Tib-Karawilla. — Kan-Koenda. — Galgoloowah — Hotambeyah. — 
Etetullah. — Mai Karabeta. — Mai Polon. — Matribilla. — Duberriya. 

Boodroo Pam of Russell, 

Is extremely rare, and has no native name. When full grown, it exceeds 
two feet in length, the head is large, and irregularly heart-shaped, neck small, 
body thin, sides compressed, and tail abrupt and tapering. It has two large 
cavities, one on each side, between the eye and the nostril, the diameter of each 
of which is about the tenth of an inch. Its lower surface is yellow variegated 
with green ; its upper, bright apple green. This colour is confined to the scales ; 
the cutis beneath is black, consequently where the scales are close, black is ex- 
cluded, and where they do not completely overlap, the green is shaded with 
black. Above the upper jaw is a line of black scales, and a few appear along the 
ridge of the back. 

It frequently happens that the traveller in crossing or proceeding along the 
rivers of Ceylon, discovers bags of matting tied at the mouth, and floating with 
the stream ; these should be opened with caution, as they generally contain a 
naga or sacred snake, that some superstitious Buddhist has cast upon the waters, 
with a stock of provisions, consisting of boiled eggs and rice, on a similar principle, 
to that execrable practice of the Romish Church, in the case of recreant nuns, 
who, walled up with a portion of bread, were doomed to as sure, though fingering 
a death, as if the demon superior had, with her own hands, perpetrated the murder. 
In like manner the Buddhists, while objecting from religious or superstitious 
motives to kill the naga, deem it no oft'ence to send it upon an aquatic cruise 
without a possibility of escape from its covert, conscious that, in the event of 


meeting with Europeans, it will be taken up and dispatched prior to being de- 
posited in their cabinets. 

The Ichneumon or Mongoose, mentioned in due order in p. 734. 
(Goodoowa, Singh.) Herpestes, sp. 

Is the mortal enemy of all venomous snakes, which it is supposed to distinguish 
from harmless ones by the pupil of the eye. It resembles the common ferret in 
shape and size, and when young, its fur is of a pencil grey, which changes in 
time to an iron grey, tipped at the extremities with brown. The eyes are of a 
bright flame-colour, ears small and rounded, nose long and slender, body thicker 
than others of the genus : tail very thick at the base, tapering to a point; legs, 
short ; the hair hard and coarse. If placed in a room with closed doors, the 
snake, when perceiving its antagonist, will be as sensible of its power in that case, 
as the mongoose will be aware of its inability to oppose it, and while the one 
expands its hood, and rapidly darts backwards and forwards its forked tongue in 
its excitement, the other will exhibit its sense of danger, and will endeavour to 
escape. But remove both of the belligerents into a compound, and after taking 
precautions to prevent the escape of the snake, you will suddenly see the altered 
position of affairs. The mongoose first hastening away for a moment to furnish 
itself with the antidote which instinct has revealed to it, quickly returns, and 
boldly prepares itself for the contest. After several detours, it will gradually 
near its opponent, which is fixedly watching it, as if under the influence of the 
same fascination which, in its own turn, it has pi-oduced in other animals. On a 
sudden the mongoose may be seen crouching with its nose close to the ground, 
and having watched his opportunity, springs forward, and in a second has 
fastened his teeth in the back of the cobra's neck, which is never itself the 
assailant. The huge reptile twisting itself in every direction, fruitlessly endea- 
vours to encircle the mongoose in its folds, and lashes its tail against the ground ; 
the snake now begins to shew signs of exhaustion, whilst its little foe bravely 
retains its hold, till, at length, the overpowered monster, after receiving a final 
hug, is relinquished when life has become extinct. The mongoose, though gene- 
rally uninjured by the contest, on quitting the snake, will again repair to its vege- 
table antidote. The name, and even the properties of this plant are unknown. 
Thus some maintain that it is the Ophiorhiza Mungos, Linn. (Mendi. Singh.), 
because almost every part of the tree is employed by the native doctors in healing 
snake bites ; others have it, that it is the Ophioxylon serpentinum, which is every 
where abundant. Others, that it is a variety of Mimosa octandra or sensitiva 
(nakulishta or desired of Ichneumons, Singh.) Both these plants are of the Eka- 
wariya family of the Singhalese botanists, though the stems of each differ in theit 

It has also been affirmed, that the root and leaf of the Eupatorium Ayapana have 
been used by the mongoose, and that a pan of hot water, in which a decoction of 
its aromatic leaves was infused, along with the imbibing a similar liquid, has cured 
a native whose wounded leg was suspended over it. A yet more insignificant 
animal than the mongoose, is capable of destroying the Cobra di Capello, which may 
be kept alive for years upon eggs, frogs, and mice. Thus instances have occurred, 
where live mice have been placed along with a live snake, to serve as food, at the 
pleasure of the reptile, but the result has been the reverse ; for instinct, having 
taught the little animals that the only means of preserving their own lives was by 
anticipating then- enemy, they have effected it by eating its eyes, and depriving 
it of sight, from which it could not survive, while they remained uninjured. 

The pretended snake charmers or samp-wallahs are Hindoos, who provoke the 
Cobra to bite at red rags, by which means it expends its venom, or lull it, by play- 
ing the Horanawa or country pipe, while another beats with his right hand upon the 
Oodikea, or by singing, or stroking it, though it can be only temporarily innocuous, 
for so long as the cylindrical fangs and poison ducts remain perfect, its power to 
inflict mischief will be restored by a reaccumulation of the venom. Great caution 
is required in purchasing a Cobra di Capello from itinerant snake charmers, for no 
reliance can be put on their profession of the harmlessness of the reptiles, for their 


calling being deceptive, and dependent on the gullibility of their audience, so is also 
their mode of dealing ; for they have been known to deceive, in more than one 
instance, to the great risk of the deceived purchaser. The purchaser should see 
that the fangs and poison ducts have been extracted. They are carried about in 
circular baskets, and when these are opened for the occasion of display, the musio, 
or rather discord, is quickened ; the snakes move about the space allotted to them 
with part of their bodies erect, and the rest of their lengths coiled, but their hoods 
expand and their forked tongues continually project and retract. The snakes are 
irritated to strike at the charmer's arms and knees, and blood flows, but he avoids, 
with great agility, the attacks of the animal when really enraged, after which he 
takes the reptiles by the neck, and holds their mouths close to his forehead, in 
which position they are perfectly harmless, and he declares they are innocuous or 
kutcha. In point of fact, the Samp- wallah saturates his hands and face with a 
vegetable juice, to which the snakes are repugnant, while his confidence, courage 
and acquaintance with the disposition of the snake, which he knows to be averse to 
use the fatal weapon nature has given it for its defence, except in extreme danger, 
and never to bite without much preparatory threatening, inspire in him a feeling of 
security. Eau de Luce, has been successfully used in healing the bite of the Cobra 
in various stages of the patient's sufferings, but it should be administered at an 
early period after the bite ; thus, in two cases, where persons had been in strong 
convulsions, and had lost the use of their speech, foaming at the mouth in a dread- 
ful manner, a mixture of nitric and muriatic acid dropped and rubbed into the 
punctures, made by the snake's fangs, and fifty drops of Eau de Luce, in a little 
water, proved efficacious, and they recovered in a few hours. Oil has been of use 
both when applied externally or internally. Sometimes a bite will almost imme- 
diately produce fatal effects, even in half an hour the face will become so disfi- 
gured as not to appear human, the mouth covered with saliva, and the part bitten, 
swollen to a monstrous size. Snakes, though comparatively abundant in certain 
localities, are seldom encountered by man, probably from a desire to shun his path, 
like all animals ; the Polonga is the least active in removing from his approach, 
while its poison is most deadly. Sometimes they will be found in unoccupied 
houses, when they are frequently difficult to remove. In the Mahagamapattoo 
they are scarce, it is said, owing to their being destroyed by the pea fowl, with 
which the plains and trees abound, and which are partial to them as food. The 
groundless fear which some strangers first entertain on reaching Ceylon is soon 
dissipated, and they finally cease to think of them. 

Thunberg describes the serpent-stone as an infallible antidote against the bite 
of serpents, but according to Dr. Davy, a large degree of qualification must be 
applied to this remark. It is manufactured by the natives, and is, generally, of 
the shape of a bean. It is prepared from the ashes of some root which is burnt, 
and from a particular sort of earth. These two ingredients being mixed together, 
are burnt a second time, and reduced to a paste, which is then moulded into the 
required form, and dried. All have not the same colour, the over burnt being of 
a lighter, and the under burnt of a darker grey : frequently they are variegated 
with black and grey spots. The stone is pierced through with fine holes, and 
is so brittle, that it will break in pieces if it falls. One of these stones is placed 
upon the wound of one bitten by a serpent, over which it is bound tight, and left 
there till all its pores are filled with the expressed poison. In this case it is said 
to drop off of its own accord, like a glutted leech, and if it be then steeped in 
sweet milk, the poison is supposed to be extracted from it, or, otherwise, the stone 
is applied fresh to the wound. Great virtue is attributed to this stone in malignant 
and even putrid fevers, if a small quantity scraped fine is taken in wine. 
Counterfeit serpent stones are frequently made in imitation of real ones, and 
possess no virtue, the true ones may be known by their fastening to the palate 
and forehead, when a man is warm, and by their emitting small bubbles when 
put into water. According to Dr. Davy, there are three different lands of these 
stones, one of partially burnt bone, another of chalk, and the third resembles a 
bezoar, consisting chiefly of vegetable matter. 

Ceylon crocodile (Crocodilus porosus.) Kimbolah, Singh. (Kay- 
man, Portuguese.) 

Is a very sluggish animal. They are caught in nets by the natives, as well as 

3 c 

754 CEYLON. [part. IV. 

in traps, and with baited hooks. The first is the best sport ; for when dragged on 
land, they offer aim for the gun or spear. The crocodile possesses great strength, 
and is alike dreaded by men and animals. It has been occasionally caught in the 
jungles, which it passes on its way to the rivers, when the tanks become dry. 

Natives have been seized when bathing, by crocodiles, and swallowed whole, 
and when the animal has been captured 1 and opened, the putrified body has been 
discovered within. Frequently, however, they will carry off their prey, and after 
life lias departed, deposit it and repose beside it, hi some dark and caverned 

1 Crocodiles are frequently caught in kraals, composed of strong and high 
stakes. These animals are to be found in every small piece of water, in those flat 
districts, in which the population is scanty. In the mountainous regions they are 
seldom seen, but where they abound it is dangerous for a person to rest, as they 
have been known to eye a person in the water, and crawling up the bank, cany 
him off, while asleep, from fatigue. An instance has been known where a man, 
crossing a river in a small canoe, has been seized and dragged underneath the 
water by a crocodile. They destroy great numbers of deer, young cattle, and 
animals of all kinds, which come to drink, or he down to cool themselves in the 
rivers and ponds. In hunting or coursing, it is advisable to ride well up with the 
dogs, and fire on approaching water, as otherwise the dogs run a great risk of 
being seized ; in fact, this is so common an occurrence, that the pleasure of hunt- 
ing is greatly diminished, and the difficulty of preserving good dogs increased. 
Crocodile charmers, from their acquaintance with the habits of the animal, are 
always successful in conducting a party through deep water, without accident. 
The party being assembled on the bank, wait, while the incantations which are 
accompanied by a splashing of water, are in progress, and on receiving an intima- 
tion that the crocodiles are effectually muzzled, rush in together, taking care to 
create a sufficient disturbance to frighten the cowardly, slothful reptiles, and im- 
parting no less safety than confidence in their prowess. From the manner in 
which the natives of Putlam, and some other places, venture into water where 
crocodiles abound and drag them to the bank by means of a strong net, it may be 
inferred that they are neither active nor courageous. This is an extraordinary and 
interesting sight, but it is not without surprise and anxiety that the stranger, after 
noticing the movements of several crocodiles, sees the net arranged, and the 
hunters, generally Moormen, wade up to their necks in the water, and form a 
semicircular line round the spot where the animals had been last observed, which, 
on perceiving the unusual commotion, instinctively lower their heads beneath 
the surface. Those engaged in dragging the net move their legs rapidly, while 
others keep striking on the surface of the water with poles, the space within the 
net being gradually contracted, till the crocodiles are landed, when the party on 
the bank, armed with spears and guns, commences the work of destruction. The 
most vulnerable part of a crocodile is, that part of the body which is left exposed 
when the reptile moves its fore legs, but the spear should be so formed as to be 
easily extracted, with a view to striking a deadlier blow, in case the first should 
have been futile. The persons employed in dragging (though inside the net) or 
beating up the game, manifest no appearance of fear, and make no great exertion 
to get out of the way, when the reptiles plunge and attempt to regain a deep 
cover, which they will do on finding themselves in shallow water, and closely 
surrounded. " The best way of destroying crocodiles is," says Forbes, " by means 
of hooks, baited with flesh, attached to a strong cord not hard twisted, but com- 
posed of many small strings which get between the wide set teeth of the animal, 
and cannot then be gnawed ; a block of wood to which the lines are attached, 
serves as a float, and points out the place to which the crocodile has retired after 
swallowing the bait. An attendant having laid hold of this float pulls very gently, 
until the animal's head appears above water ; then a shot, directed between the 
head and neck, breaks the spine, and renders the creature powerless ; after which 
it is dragged ashore, and the tackling recovered. In this manner, several hun- 
dreds have been killed, by a sportsman, in the course of a year, in one district. 
Although the hard and irregular surface of a crocodile's skin is apt to cause a ball 
to glance off, yet there is no part of one that would resist an ordinary sized ball if 
properly directed." — Pp. 274-5. 


channel, until they can devour it piecemeal. The Ceylon crocodile differs greatly 
from the Lacerta Gangetica, the head being long and flat towards the extremity 
of the jaws, the eyes very small, and so placed within their orbits, that the outer 
part when shut, is not above an inch and a half in length, and parallel with the 
opening of the jaws ; the nose is directly in the middle of the upper jaw, and 
about an inch and a quarter from the extremity of it ; the neck is carinated, and 
both the head and back are covered with a hard coat ; the tail, rough, with two 
lateral crests ; but the belly is not musket proof. The size of the crocodile varies 
considerably ; some of the larger size reaching seventeen and even twenty feet in 
length, while others, little exceed half that size. Whatever is once seized by the 
crocodile, can never escape ; for there are alternate cavities between the teeth in 
both jaws. The upper jaw has upwards of thirty sharp-pointed teeth, and half 
that number of a smaller size in the lower. The crocodile lays from eighty to 
one hundred eggs, which are white, and of the size of a goose's egg, but more 
oblong and convex at the extremities. 

Among the other Singhalese reptiles may be specified, Lacertee. — 
Argyrophis Bramiciris. — Cabrita Leschenaultii. — Siluboura Cey- 
lonica. — Hemidactylus Leschenaultii. — Hemidactylus frenatus. — 
Lyriocephalus scutatus. — Ceratophora Stoddartii, Calotes versicolor. 
Among the Batrachia are Epicrimn glutinosum, Tree-frogs (Hyli), &c. 

Ceylon turtle, or Hawk's-bill (Testudo Imbricata), Lili-kas-hewa, 
Singh. — Green turtle, (Testudo Mydas), or Gal-kas-hewa, Shigh. 
— Fresh water turtle, or Kiri-ba. — Two species of Tortoise, Testudo 
stellata and Emys Seba. 

Great varieties of Shells are to be obtained in Ceylon, but they 
principally belong to the following Linnpean and Lamarckian genera : 
— Anomia, Area, Buccinum, Bulla, Cardium, Chama, Chione, Caro- 
colla, Carinaria, Cerithium, Columbella, Conus, Cyprsea, Dentalium, 
Donax, Glycimeris, Harpa, Haliotis, Helix, Mya, Mactra, Murex, 
Mytilus, Nautilus, Nerita, Ostrea, Pholas, Pinna, Pleurotoma, Ptero- 
ceras, Sufula, Solen, Strombus, Spondylus, Tellina, Teredo, Turbo, 
Trochus, Venus, Voluta. 

Ceylon is equally rich in the Invertebrated animals. Among the 
Ceylonese Coleoptera are many fine species of Cicindelas (Tiger 
Beetles.) — Colliuris. — Tricondyla. — Physodera. — Helluo, &c. 

Elateridse of the genera Campsosternus Templetonii, Westw. me- 
tallic green. — Alaus sordidus, Westw. and other species. 

Buprestidse of the genera Sternocera. — Chrysochroa. 1 — Chrysos- 
dema. — Belionota. 

Cetoniadse of the genera Coryphocera. — Agestrata. — Clinteria. — 
Macronota. — Tseniodera. — Protsetia. 

Brentidse and Curculionida3. — Taphroderes. — Hypomeces. — Ca- 

Longicorns of the genera Trictenotoma Templetonii, Westw. — 
Hamaticherus. — Cerambyx Telephoroides, Westw. 

1 So rich, splendid, and various are the beetles of Ceylon, that they have been 
used in the decorations of ladies' dresses, and with their many twinkling rays 
have added such a lustre to the garment to which they have been attached, as to 
excite universal admiration. The firefly, of Ceylon, is a species of beetle (Lam- 
pyris), which emits a light scarcely inferior to that (if heaven in brilliance. It is 
found everywhere in the interior. Mure than one instance lias occurred, where 
the eccentric motions of this insect, from being mistaken for the flickering of a 
more regular light, has led to accidents. 

3 c 2 


Chrysomelidse of the genera Eumolpus, Chrysochus, &c. 

Among the Lepidoptera, are the following : — 

Papilionid.e : — Ornithoptera Haliphron, Boisd?— PapilioPolym- 
nestor, Fab. — P. Ohio, Fab. — P. Helenus, Linn. — P. Temple- 
toni, Boubleday. — P. Agamemnon, Linn. — P. Eurypilus, Linn. — 
P. Sarpedon, Linn. ? — P. Epius, Linn. — P. Polydorus F.—P. Hector, 
Linn. — P. Mutius, Fab. — P. Pammon, Linn. — P. Dissimilis, Linn. 

Piebid.e: — Pontia Nina, (Fab.) — Pieris Eucharis, (Drury.) — 
—P. Valeria, {Cram.)— P. Phryne, (Fab.)— P. Paulina, (God.) — 
P. Sererina, (Cram.), and 2 new species. — Iphias Glaucippe, (Linn.) 
— Idmais,n. sp. — Thestias Pirene, (Linn.) — T.Mariamne, (Cram.) — 
Terias Hecahe, (Linn.,) and 1 new species.— Callidryas Hilaria, 
(Cram.)-C. Alcmeone, (Fab.) — C. Pyranthe, (Linn.) 

Danaid^: : — Euplcea Prothoe, Boisd. — E. Cora, (Fab.)— E. Mi- 
damns, (Linn.), and 2 new species. — Danais Chrysippus, (Linn.) — 
D. Plexippus, (Linn.) — Hestia Lynceus, (Drury.) — H. Jasonia, 
(]J r estwood.) 

KcKMLDm : — Acrsea Violse, Fab. 

Nymphalid^e : — Cethosia, and 1 new species. — Argynnis Niphe, 
(Linn.) -A. Phalanta, (Fab.) — A. Erymanthis, (Fab.), and 1 new 
species. — Vanessa Asterie, (Linn.) — P. (Enone, (Linn.) — P. Orithyia, 
(Linn.) — P. Callirhoe, Iliibn. — P. Cardui, (Linn.) — P. Charonia, 
(Cram.) — P. Lemonias, (Linn.) — P. Laomedia, (Linn.) — Salamis 
Iphita, (Fab.), and 1 new species. — Cynthia Arsinoe, Fab. — Minetra 
Gambrisius, (Fab.) — Limenitis Aceris, (Fab.) L. heliodora, (Fab.) — 
L. Procris, (Fab.) — Diadema Bolina, (Linn.) — D. Auge, (Cra?n.) — 
Adolias, and 3 new species. — Charaxes Bernhardus, (Fab.) — C. 
Paphon, (Westw.) — Amathusia Philarchus, (Westw.) 

Satyrid.e : — Hipparchia, 3 new species, Leda (Linn.) — Satyrus 
Chenu (Guerin.) — Libytheid^ : Lybithea, 1 new species. — Bib- 
lid^e. Ergolis, 1 new species. — E. ariadne, (Linn.) — E. coryta, 
(Cratn.) — Melanitis undularis, (Fab.) — LYCiENiD.E : Emesis, new 
species, Loxura Atymnus, Horsf. — Polyommatus Nyseus, Guerin. — 
Rosimon.— Ethion, 9 new species. — Nila, 1 new species. — Thecla, 
Jarbas and Forbes, 7 new species. — Narada, Horsf. 8 new species. 
— Amblypodia Hercules, Klug, 2 new species. — Loxura. — Hespe- 
ria, 13 new species. 

SpHiNGiDiE : — Sphinx Nessus, Cram. Fab. — Nerii, Linn. 2 new 
species. — Morpheus, var ? — Dyras, Bdw. — Casuarina, var. — Actseus, 
var. no specimen. — Norma. — Lycetas, Cram. — Celerio, Linn. — 
Thyclia, Linn. 1 new specimen, Vigil. Guer. — Convolvuli, Linn. — ■ 
Acherontia Satanas, Bdw. — Macroglossus passalus, and one new 
species. — Sesia Hylas, Linn. — Deilephila Cyrene, Westw. C. O. E. 
t. 6. f. 1. — Bombycid.e : — Limacodes graciosa, Westw. Cab. Ore. 
Ert. t. 24. f. 1.— L. laeta, Westw. p. 50. 

There are three or four distinct species of Bees in Ceylon. The wax 
contains no elements of acidity like the wax of Europe ; one of these 
is the carpenter bee (Xylocopa). There is also the carpenter wasp, 
a species of Eumenes. 

-The cockroach (Blatta orientalis.) The black-footed bug (Cata- 


cantlins nigripes) and C. aurantius. The green bug (Cimex viridis), 
Cicada, and other species of Hemiptera, abound. The mosquito 
(Culex molestus) is as troublesome in Ceylon as elsewhere. The 
dragon-fly is here magnificent. 

The white ant (Termes fatale, Linn.) is one of the greatest pests 
in the island, and will devour or undermine almost any article with 
which it comes in contact, the greatest vigilance is therefore neces- 
sary, or the most fatal consequences may ensue, buildings have 
been known to have been overthrown from their foundations, and 
what would almost appear impervious to their approach has even- 
tually yielded. The myriads of this insect that acquire wings and take 
flight after rains, are beyond all calculation ; for attracted by the 
lights, open or latticed windows, afford no obstruction to the irruption 
of their overwhelming hordes. 

The nest of the white ant is called " old boiled rice" by the natives, 
it is a curious substance, reminding one of the honey comb, but 
crumbles to pieces on the slightest touch. 

The Mygale has legs, four inches in length, and the body is 
covered with thick black hair. It is said to form a web strong 
enough to entangle the smaller species of birds on which it feeds, 
but this opinion is thought to be exaggerated. The long bodied 
spider (Tetragnatha) is also found. 

Ticks are to be found in all the dry parts of Ceylon. 

They are one of the greatest torments within the tropics, completely overspread- 
ing a person, and biting- him most pertinaciously. They are banded together in 
lumps, containing - several thousand, and remain attached to some leaf, which, if 
touched by an unwary passenger, discharges a shower of these pestilent vermin, 
which prick like red-hot needles, and cause intolerable itching. Ticks are in 
general about the size of a pin's head, are round, hard, flat, and adhere to the 
skin of men or animals, into which they introduce themselves, disregarding all 
attempts to kill or remove them. 

Among its Myriapoda are species of the 

Genus Cermatia. IlUger, C. nobilis, Templeton, Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond. Vol. iii. 
1843; C. dispar. Temp. Myriapoda of Ceylon, (privately printed, Ceylon). — 
Lithobius, Leach, L. umbratilis, Temp. id. — Scolopexdra, Linn. S. crassa, 
Temp. id. ; S. subspinipes ; S. pallipes, Temp. id. ; S. tuberculidens, Newport, 
An. Mag. Nat. Hist. Vol. xiii. ; S. Ceylonensis, Newp. Lin. Trans, xix. ; S. flava, 
Newp. Lin. Trans, xix. ; S. trigonopoda, 'Templeton, not Leach ; S. olivacea, Temp. 
loc. cit. ; S. brevis, Temp. id. — S. abdominalis, Temp. id. ; S. morsitans is not 
uncommon, and when it rains, issues from its place of concealment and creeps in 
shoals into the houses where doors are open. — Cryptops, Leach, C. sordidus, 
Temp. id. ; C. assimilis, Temp. id. — Heterostoma, Newport, II. spinosa, Newp. 
Lin. Trans, xix. — Geophilus, Leach, G. triangularis, Temp. loc. cit. ; G. specio- 
sus, Temp. id. — Zephroxia, Gray, Z. conspicua, Temp. id. ; Z. nigra, Temp. id. 
— Z. hirsute, Temp. id. — Cambala, G-ray, C. catemdata, Temp. loc. cit. — 
Polytu.smi s, Latreille, P. granulatus, Temp. id. — Craspedosoma, Leach, C 
juloides, Temp. loc. cit.; C praeusta, Temp. loc. cit. — Julus, Linnaeus, J. ater, 
Temp. id. ; J. dorsalis, Temp. id. ; J. pallipes, Temp, id.; J. flaviceps, Temp. id. ; 
J. pallidus, Temp. id. 

Phe Centipedes are common ; the bite is unpleasant, but not dangerous. The 
black scorpion (Scorpio ater) emits a severe sting-, but not dangerous to persons 
iu good health. Brown scorpion (Scorpio australis) is also found here. 

Crustacea. — Crayfish.— Prawns. — Crabs, Soldier Crab. —Shrimp 
(Cancer fulgens, Linn.) 

Among the Leeches are the Land leech (Ilirudo Zeylanica.) 

This small but troublesome animal, which abounds in every uncultivated 
place where there is long grass, but chiefly in such parts of the interior as 

758 CEYLON. [fart it. 

are exempt from a continuance of dry weather, the excessive heat and drought 
of the maritime districts, and the cold of the mountains being alike uncongenial 
to its taste, is one of the greatest pests in Ceylon, as they will ferociously fasten 
themselves on the feet, hands, and even neck. The wounds caused by them 
will be irritated, if they are plucked off too forcibly or suddenly ; touching them 
with brandy, or even salt, gunpowder or lime juice will quickly remove them. 
These vermin are of a brown colour, their ordinary size is about three-quarters of an 
inch in length, and one-tenth of an inch in diameter ; they can, however, stretch 
themselves to two inches in length, and are then sufficiently small to pass through 
the stitches of a stocking. They move quickly, are difficult to kill, and it is im- 
possible to turn them from their bloody purpose ; for while in the act of pulling 
them from the legs, they will cling to the hands, and fix immediately on touching 
the skin : they draw a great deal of blood, which, with considerable itching and 
sometimes slight inflammation, is the chief annoyance their bites give to a man in 
good health, but animals which are less able to resist their attack, suffer more 
severely, and sheep will not thrive where they are found. In cases, where there 
is a bad habit of body, or a debilitated constitution, which cannot afford to lose 
blood, leech bites will frequently fester, become sores, and even degenerate into 
ulcers, that in some instances have occasioned the loss of limb, and even of life. 
Several of the troops both native and foreign, who served in the late war, were placed 
hors-de-combat, in this manner, and in many cases, it was found necessary to have 
recourse to amputation. Lime juice, vinegar, acids, or stimulants, will remove the 
itching of leech bites and prevent ulceration, but prevention being, in all cases, 
better than cure, the traveller, &c. should provide himself with leech gaiters or 
nankeen pantaloons, with feet attached, which should be made with well joined 
seams, and to tie round the waist. 

Indigenous Plants 1 of Ceylon according to Linnean arrangement. 

Class 1. MONANDRIA. Order Monogynia ; Of the Cannece are Canna 
indica (But-sarana), C. coccinea (Wagapul-but-sarana), C. lutea (Kaha-but 
sarana) ; Maranta paniculata (Gseta-oluwa), M. spicata (Hulan-keeriya). — Of 
the Scitaminece ; Hedychium coronarium (Ela-mal) ; Globba racemosa, a 
deciduous herbaceous plant, perennial, ornamental, with yellow flowers ; Alpinia 
allughas (Alu-gas), A. Galanga (Ma-kaluwala), A. sericea (Ran-keeriya), A. 

1 Ceylon is particularly distinguished by the rich varieties of its vegetable king- 
dom, and the natives have evinced greater industry in the cultivation of this 
branch of knowledge, upon principles of their own, than in any other department 
of natural philosophy. One object of attraction, the medicinal properties of their 
plants, has no doubt been the stimulus to exertion, and has had the effect of 
making almost every native in some degree acquainted with the botanical theories 
of his own country. Besides which, native authors, in every species of composi- 
tion, have given force and beauty to their writings by a constant allusion to this 
delightful science : historians, mythologists, moralists, and poets have each laid 
the vegetable world under contribution for some of their most impressive and 
instructive figures. It is supposed that the Singhalese once had a complete 
system of Botanical arrangement, but it no longer remains, the uses of the diffe- 
rent parts of a flower being their only knowledge. The flowers of Monaecious 
plants they divide into Nikan-mal or useless flower, and Gedi-mal or fruit flower, 
and Dnecious plants into Mal-gaha or flower tree, and Gedi-gaha or fruit tree. 
Their present division of genera approaches more nearly to a natural arrangement 
by families ; thus the grasses are included under the genus Tana ; the esculent 
greens, under Paid ; the edible roots, under Ala ; and the mosses under Pasi. 
There are, however, exceptions ; thus, Ktebella coincides with the Linnaean divi- 
sion of Agyneia ; Tolabo with Crinum ; Puwak with Areka ; Bowitiya with Me- 
lastoma, &c. Generally speaking, the Singhalese names of plants indicate their 
qualities, as Rat-mul, red root ; Kiriwa-l, milky creeper ; Kotala-mal, jug flower, 
from the resemblance of the corolla to a jug, and from Wila marsh or tank, a 
large genus that delights in such situations. One proof of the accuracy with 
which the Singhalese have kept exotic plants distinct from indigenous, is the con- 
stant prefix of Rata (foreign) to the former. 


calcarata (Kaeti-keeriya) ; Zingiber Zerumbet (Wal-inguru), Z. purpureum 
(Ratu-wal-inguru), Z. cylindricum (Heen-ratu-wal-inguru) ; Costus speciosus 
(Tebu-gas) ; Ksempferia rotunda (Sau-kenda), Amomum villosum (Heen-niya- 
dandu), A. echinatum (Boo-keeriya) ; Curcuma longa ( Haran-kaha), C. zedoaria 
(Wal-kaha) ; Phrynium capitatum (iEt-baemi-keeriya). — Of C/ienopodece, Sali- 
cornia indica. — Of the Nyctayinee are Boerhaavia glutinosa (Pita-sudu-paki). 

Class 2. DIANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of the Jasminecp are Nycran- 
thes arbor-tristis(Sepala-gaha) ; Jasminum pubescens (Boo-pichcha), J. undu- 
latum (Wal-gata-pichcha), J. angustifolium (Wal-saman pichcha), J. auriculatum, 
J. azoricum (Wal-pichcha), J. grandiflorum (Saman-pichcha). The Jasminum 
zeylanicum is an ornamental evergreen, climber, six feet high with white flowers. — 
Of the OleincB are Linociera cotinifolia (Heen-geri-seta), L. purpurea (Geri- 
ceta). — Of the Acanthaceee are with anthers simple, Justicia Ecbolium (Kawu- 
tumba), J. paniculata (Heen-bin-kohomba), J. echioides (Ha-kan), J. viscosa; 
with anthers double, corolla bilabiate, J. nasuta (Anitta), J, bivalvis (Ayiyapana), 
J. bycalyculata (Maha-nelu) ; anthers double, corolla ringent, J. adhatoda 1 
Adatoda), J. gendarussa (Kalu-waeraniya), J. betonica (Sudu-puruk-gas), J. 
moretiana, J. repens (Sulunayi), J. procumbens (Manayi), J. pectinata. J. 
purpurea, J. sanguinolenta ; Calyx single, corolla nearly equal, J. montana (heen- 
nelu) ; Elytraria crenata (Wabset-adiya) E. lyrata (Heen-aet-adiya). — Of the 
Verbenacece are, Stachytarpheta indica (nil-nakuta), S. urticifolia. — Of the 
Lentibularice are, Utricularia vulgaris (Kaha-mal-diya-pasi), U. stellaris(Baru- 
diya-pasi), U. coerulea (Nil-monarsessa ), U. bifida (Kaha-indinnaru), U. uli- 
ginosa (Nil-indinnaru), U. nivea (Sudu-indinnaru). — Of the Scrophularince, are 
Gratiola lobelioides. G. veronicifolia (Kana-kok-wila), G. ciliata (Dati-wila), G 
Monnieria (Lunu-wila), G. rotundifolia, G. lucida, G. parviflora (Bin-wila), G. 
integrifolia, G. oppositifolia (Dara-wila), G. trifida (Ela-rat-wila) G. tenui- 
folia (Heen-wila), G. cordifolia, (Handa-pat-wila), G. grandiflora (RaSwila), G. 

hyssopioides, G. juncea (Bin-sawan). Or. 2. Digynia — Of Graminece, are 

Anthoxanthum indicum (Heen-pini-baru), A. Avenaceum (Pini-baru-tana). Or. 3. 
Trigynia. — Of the Piperacece are Piper sylvestre (Wal-gam-miris) P. malamiris 
(Mala-miris), P. longum (Tippili), P. difFusum (Wal-tippili), P. subpeltatum 
(Mala-labu ), and several varieties of P. betel. 

Class 3. TRIANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of the Valerianea, are Vale- 
riana villosa(Heen-kapuru). — Of Olacinece, Olax zeylanica (Maella), O. scandens ; 
Fissilia Psittacorum.— OiAcerinep, Hippocratea indica, H.viridiflora(Diya-kirindi). 
— Of the CommelinecE, are Commelina paludosa (Gira-pala), C. cuculata (Diya-me- 
neriya), C. nudiflora, C. diffusa I Tana-pahl). — Of the Juncece, are Xyris indica(Ran- 
mota). — Of the Cyperacece, are Schamus Bobartite (Is-gedi-tana), S. nemorum 
(Goda-hiri) ; Rhynchospora aurea; Scirpus (with spikes, single, terminal) pygmseus 
(Heenkola-gaeta-pan), S. polytrichioides(Goda-gseta-boru-pan), S. fluitans (Len- 
dititana), S. atropurpureus (Heen-gasta-pan), S. capitatus (Ela-g(Eta-boru-pan), S. 
plantagineus(Boru- pan), S. spiralis, (Kamaranga-pan,) S nutans (Goma-talu-tana) ; 
with umbels lateral, S. lateralis (Ga j ta- pan), S.supinus (Mooda-ga3ta-pan), S.arti- 
culatus (Maha-ga3ta-pan),S. squarrosus(Heen-wa;li-gata-pan), S. capillaris (Kuru- 
mini tana), S. glaucus (Elu-boru-pan), Umbels terminal; S. glomeratus (Ooru- 
hiri), S. globosus (Hal-pan), S. arvensis, S. miliaceus (Moodu-hal-pan), S. quad- 
ratus(Dara-hal-pan),S. dichotomus, S. ciliaris, (Palu-tana), S. aestivalis, S.cinnamo- 
metorum ; Cyperus arenarius (Moodu-kalanduru), C. kyllinga?oides (Wel-set- 
kahinduru'), C. pygmoaus (Heen-wel-oet-kalanduru), C. Haspan. C. pumilus 
(G6-hiri) C. rotundus (kahinduru), C. Pangorsei, C. canescens (Ela-hiri) C. 
Santonici (Wel-tun-hiri), C. iria (Wel-hirij, C. umbellatus (Na?ndun-hiri) ; 
Mariscuspaniceus(Wel-mal-kalanduru), M. umbellatus (Ma-wal-mal-kalanduru), 
M. Cyi>erinus (Goda-wal-mal-kahinduru) ; Kyllingia monocephala (Sudu-mottu- 
tana), K. brevifolia (Amu-mottu-tana), K. triceps. — Of the Graminece, are Pom- 
mereulla cornucopia ; Cenchrus muricatus. Or. 2. Digynia. Of the Graminea 
are Saccharum spontaneum (Nala-tana), S. damonum (Rambuk-gas), S. muti- 

1 The Singhalese attribute to this plant the imaginary power of attracting the 


cum (Wal-stewandara), S. cylindricum (Iluk-tana) ; Perotis latifolia (Ela- 
balal-tana) ; Leersia ciliata (Wenu-tana) ; Paspalum scrobiculatum (Wal-amoo); 
Panicum (with spikes simple), polystachyon (Balu-tana) P. helvolum (Rat-wal- 
kawudu), P. muticum (Eeti-tana) ; with spikes alternate, secund P. brizoides (Ha- 
tana), P. fluitans (Wal-bada-amu), P. flavidum (Heen-wal-maraku), P. colonum 
(Heen-maruku), P. cruscorvi (Wel-niaruku), P. compositum. Spikes alternate, 
scattered, P. aristatum (Ratu-bata-tana), P. paspaloides (Wal-bin-amu), P. 
grossarium (Sudu-bata-tana), P. elatius (Beru-tana). Spikes fascicled, P. 
cimicinum (Boo-deni-tana) ; Panicled, P. Ischeemoides (/Etora-tana), P. mili- 
aceum (Wal-meneri) , P. arborescens (Nala-gas), P. curvatum, P. trigonum (Deni- 
tana), P. repens (Bata-daella), P. brevifolium. P. contractual. P. patens (Wal- 
tana), P. plicatum (Rasli-tana), P. hirsutum (Boo-bata-dnella) ; Digitaria umbrosa, 
D. ciliaris (Boo-tut-tiri), D. linearis (Hee-tana) ; D. longiflora (Heen-konteru), D. 
distachya (Konteru) ; Milium ramosum (Heen-kurulu-tana) ; Agrostis panicea 
Boo-balu-tana) A. diandra (Gawara-tana) ; Melica nervosa (G6-tana), M.barbata; 
Poa bifaria(Karalkuru-tana),P. Cynosuroides(idal-kuru-tana), P.amabilis (Kooni- 
tana). P. chinensis, P. tenella (Heen-ela-balal-tana)„'P. reclinata (Mal-aatora- 
taua), P. glaucoides (Ela-kuru-tana) ; Eleusine coracana (kurukkan, five 
varieties), E. cegyptia (Putu-tana) E.indica (Wal-mal-Kurukkan) ; Avena sativa. 
Aristida-setacea (iEt-tuttiri) ; A. biflora (Pini-tuttiri), A. biaristata (Ooru-tuttiri) ; 
Rottbcellia thomsea (Bin-puruk-tana), R. compressa (Puruk-tana), R. muricata 
(Gona-puruk-tana) ; Orthopogon compositus, uninteresting, apetalous. Or. 3. 
Trigynia. — Of the Eriocaulece, are Eriocaulon quinquangulare (kok-mota), E. 
sexangulare (Heen-kok-mota), E. setaceum (Penda-kok-mota). — Of the Cary- 
ophylloce, are Mollugo oppositifolia, M. stricta, M. pentaphylla (Telika-pala) M. 
spergula (Andahera). 

Class 4. TETRANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of the Rubiacece, are 
Hedyotis fruticosa (Wseraniya), H. auricularia (Ma-boo-gseta-kola), H. racemosa 
(Paepiliya). H. maritima (Moodu-bfcmi-tiriya), H. pumila (Wel-kawudu-dala), 
H. diffusa (CEmbul-pala), H. herbacea, H. setacea, (Nil-w8eli-wa3nna), H. gramini- 
folia (Nil-kawudu-dala), H. stricta (Ma-kawudu-dala) ; Spermacoce hispida 
(Heen-moodu-gata-kola), S. scabra (Gfeta-kola) ; Hydrophylax maritima 
(Moodu-gaBta-kola), Knoxia zeylanica (Ela-rat-mul), K. corymbosa (Kayippu- 
gas), Oldenlandia, verticillata (Ul-wseraniya), O. depressa, O. biflora (Heen- 
kawudu-dala), O. pentandra, O. umbellata ; (Sayan-mul), Rubia secunda (Manda 
mandina wsela) ; Ixora coccinea (Ratambalii)j three varieties, I. parviflora 
(Ma-ratambala), I. alba (Sudu-ratambala) , I. latifolia (Ma-pat-ela-ratambala) ; 
Pavetta indica (P;iwatt;i). — Of Verbenacece, Callicarpa lanata. — Of Gentianea, 
Exacum pedunculatum, E. sessile, E. diffusum, E. heteroclitum, E. connatum. — 
Of Plantaginece, Plantago asiatica- — Of Sarmentacece, Cissus vitiginea (Ma-to- 
wsella), C. suberosa (Wal-to-wajlla), C. latifolia (Wal-diya-labu), C. verrucosa 
(Wad-maediya), C. villosa (Boo-wal-wa?l-midi), C. repanda (Heen-to-wiella), 
C. quadrangularis (Wsel.-heerBessa), C. dentata, C. crenata (Wal-gonika), C. 
carnosa (Wal-rat-diya-labu), C. pedata (Tun-angilla) ; Samara laeta (Kora- 
kaha). — Of Terebintacece, are Fagara triphylla (Lunu-an-kenda) — Of Incerta, 
are Monetia barlerioides (Katu-niyada). — Of Qnayrarice, are Ludwigia oppositi- 
folia. — Of Salicarice, are Ammannia octandra, A. baccitera, A debilis. — Of 
Urticece, are Dorstenia radiata. — Of Aroidece, are Pothos scandens (Potse), P. el- 
Uptica (CEt-potaj). — Of Eleagnece, are Elx j agnus latifolia (Katu-cembilla). — Of 
Santalacece, are Santalum album (Rat-kikiri). — Of Daphne a, Cansiera scandens 
(GStta-mura). Or. 2. Digynia. — Of Convolvulacece, are Cuscuta reflexa (Kaha- 
aga-mula-na3ti-w3sla). Or. 4. Tetragynia. — Of Borayinea, are Coldenia pro- 
cumbens. — Of Alismace<e, are Potamogeton lateralis (Mal-kekatiya) . 

Class 5. PENTANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia. Of Rubiacea are Canthium 
parviflorum (Kara-gaba) ; Nauclea orientalis (^Embul-bak-mee), N. macrophylla 
(Kana-bak-mee), N. parvifolia (Hadamba), N. cordifolia (Kolong-gaha), N.tri- 
flora ; Psychotria asiatica, P. scandens (Wal-gonika), P. herbacea (Agukarni) ; 
Dentella repens (Pati-aemiya) ; Coffea triflora (Gas-pichclia) ; Morinda umbellata, 
M. citrifolia (Ahu-gaha), M. scandens (Ma-kiri-waela) ; Mussaenda frondosa. — Of 
Boraginece are Heliotropium indicum (Ek-SEetiya),H. parviflorum, H. Zeylanicum, 


H. persicum (Ayirawana) ; Cynoglossum decurrens ? (Goda-katu-handa), C. ova- 
tum (Boo-katu-handa) ; Borago indica, B. Zeylanica (You-tumba) ; Tournefortia 
argentea (Garan-gaha) ; Anchusa tenella, a plant with white flowers. Of Pri- 
mulaceae, Cyclamen indicum (Oorala). — Of Gentianece, Meuyanthes indica (Ma- 
yembala), M. cristata (Heen-sembala), M. biflora (Renu-olu), M. campestris 
(Bin-olu). — Of PrimidacecByHottoma. indica ; Anagallis esculenta (kakkutu-pala), 
— Of Plumbagineee are Plumbago zeylanica (Ela-nitol), P. rosea (Rat-nitol). — Of 
Convolvidacece, there are of the twining species, Convolvulus marginatus (Potu- 
pala),C. medius (Heen-madu), C. tridentatus (Hawari-madu), C. obscurus (Boo- 
tael-kola), C. flavus (Kaha-tad-kola), C. Batatas (Batala), five arieties, C. maxi- 
mus (Rasa-tsel-kola), C. triflorus (Apasu madu), C. bifidus (maha-madu), C. ma- 
labaricus (Boo-wasa-tsel-kola), C. anceps, C. turpethum (Trasta-walu), C. gran- 
diflorus (Alanga), C. speciosus (Ela-wadla), C. nervosus (Heen-dumuda), C. 
paniculatus (Ha-angilla) ; Stem prostrate or not twining'; C. repens (Bin-tam- 
buru), two varieties, C. reptans (Kankun), C. pes caprse (Moodu-bin-tamburu), 
Ipomaea bona nox (Kalu- alanga), I. campanulata (Ma-handa), I. bepaticifolia 
(Nil-diwi-pahuu), I. pes tigridis (Sudu-diwi-pahuru), I. Zeylanica (Giritilla), I. 
scabra (Boo-giritilla). — Of Campanulacece, Campanula zeylanica ; Sphenoclea 
zeylanica (Maha-muda-mahana) ; Lobelia zeylanica (Peti-wila), L. aromatica 
(Rasnee-gaha). — Of Goodenovice, Sca?vola lobelia (M;i-takkada), S. kcenigii 
(Heen-takkada). — Of Solanecs are Datura fastuosa(Kalu-attana), two varieties, D. 
metel (Sudu-attana) ; Solandra oppositifolia (/Etamburu) ; Physalis flexuosa 
(Amukkara), P. angulata (Ma-mottu), P. minima ( Heen-mottu ) ; Solanum ver- 
bascifolium (Hsekarilla), S. nodiflorum, S. nigrum (Kaen-we-riya), two varieties; 
S. melongena (Wam-batu), four varieties, S. incanum (Katu-wam-batu), S. 
ferox (Mala-batu), S. jacquini (Katu-wsnl-batu), S. indicum (Tib-batu), S. sodo- 
meum (Kara-batu), S. trilobarum (Wael-tib-batu), S.giganteum (Gona-tib-batu); 
Capsicum annuum, two varieties ; C. grossum, C. frutescens, three varieties, C. 
minimum. I am unable to say whether this genus is indigenous to Ceylon. Of 
Apocynece are Strychnos Nux vomica (Goda-kaduru), S. potatorum (Ingini), S. 
colubrina, S. biennis (^Eta-kirindi), S. recurva (Katu-kmndi) ; Fagrtea zey- 
lanica; Carissa carandas (Ma-karamba), C. spinarum (Heen-karamba). — Of Myr- 
sinece are Ardisia humilis (Lunu-dan), A. solanacea (Balu-dan), A. longifolia 
(Ma-balu-dan). — Of Gentianece are Chh-onia trinervia (Gini-hiriya). Of Cor- 
diacece, Cordia myxa (Lolvi) ; Ehretia aspera, E. laivis, E. buxifoUa (Heen-tam- 
bala). — Of Sapotea>, Bumelia octandra (Koska'tiya). — Of Rhamni, Elueodendrum 
glaucum (Bat-hik) ; Zizyphus lineata, Z. Napeca (Ma-eraminiya), Z. jujuba 
(Ilanda), Z. ^Enoplia (Heen-eraminiya), Z. rotundifolia, Z. lucida, Z. spinosa ; 
Celastrus emarginatus (Katu-pila) ; Evonymus zeylanicus ; Ceanothus zejdanicus, 
C. asiaticus (Tel-hiriya) ; Ventilago madraspatana (Kola-wakka)- — q$ Solanacece, 
Scopolia aculeata (Kudu-miris). — Of Ochnacece, are Walkeria serrata (Bo-ksera). 
— Of Terebintacece, are Mangifera indica (ffitamba), eleven varieties. — Of Grossu- 
lacea, Ribes serratum (Mseti-bembiya), — Of Myrsinacece, are ^Egiceras major 
(Heen-kadol), M. minor (Wanda-kilala) ; Embelia paniculata(Wa3l-a9mbilla), E. 
robusta. — Of Violacece, are Viola enneasperma (Heen-yotu-waenna), V. suffruticosa 
(Ma-yotu-wsenna), V. hastata, V. crenata. — OiBalmminea, are with one flowered 
peduncles, Balsamina cornuta ; Impatiens latifolia (Ratu-kudalu), I. oppositifolia 
(Heen-wel-kudalu), with many flowered peduncles, I. triflora (Wel-kudalu), I. 
biglandulosa, I. repens (Gal-demata), I. bulbosa (Ala-kudalu), I. serrata. — Of 
Meliacece, are Leea sambucina (Bur-ulla). — Of Caprifoliacea', Hederaterebinthi- 
nacea (Ma-itta-wa j la), H. emarginata (Heen-itta-wala). — Of Viniferce, Vitis in- 
dica. — Of Amaranthacem, Achyranthes aspera (Gas-karal-sa;b6, three varieties, A. 
lappaoea (Mielkaral-sajbo), A. prostrata (Bin-karal-ssebo), A. echinata, A. muri- 
cata, A. angustifolia, A. corynibosa, A. diandra ; Celosia albida (Kiri-hsenda), C. 
argentea, C. cristata (Kukulu-karal-mal), two varieties, C. corymDosa (Sudu-waeli- 
wsenna), ('. Nodiflora (Weni-wtella) ; Illecebium lanatum (Pol-kudu-pala) I. ja- 
vanicum, I. sessile (Mukimu-wsenna). — Of Rubiacece, Gardenia gummifera, G. 
uliginosa (.l'A-kukuru-mim), G. dametorum (Wseli-kukuru-man). G. fra 
(.NLigeta-kulu), G. micranthus ; Webera corymbosa! Md-tarana), W,cerifera(La- 
kada-tarana), W. lucida (Ma-stru), W. lanceolata^Gal-s'ru), W. internodis (Heen- 

762 CEYLON. [part IV. 

seru). — Of Apocynece, Cerbera manghas (Gon-kaduru), C. parviflora (Moodu- 
kaduru) ; Vinca rosea (Woeli-wara), three varieties ; Nerium odorum, five 
varieties, N. zeylanicum (Sudu-iddu), N. divaricatum ; Wrightia antidysenterica ; 
Echites fragrans (Boo-wal-anguna ), E. laevigata (Wal-anguna), E. scholaris 
(Ruk-attana), E. lanceolata (Kiri-walla) ; Ichnocarpus frutescens (Heen-kiri- 
wsela), I. paniculata (Gerandi-dool) ; Plumeria acuminata (Alariya) ; Cameraria 
zeylanica (Patta- walla), C. oppositifolia (Gas-muediya) ; Taberna.-Montana dicho- 
toma (Divi-kaduru), T. coronaria (Watu-sudda) , three varieties. Of Par onychiea, 
are Lahaya corymbosa, a curious under shrub with white flowers. Or. 2. Digynia. 
— Of Asclepiadece, are Stapelia adscendens (Heen-gal-heersessa), S. umbel- 
lata (Ma-gal-Heeraessa) ; Periploca esculenta, P. sylvestris ; Hemidesmus 1 indicus 
(Irimusu), three varieties; Sarcostemma viminale (Muwa-keeriya) ; Da>niia 
reticulata; Calotropis gigantea (Moodu-warii); Gomphocarpus volubihs (Maeda- 
kangu) ; Asclepias lactifera, Asclepias maculata (Ma-pat-anguna) ; A. Gigantea? 
Marsdenia asthmatica (Boo-hangulu), M. vomitoria (Kiri-hangulu), M. tena- 
cisshna (muruwa-dool) ; Hoyacarnosa (Kiri-gonika), H. viridiflora (Kiri-anguna), 
H. alexicaca (Kan-kumbala), H. hirsuta (Bin-nuga), H. reticulata (Wal-anguna), 
H. parviflora (Heen-aramaessa) ; Ceropegia candelabrum (Wsel-mottu), C. tube- 
rosa, C. biflora, C. juncea ; Gymnema 2 Sylvestre, eight feet high, with green 
flowers, G. lactiferum, G. asthmaticum, G. alexiaca. — Of Chenopodece, Salsola 
nudiflora, S. indica. — Of Amaranthacem, Gomphrena Globosa (Raja-pohottu), 
three varieties. — Of Ulmaceee, are Ulmus integrifolia (Dada-hirilla). — Of Con- 
volvulacece, Hydrolea zeylanica (Diya-kirilla. — Of Umbelliferce, Hydrocotyle 
asiatica (Heen-gotu-kola), H. capitata (Ma-gotu-kola) ; Bupleurum nervosum 
(Wal-eenduru) ; Sium lobatum (Peti-kapuru), S. triternatum (Wal-assam6da- 
gan). Or. 3. Trigynia. — Of Portidacece, 3 Tamarix indica. Of Caryophyllece, 
Pharnaceum Mollugo (Heen telika-pala), P. Distichum, P. triflora (Pat-pada- 
gan), Alsine nervosa (Kukulu-paki), three species of Basella, rubra, alba, 
cordifolia. Or. 5. Pentagynia. — Of Convolvulacece , Evolvulus alsinoides, 
E. hirsutus (Wisnu-kranti), E. capitatus. Of Droseracece, Drosera Burmanni 
(Wata-ressa), D. indica (Kandu-lessa), D. lanata. Of Portulacece, Gisekia 
pharnacioides (iEti-rilla-pala). 

Class 6. HEXANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia. — Of Musacea, Musa paradi- 
siaca (Anawalu-kesel), several varieties; M. sapientum (Kesel), nearly thirty 
varieties of this species are either indigenous or cultivated ; M. rosacea, four 
varieties cultivated ; M. troglodytarum (Nawari-kesel), four varieties ; M. superba. 
— Of CommelinecB, Tradescantia cristata(Bol-hinda), three varieties ; T. axillaris, 
T. paniculata (Wal-diya-meneri), T. tuberosa, T. malabarica ; Pontederia 
vaginalis (Diya-habarala), P. hastata (Diya-beraliya), Cyanotis cristata, a bien- 
nial, blue flowers. — Of Amaryllidece, Pancratium zeylanicum (Wal-loonu) ; 
Crinum zeylanicum, C. asiaticum (Heen-tolabo), C. Toxi-carum (Ma-tolabo) ; 
Amaryllis zeylanica (Goda-manel) ; Burmannia disticha (Ma-diya-jawala), B. 
triflora (Heen diya jawala). — Of Liliacea, Gloriosa superba (Niya-gala). — 
Of Asphodelecs, Anthericum Japonicum (Goda-wilanda-waenna), A. tube- 
rosum; Asparagus falcatus (Hata-wariya), A. sarmentosus ; Dracaena termina- 
lis (Wsedi-kok-gaha) ; Dianella ensifolia (Ma-monara-patan), D. graminifolia 
(Heen-monara-patan). — Of Hypoxidece, Curculigo recurvata(Waga-pol), C. lati- 
folia (Heen-bin-tal), C. angustifolia (Boo-bin-tal), C. pauciflora (Ma-bin-tal). — 
Of Hemerocallidea, Sanseviera zeylanica (Ma-niyanda) ; Polyanthes tuberosa, three 
varieties. — Of Aroidece, Acorus calamus (Wada-kaha). — Of Palmce, Corypha 

1 Th. ijfMKTvg and StafioQ bondage, in allusion to the incomplete coherence of 
the anthers with the stigma, by which the genus is chiefly distinguished from 

2 The yvfivog, naked, and v?ifiu, a thread, or in botanical language, stamen, 
in allusion to the peculiar structure of the latter. The milk of one species is 
used instead of the vaccine ichor, and the leaves are employed in sauces instead of 

3 Roots venomous. Plant, beautiful, so called from its poison being as potent 
as that of the Naga. 


umbraculifera (Tala-gaha) ; Calamus rotang (Heen-we-wsela), C. verus (Tam- 
botu-we-wcela), C. niger (Kukulu-we-waela), C. rudentum (Ma-we-wsela). — Of 
Loranthea:, Loi-anthus biflorus, L. bicolor, L. longiflorus, L. elasticus, L. loni- 
ceroides, L. pubescens, L. incanus, L. spatulatus. — Of Graminece, Bambusa arun- 
dinacea (Una-lee), three varieties, B. spinosa (Katu-una-lee), B. stridula (Bata-lee). 
Or. 2. Digynia. — Paddy, Ooru-wee (Oryza sativa, Linn.); akuramba, pointed ; an- 
garaeli, horny-plaited ; Amba, Mango ; kahat a, astringent ; yEndi-gam, iEndi -village ; 

jEL,orHvEL, ■,JEndi-gam,JEndi-village; cernbala, acid; Indi,Date; Indi-pat, 

Date-leaved; Ooru,Piy's; kamburu, brown; kara, saltish; kalu, black; kalu-kara, 
black sea-coast ; kaha, yellow ; kahata, astringent ; kiri, milky ; kiri-baru, milky - 
pendulous; kilulpat, kitul-leaved ; kudu, bent ; kuru, short ; kurulu, Bird's ; kot, 
spiked; komadu, melon ; kali, ,• yana-kudu, thick-skinned ; yal-bada, rocky- 
bank ; Girdtudu, Parrot-beaked; Gurulu, hawk; tatu, winged; tat u-pat,winyed- 
-leaved; Tala-mal, Sesamum-flower ; tulunu, sharp; Del-pat, Del-leaved ; Diwa, 
sacred; Diwa-rdja, sacred king's ; doluwa, watercourse ; do, shining ; do -tea - 
tuwa, shininy snipes; Nala, reed; Nala-mal, Reed-flowered ; Nuya-pat, 

Banyan-leaved; pat, leafy ; piinna, ; pot, spotted ; Pol, cocoa-nut ; Poson, 

June; batu, round; baru, pendulous ; mada,mud: ma, yreat ; md-pat, great- 
leaved ; Mee-pat, Bassia-leaved ; Moodu-kiri, sea-milky; Monara, Peacock's ; 
M6-pat, soft leaved; Radd, washerman's; rat, red; rat-kara, red sea- 
coast; rat-tatu, red-winy ed ; rat-pat, red-leaved ; Rdwana, Rdwan's ; Ruwan, 

yolden ; Lena, squirrels ; Watuwd, snipe's ; wanyu, hooked ; san-kunda, ; 

Saman, Saman's; Sani, duny ; sihin, fine ; sudu, white ; sudu-kiri, white-milky ; 

sudu-mee-pat, white bassia leaved; suwanda, fray rant ; hdti, ; hdl, rice; 

hanati, fine-stemmed ■ yEn or ^Eliya, — white; Kaka-pot, yellow -husked ; yal- 
bada, rocky -bank ; tisald, three-anyled ; Ndla, reed; Ndran, orange ; bara-pot, 
heavy -spotted ; bdla-mee-pat, early bassia-leaved ; md, yreat ; Mee-pat, Bassia- 
leaved; mora-kain, mora-cluster : rat-pat, red-leaved ; ha:l,rice; Uankuli, ■ 

Ooru, Pigs ; Kachchipota, ; kalu, black ; kahata, astringent ; kunda, ; 

kalu, black; rat, red; Kumara, Prince's; kalu, black; sudu, white; kumba, 
pot; kiri, milky; rat, red; kuru, dwarf; ata, arm; paya,foot; maha, yreat ,- 

kurumba, tender cocoa-nut ; giri, ; kurulu, birds ; kurulu-tudu, Bird's beak; 

kot-wila, spiked-marsh; kalu, black; sudu, white ; komadu, melon ; kolo, ; 

kos-aeta, jack seed ; kalu, black ; sudu, white ; kohu, coir ; galpa, rock-bank ; gini- 

ratna, fire-red ; giris, ; Gurulu, hawks ; tulunga, sharp ; dak, beautiful ; 

danahala, alms ; kalu, black ; sudu, white ; dena, meadow; dewaraeddiri, sacred 
two-cropped: kohu, fibrous ,- doluwa, watercourse; md, great; Niiran, orange ; 

kiri, milky; kotti, ; Maha, yreat, nsehunseti, sprigless ; pat, leaved; 

kitul, kitul ; Del, bread fruit ; Mee, Bassia ; bula-mee, early Bassia ; Hinyul, 

; patu, flat; pannati, leafless; kalu, black; sudu, white; podi, small; 

pola, ; Poson, June ; Balal-wane, Cat's hard ; mala-wariya ; ma, great ; 

kalu, black; kaha, yellow; kuru, dwarf; yoda, land; bdla, early; maha, 
great; rat-kunda,red ; sudu, white ,• Muttses, Pearl ; maha, yreat ; sudu, white; 

Muruna, Murunas ; Mookala, late or forest ; yal, ; kara, sea-coast : batu- 

kiri, round-milky ; maha-kiri, yreat-milky ; moodukiri, sea-milky ; hati, ; 

rata, foreign ; Rada, washerman's ; Raja, king's ; Rawana, Rawana's ; rayana, 

: ruwan, golden ; Lena, squirrel's ; wangu, hooked ; watuwa, snipe's ; walu, 

Plantain; yoda-honara, land; td, ; poo, flower ; madata, mud; Honara, 

; we-kola, Rattan-leafed ; sani, dung ; sihin, fine; sudu, white ; hdl, rice; 

suwanda, fragrant; handiran, jointed-gold ; kalu, black; kahata, astrinyent; 
rata, foreign; sudu, white; kal, rice; heenati, fine-stemmed; kalu, black; 
gam-bada, village-border ; podi, small ; Hunu, Chunam ; kaha-pat-teli, yellow- 
leaved white ; kalu-honarawalu, black ; sudu-heenati, white, fine stemmed ; sudu- 
honarawalu, white ; heen-honarawalu, fine ; Kurukkan, Coracan ; karal, podded ; 
kiri, milky ; kumburu, mud ; pas-mas, five months ; mookalan, forest ; wal-mal, 
wild-flowered ; hanahu, sheathed ; ha-mas, six months ; Imetada, sixty days ; kalu, 
black; kobo, large. Or. 3. Trigynia. — Of Polyyonre, Rumex vesicarius (Soori). 
— Of Jitucea , Flagellaria indica (Goyi-wa?l), three varieties. Or. 6. Hexagynia. 
Of Alismaceee, Damasonium indicum. 

(.lass 7. HEPTANDKIA. Or. 1. Monogvnia. — Of Legumtnosic, Jonesia 

764 CEYLON. [part IV. 

pinnata (Diya-rat-mal). — Of Aroidete, Dracontium polyphyllum (Kana-kidaran), 
D. spinosum (Ma-kohila), D. pertusum (Nil-waella), D. pinnatifidum (Dada- 

Class 8. OCTANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of Melastomacea; ; Osbeckia 
zeylanica, O. crenata. — Of Combretacccr, Combretum decandrum (Hara-palanda). 
— Of Malpighiacerz, Vitmannia elliptica (Samadara). — Of Sapindaceee ; Ornitro- 
phe serrata (Moodu-kobbap), O. Cobbe (Boo-kobbte), O. allophylus ; Dimocarpus 
pupilla (Rasa-mora) ; Molinsea canescens ; Melicocca trijuga, evergreen tree, twenty 
feet high — Of Sapotew, Mimusops Elengi (Moona-mal), M. kauki, M. hexandra 
(Palu-gaha). — Of Salicarice, Grislea tomentosa ; Lawsonia inermis (Maritondi) ; 
L. spinosa. — Of Terebintacecc, Jambolifera pedunculata (An-ksenda) ; Amyris 
zeylanica (wseta-hik-gaha), A. agallocha (Gugul), Balsamodendrum zeylanicum, 
medicinal evergreen tree, thirty feet high. — Of Rutacees, Cyminosma pedunculata 
(On-solu). — Of SantalacetB, Memecylon capitellatum (Waelikaha) ; M. tinctorium 
(Daedi-kaha), M. edule. Or. 3. Trigynia. — Of Polygonece, Polygonum bar- 
batum (Ratu-kimbul-wamna), P. tomentosum (Sudu-kimbul-wsenna), P. chinense 
(Meean-wsela), P. recurvum (Patul-wtenna). — Of Sapindacecz, Cardiospermum 
Halicacabum (Wsel-penela) ; Sapindus laurifolius ; S. emarginatus (Gas-penela.) 
Of Crassulacecs, Calanchoe laciniata (Kaha-akka-pana), C. pinnata (Ratu-akka- 
pana) . 

Class 9. ENNEANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia. — Of Laurince, Laivrus Cin- 
namomum (Kurundu), four varieties, L. Cuhlaban (Wal-kurundu), L. cassia 
(Dawul-kurundu) ; Cassyta filiformis (Nil-aga-mula-noeti-waela). — Of Terebin- 
tacem, are Anacardium occidentale (Watu-kaju) ; Oi Laurince, Tetranthera apetala 
(As-bombi), T. caidiflora (Rat-koehya). 

Class 10. DECANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia. — Of LeguminostP, Sophora 
tomentosa (Moodu-murunga), S. heptaphylla ; Bauhinia parviflora (Mayila), B. 
purpurea(Kobo-neela), three varieties; B. acuminata (Sudu-kob6-neela),B. tomen- 
tosa (Petan), three varieties ; Cynometra cauliflora (Namnam), C. ramiflora (Gal- 
msendora) ; Cassia absus (Boo-tora), C. Tagera (Poeni-tora), C. Sophera (Ooru- 
tora), C. Tora (Peti-tora), C. glauca (Wal-aehsela), C. Sumatrana (Aramana), 
C. debilis(O-mara), C. alata (iEt-tora), C. auriculata (Rana-wara), C. mimosoides 
(Heen-bin-siyambala) ; Cathartocarpus fistula (JLhada-gaha), C. rosea (Wa-gaha) ; 
Poinciana elata ; P. pulcherrima (monara-mal), two varieties ; Csesalpinia mimo- 
soides (Goda-wawul-aBtiya), C. sappan (Patangee), three varieties; Guilandina 
Bonduc (Kalu-wawul-setiya),G. Bonducella (Wavl-kumburu), G. paniculata (Diya- 
wawul-aatiya ; Hyperanthera moringa ; Adenanthera pavonina (Madatiya-mara), 
A. bicolor (mas-moru) ; Prosopis spicigera. — Of Oclinacece, Gomphia zeylanica, 
an evergreen shrub, four feet high, with yellow flowers. — Of Malpighiacece (Puwak- 
gediya-wa?la). — Of Aurantiacece, are Murraya exotica ( iEtteriya) ; Limonia 
(spiny) monophylla (yaki-naran) ; L. citrifolia (Gas-pamburu), L. scandens (katu- 
-balu-diwa), L. trifoliata (Kasturi-dehi), L. cinnamomum (Tun-pat-kurundu), 
L. acidissima. Unarmed, L. pentaphylla (We-kurundu), L. arborea (Heen- 
dodan-pana), Bergera Koenigii (Watu-karajfincha). — Of Meliaceee, Swietenia 
febrifuga (kokun), S. chloroxylon 1 (Buruta) ; Melia azedarach (Lunu-midella), M. 
azadirachta (Margosa) ; M. parviflora (Hal-bembiya), L. pumila(Bin-kohomba.) — 
Of Zygophyllere, Tribulus lanuginosus (Sembu-nerenchi). — Of Onagrarice, are 
Jussieua repens (Beru-diya-nilla), J. tenella, suffruticosa, erecta, villosa and par- 
viflora. — Of Melastomacece , are Melastoma aspera (Heen-bowitiya), three varieties, 
M. mallbathrica (Ma-bowitiya), M. repens (Wsel-bowitiya), M. octandra, M. 
buxifolia. — Of Rhodoracece, are Rhododendron arboreum (ma-rat-mal). — Of 
Ericece, Andromeda fiexuosa (Wael-kapura) . — Of Samydacece, Casearia ovata 
(Wal-moona-mal). Or. 3. Trigynia. — Of Erythroxylece are Erythroxylon 
monogynum (kukul-masssa), E. lucidum (Bata-kirilla). Or. 5. Pentagynia. — 
Of Terebintacece, Averrhoa Bilimbi (Bilin), A. carambola (Kamaranga) ; A. 
acida; Spondias mangifera (^Eniba-'raella). — Of Caryophyllece, Bergia verticillata 

1 The satin wood is found chiefly in the eastern province. In appearance the 
trunk is like the teak : the wood is used for all kinds of ornamental furniture. It 
is of a beautiful colour, rather yellow, and takes a fine polish. 


Gseta-puruk-wila). — Of Oxalidece, Oxalis repens (Heen-cembuluebiliya), O. sen- 
sitiva (Gas-nidi-kumba). 

Class 11. DODECANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of Sapotea, Bassia 
longifolia (Tel-mee, or Ilipi), B. neriifolia (Gan-mee), B. latifolia (Kiri-hsem- 
biliya). — Of Rkizophorete, Rhizophora gymnorhiza (Rat-kadol), R. candel (Ela- 
kadol), R. mangle (Pat-kadol). — Of Guttiferce, Garcinia celebica, G. cambogia 
(Goraka), four varieties. — Of Salicarice, Pemphis Acidula. — Of Capparideee, 
Cratueva tapia, C. religiosa (Lunu-warna). — Of Tiliacece, Triumfetta Bartramia 
(Heen-patta-sepala), T. annua (Wiel-aepala. — Of Portulacetz, Portulaca oleracea 
(Genda-kola) , three varieties, P. quadrifida (Heen-genda-kola), P. axillaris (Heen- 
sarana). Or. 2. Digynia. — Of Rosacea, Agrimonia zeylanica. Or. 3. Tri- 
gynia. — Of Euphorbiacece, E. antiquorum (Daluk), E. neriifolium (Paluk), E. 
Tirucalli (Gas-nawa-bandi), E.hirta (Boo-dada-keeriya), E.pilulifera (Sudu-boo- 
dada-keeriya), E. thymifolia (Bin-dada-keeriya), three varieties, E. parviflora 
(Ela-dada-keeriya), E. maritima (Moodu-dada-keeriya). Or. 4. Tetragynia. 
— Of Fluviales, Aponogeton rnonostachyon (Kekatiya), A. crispum (Kokatiya), 
an aquatic perennial, flowers white. 

Class 12. ICOSANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of Cacti, Cactus pendulus 
(Wsel-nawa-handi). — Of Myrtacece, Psidium pyriferum (Sudu-pera), P. pomi- 
ferum (Ratu-pera), P. pumilum (Heen-pera) ; Eugenia malaccensis (Watu- 
jambu), E. janibos (Rata-jambu), E. sylvestris (Wal-jambu), E. zeylanica (Ma- 
tcembiliya), E. uniflora, E. parviflora (Heen-taembiliya), E. laurina (Bombu) ; 
E. acutangula, E. racemosa, Stravadia alba (Ela-midella), S. rubra (Diya-midella), 
S. integrifolia (Godamidella) ; Myrtus communis ; M. tomentosa (Sudu-kotala), 
M. zeylanica (Goda-maranda), M. adrosaemoides ; Calyptranthes (Flowers termi- 
nal), Jambolana (Alu-bo-dan), C. cordifolia (Panu-kaera) , C. caryophyllata (Gseta- 
dan) ; 2. Flowers lateral, C. cumini (Ma-dan), C. caryophyllifolia (Bata-domba) ; 
Scolopia pusilla (Katu-kui'undu), Soneratia acida (Gedi Kilala). Or. 5. Penta- 
gynia. — Of Ficoidce, Sesuvium pedunculatum (Ma-sarana). — Of Rosacea, Mes- 
pilus japonica (Lokwat). Or. 10. Poi/ygynia. — Of Rosacea, Rubus parvifolius 
(Rodu-kaetambilla), R. paniculata (Nara-boota>), R. moluccanus (Wad-boots). 

Class 13. POLYANDRIA. Or. 1. Monogynia.— Of Aurantiacea, iEgle 
Marmelos (Beli), three varieties. — Of Capparidea?, Capparis zeylanica ; C. hor- 
rida, C. parviflora, C. grandis. — Of Paparveracea j , Argemone mexicana. — Of 
Tiliacea, Berria ammonilla (Hal-milla). — Of Nympheacece, Nymphsea stellata 
(Tel-olu), three varieties; N.Lotus (iEt-olu), three varieties: the flowers of 
this plant are of a deep rose colour, the roots are eaten by the natives, and the 
seeds chewed by children. — Of Bixinea>, a variety of Bixa orellana. — Of 
Ochnacea, Ochna squarrosa (Bo-ksera), Vatcria indica (Hal.), three varieties. 
— Of Guttiferce, Calophyllum inophyllum (Teldomba), C. Calaba (Greta-keena), 
C. acuminatum (Walu-keena). — Of Tiliacece, Grewia orientalis (Wcel-koeliya), 
G. lasvigata (Gas-kaaliya), G. asiatica (Dawaniya), G. tiliaefolia (Ma-pat-kteliya) ; 
Corchorus olitorius, C. acutangutus (Jala-dara), C. capsularis, Microcos pani- 
culata (Kohu kirilla) ; Dipterocarpus turbinatus (Hora-Gaha). Or. 4. Tetra- 
gynia. — Of Dilleniacece are Delima sarmentosa (Korossa wcela). Or. 5. 
Pentagynia. — Of Dilleniacea, Wormia dentata, ornamental evergreen tree, 
twenty feet high, with yellow flowers. Or. 10. Polygy'nia. — Of Dilleniaca, 
are Dillenia integra, D. speciosa (Honda-para), D. retusa, D. dentata (Goda- 
para), D. aquatica (Diyapara). — Of Magnoliacece, Liriodendron liliifera (Halu- 
halhi) ; Michelia graveolens (Suwanda-sapu). — Of Nympheacece, Nelumbium 
speciosum, three varieties (nelun). — Of Annonacea, Uvaria zeylanica (Palu- 
-kaBn) ; Unona tripetaloidea (Naeta;wu), U. uncinata, U. esculenta (Panubam- 
bara) ; Guatteria suberosa (Kalati), G. Korinti (Mee-wa^nna), G. Montana, G. 
dulcis (Palu-weera), G. pumila (Heen-kotahi) ; Annona asiatica, used for a 
red dye. — Of Ranunculacece , are Naravelia zeylanica (Narawoela), Ranunculus 

Class 14. DIDYNAMIA. Or. 11. Gymnospermia.— Of Labiatcv, Nepeta 
indica (Ma-gal-kappra-walli) ; Lavandula carnosa (Gal-kappra-waLli) ; Mentha 
auricularia (Hajma-nilla), M. pcrilloides (Gan-kollan-kola) ; Perilla ocymoides ? 
(Wal-kollan-kola), Ballota disticha (Heen-yak-wanassa) ; Leucas zeylanica (Gaeta- 

766 CEYLON. [part IV. 

tumba), L. indica (Sudu-tumba), L. biflora; Leonotis nepetifolia (Ma-yak-wa- 
anssa) ; Ocymum thyrsifolium, O. gratissimum (Gas-taki), O. minimum (Heen-tala), 
O. tenuiflorum, O. polystacbyon (Karal-taki), O. mentboides, O. scutellarioides 
(Rat-taki) ; Plectrantbus elongata (Wal-kappra-walli) ; Scutellaria indica. Or 
12. Angiospermia. — Of Scrophulariacece, Rhinantbus indicus ; Gerardia del- 
phinifolia (Renu-heedilla), another species; Torenia asiatica (Wael-kotala), T. 
hirsuta, T. stricta ; Stemodia camphorata (Gona-kola), three var. ; S. lutea 
(Kaha-gona-kola) ; Buchnera asiatica (Sudu-dadinnaru) , B. euphrasioides (Da- 
dinnaru), tliree varieties. — Of Pedalincc, Martynia lanceolata, M. nervosa, M. 
crenata ; Sesamum indicum (Tun-pat-tala) ; S. orientale ; iEginetia indica ; 
Pedalium murex (JEt-nerenchi) . — Of Biynoniacece, are Bignonia chelonoides 
(Ela-palol}, B. salina (Lunu-madala) ; Spatbodea longiflora (Diya-danga) ; S. 
indica (Totilla). — Of Verbenacece are Gmelina asiatica (Gseta-demata) ; G. 
arborea (^Et-demata) ; Premna integrifoha (Ma-midi), P. serratifolia (Heen- 
micb), P. tomentosa (Boo-seru), P. villosa (Lee-kola-pala), P. procumbens ; 
Zapania nodiflora (Hiramana-daetta) ; Volkameria scandens ; Clerodendrum 
infortunatum (Gas-pinna), C. serratum (Ken-hamda), C. phlomoides, C. inerme 
(Wsel-boo-haenda) ; Vitex pubescens, V. altissima, V. Leucoxylon, V. trifolia 
(Meean-milila), V. negundo (Sudu-nika), V. pinnata. — Of Elceocarpacecv, Diceros 
longifolius (Gas-kotaki), D. aquaticus (Rsewul-puruk-wila), D. paniculatus 
(Puruk-wila). — Of Acanthacece, Ruellia fasciculata, R. undulata, R. ringens (Nil 
paruk), R. zeylanica (Dara-paruk), three varieties, R. variabilis (Sudu-paruk) 
Barleria longifoha (Katu-ikiri), B. prionitis (Katu-karandu), B. buxifolia (Katu- 
nelu), B. cristata; Thunbergia fragrans ; Acanthus maderaspatensis ; DUivaria 
ilicifolia (katu-ikili) is foundin swampy soil. 

Class 15. TETRADYNAMIA. Or. 14. SiLiauosA.— Of Capparidece, Cleome 
heptaphylla, C. pentaphylla (Awusada-wela-koku, C. icosandra (Boo-wal-aba), 
C. viscosa (Wal-aba), C. dodecandra, C. febna, C. monophylla (Ran-manissa), 
C. zeylanica. 

Class 16. MONADELPHIA. Or. 17. Triandria. — • Of Leyuminosce, 
Tamarindus indica (Ma-siyambala). — Or. 19. Pentandria. — Of Byttne- 
riacecB, Waltheria indica (Heen-sepala), W. angustifolia ; Melochia pyramidata, 
M. concatenata (Ma-gal-koora) ; M. corchorifoba (Heen-gal-koora.). Or. 22. 
Octandria. — Of Aroidece, Pistia stratiotes (Diya-parandael). Or 24. — Of 
Connaracece, Connarus asiaticus (Ela-radaliya), C. pinnatus (Ratu radaliya), 
C. santaloides ( Goda-kirindi) . Decandria. — Of Chlenaceis affines ; Hugonia 
mystax (Ma-gsetiya) , H. villosa (Boo-gaetiya). Of Connaracece are Ompha- 
lobium indicum, an evergreen shrub, eight feet high, flowers a pale red. Of Leg. 
pap. Lot gen ; Heylandia Hebecarpa, perennial trailer, flowers yellow. Of Ley. 
Pap. Hed. Euh. Zornia diphylla, Z. Ceylonensis, curious annual, flowers yellow. 
Or. 25. Dodecandria. — Of Bombacece, Hehcteres Isora (Leeniya-gaha).— Of 
Bytteneriacece, are Pentapetes phcenicea, Pterospermum suberifolium (Ma-we- 
langa), P. canescens. Or. 27. Polyandria. — Of Bombacece, are Adansonia 
digitata; Bombax 1 pentandrum (Pulun-imbul), B. Ceiba (Katu-imbul), B. hep- 
taphyllum (Ma-telambu),B. Gossypinum (Ela-imbul). OiMyrtacece, Barringtonia 
speciosa (Moodilla). — Of Malvacece are Sida acuta (Gas-baewila), S. lanceolata ; S. 
spinosa; S. rhombifolia (Koti-kan-bsewila), S. alnifolia (Kirandi-beewila), S. peri- 
plocifolia Wilwsera), S. persica ? (Boo-anoda), S. asiatica, S. populifolia (Ma- 
anodu), S. hirta (Wal-anoda), S. radicans (Bin-aepala) ; Malva tomentosa ; Urena 
lobata (Patta-aepala) ; U. tricuspis (Boo-patta-sepala), U. sinuata (Heen-patta- 
sepala) ; U. heterophylla ; Gossypium indicum (Sinhala-kapu), Hibiscus populneus 
(Sooriya-gaha), H.tibaceus (Beb-patta), H. rigidus (Siri-wadi-baswila), H. ficul- 
neus ; H. canna-binus ; H. surattensis (Napiritta), three varieties, H. Abelmoschus 
(Kapu-kinissa), H. truncatus, H. tubulosus, H. vitifolius (Ma-sepala) ; Pavonia 
zeylanica (Gasbaewila) ; Mesua ferrea (Na-gaha). 

Class 17. DIADELPHIA. Or. 22. Octandria.— Of Polyyalece, Polygala 

1 A tree growing to the size of our walnut, bears long pods filled with seeds, 
wrapped in a fine short down too short for spinning, but serving when dressed for 
stuffing beds. 


theezans, P. triflora, P. glaucoides, P. ciliata. Or. 24. Decandria. — Of 
Legnminosa', Dalbergia arborea (Magul-karanda), D. lanceolaria (Nedun), D. 
zeylanica, D. scandens (Wsel-kalatiya), D. filiformis (Bokala-wafla), Pterocarpus 
bilobus (Gan-malu), P. santalinus ; Abrus precatorius (Olinda), four varieties; 
Erytbrina indica (Wseta-erabodu), E. picta (Yak-erabodu) ; Butea frondosa (Gas- 
ksela), B. superba (Wsel-kada) ; Aspalathus indica; Crotalaria (with leaves 
C. micrantha, C. juncea (hana), simple, linifolia; C. retusa (Kaha-andana-hiriya), 
C.verrucosa (Nil-andana-hiriya), C. biflora, C. Nana, C. nummularia, C. humifusa 
(leaves compound), C. laburnifolia ( Yak-beriya) ; Pbaseolus caracallafMoodu-mse), 
P. trilobus (Bin-ma;), P. radiatus (Ulundu-mae) ; Dolichos rotundifolius (Wal- 
awara), D. virosus (Moodu-awara), D. medicagineus (Ma-wal-kollu), D. scara- 
bseoides (Heen-wal-kollu) ; Stizolobium giganteum (Kana-pus-wasla), S. pruriens 1 
(Wsel-damaniya), S. rugosum (Kapiri-pus-woela); Glycine tenuiflora, G. parviflora, 
G. javanica, G. viscidum (Gas-gonika); Cylista tomentosa (Heen-goradiya), C. 
esculenta (Ma-goradiya) ; Clitoria ternatea (Katarodu), three varieties; Lathyrus 
odoratus, two varieties ; Sesbania aculeata ; Smithia sensitiva ; iEschynomene 
aspera (Ma-diya-siyambala), JE. indica (Heen-diya-siyambala), J&. pumila (Bin- 
siyambala) ; Stylosanthus mucronata ; Hedysarum (leaves simple) nummulari- 
folium, H. moniliferum, H. gangeticum, H.maculatum, H. vaginale (Aswaenna), 
H. triquetrum (Baloliya), three varieties: leaves conjugate, H. diphyllum, H. 
conjugatum : leaves ternate ; H. pulchellum (Ham-pilla), H. umbellatum, H. 
biarticulatum (Undu-piyali), H. heterocarpum (vEt-undu-piyali), H. gyrans, H. 
obtusum, H. capitatum (Gas-lsetiya), H. heterophyllum (Boo-undu-piyah) , H. 
triflorum (Heen-undu-piyali) : leaves pinnate ; H. sennoides; Flemingia lineata ; 
F. semialata (Wal-undu), F strobilifera (Ham-pinna), F. biflora (Gas-kollu), F. 
viscosa; F. polysperma ; Indigofera cinerea (Alu-awari), I. enneaphylla (Bin- 
awari), I. glabra, I. hirsuta. I. tinctoria(Nil-awari), I. atropurpurea (Ma-awari); 
Galega villosa (Boo-pila), G. maxima, G. purpurea (Gam-pila). G. tinctoria (Alu- 
pila), G. senticosa ; Psoralea corylifolia; Trifolium indicum ; Trigonella indica. 
Of Leg. pap. lied. Cor. Euh. Desmodium capitatum, a shrub with purple 
flowers. Or. 27. Polyandria — Of Aurantiacece are Citrus acida (Delii), three 
varieties ; C. medica, three varieties ; C. aurantium (Dodan), three varieties ; C. 
nobilis (Naran), three varieties; C. decumana (Jamb61u), four varieties. — Of Mal- 
vacece, Durio Zibethinus (Katu-moda). — Of Hyperacece. Hypericum Campestre 
(Sanda-raja), H. auritum Ooru-kan), H. mysurense. 

Class 19. SYNGENESIA. Or. 30. Polygamia iEauALis.— Of Composites 
Sonchus oleraceus ? (Gal-potu-kola) ; Prenanthes sarmentosa, P. sonchifolia ; 
Vernonia anthelmintica (Sanni-nayan) ; Spilanthes Pseudo-acmella (Heen-ak- 
maella), S. acmella (Ma-akma;lla) ; Bidens chinensis (Wal-te-kola) ; Lavenia 
erecta ; Cacalia sonchifolia (Boo-kadu-para), C. sagittata (Wal-kadu-para), C. 
maritima (Mudu-kadu-para), C. laciniata ; Ethulia divaricata (Heen-muda- 
mahana) ; Mikania tomentosa (Wel-daha-wiya), M. volubilis (Ma-kihimbiya) ; 
Eupatorium zeylanicum (Wsel-pupula) ; Ageratum. Or. 31. Polygamia su- 
perflua. — Of Composites, are Artemisia indica (Wal-kolondu), A. maderaspa- 
tana (Wael-kolondu) ; Gnaphalium indicum (Ma-sudana) ; Baccharis indica ; 
Conyza balsamifera (Le-wtersella), C. prolifera, C. cinerea (Heen-monara-ku- 
dimbiya), Inula indica ; Tagetes erecta, two varieties (Yak-mal) ; Cotula minima 
Heen-kimbu), C. bicolor (Ma-kimbu) ; Eclipta prosrrata (Sudu-kirindi) ; Siges- 
beckia orientalis ; Verbesina biflora (Moodu-gam-palu), V. calendulacea (Ran- 
wan-keekirindiya), V. dichotoma (Agada). Or. 34. Polygamia segregata. — 
Of Composite, Elephantopus scaber (iEt-adiya) , Sphaeranthus indicus (iEt-muda- 

Class 20. GYNANDRIA. Or. 15. Monandria.— Of Orchidecc, Orchis, 
viridiflora, O. cubitalis, O. strateumatica ; Habenaria undulata (Sudu-goda- 
bindara) ; Malaxis Rheedii ; Geodorum dilatatum ; Aerides odoratum ; A. tenui- 
folium ; Dendrobium crumenatum (Sudu-pareyiya-mal), D. macrostyachum, a 
parasite with green flowers, Cymbidium aloifolium (Wisa-dooli) , C. ovatum, C. 

1 Pods hairy, attach themselves to the hands and cause itching, celebrated as a 

768 CEYLON. [part IV, 

prtemorsum, C. spatulatum ; Limodorum virens (Kcena-hilla), L. carinatum ; 
Epidendrum amabile: Vanilla aromatica (Heen-nilwadla). Or. 16. Diandria. 
— Of Stylidece , Stylidium uliginosum. Or. 20. Hexandria. — Of Aristolo- 
cJiice ; Aristolochia indica (Sat-sanda). 

Class 21. MONJ3CIA. Or. 15. Monandria.— Of Fluviales ; Caulinia 
indica (Katu-penda); Chara zeylanica. — Of Urticece; Artocarpus incisa (Rata- 
del), A. pubescens (Wal-del), A. integrifolia (Heralee), six varieties. Or. 16. 
Diandria. — Of Aroidece ; Lemna minor (Diya-panshi). Or. 17. Triandria. 
— Of Aroidece; Typha latifolia (Hambu-pan). — Of Graminece, Heteropogon 
hirfus (Ee-tana) ; Coix lacbryma (Kirindi-mana). — Of Cyperacece ; Scleria tesel- 
lata, flowers panicled (Wel-karawu) , S. hirsuta (Boo-karawu), S. litbosperma, 
S. zeylanica, S. majus, S. alata (Goda-karawu), S. latifolia (Ma-potu-pan) 
flowers headed; S. stricta (Baka-munu-tana), S. axillaris. — Of Euphorbiacea ; 
Tragia involucrata (Wsel-kahambiliya), T. mercurialis (Gas-kuppumeniya), T. 
ckamselea. — Of Laurince ; Hernandia sonora (Palatu-gaha). Or. 18. Tetran- 
dria. — Of Onagrarice ; Serpicula verticillata (Katu-diya-pasi). — Of Urticece ; 
Bcehmeria alienata, B. interrupta (Gas-kahambiliya) ; Urtica heterophylla (Gseta- 
kahambiliyti), U. stimulans (Ma-ussa), U. verrucosa (Gas-dool), U. aquatica 
Ma-diya-dool), U. latifolia (Moodu-ksenda). Or. 19. Pentandria. — Of Com- 
posite ; Xanthium orientale ? — Of Cucurbitacece ; Luffa foetida (Dara-woeta- 
kolu). — Of Amarantacece ; Amarantbus polygamus (Sulu-koora-tampala), A. 
polygonoides (Koora-tam-pala), A. spinosus (Katu-tam-pala). Or. 20. Hexan- 
dria. — Of Rubiacece; Guettarda speciosa, (Nil-picbcha). — Of Palmce ; Cocos 
nucifera (Pol), ten varieties ; Elate sylvestris (Ma-indi). Or. 27. Polyandria. 
• — Of Onagrarice ; Myriophyllum indicum. — Of Alismacece ; Sagittaria obtusi- 
folia. — Of Begoniacece ; Begonia tenera (Bin-hakambala), B. malabarica (Ma-ha- 
kambala), B. rupestris (Boo-hakambala). — Of Aroidece, Arum pentaphyllum 
( Wal-kidaran) , A. minutum (Ati-udayan), A. Colocasia (Gahala) ten varieties ; 
A. macrorhizon (Habarala), five varieties ; A. divaricatum (Polong-ala), A. trilo- 
batum (Panu-ala), A. spirale, A. auriculatum, A. fcetidum ? Caladium ovatum 
(Ma-ketala), C. nymphaeifolium (Alu-habaralu). — Of Palmce, Caryota urens (Kit- 
tool), three varieties; C. horrida (Katu-kittool), C. mitis (D6-talu). Or. 28. 
Monadelphia. — Of Euphorbiacece, Acalypha betulina, A. indica (Wsel-kup- 
pameniya), A. lanceolata ; Stillingia populnea, an ornamental tree, fourteen feet 
high, with yellow flowers, Croton Tiglium (Jaya-pala), C. coccineum, C. punc- 
tatum (Gal-kseppetiya), C. aromaticum (Gas-kseppetiya), C. lacciferum (Wcel- 
kseppetiya), C. rhombifoUum (Wal-kseppetiya), C. moluccanum (Boo-koeuda) ; 
Ricinus communis (Endaru), two varieties ; R. mappa (Pat-ka?nda) ; Agyneia 
obliqua (Ma-kajbella), A. multilocularis (Heen-kaebella), A. latifolia (Ma-pat- 
koebella) ; Sapium indicum (Msekiliya) ; Phyllanthus maderaspatensis ; P. stel- 
latus (Diya-hunu-kirilla), P. pubescens (Boo-hunu-kirilla), P. rhamnoides (Gas- 
kayila), P. multiflorus ( Wtel-kayila) , P. Nh-uri (Pita-wakka), P. urinaria (Bin- 
nelli), P. emblica (Awusada-nelli), P. pomacea (Wal-murunga) , P. myrtifolius. 
— Of Palmce, Areka catechu (Puwak), three varieties ; A. Dicksonii, or sylves- 
tris, (Lenataeri-puwak) ; Nipa fruticans (Gin-pol). — Of Cucurbitacece, Tricho- 
santhes anguina (Podi-wilanga), T. caudata (Patola), T. cucumerina (Dum- 
meella), three varieties, T. incisa ; Momordica charantia (Karawila), four varie- 
ties ; M. muricata (Batu-karawila), M. luffa (Titta-waeta-kolu), M. cylindrica 
(Wseta-kolu) , four varieties ; M. dioica (Tumba karawila) , Cucurbita umbellata 
(Boo-dumma-lla), Cucumis maderaspatanus (Kcekiri), three varieties : C. Colocyn- 
this (Yak-komadu) ; Bryonia grandis (Ken-ksekiri), B. umbellata (Kawudu- 
kEekiri), B. cordifolia (Heen-kaskiri), B. Garcini, B. laciniosa (Gon-kcekiri), B. 
palmata (Tittahondala). — Of the Sterculiacece, Heritiera littoralis, Sterculia Bal- 
anghas (Nawa-gaha), S. urens, S. fcetida (Telambu-gaha). 

Class. 22. DliECIA. Or. 15. Monandria. — Of Pandanece, are Pandanus 
odoratissimus (Wteta-keyiya), P. humilis (Dunu-keyiya), P. fascicularis Moodu- 
keyiya), P. pumila (Heen-keyiyii), P. scandens (Oya- keyiya). Or. 16. Dian- 
dria. — Of Hydrocharidece, Vallisneria octandra (Diya-hawari). Or. 17. Trian- 
dria. — Of Palmce, Phoenix farinifera (Heen-indi). Or. 18. Tetrandria. — Of 
Rubiacece, Trophis aspera (Gaeta-nitul), T. spinosa (Katu-timbul). — Of Loran- 


thece, Viscum orientale, V. compressum, V. tomentosum. Or. 19. Pentandria. 

— Of Terebintacea, Canarium balsamiferum (Mala-kaekuna).— Of Antidesmece, 

Stilago lanceolaria ; Antidesma alexiteria, A. zeylanica (Walocmbilla), A. pubes- 

cens (Boo-sembilla). — Of Passiflorece, Modecca tuberosa (Ala-hondala) : Zanonia 

indica (Wal-rasa-kinda). — Of Urticece, Cannabis sativa (Mat-kansha). Or. 20. 

Hexandria. — Of Ebenacece, Maba buxifolia, (Kalu-habaraliya). — Of Smilacece, 

Smilax zeylanica (Heen-kabarossa), S. latifolia (Mti-kabarossa). — Of Dioscorece, 

Dioscorea pentaphylla (Katuwala), D. triphylla (Gonala), D. aculeata (Katu- 

kukulala), D. alata (Kahata-kodol), D. bulbifera (Panu-kodol), D. sativa; D. 

oppositifolia (Hiritala). — Of Palmte, Borassus flabelliformis (Tal-gaha). Or. 23. 

Di.ecia Enneandria. — Of Lanrince, Litsoea trinervia (Dawul Kurundu). Or. 

24. Decandria. — Of Cucurbitacew, Carica papaya, four varieties. Or. 25. Dode- 

candria. — Of Hylrocharidece, Stratiotes acoroides. — Of Menispermece, Cocculus 

peltatus, C. Burmanni (Kehi-pittan) ; C. orbicularis (Diyanutta), C. cordifolius ; 

Menispermum fenestratum. — Or. 26. Icosandp.ia. — Of Tiliacece, Flacourlia 

nivea (Heen-katu-pila). — Of Euphorbiacece, Rottleria tinctoria (Ham-parandur Ua), 

R. paniculata. Or. 27. Polyandria. — Of Cycadece, Cycas circinalis (Maddu- 

gaha). — Of Ebenacece, Erubryopteris glutinifera (Ma-timbiri). Or. 28. Mona- 

delphia. — Of Euphorbiacece, Excoecaria agallacha (Tela-keeriya), E. camettia ; 

Cluytia retusa (Ma-pat-ka?ta-kala), C. collina (Madura). — Of Menispermece, 

Cissampelos hernandifolia (Wsela-titta), C. convolvulacea (Weni-wada), three 

varieties. — Of Myristacece, Myristica tomentosa (Mala-boda), M. salicifolia 

(Heen-eeriya), M. iriya (M;t-eeriya) ; Horsfieldia odorata, (Ruk-gaha). — Of 

Nepenthece, Nepenthes disrillatoria (Biindura). 

Class 23. POLYGAMIA. Or. 35. Mon.ecia.— Of Rubiacece, Ophiorrhiza 
mungos (Waleka-weriya). — -Of Apocynece, Ophioxylon serpentinura ^Ratu- 
eka-weriya). — Of Grammes, Andropogon caricosus (GiTta-mhna), A. crinitus, 
A. acicularis (Rat-tuttiri), A. squarrosus, A. Nardus (Watu-ssewa-ndara), A. 
cymbarius ( Kara- wata-m ana), A. schasnantlius (Pengiri-manaJ, A. binatus ; 
Chloris barbata (Mayura-tana) ; Ischsemum rnuticum (Bada-mal-tana), I. aris- 
tatum (Heen-kudu-moetta), I. barbatum (Ma-kudu-rairtta). — Of Urticece, Parie- 
taria indica (Ma-telika-palii), P.reclinata (Kseti-palu). — Of Chenopodece, A triplex 
coriacea. —Of Combretacece, Terminalia catappa (Kottamba), three varieties, T. 
alata (Kombook), T. Bilirica (Bulu), T. chebula (Aralu). — Of Aurantiaceae, 
Feronia elephantum (Diwul). — Of Terebintacere, Ailanthus excelsa. — Of Euphor- 
biaceee, Briedelia spinosa (Katu-kseta-ksela). — Of Laurina affines, Gyrocarpus 
asiaticus (Hema-gaha). — Of Ulmacece, Celtis orientalis (Gudur.iba). — Of Legu- 
minosce, Inga bigemina (Gaskalatiya), I. nodosa, I. umbellata ; Mimosa rubicaulis, 
M. entada (Heen-pus-wada) ; Desmanthus virgatus (Gas-nidi-kumba), D. cine- 
reus ; Acacia scandens, (Ma-pus-weela), A. odoratissima, A. vera, A. ceesia, A. 
pennata (Goda-hinguru). — Of Guttiferce, Stalagmitis cambogioides (Kana-go- 
raka). Or. 36. DiiECiA. — Of Graminece, Spinifex squarrosus (Ma-rawana-rewula ). 
— Of Sapindacece, Schleichera trijuga(/Embul-kon). — Of Flacourtia?iece, Hydno- 
carpus inebrians (Ma-makulu). — Of Terebintaceie , Semicarpus latifolium (Kiri- 
badulla), S. obovatum (Kalu-badulla). — Of Urticece, Ficus Carica, F. glomerata 
(Gan-attikka), F. religiosa (Bo-gaha), F. parasitica (Wsel-adiaetu), F. benjamins 
(Dehi-nuga), F. nitida (Pauu-nuga), F. politoria (SewanamDediya), F. bengalensis 
(Ma-nuga), F. cotinifolia, (Boo-nuga), F. oppositifolia, (Kota-dimbuhi), F. 
indica, ( Kiripadla), F. stipulata, F. repens debilis. — Of Ebenacece, Diospyros 
Ebenaster' (Kaduni-b.'riya), D. ebenum (Kaluwara), D. hirsuta (Kalu-msediriy a) . 
Class 24. CRYPTOGAM1A. Or. 38. Gonopterides. Of Euuisetace^:. 
Equisetum — f Aswalgatana). Or. 39. Stachiopterides. Of Lycopodiace^e ; 

1 Diospyros Ebenaster in many respects resembles Calamander, though of 
lighter colour and inferior beauty D. Ebenum is jet black, fine grained, takes a 
high polish, and is much used in making tables, chairs, &c. The wood is extremely 
heavy, and the furniture made of it is very dear. It is chiefly found in the jungles 
of the eastern province. 

3 i) 


Lycopodium phlegmaria (Ma-hsedaya'), L. mirabile (Kuda-hredaya), L. repens 
(Binhsedaya), L. rupestre (Len-pahuru), L. cermium (Badal-wanassa), L. ornitho- 
podioides (Balal-pahuru), L. canaliculatum (Md-pana-datta), L. ciliare (Heen- 
pana-daetta), L. serratum (Gas-ha>daya), Bernhardia dichotoma (^Et-hawari). 
Or. 40. Filices. — Ophioglossice, Ophioglossum ovatum (Ek-pati-benduru), O. 
pendulum (Pati-benduru) ; Botrychium ternatum (Kaerawu-waersella), B.zeylani- 
cum (Ken-kok-wsersella). Of Poli/podacea, Hydroglossum pinnatifidum (Ma- 
pamba), H. fiexuosum (Heen-pambaj, H.circinnatum (iEt-pamba) ;Mertensia dicho- 
toma (Wil-ka-killa) ; Schizsea digitata. — Alsophilacomosa, A.crinita ; Trichomanes 
rigidum and T. intermarginale, T. filicula ; Acrostichum arifoliurn, A. quercifolium, 
A. appendiculatum, A. esculentum (Ksera-koku-wa'rsella) ; Hemionitis Boryana ; 
Polypodium acrostichoides, P. nervosum, P. phymatodes (Wad-benduru), P. 
quercifolium (Gas-benduru) ; Aspidium splendens (Watu-wsradla), A.auriculatum, 
A. pteroides, A. unitum (Riila-wa^raeila), A. arboreum (iEt-miwana), A. speluncae, 
A. viviparum (Ganga-miwana) ; Lowaria scandens (Wsel-barandara) ; Asplenium 
nidus, A. falcatum, A. ambiguum, A. esculentum (Miwana-pala) ; Pteris pilo- 
selloides P. elliptica, P. scolopendrina, P. palustris, P. serrulata, P. crenata, P. 
thalictroides (Pilihudu-pala), P. quadrialata, P. tripartita, P. lanuginosa (An- 
kaskilla) ; Blechnum orientale (Pattra-wseraella) ; Adiantum lanulatum (Kaha- 
waeradla), A. caudatum ; Cheilanthus tenuifolia ; Davallia patens, D. pedata, 
D. affinis, D. Emersoni, D. contigua, D. elegans, D. Khasiyana, D. lonchitidea, 
D. inaaqualis, D. hirta, a very beautiful and distinct fern, with something of the 
rigid habit &c. of the Polystichum group of Aspidium, D. polypodioides, almost 
hispid beneath, D. tenuifolia, Lindssea cultrata, L. Walkerse, L. caudata, L. 
ensifolia ; Dicksonia zeylanica ; D. deltoidea ; Cyathea simplicifolia ; C. sinuata, 
fronds simple, lanceolate, very much elongated, sinuated at the margin, C. Walkerae. 
Or. 43. Hydropterides. Marsilea coromandelina (Diya-sembula j biliya). 
Timber, and the more valuable trees of Ceylon. 

The jack tree, Artocarpus integrifolia, (Jaca), (see p. 7C8), grows to a very large 
size, and is not only the most useful, but also the most beautiful of the Ceylon 
forest trees, from the great size of its spreading top, and the deep shade of its 
dark green leaves. It produces an extraordinary quantity of fruit from its 
branches, its trunk, and even from its roots. The fruit has a rough green covering, 
and contains a great number of kernels about half the size of a pigeon's egg ; 
these, when the fruit is ripe, are contained in a luscious yellow covering, which 
is too strong tasted for Europeans, but before it ripens, the kernels when cooked 
form a good vegetable, and are very commonly the foundation of the curries used 
by the labouring Singhalese. The size and weight of the fruit varies from one 
to fifty pounds weight, and contains from two to three hundred kernels, each, more 
than double the size of an almond ; that of the smaller sort is larger than tlie finest 
oranges. The wood of the jack tree is generally used in making furniture, and 
much resembles the commonest kinds of mahogany. 

There are two sorts of trees which produce the bread-fruit, one of which yields 
a smaller fruit without seed, while the fruit of the other is larger, of more general 
growth, and in higher repute. The fruit is all over prickles, with a thick and 
soft rind ; the internal part of the fruit only is used for food by man, and the rind 
is left for the pigs. The larger sort of bread-fruit, which is almost universally 
used in Ceylon, is called by three different names, according to the period of its 
growth. When it has reached the size of an ostrich's egg, and is a month old, it 
is called " polios ;" hereli, when it is half ripe and of the size of a cocoa-nut ; the 
pulpy esculent part is then still of a white and milky cast. At both these periods, 
the fruit cannot be eaten without previous preparation. When perfectly ripe, it 
is called warreka ; the pulpy part is then fit for use, and that which environs the 
seed has a sweetish taste, is yellow, and without any preparation is both eatable 
and relishing. The seeds may be eaten either alone like chesnuts, or together with 
the pulpy part of the fruit itself prepared in different ways. They are used both 
boiled and roasted ; the lower classes generally boil and eat them with the scrapings 
of cocoa-nut and salt, and the rich employ them in fattening pigs, geese, and 


Other fowls. Fifteen dishes are capable of being prepared from the fruit of this 
beneficent tree. 

Calamander, or variegated ebony, Diospyros hirsuta. (Seep. 769.) (Kalumin- 
drie, from Kalu, black, and mindrie, flowing, Singh.) This beautiful wal-gaha, or 
forest tree, is now scarce, from the ruthless manner in which it has been felled 
whenever found, owing to the elegance of the wood, and the consequent demand for 
furniture made of it. Calamander, with its alternate shades of black, clouded 
like marble, and light brown, is much the prettiest of all the varieties of wood 
found in Ceylon. It is extremely hard, and receives a very high polish. The 
Ophioxylon serpentinum (see p. 769) has a bitter taste, and besides being used 
as an antidote against the bite of serpents, is employed in ardent and malignant 
fevers. Cups of the wood will yield a part of their virtue if wine be poured into 
them : this is drunk as a stomachic. Water likewise extracts a green tincture 
from it. The wood resembles that of the oak in colour, and by its pores, which 
are frequently so yielding as to let water filter through them. 

TheTalapat tree, Corypha umbraculifera. (Talagaha, Singh.) (See p. 7G3.) The 
size of this chief of the race of palms, in favourable situations, varies from 80to 110 
feet in height without the flower, which in some instances gives an addition of nearly 
25 or 30 feet. The trunk of the tala is straight, but retains a mark wherever there 
has been a leaf, and the circumference near the ground is from seven to eight feet. 
The tala seldom lasts more than 100 years, for with the moment of its perfection, 
commences also its decay ; the fruit, which is about the size of a chesnut and useless 
for any other purpose, is produced in great numbers, ripens by degrees as the 
flowers decay ; the leaves then wither, the upper part of the trunk and the roots 
decay, and the only remaining part of the stem lies prostrate on the ground, 
about twelve months after it first began to shoot up the great spike which is 
the covering of the flower. This spike and its branches are from two to three 
months in reaching their full size ; the flower, which is yellow, and of a strong and 
oppressive smell, then begins to appear from the extreme point, and when it bursts 
from the sheath, makes an explosion like the report of a cannon ; from this time 
until all the minute stalks and numberless flowerets are disclosed, elapse about 
three months more ; the remainder of its existence is but a course of rapid decay. 
When this tree is cut down for the sake of the seed, the pith yields a sort of meal, 
of which the natives make a cake, which tastes something like the finest bread. 
It serves also as an occasional substitute for rice. The leaves are largest when the 
tree is about 20 years of age, and are comparatively small when it has attained its 
utmost size, and exerts all its vitality to develop its flowers and perfect its fruit. 
The leaf is of a form which enables it without any preparation to be folded like a 
fan ; it is 15 or 16 feet across, and (with the addition of the stalk) from the point 
of the leaf to the extremity of the stalk where it is united to the tree, is sometimes 
25 feet. These leaves are used as umbrellas, and for thatching houses, and such 
is their circumference that it is large enough to preserve from six to a dozen 
persons from wet in a pouring rain. When it is dried it is very tough, but at the 
same time supple and flexible. Though nearly as thick as a man's arm, it is so 
light that a person may carry it a great way without fatigue. In its full expanse 
it has a circular appearance, but when cut in pieces, it has a triangular form. 
When a man lays it on his head in a journey, with the points projecting outwards, 
it serves to protect him through the bushes and thorns, while in other situations 
it assists in shading him from the scorching rays of the sun. One of these leaves 
cut off about five feet in length, and nearly the same in breadth, decorated with 
various elegant embellishments, is carried over the heads of people of distinction, 
both native and European, instead of an umbrella. They are also formed into 
tents, and when prepared in strips from two to three inches broad, and 20 to 30 
in length, they form the leaves of Singhalese books, called olas. The immense 
quantity of seed produced by every tree is spread by animals over a great extent 
of country, and the seeds all spring up, but few survive ; as the young leaves are 
devoured the moment they appear by every animal feeding on vegetables. 

Mee-tree. (See p. 765.) The flowers of this tree have a heavy and disagreeable 
smell, the colour is white, and they sometimes fall in such profusion, as to cover 


7/2 CEYLON. [part IV. 

the ground for several inches in depth. Tn the districts where mee-trees are 
abundant, the natives assert that if rains wash down and accumulate quantities of 
flowers on the surface of the tanks, a noxious effluvia proceeds from the mass, and 
gives rise to malignant fevers. This the natives endure on account of the oil 
yielded by the fruit of the tree. 

The kabuk, or kombook, a species of terminalia, flourishes on the banks of all 
streams in the level and dry districts, and is even found at an elevation of 2000 
feet. It grows to a large size, and is a strong and durable timber, of a red 
colour. By natives it is believed that water will always be found by digging near 
kabuk trees. 

Nelu. (Seep. 759.) Is a brittle jointed plant, of which there are several varieties 
in Ceylon. It flowers once in eight years, and then decays ; the blossom smells 
strongly of honey, and attracts a large number of bees in consequence. On the 
joints of the nelu plants may frequently be seen clusters of the large deep bell- 
shaped flowers of some parasite, with yellow hearts and scarlet edges ; these have 
no separate leaves, and appear so general and so completely united to the nelu 
roots, as to induce a belief among the natives that they are two different flowers 
proceeding from the same plant. It forms the chief jungle of the highlands, and 
is from 12 to 15 years in coming to maturity. 

Bogaha. (See p. 769.) The trees of Buddha form one of the most beautiful 
characteristics of Ceylon ; they are most commonly met with in travelling through 
the central province ; they are generally of great age, and guarded from injury by 
superstition, while their huge trunks, rendered cavernous through age, seem ap- 
propriate emblems of an ancient worship. Two or three terraces, built up with 
stone and rilled with earth, surround the sacred bo-tree, on every side of which 
are raised rough miniature temples of stone, about two feet high, including the 
little cupolas with which they are surmounted. The long, broad and beautiful 
leaves of this tree, which are in the shape of a heart, are reported to have often 
furnished a cooling shade and soft repose to Buddha, when relaxing from the 
devout labours of his mission. Hence tradition has consecrated it to his memory, 
and so holy was it esteemed that the form of its leaves was not permitted to be 
painted on any article of furniture, but what was designed for the palace of the 
king of Kandy. 

Palmyra, or Fan Palm, (Borassus Willd.) (Singh Talgaha.) (Seep. 769.) The 
leaves of this tree, as well as those of the talapat tree, are used instead of paper by 
the natives, and all their olas, or books treating of religion and the healing art, are 
transcribed on them, but in a langixage elevated above the common idiom. The 
leaves of both these palm trees lie in folds like a fan, and the slips stand in need of 
no other preparation than merely to be separated and cut smooth and even with a 
knife, after having been slowly dried in the shade and rubbed with oil. Their mode 
of writing upon them, consists in carving the letters with a fine pointed style, and, 
in order that the characters may be the better seen and read, they rub them over 
with an ink made of lampblack, or some other substance, and a solution of gum, 
so that the letters have altogether the appearance of being engraved. The iron 
point made use of on these occasions, is either set in a brass handle, which the 
Moormen and others carry about them in a wooden case, and which is sometimes 
six inches in length, or else it is formed entirely of iron, and together with the 
blade of a knife designed for the purpose of cutting the leaves and making them 
even, set in a knife handle common to them both, into which handle it shuts up, 
so that it may be carried by the owner about with him, and be always ready at 
hand. On such slips all the letters and edicts of the Dutch Governmeut used to 
be written, and sent round open and unsealed. When a single slip was not 
sufficient, several were bound together by means of a hole made at one end, and 
a thread on which they were Strang. If a book had to be made for the use of the 
wiharts or any other purpose, they sought for broad and handsome slips of talapat 
leaves, upon which they engraved the characters very elegantly and accurately, 
with the addition of various figures delineated upon them by way of ornament. 
All the slips had then two holes made in them, and were strung upon an elegantly 
twisted silken cord, and covered with two thin lacquered wooden boards. By 


means of the cords the leaves are held even together, and by being drawn out when 
required for use, they are separated from each other at pleasure. Occasionally 
their books were made of thin copper plates. 

The Kittool-gaha, Caryota, (see p. 768.) grows very straight, but not so tall as 
the cocoa-nut tree. It contains a pith like the talapat tree, which yields an uncom- 
monly sweet sap of very pleasant taste and wholesome qualities. A tree of the 
ordinary size will yield several quarts a day. From this juice, after boiling, a brown 
sugar, called jaggery, is prepared, and when particular care is used, it is scarcely 
inferior to white. The leaves of this species of palm resemble those of the areca, 
and are attached to a strong skin, which is as hard as a board, but full of fibres. 
These they employ as thread, and make into cordage. The leaves keep falling oft* 
as long as the tree continues to grow, but when it has attained its full growth, they 
adhere for many years to the stem, and no fresh ones are produced. When the 
buds on the top become ripe and wither away, they are annually succeeded by 
others which keep continually growing lower and lower down the branches till 
they reach the stem. The tree is then worn out, but will still remain for eight or 
ten years before it rots. Of C. urens there are three varieties. There are also 
two other species, horrida (Katu-kittool) and mitis (D6-talu). 

Areka Catechu or Betel Nut (Puwak-gaha, Singh.) (See p. 768). This tree is 
principally found on the south and west sides of the island. It cannot be said 
to grow wild, being generally found in the vicinity of houses, but it is seldom 
planted, the nuts when ripe falling on the ground and sowing themselves. This 
tree is very straight and tall, but of no great girth ; the nuts grow in bunches at 
the top, and when ripe are red, and have a beautiful appearance ; when gathered 
they are laid in heaps until the shell be somewhat rotted, and then dried in the 
sun, upon which the process of shelling commences. These trees vary in their 
yield from 300 to 1000 nuts; they bear but once a year generally, but there are 
green nuts enough to eat all the year long ; the leaves of this tree somewhat 
resemble those of the cocoa-nut tree ; they are five or six feet long, and 
smaller leaves sprout from their sides, like the feathers on each side of a quill. 
The Singhalese, in consequence, call the large leaves the boughs, and the small 
ones the leaves ; they fall off annually, and the skin on which they grow with 
them. This skin is a sort of medium between bark and leather, and is of great 
service to the natives, whom it serves for basons to eat rice out of, and to tie up 
provisions for a journey, being capable of containing either oil or water, by being 
doubled up in the middle, and rolled like a purse. These skins vary in size 
according to the trees, generally they are about two feet in length, and a foot and 
a half in breadth. The wood will split from one end to the other, though it is 
hard and strong ; it is much used for laths to houses and for fences. Formerly 
there was a considerable trade in this article with the Coromandel coast, from 
whence the natives brought back manufactured goods and other necessaries in 
return, but this has ceased for more than a century. The common price was 
20,000 for a dollar. The chewing this nut has much of the same effect on the 
natives as opium, &c. on an European, when taken to excess, it will produce 
stupor, and even intoxication, and when eaten green, diarrhoea. 

Cocos Nucifera (Pol-gaha, Singh.) (see p. 768), delights in a sandy soil, and the 
nearer to the sea, the quicker its growth, and the more productive its yield. It 
requires little or no attention, except being secured from the inroads of cattle ; for 
fanned by the winds of the Indian Ocean, it gains strength by exposure, and though 
its average height ranges from sixty to eighty feet, it frequently exceeds a hundred. 
Its diameter at the base is from two to three feet, and the root, which is com- 
posed of strong flexible fibres, spreads in a circle, and of these some sink down 
deep, and others creep along the surface of the soil. One of these beautiful and 
verdant circles, formed of feathery fronds from fourteen to sixteen feet in length, 
radiating from a common centre at the top of a tapering stem, eighty feet high, 
is one of the most charming objects in nature. The fronds are supported at the 
base by diagonal and horizontal layers of strong elastic fibres, capable of sustain- 
ing great weight, and so closely united as to form, when gently stretched, an 
excellent substitute for a hair sieve for straining liquids. This fibrous support 

774 CEYLON. [part IV. 

lies in laminse between the branches which it envelops, as well as the Incipient 
ones even to their rudiments, or what is called the cabbage, and seems providen- 
tially adapted for the security of the passing traveller from the constant dangers 
that would otherwise attend him while traversing the cocoa-nut topes, as the 
groves are called, from the sudden falling of decayed branches, which its very 
firm adhesion to the trunk prevents, but it is not made into gunny bags, as 
some authors have stated, and is merely used for straining toddy and other 
licpiids, and for kindling fires. 

The finest arrack in the world is distilled by the Singhalese from the toddy in 
a fermented state, which, in the course of a few hours, becomes an intoxicating 
beverage, owing to the rapidity of the process. One hundred gallons produce 
by the simple chymical process of the Singhalese, twenty-five of arrack (Pol- 
wakere), which, when taken new, is injurious, but gradually acquires wholesome 
properties. Toddy is also used by bakers for the purposes of yeast. Pine- 
apples steeped in arrack, impart a delicious flavour, and reduce its strength to 
that of a Hqueur tinrivalled for making the nectarial punch, or puntjee of the 

Lamp-oil is made from the kernel of the ripe cocoa-nut, after it has been 
exposed to the sun on mats, until it has become rancid and discoloured (in 
which state the natives call it Kopperah), by means of a simple press turned by 
bullocks, and oil for culinary purposes by boiling the fresh pulp, and skimming 
is as it rises. The former is now made into candles and soap, and the oil-cake 
or poonac, is used for feeding cattle and poultry. 

Vinegar is made by putting toddy drawn in dry weather into jars, and keeping 
them closely covered, but exposed to the sun, for a month ; the toddy is then 
strained, and replaced in the same jar with a little bird pepper (Capsicum 
frutescens, Linn.), a small piece of the red ghorka, and of moringa pod (Hype- 
ranthera moringa) ; the jars are then laid in the earth for a month or five weeks, 
and thus a very excellent vinegar, little inferior to that made from white wine, is 
produced, which serves for making pickles from the young shoots. 

Jaggery, a species of sugar, is made by suspending a clean and dry calabash, 
or chatty, instead of one in common use for toddy drawing, and containing some 
chips of the bark of the Shorea robusta (Halghas, Singh.), which will induce 
sweetness in the toddy. Eight gallons of it, boiled over a slow fire, produce two 
gallons of syrup, called Penni by the Singhalese ; which, being again boiled, pro- 
duces a coarse strong-grained brown sugar, named as before said, that is well 
adapted for crystallization or refining in England ; this is formed into cakes in 
bottoms of cocoa-nut shells by way of moulds ; which having been enveloped in 
pieces of dried plantain leaf are hardened and preserved from humidity by being 
suspended where smoke has free access to them. A cocoa-nut tree planted near 
the sea generally blossoms in the fourth or fifth year, but in elevated situations 
of the interior, it is six or seven years before this takes place, and from thence 
forward for sixty years and upwards this most prolific palm will continue to pro- 
duce fruit in abundance, unless the tree be devoted entirely to the toddy drawer, 
in which case it ceases to produce fruit. 

The maturity of cocoa-nuts reserved for planting is indicated by the brown 
colour of the husk ; they are then plucked, and having been laid aside for a few 
days, are ranged in rows, and partly covered with earth, or, as in many parts of 
the country, suspended from the branches of trees until vegetation has com- 
menced. In about three months, more or less, the plant will have appeared, and 
in less than five months from that time will have attained the height of sixteen or 
eighteen inches, and have thrown out three or four foliaceous fronds. The best 
time for transplanting is during the rainy season, when the plants receive that 
abundant nourishment which their nature recpiires. 

The Singhalese are so extremely superstitious that they invariably throw a 
little salt into the holes before they place the young plants in them, and they 
observe great regularity in forming their topes by making holes for the plants in 
parallel lines from twenty to twenty-four feet apart, about three feet deep, of the 
same diameter at the top, and in the shape of inverted cones for the purpose of 


collecting the necessary moisture. If the salt were omitted, they would not 
expect the plant to flourish. 

The green fronds split, and their pinnated leaves interwoven, make covers for 
plants, baskets, and cajan, or thatch, and when burnt produce a superior alkali. 
The young pinnae, which are white and tough, make beautiful brushes, brooms, 
mats, baskets, and boxes for ladies' work, and from the strips of the leaf Eolian 
harps are made ; while tablets for writing upon, with an iron stylus, are formed 
from the leaflets, and translucent lanterns from the young leaves. 

The stem is at first of a very spongy nature, and full of tough perpendicular 
and ligneous fibres ; and until it is about twenty years old, is applicable only to 
the purposes of gutters, water pipes, and fences, but when it becomes old it is fit 
for rafters, shingles, ornamental cabinet work, rice pounders, walking sticks, and 
for building country vessels of from 80 to 200 tons burthen, called Dhonies. 
Drums are formed from the crest of the trunk. The water of the green cocoa- 
nut is a delicious drink, if it be plucked before sunrise; it is also used by house 
plasterers for its adhesiveness in mixing their white and coloured washes, and 
conjointly with jaggery and shell lime for stucco. 

The pulp of the young cocoa-nut is an admirable vegetable blanc mange, and 
the kernel of the seed cocoa-nut, after vegetation has commenced, is among 
the delicacies of a Singhalese dessert. It is spongy, but pleasant to the taste, 
and greatly esteemed by the natives. The expressed juice of the pulp of the ripe 
nut is properly the milk, and is obtained by first rasping it with an instrument 
called Hieromane, 1 then soaking it in water and pressing it through a cloth, 
when it forms an ingredient in all good curries. The cabbage is delicious 
whether fricasseed or pickled, or in its raw state, when it is as sweet and crisp as 
the Catappa almond. 

A bunch of cocoa-nuts seldom exceeds fifteen or twenty good ones, and from trees 
growing in sandy situations, the fruit is gathered four or five times a year. The 
external husk, after having been soaked in water for a certain period, is beaten 
out into a fibre called Koir, of which yarn, ropes, 2 cables, brooms, plasterers' 
brushes, and stuffing for beds, sofas, mattrasses, saddles, &c, and bags are manu- 
factured. Cocoa-nut shells are made into cups, basons, lamps, sportsmen's liquor 
flasks, ladles, skimmers, spoons, lampblack and charcoal, which last forms an 
excellent dentifrice when pulverised. 

A powerful oil is extracted from the bark of the cocoa-nut tree, which is em- 
ployed as a liniment in cutaneous diseases, and considered by the Singhalese 
doctors eminently efficacious, provided a free use of the green cocoa-nut be strictly 
adhered to as a. principal article of diet, and an ointment is prepared from the 
kernel, which is a certain cure for the ringworm in children. The list of articles 
manufactured from the cocoa-nut tree has been enumerated at one hundred and 
upwards, and the Tamuls have a poem descriptive of its various uses. 

The root, which is sometimes masticated instead of areca-nut, is considered 
by native practitioners so efficacious in intermittent and remittent fevers, that it 
is almost invariably employed by them. Small pieces of it are boiled with dried 
ginger and jaggery, and the decoction is given to the patient at regular intervals. 
The same decoction, when used as a gargle, is mixed with the oil of the nut freshly 

1 "The Hieromane," says Mr. Bennett, " is the best kind of grater that can be 
employed to reduce the kernel for culinary purposes, because it obviates the 
necessity of breaking the nut-shell in pieces, or the previous removal of the 
kernel from it, which in its ripe state is difficult. It consists "of a circle of notched 
iron fastened to the end of a stout piece of wood cut in a peculiar shape, (which 
custom has induced the Singhalese to consider the most convenient for this 
domestic purpose,) and considered by Europeans to resemble a boot-jack." 

2 This rope, from its strength and elasticity, and its possessing the peculiar 
property of being best preserved for use in sea water, is well adapted for mooring, 
and is used for running rigging in the India shipping. It is, notwithstanding, 
considered inferior to rope made from Laccadive Koir, though it admits of im- 
provement in the manufacture and its mode of preservation. 


made, and generally affords considerable relief to the patient in cases where pus- 
tules have formed in the mouth or glands of the throat. 

In hemorrhoids, the expressed juice of the leaves, mixed with fresh oil of the nut, 
and taken internally, is considered a sovereign remedy ; and in ophthalmic com- 
plaints, the external application of the expressed juice of the nut, mixed with new 
milk from the cow or goat, mitigates, if it do not entirely remove inflammation. 
The juice of the flower is of so astringent a nature, that it has the same effect as 
a solution of alum upon the inside of the mouth ; this mixed with new milk and 
taken in small quantities, not exceeding a wine-glass full, but at regular periods, 
affords almost immediate temporary relief, and if persevered in, effectual cure, in 
that most debilitating disease in tropical climates, Lues Gonorrhsea. The shade of 
the cocoa-nut tree is salutary ; for wherever cocoa-nut topes are found, very little 
underwood is met with. Accidents, which might be expected to be of constant 
occurrence through the fall of cocoa-nuts on passers by, seldom or never occur, 
and still rarer prove fatal. 

Trees intended for toddy drawing are prevented from producing fruit by the 
following process : the toddy drawer first ties the spathe in three places, with 
strips of the tough white pinnse of the young fronds, which are of a beautiful white 
when they first shoot up perpendicularly, but soon change to a straw colour ; 
these are concave towards the heart of the crest, and when they are successively 
forced from their position by new fronds, they gradually expand their pinnated 
leaves, and ultimately become horizontal. The old fronds have a strong mid-rib, 
with the footstalks nearest the tree proportionably thick ; these embrace the stem, 
and as they gradually fall off, after hanging for weeks together by their fibrous 
support, or are pulled down for fuel, torches or chules, and fences, they leave 
successive and very visible scars. The purpose of tying the spathe is to prevent 
its expansion ; it is then cut transversely to the extent of about two inches from 
the point, and beaten with an ebony or iron-wood baton by the toddy drawer for 
five or six mornings and evenings successively. The next operation is to remove 
a portion of the footstalk of the spathe, so as to admit of its depression for the 
juice to flow freely, and it is kept in that position by attaching it to an inferior 
branch ; in the course of five or six days the toddy drawer suspends a calabash, or 
earthen pot called'a chatty, from the decapitated spathe so as to receive the juice 
as it, exudes from the flower, and this he repeats every morning and evening, 
taking off a slice of the flower as occasion requires while any part of it remains. — ■ 
Toddy begins to ferment soon after the power of the sun is felt. 

This delicious liquid, combining a pleasant but slight degree of sweetness, with 
a still less degree of acidity, when fresh and of peculiar flavour, is called toddy by 
Europeans ; Ra, by the Singhalese ; and Suri, 1 or Sura, (palm wine), by the 
Hindoos, and being considered a gentle aperient is very often resorted to at early 
dawn by the bon-vivant to remove the unpleasant effects of the previous night's 
libations. There are five varieties of this palm at Ceylon, and the grounds 
adjoining the wihares generally contain the best specimens of the indigenous 
species. The nuts present different shades of colour, from the Koroomba, or water 
cocoa-nut, to that which approaches or has arrived at maturity. The peculiar 
shape and bright orange colour of the king cocoa-nut is remarkable, yet it is seldom 
procurable at the bazaars. It is occasionally presented by the priests or headmen 
by way of compliment to Europeans. The next in beauty is of an orange colour, 
but not of the beautiful pear shape of the first. The third is of a pale yellow, 
rather cordiform, and the fleshy substance of its husk, which is between the 
epidermis and the nut, is edible in its green state. The fourth is the common 
cocoa-nut so common in the East and West Indies ; and the fifth is the Maldive, 
or dwarf cocoa-nut, about the size of a duck's egg ; this is rare and highly prized. 
No country in the world produces the cocoa-nut tree to such perfection as Ceylon, 
either as regards height, or any other of its qualifications. 

Lemon-grass (A.ndropogon Schaenanthus). This plant gives out a strong 
flavour of lemon when bruised. 

1 The word " Sura," in Sanscrit, signifies both wine and true wealth. 



Narrative of the Visit qflambulus to Taprobane, as given by 

Diodorvs Siculus. 

Iambulus, the 6on of a merchant, and a youth of enterprising 1 habits, 
in following- his father's calling, was made captive in his travels, and 
carried into Ethiopia. A custom prevailed in that country of purging 
the land, by sending away two of the inhabitants on board a ship, 
which, when provisioned, was left to the mercy of the waves, the crew 
being forbidden to return under pain of "death. Iambulus, thus 
expelled, arrived at Ceylon at the end of four months, and found the 
island to be of a circular form, and 5000 furlongs in circumference. On 
nearing the shore, the natives came to meet them, and bringing their 
ship into harbour, hospitably received them. " Unlike Europeans," says 
Iambulus, " both in person and mode of living, tbey were tall, bending 
their bones like nerves, and as the nervous parts after motion return to 
their former state, so did their bones. Their bodies were tender, but 
their nerves were stronger than ours, for what they grasped, none could 
wrest from them. They had no hair other than that on their heads, 
eyebrows, and chins, yet were they comely and well shaped. The 
holes of their ears were much wider than ours, and had something like 
little tongues growing out of them. Their tongues, too, were singular 
and remarkable, the effect both of nature and art ; for they had partly a 
double tongue, for being naturally a little divided, it was cut further 
inwards by art, so that it seemed two as far as the very root ; there was 
therefore great variety of speech among them ; they could imitate the 
chattering of birds, and what was yet more wonderful, they could speak 
perfectly to two men at once, both by answering what was said, and 
aptly carrying on a continued discourse. 

"The climate was temperate and excellent, and though lying- under the 
equator, was neither pinched with cold, nor scorched with heat, and 
fruits they had ripe all the year long. The days and nights were of an 
equal length, and there was no shadow atnoonday, the sun being directly 
in the zenith over head. They lived divided into tribes and distinct 
societies, and in plains where they were' plentifully supplied with food 
from the earth. Such was the fertility of the soil, that it grew a 
surplus stock of corn, and a fruit which, on gathering, they steeped in 
hot water, till it swelled to the size of a pigeon's eg-g, then bruising it 
and rubbing it skilfully in their hands, they kneaded it into dough, and 
baked and ate it. It was sweet and excellent to the taste. Their hot 
and cold baths, for curing and preventing distempers, were sweet and 
pleasant. They were learned in all sorts of sciences, especially astro- 
logy. Their speech contained twenty-eight letters, and seven charac- 
ters, every one of which were formed in four ways. They wrote not 
across the sheet as we, but began at the top of the leaf, and went on in 
a direct line to the bottom. They were long lived, often reaching 150 
years. The lame or weak (according to the severe law of their coun- 


try) were put to death. One of their laws fixed a certain number of 
years for a man's life, at the expiration of which he poisoned himself 
with an herb of a double nature, on which, if any one lay down, he 
silently passed away and died, without any sense of pain, as if in sleep. 
The men never married, but made a promiscuous use of women, and bred 
up the children so begotten, as common to them all, and with equal 
care and affection. The children were often changed by their nurses 
in infancy, that they might not be known to their mothers, and there 
being" thus no ambition among them, they lived in peace and amity. 
There were small beasts among them, the flesh of which was good, and the 
blood had rare properties. The body was round like a tortoise, divided by 
two streaks, which ran down the back, at each end of every streak they 
had an eye and a mouth, so that they had four eyes, and four mouths, but 
their food was conveyed through one throat, and thence into the belly, 
the common receptacle of all. They had but one gut, and but one of 
the other inner parts. The feet, placed round the body, and which they 
used for moving on what side they please, were numerous. The virtue in 
the blood of this little creature was such, that it instantly closed all cuts 
and gaping wounds in the body, that had still life in it, and if any 
member (that was not vital) were cut off, the application of this blood 
would (while the wound continued green) heal it up again. Every 
caste kept large birds of a singular nature, wherewith to try the courage 
of their children, placing them on the birds' backs, and as many of 
them as sat fast when the birds flew, they brought up, but the timid 
they cast away, as unable to endure hardship, and as deficient in a 
generous spirit. 

" In every tribe or society, the eldest governed the rest as king, and all 
yielded him perfect obedience. If the first put himself to death, after 
he had lived out his due time, the next in age succeeded in the chief 

" The seas round the isle were rough, causing high tides, but the water 
of the rivers was fresh and sweet. The bear star, and many others visible 
with us, were never seen here. These islands (I suppose he alludes to the 
isles off the north coast) were seven in number, of equal size and distance 
from each other, and the same laws and customs prevailed. Though they 
afforded plenty of food, yet the people used it not profusely, but were