Prince turns god after execution
LEGEND: Last week we drove to the Keerthi Bandara Devala in
Walapane when we were driving from Kandy on the Raja Mawatha, turning
God Keerthi Bandara is commonly known as "Gale Bandara Deviyo", many
provisional gods in our country are men who had died after great service
to the nation. Grateful people who valued their services treat the dead
Keerthi Bandara belonged to the Kandyan royal family. He was a
mischievous son of Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe.
NEW PREMISES: The Devale put up in honour of Gale Bandara Deviyo
Due to the son's mischievous acts the father ordered him out of
the palace and for some reason he selected Walapane for his living.
Obviously being one from the king's family people would have rallied
round him and respected him. He without any ulterior motive assisted and
directed the people to improve agriculture, particularly the paddy
cultivation. He opened up new lands along the most famous Kurundu Oya
for the paddy cultivation.
The king would have had an effective spy system at that time. The
information of his son Keerthi Bandara involved in the paddy cultivation
was conveyed to the king who feared of losing his throne to his
rebellious son. The king kept him under observation.
The prince was at work on the banks of Kurundu Oya. He was beginning
a new cultivation in the most fertile land. The king decided to inspect
what the prince was really doing. He proceeded to Walapone with powerful
The king saw for himself the great work the son had done in paddy
cultivation. He saw newly cleared lands at Serasuntenna and how popular
the prince was with the people. The king met the prince face to face and
requested him to stop further cultivation and also ordered him to hand
over all his cultivated land to the king.
The son Keerthi who would have been obviously angry with the father
for chasing him away from the palace refused to obey him and replied to
the king: "You may throw me down this rock and kill me but I will not
handover these paddy fields to you."
The angry king immediately ordered that the prince be thrown down the
precipice. Two soldiers were entrusted with the dreadful task. The brave
prince faced the situation boldly. When the two soldiers were pushing
the prince down the precipice he grabbed the two of them too and
According to legend as the prince was killed a god appeared in the
sky and condemned the king's act. The royal elephant turned into stone.
The god commanded the king to offer his royal neck towel to the dead
Keerthi Bandara and construct a dewala. It was only then that the royal
elephant was able to take the king back to the palace.
The people in Serasuntenna and Walapane from that day regard Keerthi
Bandara as a god. Farmers in Walapane offer part of the harvest to god
Keerthi Bandara even today. They call him Gale Bandara Deviyo.
The two soldiers who had died with the prince were believed to be
born as demons. They are named "Kuda Hedaya" and "Maha Heda ya".
With the Mahaweli Development scheme the Devale had to be shifted to
the present premises from Serasuntenna.