Matara Bodhiya

Attractions, Religious buildings and sites Matara

A Bodhi tree with a tragic past.

The history of this Bodhi tree is deeply entwined with a tragic tale that tells of a King named Kumara Dharmasena, believed to be the son of King Kasyapa of Sigiriya and a famous poet of old, Kalidasa. The King once saw a bee tangled in the petals of a lotus, and was inspired to write two poetic lines. Unable to complete it, he offered a reward for anyone who could complete the rest of the poem. A courtesan thinking that this would be a good opportunity, took the poem to Kalidasa. Once the poet completed the poem, the courtesan murdered him and presented it to the King. However, the King recognizing the handwriting of his friend discovered this cruel plot. During the funeral of the poet, the King unable to control his grief threw himself into the burning flames of the funeral pyre, upon which five official queens also leaped into the flames after him. 

Legend tells that seven Bo trees were planted atop their tombs and were called Hath Bodhis. However, it is assumed that only one has survived the long years and that one is the Matara Bodhiya. 


Venue name: Matara Bodhiya
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