Dambana| Dambana Ancient City|Heritage Dambana| Cultural Holiday packages in Sri Lanka World Heritage in Asia |Green foot travel Sri Lanka
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Dambana| Dambana Ancient City|Heritage Dambana| Cultural Holiday packages in Sri Lanka World Heritage in Asia |Green foot travel Sri Lanka

Dambana


Find Sri lakan indigenous people the best place is Dambana. Veddas are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean. They, amongst other self-identified native communities such as Coast Veddas and Anuradhapura Veddas, are accorded indigenous status but if you need to encounter Veddas people and their life style Dambana is the place. Just 5km off the A26. Dambana comprises four sub villages, but you’ll inevitably be brought to Kotabakina, where there are 10 traditional style Vedda homes with thatched roofs and mud floors.

The mahawansa relates Vedas are descended from Prince Vijaya (6th–5th century BCE), the founding father of the Sinhalese nation, through Kuveni, a woman of the indigenous Yakkha he married. The Mahavansa relates that following the repudiation of Kuveni by Vijaya, in favor of a Kshatriya-caste princess from Pandya, their two children, a boy and a girl, departed to the region of Sumanakuta (Adam's Peak in the Ratnapura District), where they multiplied.

Veddas were originally hunter-gatherers. They used bows and arrows to hunt game, and also gathered wild plants and honey. Many Veddas also farm, frequently using slash and burn or swidden cultivation, which is called "chena" in Sri Lanka. East Coast Veddas also practice fishing. Veddas are famously known for their rich meat diet. The current leader of the Wanniyala-Aetto community is Uru Warige Wanniya.

Their language is consisting with their own Vedda language. As Veddas also use Vedda language in part for communication during hunting and or for religious chants. When a systematic field study was conducted in 1959 it was determined that the language was confined to the older generation of Veddas from Dambana. In 1990s self-identifying Veddas knew few words and phrases in the Vedda language, but there were individuals who knew the language comprehensively. Most people believed their language origin of Indo-Aryan language. In Vedda society, women are in many respects men's equals. They are entitled to similar inheritance. Monogamy is the general rule.

On arrival you’re likely to encounter a gaggle of long-bearded Vedda men beckoning you in. If the chief, Ururuwarige Wanniya Laeto, is in residence, you’ll first be introduced to him. He sits surrounded by photos of his meetings with minor celebrities and of his revered father (ancestors are gods in Vedda religion). The correct Vedda greeting is to say ‘Honda Mai’ while grabbing the others forearms (proving that you are unarmed!). After this, the men will typically whisk you off to another house to see dancing and archery displays, while trying to flog you honey, leopards’ teeth and rough hewn medicine cups. Especially without a translator this can feel uncomfortably voyeuristic, somewhat like hill-tribe tours in Thailand. In a well-intentioned but as yet unproven attempt to improve the present situation, an impressive Vedda Heritage Center (Wariga Rukul Pojja; 7am-5pm), between Kotabakina and Dambana school, is nearing completion. The site includes an authentically styled Vedda house and tree hut, and plans to highlight the tribe’s Eco-friendly lifestyle, make comparisons with other aboriginal peoples and even offer tastings of potu-pojja (stone-baked rotti). The idea is to celebrate and perpetuate Vedda culture; though almost by definition any commercialization of that culture is liable to have the opposite effect.

Another group, often termed East Coast Veddas, is found in coastal areas of the Eastern Province, between Batticaloa and Trincomalee. These Veddas have adopted Tamil as their mother tongue.


Things to do at Dambana...