Waterways are a part of life in the island nation of Sri Lanka and figures largely in the history and culture of the land and today cruising down the rivers of Sri Lanka has become a popular pastime. Madhu Ganga in Balapitiya is a major attraction and both locals and tourists opt for a cruise down the river. Balapitiya hotels cater to diverse budgets and for upscale luxury the Shinagawa Beach Balapitiya in its picturesque setting would be a wise choice.

Madhu Ganga lies on the way from Colombo to Galle and is home to many islands including Kothduwa. On reaching the river and coming within sight of Kothduwa Island you have to attract the attention of the monks at the Temple to get a boat to get across and the boat will often be manned by a monk.

Prince Hemamala and Prince Dantha who brought the sacred tooth relic to Sri Lanka are supposed to have landed in this area and hidden the Sacred Tooth Relic in a sandbank on Kothduwa Island before handing it over to King Kithsirimevan.

This incident is mentioned in the Dalada Vanshaya. After a while Kothduwa Island was swallowed up by vegetation and was rediscovered by Devapathiraja, a Minister at the Court of King Parakramabahu IV in the 14 century. He planted a Bo sapling here, one of the 32 Bo saplings known as the Dethis Pala Bodhin Vahanse. The Sacred Tooth Relic was once again secreted at Kothduwa by Prince Veediya Bandara to safeguard it from an impending Portuguese invasion of the coastal regions. Kothduwa had only the sacred Bo tree until 1860 when the temple was built by Mudaliyar Samson Rajapakse. Kothduwa is the only temple on a river which does not have a village flanking it. The Madhu Ganga area is extremely rich in bio diversity and has been declared a Ramsar Site. The Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya is greatly venerated and on Poya Days overflows with devotees from all walks of life.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+