The Kalutara Bodhiya is home to a sacred Bo Tree that is held in high reverence by the Buddhist of Sri Lanka. No devout Buddhist will pass through the southern district of Kalutara without stopping to offer arms to the temple for receiving blessings; ensuring a safe journey.

Kalutara Temple - panoramio.jpg
Yoshan Bisanka, Kalutara Temple – panoramioCC BY 3.0

History of the Temple

According to historical records, the Kalutara Bodhiya managed to stay intact despite the political unrest during 1505 A.D. when the Portuguese invaded Sri Lanka. In the 16th century, the site of the Kalutara Bodhi was transformed into a Portuguese fort but the Bodhi was not harmed in any way as devout Buddhists worshipped it during that time.


Kalutara Bodhiya is accessible on the Colombo- Galle Road as it had always been. The temple is located 43 kilometres from Colombo and is easily reached by bus, train and a private vehicle. The temple remains well-maintained and adored by religious visitors from all around the island as well as the rest of the world. If you visit during Poya Days (full moon holidays) or during significant religious festival times, base yourself in one of the hotels in Kalutara the likes of Mermaid Hotel & Club which offers easy access to many attractions.

The Sacred Bo Tree

The sacred Bo tree of Kalutara grows by the banks of the Kalu Ganga one of Sri Lanka’s main rivers which meet the sea a few metres away from the temple. The Bo tree is believed to be one of the 32 saplings of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya flourishing within the sacred city of Anuradhapura.

Importance of the Temple

Kalutara Bodhiya, located on the side of the Kalu River, is one of the most iconic religious destinations in the country. The Bodhiya is particularly significant as the Bo tree is considered to be one of the living relics of the 2nd generation saplings from the Sri Maha Bo Tree in Anuradhapura which dates back over 2300 years. The massive shrine constructed within the pagoda is a major tourist and religious attraction.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world. Google+