Veddah Chief, Uruwarige Wannila Aththo, said that the historic value of certain places of worship had diminished due to commercialisation, and therefore, he stressed the importance of reversing the trend.
He said that places of historical and archaeological value would remain intact as long as they were not tampered with. He made these remarks to Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Mahipala Herath, who visited him in Dambana last week.
"Today, there are long queues of people standing with basketfuls of items to be offered at Devales such as in Kataragama. It is unacceptable to our traditions"
A few days before the visit, the duo had met at a function to mark the inauguration of a shrine room dedicated to God Saman at the Mahaweli Buddhist Centre in Mahiyangane. The Veddah Chief was there to offer bees honey to God Saman. At the event, he had invited Mr. Herath to visit Dambana.
God Saman was venerated by the public in Sabaragamuwa. In this regard, he said there was a close cultural link between his indigenous community and the Sabaragamuwa people.
Referring to the long, arduous trek to the peak of Sripada for veneration, he said modern facilities should not be available for reaching such sacred destinations. “The sacred value of Sripada can be preserved as long as there is an arduous journey to be made to reach the summit. In some countries, modern facilities have been arranged for reaching such destinations. But, it is something not to be done here. We should work to preserve the sancred value of such places,” he said.
Also, he said though offerings were made to the divinities during his childhood, it was happening in a manner that was unbecoming of such religious practices. “Today, there are long queues of people standing with basketfuls of items to be offered at Devales such as in Kataragama. It is unacceptable to our traditions,” he said.