Veddah community in Pollebedda, Mahaoya

Pollebedda village in Mahaoya Division (Ampara district) is a home of "Veddah Community of Sri Lanka". The Veddah community is also referred as "adivasi" or "indigenous people".  Pollebedda is located around 10 km from Mahaoya town along the Rambakan Oya dam road. 

According to Dr .R.L. Spittel's book "The Vanished Trails" there were only six Stone Age Vedda families in 1902, under the leadership of Neela and the Vedda population was dwindling in 1939 due to severe drought, and diseases such as Malaria, Influenza, and yaws (parangi). During the effort to cure them from the diseases, Dr.Spittel was able to mobilize seven (7) Veddah families from Danigala, Galmeda and Bingoda and settled them down in rock caves at Pollebedda in 1941. Dr. Spittel with the assistance of the government agent of Batticaloa and the Ratemahttaya of Mahaoya helped the Veddas who were hunter-gatherers to become farmers. Dr. Spittel took his clan out of the jungle and settled them in the village J. R. Jayewardene, Dudley Senanayake and Venerable Narada Thera of Vajirarama visited them. They gifted a Buddha image to perform religious rites. 

The Vedda chief in Pollebedda Tala Banadaralage Gomba (T.B. Gomba), who is blind and paralyzed in his 90s', was only a child when he settled down in Pollebedda. Gomba's great grandfather was the last Stone Age Vedda (gal Vedda), thus Gomba is one of the last links to the primitive Stone Age Veddas,  according to Dr. Spittel's book.

At present there are around 170 Adivasi families living in Pollebedda where some of them have already mingled with the local Sinhala community. For example, Gomba himself had married twice, on both occasions they were Sinhalese girls. Hence the community face several challenges in preserving their cultural/heritage values and language. Slowly there are becoming a forgotten community.  

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 7.577597 Longitude: 81.301536 Elevation: 266 ft
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Saman Bandara

What You Will Discover there Now

Ritual Veddah dance (Kirikoraha), veddah song, veddah language, the tools & weapons they used to hunt, the caves they lived etc. 

Special Cautions and Considerations When Visiting

Advance notice is required. Please be accompanied by an experienced guide.

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