The story behind it

Behind the striking architecture of this white mosque near Lipton Circus with the many towers, there is an interesting legend. In 1820, a young Sinhalese or Tamil girl was walking through the cinnamon plantations, carrying a pot of oil on the way from her home in Bambalapitiya to her clients in Maradana, when she accidently tripped over a cadju root, fell down and broke her pot. As her family was very poor and the girl being the sole wage earner, she was very upset. Then suddenly a grey bearded old man, wrapped in a green robe, appeared in front of her, next to the dewata tree, comforting her and telling her not to worry. He asked her to bring a new pot and put it right on that particular spot. The old man then pressed the ground with his foot and oil sprung out in abundance. He told her to tell all her Muslim customers about this mysterious event. They came to see this mysterious incident in large flocks. Impressed by the deed of this saint, they started to follow his teachings. In 1847 the divined Sheikh Ali Jahbarooth Moulana from the Maghrib (North Africa) came to Sri Lanka and heard about this miracle. He visited the grave of the saint and he recited Kaththam Fathiha on this particular site and told the crowd that this was the grave of Seyed Usman Siddiq Ibn Abdurahman, being on a pilgrimage to Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). He decided to build a place of worship on this site which is now the Dewatagaha Mosque and the shrine of Seyed Usman Siddiq Ibn Abdurahman, a pilgrim’s place for Muslims.


When you are in front of Odel Department Store, you can’t miss the imposing grand structure on the opposite site of the road with the many short minarets on top of it. It is obvious that the building lacks maintenance, since some green plants are growing out of the walls and minarets. The complex consists of a ladies’ and men’s praying hall, a courtyard (full of pigeons) and the shrine, which is not accessible to women. Except for the weekends it is mostly very crowded and there are many Muslim ladies around the place to beg for money, so bring a lot of coins along. It is a custom to give a small donation to the mosque as well as after visiting. Standing opposite the mosque you can clearly see the dome of the Town Hall on the background, which is situated right next to the mosque; from a distance it looks like one integrated white complex. There is a small alley next to the mosque which leads to a small community of Muslim families, not more than a dozen. Some of which have lived there for generations.

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