island of Nagadeepa lying about 24 km away from the mainland
was once inhabited with people belonging to Naga clan.
to the chronicles, a great battle erupted between two
Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara over the claim of a
gem-studded throne. Chulodara is the son of Mahodara's
sister and the battle developed after the gem throne was
given to Chulodara with the demise of the father of Mahodara
who wanted to have the throne in his possession.
Sumana, a protective deity reached Lord Buddha at Jetavanarama
in Sravasti to inform of this war to break out soon. Lord
Buddha arrived in the island of the Nagas in the 5th year
after enlightenment, preached the virtues of non-violence
to the two kings and settled the dispute over the gem
throne between the uncle and the nephew who offered the
gem-studded throne to Lord Buddha.
that throne was enshrined in a stupa for Buddhists’ veneration.
The arrival of Lord Buddha occurred on the Bak (April)
Full Moon Poya day. Since then Buddhists gather to this
sacred island to commemorate Lord Buddha's arrival. Veteran
artist Solius Mendis, in his paintings at the Kelaniya
Temple, describes how the Nagas became followers of Lord
to legend, God Sumana was a resident of Nagadeepa in his
previous birth and had offered some leaves from a tree
to Pachcheka Buddhas to clean their alms bowls. This merit
made him a deity in his next birth.