Newsfirst Explorers: In search of a historic ‘Holy Well’

Newsfirst Explorers: In search of a historic ‘Holy Well’

Written by Bella Dalima

08 Feb, 2014 | 7:59 pm

On our fourth episode of Newsfirst Explorers we go in search of a historic ‘Holy Well’ which dates back to Portuguese times.

Although we received historical records of a holy well which existed close to the shrine of Our Lady of Deliverance,   dubbed Nossa Senhora do Livramento, we were unable to discover its exact location. Our explorers visited the Jawatte General Cemetery after obtaining information via a revelation made by the Department of Archaeology.

Sri Lankans who believed that this holy well has miraculous properties, brought expectant mothers and  persons suffering from ailments to this location to drink from it. Both Christian and non-Christian devotees frequented this Holy Well.

According to the records of R.L. Brohier, although the well was covered in 1980, devotees still visited the holy well as tradition.

Intrigued by these reports, Newsfirst’s Explorers were adamant in discovering similar wells as mentioned in historical records, and came across such a well.

Our quest in search of this holy well lead to us to a chapel in close proximity to St. Paul’s Girls’ Girls School in Milagiriya.

However, our hopes of finding this well were shattered when we witnessed the 1903 etched on the walls of the chapel depicting that it was constructed in that year. However, the resident reverend of the church confirmed the accuracy of our information.

Milagiriya took its name from the Sinhalese form of the Portuguese word “Milager,” or Miracle.

After scavenging through the historical records it was clear to our explorers that the church of Our Lady of Miracles was removed and the current church was established in the present location.

Even though the location where this holy well once stood is now covered in bricks it amazes us to witness pilgrims coming here, placing their foreheads and offer prayers.

Today, we bid farewell to the Portuguese invasion and tomorrow we prepare for the arrival of the Dutch.




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