In an act of great respect and devotion, the staff of AkzoNobel Paints Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. -manufacturers of Dulux paint-, together with their families, friends, and the company’s close-knit business community, donated a new bell tower for the Kataragama Kiri Vehera on 30th July 2022. This was conducted under the auspices, guidance, and blessings of the Venerable Pujyapada Kobawaka Damminda Nayaka Thero, the Chief Incumbent of Ruhunu Magam Pattu, Pancha Maha Viharadhipathi (including Kataragama Kiri Vehera Rajamaha Viharaya).
The newly donated bell tower has been constructed at the main entrance of the Kataragama Kiri Vehera and stands at 27 feet high; with the bell in itself weighing over 800 kg, and made of five earth metals (gold, silver, copper, iron and zinc). The massive and dignified structure possesses a minimum height of 4.5 feet, with a bottom diameter of 4 feet.
According to the Kataragama inscription (dated BE 979/AD 435), when Lord Gautama Buddha visited Sri Lanka for the third time with 500 Arahants, he reposed in Kataragama “Kehirivana”, meditating, preaching Dhamma, and soothing his mind. “Mahaghosa,” the ruler of the region at the time, built a pagoda called “Madigala Maha Vehera,” depositing treasured relics which included the golden seat where the Buddha rested on while in Katharagama, his Noble hair, and the golden sword that Prince Siddhartha used to shave his head on the banks of River Anoma. Kiri Vehera, which is believed to have been built during Buddha’s time when He was among the living, is one of the 16 sacred places in Sri Lanka for Buddhists.
The “Shabda Pooja” (Offering of Sound) is considered a highly noble act, and the chanting and praising of the virtues of the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha) is the principle behind this offering. Bell chiming is one of its primary and supreme sound offerings, with bells being rung for the purpose of gathering the devotees to one place and focusing their minds. The chiming of bells also conveys the message to the surrounding crowd in its vicinity of a sacred event being held. Additionally, there are several blessings and merits that devotees gain through a “Shabda Pooja”; some of which include the possession of a consistent, pleasant, attractive, captivating, welcoming, and steady voice, as well as good communication skills.
“It is with sincere devotion that the pooja organising committee of AkzoNobel, together with the assistance of donors and well-wishers, has donated this bell tower to the sacred Kataragama Kiri Vehera,” said Wasantha Heenatigala, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Paints Lanka (Pvt Ltd). “We hope this benefits the spiritual community greatly, and brings us all closer together in worship and reverence.“
On this occasion, the pooja organizing committee of AkzoNobel Sri Lanka would like to wish all of its partners, families, and friends who have played a crucial role in helping achieve this noble and meritorious cause, a bright and happy future.