Rest Room for Pilgrims at Girihandu Seya

From TobaccoUnmasked


Girihandu Seya is a historical Buddhist temple in Trincomalee district and recognised as the first stupa in Sri Lanka. Highly respected among Buddhist pilgrims, it’s historical background reaches Lord Buddha’s time (563 BCE to 483 BCE). After the end of 30 years’ terrorist activities, Girihandu Seya opened to the public and is the major place for worship of the Buddhist devotees in the Eastern Province. “Urumayaka Ulpatha” programme under the Milinda Moragoda Foundation, a social project by former parliamentarian Milinda Moragoda, initiated a project to build pilgrims rest rooms in Girihandu Seya.[1][2][3][4]

Image 1: Commemorative plaque displayed on the pilgrims’ rest announcing the sponsorship of CTC[3]

Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) Investment

Image 2: Opening of Girihandu Seya Pilgrims’ Rest by the Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksha. Milinda Moragoda is also in the photograph.[2]

The construction of the pilgrims’ rest room was a combined project of the John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) (John Keells Foundation) and Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) and the worth of this project was approximately seven Million rupees. Susantha Ratnayake was the chairman for both companies at the time.[1][2][3][4]


The plaque (Image 1) on the pilgrims’ rest mentions the sponsorship of CTC as a main financial supporter to build the rest room.[3] Then Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the Guest of Honour of the opening ceremony (Image 2). His participation was positively reported in print and online media as well as on Ministry of Defence’s website (Image 3). All news articles on the event reported the participation of R. A.D Sirisena a Member of parliament and the General Secretary of the Urumayaka Ulpatha at the opening ceremony. Media also reported that Buddhist monks and chief officials of the armed forces in Eastern province participated in the opening ceremony.[1][2][4]

Image 3: Defence Ministry Website Reporting the Event[4]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Editor. Secretary Defence declares opens Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya, Asian Tribune, 21 July 2014, assessed August 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Island. Secretary Defence declares open Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya,27 July 2014, assessed August 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 K.A.D Fonseka. Commemorative plaque, 02 October 2015, assessed December 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Sri Lanka. Secretary Defence Declares Open Pilgrims’ Rest at Girihandu Seya, 19 July 2014