The Diyawanna Oya walking track, an area for jogging and exercising was declared officially opened for the use of the public by Chamal Rajapaksa, Speaker of the Parliament.
The programme was initiated under the Colombo City Development project with the support of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Authority.
The large parking lot adjacent to Diyawnna Oya made it easy to access this beautiful, free spectacle. Along the length of the promenade, people were spoilt for choice when it came time for a breather, with ample number of benches facing the rippling stream. And yet, some preferred to lie in the cool grass or laze on the large stone stairwell that led down to the water’s edge.
As dusk fell canoes took to the water to merge with the sunset silhouettes. The constant breeze kept those sail boats speckling the river conjuring images of a Venetian postcard and everywhere I looked was a blend of the elements graced with a vibe of placidity… a truly amazing symphony of the environment.
In poetic praises, also referred to as sandesa kavi of the 15th Century AD, relayed stories that commended booming agriculture, towns and their economies, especially of those thriving in and around the Diyawanna Oya, of the Kotte Kingdom. The poets were usually monks from the Kingdom’s many temples and their kavi or poetic messages were sent to the kings via birds. It is said that the Kotte Kingdom, among many other reasons, was praised as such as it was blessed with the protection and viable advantages of the Oya. Even today, that much is true.
One could call this the green zone, it was lush with greenery for one thing, and it was amidst a bustling town. People needed this, it was a quintessential setting, and folks came here for refreshment, to simplify the challenges of the mundane. The nurturing combination of the water, the walkway, the trees, the grass and the pedestrian crossing takes you from busy to benevolent.
Recent developments have made the area around this part of the Oya what it is now with the river’s perimeter cleared of brush and widened for quite a breathtaking view of the water. The space, symbolically welcomes the discerning.
You could say that life is good for the city-dwellers as they can actually have a balance of both worlds. Just as one would head-off to the nearest ocean getaway at Galle Face Green, Diyawanna Oya could be the destination for a stroll by the riverside or even a river-boat ride. The Oya was fast gaining popularity no doubt.
Kotte, although the capital city of Sri Lanka, was lesser known for its ‘fun’ aspect than that of its commercial counterpart, Colombo. However, for a city seriously bound to its official surroundings, such as the Parliament building amongst others, this new laidback space around Diyawanna Oya is what turns the tables.
It was easy to forget the extremely busy main road that ran right beside the streamlined rampart or school or even the office hours that hung on the brink of a fast-ending weekend.
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