Udappu fishing village, Chilaw District, Sri Lanka

Udappu's Legendary Origin

Mural: story of Udappu
Murual: Udappu village

Hindu karava—fisherfolk of Indian descent—are believed to have settled Udappuwa in the 17th century, having migrated from Rameshwaran, in southern India.

According to local legend, the king there intended to marry the beautiful daughter of a fisher family, but his reputation for cruelty made the girl's family reluctant to give her to him.

On the night before the planned wedding, the entire village abandoned their homes and put out to sea in a fleet of seven boats.

They made landfall on Sri Lanka at Mannar, but it was at Udappuwa that they found fresh water just beneath the sand.

So they settled here and built temples for their gods and goddesses, transplanting their traditional legends and rituals to their new home. Most of the villagers still live by fishing and related occupations.