Panama is located near the National Park of Kumana and is regarded to be the most remote village in this region. It is thought that Panama’s residents are the offspring of those who sought shelter here after the Uva–Wellassa rebellion in the British period, consisting of five divisions. What is unique about Panama, however, is that its inhabitants are all Tamil speaking, though predominantly Sinhala, and have a good relationship with the surrounding villages. It’s also interesting that many Panama families actually have a mixed heritage, where one could find Sinhala and Tamil relatives. Thus Panama embodies Sri Lanka’s wealthy cultural diversity.
The Panama town is quaint and tranquil. The surrounding area is filled with sand dunes on either side with sprouting of green, giving the surrounding a picturesque look. The Panama beach is as beautiful as a picture with catamarans “parked” on the sand beach and tourists bathing in the shallow waters of the ocean. The beach is a quiet area except for the rhythmic sound of the waves in a soft murmur as they wash ashore only to be taken back with the current.
A historical area that lies eleven miles from Panama is the Kudumbigala Monastery. During King Devanampiyatissa’s reign, Kudumbigala monastery complex was constructed in 246 BC. For the Buddhist monks who wished to get away from the crowded cities, it was first created as a shelter. More than 200 rock caves belonging to this forgotten monastery had been retrieved by archeologists.
In the lately found cave, Maha Sudharshana Lena, the inscriptions in Brahmi script and other proof show that Kudumbigala was formed in the pre-Christian period as an Aranya Senansanaya. The stone inscription states that the Maha Sudharshana Lena was constructed and bequeathed to the Arahats by Nandimitra a Great Warrior of King Dutugemunu’s time and a member of the ten giant warriors called the “Dasa Maha Yodayas.”
Sri Lanka has indeed a beautiful heritage of royalty and Buddhism that has prevailed over time.