Visiting Veddas (Sri Lankan aboriginals) in Dambana village, Sri Lanka

Dambana is a quiet village in the Badulla district close to the city of Mahiyangana. Dambana has a cultural significance attached to it and hence is a famous tourist attraction. The village is popular among tourists due to one reason—it is home to Sri Lanka’s indigenous community known in Sinhala language as ‘Veddas’. Visiting Veddas in Dambana to learn about their culture and lifestyle is an important tourist activity in Sri Lanka.

Visiting Dambana, which is located approximately 300 kilometers away from the busy capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo will give you the incredible experience of encountering these ancient Veddha tribes and experiencing their way of life in their village. The ancestors of modern Veddas were probably the earliest inhabitants of Sri Lanka whose arrival is dated tentatively to about 40,000–35,000 years ago.

The original language of the Veddas is the Vedda language, which today is used primarily by the interior Veddas of Dambana. In 1959 it was determined that the language was confined to the older generation of Veddas from Dambana and is vanishing fast.

Veddas were originally hunter-gatherers who used bows and arrows to hunt, harpoons, and toxic plants for fishing and they gathered wild plants, yams, honey, fruit, and nuts. Many Veddas also farm, frequently using slash and burn or swidden cultivation. The Veddas kill only for food and do not harm young or pregnant animals.

While in Dambana you can also visit the Dambana Museum which depicts the culture of Veddas through carvings, paintings, and other various instruments used by the Veddha community. To visit their village and mingle into their way of life, you need to get approval from the chief of the Veddas.

Once you are in, you can see how they make their hunting weapons like bow and arrows using natural materials and also enjoy the sight of their Veddha dance. They will even teach you their dance step by step. They will also demonstrate their hunting techniques such as the way they trap small animals and for their food. Staying with the Veddha people in the remote village of Dambana is something you don’t want to miss.

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