The Place-name “Pothuvil”
Posted on August 30th, 2019

Chandre Dharmawardana

Pothuvil  පොතුවිල් is Tamil usage. Its earlier sinhala usage  was indeed පොතුවිල, possibly derived from Budhuvila Bodhivaalaබෝදිවාල. Let the sinhalese writers at least begin to call it by the sinhala form පොතුවිල and NOT POTHUVIL.

Please see my discussion of the place name given in
https://www.dh-web.org/place.names/#P
The link takes you to the letter P. Then scroll down to Pothuvila.
The description is  as follows:
Pottuvil, Potuvil, Poththuvil (Ampare)
POTHUVILA, Bodhivāla  පොතුවිල, බෝදිවාලMeaning. ‘Pothuhaera’ in Sinhala is a type of bullrush. A similar meaning may be given to Tamil, ‘pottukkampu’, with the botanical name: Penicillaria involucratum. Other types of rush used for making mats, “pan”, are Scleria oryzoides. and Sacchorum spontaneun etc. In Tamil “vil” means “Bow” and is not valid in this context. Other possible origins, given the Buddhist antiquity of the place, are: Suggestion of S. O. Canagaratnam (Manograph on the Batticaloa District of the Eastern Province of Ceylon, 1921) that the ancient name was Bodhivila
“Buthvila”, “Bodhi vila”, or the more ancient form, Bodhivāla, are possibilities. A village known as “Bodhivāla” is mentioned in the Chulavamsa (lvii,54) in the context of the Ruhuna campaigns of Vijayabahu I. There is a strong possibility that “Bodhivāla” is the present day tamilized “Potuvil” placenmae. In Pali and Sanskr. “vāla” does mean water in compound usage [PTS dict., p 610) as in “Aalavaala”(Sanskr.], i.e, basin of water found at the root of a tree.
“vāla” is also a type of jasmine, Pavonia Odorata grown in temples. “Vaala” also means circumference or periphery (c.f., chakravaala), and “Bodhivaal” could simply mean the region enclosing a Bodhi (c.f. Devaala).
 If we consider Sinhala-tamil hybrids, “Puthuvil” could mean “new-pond”. The suggestion that “Pottundy” is a name for “Kaāli”, Hindu godess, is not supported by the Madras University Tamil Lexicon, chankam or other south Indic dictionaries that we have searched.

We also note that “podu (පොදු)”, i.e., “common property” in Sinhala (also malayalam, and tamil) may imply a pond (vila) held in common by several villages. However, “Pothuhara, Poththaenna, Pothuvaeva” and similar place names exist in other provinces. Hence we opt for “Potuvila” as a proche-form to the existing name, and aand adopt the form “Bodhivāla” as the archaic toponym.

History:  Mooddu Maha Viharaya is near by; Dhatusena 5th cent.,14th Century. inscriptions.
It has also been claimed that Viharamaha Devi landed near here, or in Kirinda.

Chandre Dharmawardana

On Friday, August 30, 2019, 7:55:27 AM EDT, Kamal Rajapakse  <[email protected]> wrote:  මුහුදු මහා විහාරයේ ආරක්ෂාවට  මුස්ලිම් ආක්‍රමණිකයන්ගෙන් බලවත්  තර්ජනයක් තියන මෙවෙනි අවස්ථාවක STF අයගේ ආරක්ෂාව අවශියයි.   මුහුදු මහා විහාරට  බෝම්බ ගසන බව එම්. එස්. ඒ වාසීත් නැමති පොතුවිල්  ප්‍රාදේශීය සභාවේ සභාපති පවසා ඇත. සිංහල පාරිභෝගික සංසදයජූනි  8  · 

In all these discussions of the Moodu Maha Viharaya, and sorroundign areas, let us be careful to not to perpetuate errors that have been forced into the usage by the British Colonials and Tamil Nationalists working together. This form of the  name probably came into existence in the early part of the 20th century.

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