Uthuwan Kanda near Kegalle is a rock outcrop at the Colombo-Kandy road. It was the place where the bandit Saradiel was hiding and waiting for British travellers to make a raid on them. Afterwards, he used to share the bounty with the poor, becoming a kind o “Robin Hood of Uthuwan Kanda”.
Born in 1832, Saradiel grew up in the village called Uthuwan Kanda, too. His father is believed to have told him stories of Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. Saradiel soon turned out to be a boisterous young man having conflicts with his class mates. Finally, he had to leave the temple school and work as a barrack boy at Rifle Barracks in Colombo, where he managed to steel ammunition.
Returning to Uthuwan Kanda he became an outlaw. He was charged for the killing of a rich merchant called Natakoti Chettiyar. But due to a lack of evidence, he had to be set free. Later Saradiel was caught in Negombo, but he managed to escape from the prison in Colombo. Soon afterwards he was arrested at Uthuwan Kanda only to escape again. With his loyal friend Mummale Marrikar, he formed a gang of bandits. They attacked carriages and looted rich merchants on the way from Colombo to Kandy. But remaining poor themselves, they spread their spoils amongst those locals in need, thus becoming a local hero. They believed, ho could only be shot by a golden bullit. So the legend goes. Saradiel might have interpreted his armed raids as a revolt against the colonial rulers and their local rich partisans.
Finally, it was one amongst his inner circle, Sirimala, who betrayed Saradiel's whereabouts. Saradiel and Mummale Marrikar were captured and then tried and finally executed in Kandy by hanging in 1864.
There are exhibitions, plays, numerous books, and films that portray his life story.
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