Has such incredible knowledge about Sri Lanka . Also has a string of titles and qualifications.
Currently, he is a visiting lecturer at the University of Peradeniya and the University of Moratuwa .
Medis , who has researched his passion, the history of place names in Sri Lanka, can tell anyone top to bottom the story of the name of almost any city in Sri Lanka
Nugegoda – as “nuga” 🙏means banyan tree, the name of the place indicated that it was an area with many banyan trees. The more interesting fact about the place, however, is the fact that convicts of the State back then, especially from the Kotte Kingdom, were seen hanged there.According to Medis, the term Nugegoda, while meaning “village of banyan trees”, can also mean “above the banyan tree”, indicative of the brutal history of punishment in Sri Lanka where a person was hanged “above” a tree.
Polonnaruwa – the word “uhr” comes from Hebrew which indeed means village. How the Sri Lankans ended up using Hebrew is something to think about.
Ratmalana – was an area which used to be called “Ratmal Uyana”, which means a place filled with red flowers.
Nawala – Nawala, means “elephant garden”, indicating that there were elephants in Nawala, which is now densely populated with human beings. Medis says that the elephants’ trumpets were heard on the day King Buwnekabahu VII of Kotte was shot by a Portuguese soldier in the late 1500s, when a massive uproar spread across Kotte and the kingdom was in turmoil. A Dutch historian even called it a “howling wilderness, catched and kraaled”, in reference to the hoard of elephants.
Minipe – simply means precious stone.
Milagiriya – in Milagiriya, there was a Roman Catholic church built by the Portuguese while they were here. The church was called the Church of Our Lady of Miracles which was translated into Latin and Latinised languages, into a word sounding similar to Milagiriya.
Mabole – King Rajasinghe II, who used the aid of the Dutch to get rid of the Portuguese, had a small section of the army – amounting up to about 100 men – who were Sri Lankan nationals. These people were all recruited by one man.
So, as a thank you to him, the king gifted him a large area of land from the Wattala area. This area came to be called “Maha Budale” by the Dutch, in whose language it means “great gift” (this word soon came into use in Sinhalese vocabulary as well).
The “d” sound in Budale is pronounced as a cerebral “d”, making a strong “th” sound. However, the Portuguese were only able to pronounce it as an “r”, hence it became “Maha Borale” which the British later shortened to Mabole.
Kirulapone – Kirulapone means “Kirula Pene”, i.e. the top of the palace tower of Kotte can be seen.
Moratuwa – means “Mura Atuwa” (guard posts). Medis says when there were invasions from Jaffna, the people residing in the Moratuwa area kept watch from the high towers there.
Panadura – is derived from the word “Panathurai”, which means low-lying port. It is similar to names of places like Kankasanthurai.
Grand Pass – literally means the grand pass from Colombo.
Dehiwala – it was a forest where cult practices were done and came to be called “Devil forest” in English, which soon became Dehiwala.
Maradana – from the Tamil word “marang”, which means trees, and the word “stana”, which means place. Marang-stana became Maradana.
Colombo – the Portugese called the Colombo Fort St. Lorenzo, but the word Colombo is said to come from the Sinhalese words which meant mango tree or what the Dutch called it – “colom thota”.
Anuradhapura – the city of Anuradha.
Credit to Bernadine Rodrigo.