Butterflies’ pilgrimage to Sri Pada | Sunday Observer

Butterflies’ pilgrimage to Sri Pada

22 May, 2022

Once upon a time a few families lived in a remote village. They lived in wattle and daub huts thatched with straw. The men cultivated paddy and the women grew vegetables.

As there was no school, children attended the village temple to learn how to read and write.

As the village was surrounded by hills, the villagers found it difficult to travel to distant towns. To buy essential food items they had to walk for several miles climbing hills and crossing rivers.

The New Year celebrations were over and the harvest had been gathered. Children played in the fields and birds were seen pecking at remaining seeds and worms.

Multi-coloured butterflies

At once, a host of multi-coloured butterflies was seen flying in a particular direction. Children ran after them and asked where they were going.

They said they were going on a pilgrimage to Sri Pada.

“We have never been to Sri Pada. Can we come with you?” the children asked in unison.

“We know you can’t fly like us, but we can show you the way,” said the butterflies.

The boys and girls were so excited that they started walking towards Sri Pada. In their rush they forgot to get their parents’ permission.

For days and weeks, the butterflies kept on flying and the children followed them walking through valleys, shrubs and crossing rivers.

However, they never felt tired. They ate wild fruits and drank cool water flowing down the hills. The butterflies told them that they would have to walk many more miles to reach Sri Pada.

The Wise Owl

In the meantime, the parents of the children started looking for them.

Finding no trace, they decided to consult the Wise Owl living in a Nuga tree.

After listening to them Wise Owl hooted twice and cleared his throat. Then he asked, “What did you say?”

“Wise Owl, our children are missing from the village. Did you see them?”

Wise Owl hooted twice and said, “I saw them going with a host of butterflies.

When I made inquiries, they said they were going on a pilgrimage to Sri Pada.”

The parents heaved a sigh of relief. Then they hastily decided to visit Sri Pada hoping to meet the children. Some of the villagers knew shortcuts to reach Sri Pada.

A pleasant surprise

After a few more days, the butterflies and the children reached Sri Pada. When they were about to climb the sacred mountain, they had a pleasant surprise.

They saw their parents at the foot of the mountain. All of them climbed the sacred mountain and reached the summit on t Vesak day.

The parents did not pull up their children for going on such a risky journey without their permission. Instead, all of them took part in a religious ceremony.

Then the children bade farewell to the butterflies.

Even today butterflies go on an annual pilgrimage to Sri Pada during the Vesak season.