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Durave or Durava are Southern coastal Sinhalese caste in Sri Lanka. Many believes that they are descendants of the ancient Nagas, of royalty and aristocracy, of soldiers and elephanteers.[1]

Current status[edit]

They were converted to Catholic religion soon after arrival of Portuguese colonials in 1505 ACE. Using this opportunity they have upgraded themselves in relation to the dominant Govigama caste.[citation needed]

They along with other southern Sinhalese castes such as Karave and Salagama have played an important role in the historically left political and right parties. They are mostly Theravada Buddhists today and were instrumental in the revival of Buddhism during the British colonial period. The un-Buddhistic practice of caste discrimination introduced into the Sangha by the Siyam Nikaya in the late 18th century has been overcome by patronising the Amarapura Nikaya and the Ramanna Nikayas. Sitinamaluwe Dhammajoti (Durawa) was the last nongovigama monk to receive upasampada before the 1764 conspiracy.[2]


  1. ^ Hussein, Asiff (2 September 2001). "The Durava: Toddy tappers or royalty?". Sunday Observer. Retrieved 2015-06-09. 
  2. ^ Malalgoda, Kitsiri (1976). Buddhism in Sinhalese Society, 1750-1900: A Study of Religious Revival and Change. University of California Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-52002-873-9. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bryce Ryan, Caste in Modern Ceylon, Rutgers University Press, 1953.