What’s in a name?

When travelling around Sri Lanka or poring over maps have you ever wondered about the preponderance of certain words in the place names? As you would expect, many settlement names are hundreds of years old and are often literal descriptions of the topographical location. With Sri Lanka’s miles of beautiful beaches it should be no surprise that “Wella”, meaning sand, features highly combining for example with the words for blue – “nil”, short – “kuda” and long – “dik” (a contraction of “diga”), to give us Nilwella, Kudawella and Dikwella. Gama is another common suffix, literally meaning “village”. The photograph is of Weligama, originally Wella-Gama, which as you can see could not really have been named anything else!