Sin: බේරුවල  bēruvala – Tam: பேருவளை bēruvaḷai

 ‘Beru Forest’   Town, WP,  Sri Lanka

From Sin: beru, ‘leaf litter plant’  [Agrostistachys Indica, Agrostistachys hookeri]; and Sin: val/vala, ‘forest, wood, jungle’.

Beruwala has a majority Sri Lankan Moor population. It was the site of the first Arab trader settlement in or around the 7thC. The Ketchchimalai Mosque is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest.

The Beru plant, native to Sri Lanka, is now virtually extinct. In Singapore it is called the leaf litter plant because leaves from neighboring trees collect at its base. Beru leaves were traditionally used for thatching.

A folk derivation suggests drop/lower the sail [ from Sin: *be-, ‘drop’ or ‘lower‘; and ruwala, ‘sail’]. But this is unconvincing: it is difficult to see why sail lowering should be done when coming into harbour and not before; and the linguistics behind be- is a more than a little suspect.

The Beru is on the  IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – I think it’s time to start planting a few more.

For related place names see Sri Lanka Place names.

Watch the video:

“Beruwala- Sri Lanka”       VIDEO – Yamu TV