Magul Maduwa (Audience Hall) of the Kandyan Palace – මගුල් මඩුව – මහනුවර රාජධානිය

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An panoramic view of the Magul Maduwa of the Kandyan Kingdom

An panoramic view of the Magul Maduwa of the Kandyan Kingdom

The “Magul Maduwa” of the Palace is where the king met his ministers and and carried out his daily administrative tasks. This was also known as the “Maha Naduwa” (high court) by the local residence as this building was used by the king as the court. This building is also called the Assembly Hall or the Audience Hall. The construction of this finely carved wooden structure has been started by the king Rajadhi Rajasinhe (1779 – 1797) in 1783. but was unable to complete it within his reign.

A number of key events in our history has taken place in this “Magul Maduwa”. The major one being the handing over the last Sri Lankan kingdom to the British throne in 1815 ending over 2500 years of sovereignty. It was at this place that the British handed over the death sentence to the sri lankan patriots, Madugalle Disave and the Keppatipola Disave.

In the early days of the British occupation, the British Missionaries used this Audience Hall as their Church building in their conversion process. This Audience Hall which played a key role in the Kingdom was considered a place where the ‘most horrid cruelties were exercised’ by these missionaries. The Lord Bishop of Calcutta, Rev Reginald Herber describe a sermon held in this hall in his book ‘Narrative of a Journey Through the Upper provinces of India‘ published in 1829;

” …. Early this morning the Bishop held a confirmation; there were seven native candidates, and twenty Europeans; and he afterwards preached at the usual time of morning service. There is no church, but the Hall of Audience, where the Kings of Candy held their courts, is used as such; it is a long room, of which the wooden pillars, having the lotus carved on their capitals, are the only ornamental parts remaining. It was a most interesting and affecting sight, to see Christian worship performed, and a Christian bishop blessing his congregation, a part of which was native, in the very spot where the most horrid cruelties were exercised not more than ten yean ago. How little could such an event at that time have been contemplated! …. “

The “Magul Maduwa” we see today is a extension to the original made by the British to facilitate the welcome of prince of wales in 1875. They pulled out 32 carved wooden columns from the building called “Pale Vahale” (which was the Queens living quarters during the last king of Kandy, now the National Museum building) and replaced them with brick pillars. Out of these, 16 pillars. were used to extend the “Magul Maduwa” with 8 pillars. on each side and the old decayed bases have been replaced by new wooden bases.

With this addition, building has two rows of elegantly carved pillars. each row having 32 columns. A Kandyan style roof rests upon these columns.

by Mahil Wijesinghe
Sunday Observer

Also See

Map of the Audience Hall of the Kandyan Palace

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Driving Directions to Audience Hall of the Kandyan Palace

Route from Colombo to Kandy

Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy

Though : kadawata - Warakapola - Ambepussa - Mawanella
Distance :120 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Hawaeliya - Ramboda - Pussellawa - Gampola
Distance :73 km
Travel time : 2.0 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

Route From Galle to Kandy

Though : Southern Highway - Panadura - Avissawella - Kegalle - Kandy
Distance :230 km
Travel time : 5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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