Fort of Ruwanwella – රුවන්වැල්ල බලකොටුව

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17th century map of Ruwanwella Fort
17th century map of Ruwanwella Fort
Source :

Ruwanwella lies in the ancient strategic location at the point where the Gurugoda River falls in to the Kelani River. During the time of Kandyan kingdom, the route to Kandy from Colombo was through Ruwanwella and the Port of Ruwanwella was an important border crossing point for the kingdom. Therefore there would have been a border station at this point from the earliest times. According to Robert Knox, the British prisoner of Kandy Elephant shed of the Kandyan king has been located at the Palangamuwa Watta close to this port in 1800.

The Portuguese and then Dutch at various times attacked the Kandyan kingdom and expanded their borders from time to time. It is said that the Portuguese had temporary built a fortified base camp in 1590’s. HCP Bell had reported in the Kegalle Report that the Dutch had built a fort using wood, wattle and daub packed with clay in 1665 quoting “Travels in the East Indies” by Albrecht Herport. The Dutch had abandoned it few years after. It was only after the fall of the Kandyan kingdom in 1815, the British decided to built a permanent fort at this important port.

According to Kegalle Report, the British had purchased 47 acres of land at the port for 2851 rixdollars which was official currency in the British Ceylon until 1828. The remains of the fort which we see today is this fort built by the British. Nothing much remains of this fort other than the entrance which has been conserved by the archaeology department. At the top of the entrance you can see RB 1817, the initials of Robert Browning, the Governor of Ceylon and the year 1817.

However the British started building a new route to Kandy after defeating the Kandyan kingdom which is main route to Kandy even today. When this road was completed, the importance of the Ruwanwella fort was faded. The residence of the Commanding Officer inside the fort had turned in to rest house by 1884. This rest house functioned till 1970 when it was taken over as the Police station which still exists today.

To reach the entrance of the fort you need to turn right from the Ruwanwella Junction if you are traveling from Nittamuwa side. After about 80 meters, you will see the Jublili Ambalama on the left. Take the narrow road next to it and the entrance lies after about 20 meters. This fort entrance now act as the rear entrance of the Police station.

Also See

Map of  Fort of Ruwanwella

ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින් – Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map –

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Travel Directions to Ruwanwella and Ambalama

Route from Colombo to Ruwanwella Fort and Ambalama

Route 2 from Colombo to Ruwanwella Fort and Ambalama

Through : Kelaniya – Nittambuwa – Urapola
Distance : 70 km
Travel time : 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Kaduwela – Weliveriya – Kirindiwela – Urapola
Distance : 72 km
Travel time : 1.5 – 2 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map


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