Sitawaka Fort and the Palace of Rajasinghe I (සීතාවක මාලිගාව සහ බලකොටුව)

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Sitawaka (Seetawaka) was made into a kingdom by King Mayadunne ( 1521-1581) who carved out this region after the murder of his father King Vijayabahu VI (1513-1521) of Kotte by him and the other 2 brothers. The Three brothers then divided the area under Kotte into 3 kingdoms. Buwanekabahu took Kotte Kingdom, Pararajasinhe took Raigama Kingdom and Mayadunne the Seethawaka Kingdom.

Very little remains of Sitawaka Kingdom today. The Palace of the Sitwaka kingdom stood near the Sitawaka River on the opposite bank of the Barendi Kovil. It is said that the Portuguese who invaded Sitawaka Kingdom destroyed the palace and built a small fortress on this ground.

Unfortunately, this fort too was destroyed by the British who took the materials to build the rest house at Sitawaka.

The ruins of the fort have been described in the book “An Account of the Interior of Ceylon, and its Inhabitants”  by Dr. John Davy the surgeon and physician of Governor Brownrigg, published in 1821.

Sittawakka, once a royal residence and a place of considerable consequence is now merely a name. No traces of what is once was traces of what it once was are now to be seen by the traveller passing along the road, and for a considerable time, none were supposed to exist. Lately some remains of a building has been discovered. In June 1819, when travelling this way the third time, I was conducted by the natives to an old fort concealed by wood situated on the tongue of elevated ground, formed by the confluence of a small deep stream with the river. I went in a boat and ascended from the river by a short flight of hewn-stone steps, and after walking about 100 yards, came to the building which I found to be nearly square, formed of three walls, one within the other thus

Fort of Sitawaka

The walls were of Kabook as the stone is called by the natives; and in this instance, as in most others appeared to be clay strongly impregnated with red oxide of iron, to which, probably it owes its property of hardening by expose to the atmosphere. The outer wall was between eight and ten feet height and six and eight wide. It was widest at its angles, where it communicated with the enclosure by steps. Between this wall and the next, the distance might be twenty four or thirty feet; the space was overgrown with bushes. Here I observed a deep well carefully made, and it sides lined with masonry. The inner enclosure was probably roofed and was the donjon-keep of the fortress. There were no marks of its having been divided into different compartments, and indeed it was hardly enough to admit of it. Natives who call this ruins Kotuwa (a fort), have a tradition, which is probably correct, that it was built and occupied by the Portuguese when the neighbourhood was the arena of bloody contention bhese bold invaders and the prices of Sittawakka. The nature of the building, the circumstances of there being a good well within its walls, its situation of the Columbo side of the river and nearly opposite to the spot on which there is reason to believe the palace and the town of Sittawakka formally stood, seem to be proof of the correctness of the tradition. Be this as it may, the ruin was not uninteresting. and might have been worth preserving; I say might, – knowing that the work of destruction has commenced and that the walls which two centuries, at least, had spared, have been pulled down either in part or entirely, and their stones removed to build a new rest-house. The curious traveller may complain of this measure; whilst the indolent one will bless his stars for being saved the trouble of forcing his way through the thickets to see an old ruin, the material of which, newly arranged, afford him a comfortable shelter.

 Today this site lies on the Maniyangama Road, the road which leads to the popular Maniyangama Raja Maha Viharaya.  The ruins were neglected by authorities and never resorted until very recently. Only a few mounds of earth was the only indication of ever having any building there. Recently the archeology department has started excavating the land partial building structures have been recovered.

Also See

Map of  Sitawaka Fort and the Palace of Rajasinghe I

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Travel Directions to Sitawaka Fort and the Palace

Route from Colombo to Seetawaka Fort and the Palace Route from Ratnapura to Seetawaka Fort and the Palace
Though : Rajagiriya – Kaduwela – Hanwella
Distance :53 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours.
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Kuruwita – Eheliyagoda
Distance :64 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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