72nd Mile Post at Kandy (මහනුවර 72 වන සැතපුම් කණුව)

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The development of highways and railways in Sri Lanka is attributed to the British, who were the final foreign rulers to subjugate the nation. The British construction of these transport networks played a pivotal role in fostering the country’s economic growth, serving administrative functions and expediting the transportation of economic goods.

In the initial phase, roads were built to establish connections between key cities like Galle, Colombo, Matara, Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Negombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Hambantota, Nuwara Eliya, and various others. Strategically positioned mileposts were installed to gauge the distances separating these destinations.

In the present day, the unit of measurement for distance has shifted from miles to kilometres. Furthermore, the conventional mileposts have been substituted with kilometre posts, constructed from uniform concrete, making them indistinguishable from one another.

Among the historical mileposts installed by the British Public Works Department, only a few remain scattered around the country. They are carved in stone and some of them are unique in their own way.

Construction work on the Colombo-Kandy Road, which goes down in history as the first highway from Colombo to be built by the British rulers, began around 1820. During the rebellion of 1818, the lack of easy access to Kandy was severely felt by the British rulers and they therefore decided to build a road between Colombo and Kandy, which, as they felt, would be useful in many ways. Construction of the road began under the guidance of Sir Wilmot Horton, then British Governor of Ceylon.

Near the Kandy Lake between the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Queens Hotel, lies a 4 sided stone pillar, probably the last milestone of the Colombo-Kandy road. In clean carved letters, one side states “72 MILES From COLOMBO”. On the opposite side, it displays “ROUND LAKE 2 MILES 46 FEET 1680 FEET ABOVE MEAN SEA LEVEL”.

Unfortunately this pillar has been painted over and over again with no importance given to this historic landmark. Today it’s painted white and the letters are roughly painted in black. The labourers who had painted it had not been able to read the words “From” on the inscription and thus were pained as seven horizontal lines.

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Map of 72nd Mile Post at Kandy

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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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Driving Directions to 72nd Mile Post at Kandy

Kandy can be reached from Colombo on the old Colombo – Kandy road (option 1) which is scenic but heavy in traffic, especially on Fridays and Sundays. However, the new Central Expressway (option 2) has opened up a new route which is longer but less cumbersome.

Route 1 from Colombo to KandyRoute 2 from Colombo to Kandy
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala
Distance :150 km
Travel Time: 3.20 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Through : Walapane – Raja Mawatha
Distance :100 km
Travel Time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

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