Giragama Walawwa in Kandy (මහනුවර ගිරාගම වලව්ව)

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On the intersection of Colombo Street and the Yatinuwara Veediya (B519) in the Kandy city lies the Giragama Walawwa, a mansion built in 1814 and considered as the oldest walawwa building within the Kandy.

During the Kandyan era, Walawwas were the residences of the top officials of the kingdom, and only these residences consisted of clay floors, roof tiles and painted walls. It was only with special permission from the king that a person could tile their roofs and paint their houses. All other citizens lived in houses built with wattle and daub and the roofs were either hay or coconut leaves.

Giragama Walawwa or the Giragama Nilame is not well known like the names of Ahelapola, Pilimathalawe or Molligoda Nilames but Giragama Ralahami has been the chief Disawe on the Satara Korale in 1714.  In 1818 he was captured by the British for conspiring the overthrow the British and sent to Colombo where he died in captivity. Another decedent,  called Giragama Nilame became the Basnayake Nilame of the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic) between 1882 to 1897. He too has used this walawwa as his official residence.

According to a British town plan of 1915, this building has been identified as H.A.H. Habbu Lebbe building. By this time this walawwa had been sold by a daughter of the Giragama Nilame to a Muslim merchant and migrated from the country. The walawwa was converted into a commercial establishment by 1915.

In the central part of the building is a wooden tower, which is unique to this building and can not be found in other Walawwas throughout the country. Archaeologists believe that the tower could be some kind of a “watch tower” or a “security tower” used by the early residents.  Giragama Walawwa was declared as a protected archaeological monument in 2005 and had been neglected and in a state of despair by the turn of the century. Finally, in 2014, restoration of the building started and was completed in 2015.

It is said that there were 18 Walawwa’s within the city of Kandy during the period of the last king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinhe ((1798-1815).

  1. Dunuwila Walawwa (දුනුවිල වලව්ව) – Currently used as the Kandy Town hall. Gone through some modifications
  2. Ehelapola Walawwa (ඇහැලේපොල වලව්ව) – Currently part of Bogambara Prison Complex
  3. Ellepola Walawwa (ඇල්ලේපොල වලව්ව) –
  4. Moladanda Walawwa (මොලදණ්ඩ වලව්ව) – destroyed
  5. Nugawela Walawwa (නුගවෙල වලව්ව) – destroyed
  6. Mullegama Walawwa (මුල්ලේගම වලව්ව) – destroyed
  7. Kapuwatta Walawwa (කපුවත්තෙ වලව්ව) –
  8. Wegodapola Walawwa (වෑගොඩපොල වලව්ව)  –
  9. Meegasthanne Walawwa (මීගස්තැන්න වලව්ව)-
  10. Mampitiya Walawwa (මාම්පිටිය වලව්ව) – Basic structure of the Walawwa still survives. Today this building is known as the Royal Bar and Hotel on Raja Veediya
  11. Arawwawala Walawwa (ඇරැව්වාවල වලව්ව) –
  12. Arapola  Walawwa (ඇරෑපොල වලව්ව) – destroyed
  13. Molligoda  Walawwa (මොල්ලිගොඩ වලව්ව)  – destroyed
  14. Dullewa  Walawwa (දුල්ලෑව වලව්ව) – Changed by the British and then converted to Queens Hotel today
  15. Ratwatte  Walawwa (රත්වත්තේ වලව්ව) – Chandra Silk House today
  16. Pilimathalawa  Walawwa (පිළිමතලාව වලව්ව) – Currently the President’s House is located here. Another part is used as the Governor’s quarters.
  17. Dehigama Walawwa (දෙහිගම වලව්ව) – Destroyed. Now Central Finance Building
  18. Eramuduliyadde Walawwa (එරමුදුලියද්දේ වලව්ව)
  19. Giragama Walawwa (ගිරාගම වලව්ව) – not generally listed as part of the 18 walawwas.

Also See

Map of  Giragama Walawwa

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

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 Giragama Walawwa

Route 1 from Colombo to KandyRoute 2 from Colombo to Kandy
Though : kadawata – Warakapola – Ambepussa – Mawanella
Distance :120 km
Travel time : 3.45 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Katunayake Expressway –
Distance :150 km
Travel time : 3.20 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Route From Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Though : Walapane – Raja Mawatha
Distance :100 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Route from Kandy Railway Station to Giragama Walawwa
Distance :  500 km
Travel time :  5  mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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