Ambalama, a custom of great significance in ancient Sri Lanka, encompassed the establishment of roadside shelters along well-traveled paths. These halting places provided solace and sanctuary to fatigued travelers, whether on foot or in carts. Furthermore, ambalams played a pivotal function within local communities, serving as meeting points for villagers to engage in leisurely pursuits and conduct communal deliberations.
In ancient times, the construction of Ambalam, or resting places for travelers, was considered not only a practical necessity but also a meritorious deed. It was firmly believed that providing a comfortable and safe shelter for those journeying on long roads was a way to earn blessings and good karma.
People of means and influence took it upon themselves to build these Ambalam at strategic locations, making sure to select spots that offered respite and convenience to weary travelers. They spared no effort in designing these structures, often showcasing exquisite architectural details that reflected the cultural heritage of the region.
Maintaining the Ambalam was also seen as a sacred duty. It was believed that any form of pollution or desecration of these resting places would be met with severe consequences and bring negative karma upon oneself. Therefore, the utmost care was taken to ensure that Ambalam remained clean, inviting, and in pristine condition.
These humble structures became a vital part of the landscape, dotting the roadsides, villages, and towns. They served as more than just a place to rest; they were also hubs of social interaction, where travelers would meet, exchange stories, and share their experiences. Local communities took pride in the Ambalam and often lent a helping hand to maintain them.
As time went on and modern means of transportation took over, the significance of Ambalam gradually faded away. However, their charm and historical importance cannot be denied. Today, we can still catch glimpses of these ancient resting places, standing as silent witnesses to a bygone era, reminding us of the selflessness and generosity of those who built them.
The Ambalama at Guralawela lies at the center of a picturesque paddy field. 50 meters way, lies an ancient Uraketa well. Uraketa wells generally have the hardened outer shell of a large tree trunk from trees such as Kumbuk – Milla – Jackfruit lowered in the well to keep sand falling in. Some times clay rings have been used for the same purpose. Some of the tree trunks found at these wells are over 300 years old.
The Ambalama at Guralawela is situated amidst a scenic paddy field. In close proximity, at a distance of 50 meters, there lies an ancient Uraketa well. These wells are characterized by a sturdy outer casing made from the trunk of a sizable tree such as Kumbuk, Milla, or Jackfruit. This casing serves the purpose of preventing sand from entering the well. Alternatively, clay rings have occasionally been utilized for the same purpose. It is worth noting that some of the tree trunks discovered in association with these wells date back over 300 years.
- List of Ambalama’s in Sri Lanka
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of Guralawela Ambalama
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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Travelling Directions to Guralawela Ambalama
|From Kandy to Guralawela Ambalama|
|Via : Katugastota – Alawathugoda – Ukuwela|
Total distance: 23 km
Duration : 45 minutes
Time to be spent: About 15-30 minutes
Driving Directions : View on Google Maps