Story behind the Kandy Clock Tower ( also known as Kandy Ismail Clock Tower) is a Tragic one. Haji Mohomed Ismail was the local agent for Rowlands Limited, the largest importer of British cars in the country.
Kandy was experiencing some of the worst rains and floods in its history in August 1947. The bridge over Mahaveli River and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens were totally submerged under water and landslides were being reported all over Kandy.
On the fateful day of 14 August 1947 Ismail ‘s son, Mohamed Zacky Ismail was traveling from Colombo to Kandy in an Austin 7 with his brother-in-law, another employee and the driver. At Kadugannawa the car was buried under a rain induced earth slip and all four passengers were buried under the mud.
A parcel from the car and its number plate were brought by the police to Mr Ismail Snr. a day later. A large building owned by Haji Mohomed Ismail, agent for Rowland’s, the car importers, stood at the tail end of Peradeniya Road where it continued as Ward Street. For Mohomed Ismail, the only consolation was to create a memorial to his son who meant so much to him.
He pondered over the matter and recognized Kandy was in need of a clock tower. The Kandy municipal acquired the land on which the clock tower stands and Ismail employed Shirley De Alwis, on of the leading architects at that time who was then the local resident architect working with Sir Patrick Abercrombie on the design of the University of Peradeniya.
The clock tower’s design is influenced by the Kandyan style and incorporates elements of the Temple of the Tooth and the palace of the King of Kandy within elements of its facade. All the machinery and equipment required for the project was brought from United Kingdom.
The tower was completed on 23 December 1950 although it wasn’t officially declared open until the next year, by the then Prime Minister, D.S. Senanayake and the Mayor of Kandy E. L. Senanayake.
The plaque at the Kandy Ismail Clock Tower reads as follows ;
THIS CLOCK TOWER IS THE GIFT O
F HAJI MOHAMED ISMAIL
TO THE TOWN OF KANDY IN
MEMORY OF HIS BELOVED SON
MOHAMED ZACKY ISMAIL
WHO LOST HIS LIFE
ON 14th AUGUST 1947
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Map of Kandy Clock Tower
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|Route from Colombo Kandy Clock Tower|
|Distance : 118 km|
Travel time :3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map