Royal Palace of the Kandyan Kingdom (රජ මාලිගාව – මහනුවර රාජධානිය)

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The remains we see today of the Royal Palace of Kandy is the residence of the last king of the Kandyan Kingdom, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (1797 – 1814). But the original palace has been burnt and destroyed several times by European invaders and rebuilt again and again by subsequent kings.

The first palace was built by King Vickramabahu III of the Gampola Kingdom (1357-1374) and by Senasamatha Vickramabahu (1469-1511) of the same. Wimaladharmasuriya I (1592 – 1603) also occupied this palace thereafter and each of them probably made various improvements to the existing palace.

During the period of King Senarat (1603 – 1634), the Portuguese attacked the Kandyan Kingdom and destroyed the palace. Rajasinghe II who accented to the throne in 1637 probably rebuilt it and all the subsequent kings up to 1815 (the year when the kingdom fell under British rule), used this as their Royal Palace. By the time of the last king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (1797 – 1814) the palace comprised of many buildings scattered among the premises. After the British invasion, the palace was used by the British government agents.

Today only the front entrance of the old palace situated on the left-hand side of the Temple of Tooth Relic remains and the building houses the Museum of the Department of Archeology. The queen’s quarters are used as the District Courts today, The building today known as “Palle Vahala” which houses the National Museum was used by the Queen and the princesses during the last king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (1797 – 1814). “Meda Vahala” which was used by the relations of the King, houses the Folk Museum today. “Maha Gabadawa” (the royal stores) and the “Aramudale” (treasury) of the last king were probably destroyed by the British and a building to house the Karachchi was built. Now it houses the High Court. [h]

The “Dalada Maligawa” ( Temple of the Tooth Relic) is also part of the palace complex. The Ulpange” (queen’s bathing pavilion) which stands on the edge of the Kandy Lake near the Temple of Tooth Relic was converted to a library by the British invaders and now it is been used as a police post.

References

  1. Seneviratna, A., 1983. Kandy: an Illustrated Survey of Ancient Monuments With Historical, Archaeological and Literary Descriptions Including Maps of the City and Its Suburbs. Colombo: Central Cultural Fund, Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
  2. Abeyawardhana, H. A. P. (2004) Heritage of Kandurata: Major Natural, Cultural, and Historic Sites. Kandy: Kandurata Development Bank, in association with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Also See

  • Kandy – The Last Kingdom of Sinhale

Map of The Royal Palace of the Kandyan Kingdom

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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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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Traveling Directions to The Royal Palace of the Kandyan Kingdom

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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