Memorial of the 1848 Matale Rebellion Freedom Fighters (1848 මාතලේ කැරැල්ල විරුවන්ගේ සිහිවටනය)

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The Matale rebellion, also known as the Rebellion of 1848, was carried out by the Sinhalese peasants for the first time against the suppressive British Rule 33 years after the capture of the Kandyan Kingdom.

An economic depression in the United Kingdom had severely affected the local coffee and cinnamon industry. On 1 July 1848, a license fees were imposed on guns, dogs, carts, shops and labour was made compulsory on plantation roads, These taxes bore heavily not only on the purse but also on the traditions of the Kandyan peasant. A mass movement against the oppressive taxes was developing. The masses were without the leadership of king king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe being captured and deported to a prison in India in 1815. The leadership passed for the first time in the Kandyan provinces into the hands of ordinary people.

On 26 July 1848, the leaders and the supporters entered the historic Dambulla Viharaya and at 11.30 a.m., Gongalegoda Banda was consecrated by the head monk of Dambulla, Ven. Giranegama Thera as the king “Sri Wickrama Subha Sarva Siddhi Rajasinghe“. He asked the people whether they were on the side of the Buddhists or the British. On the same day Dines, his brother was declared the sub-king and Dingirala as the uncrowned king of the Sat Korale. Veera Puran Appu was appointed prime minister and the sword bearer to Gongalegoda Banda and attended his consecration ceremony with 4000 others.

After the proclamation of the king, he with his army left Dambulla via Matale to capture Kandy from the British. They attacked government buildings including the Matale Kachcheri and destroyed some of the tax records. Simultaneously, Dingirirala instigated attacks in Kurunegala, where eight people were killed by the British.

However this rebellion ended with the capture of Veera Puran Appu and of Gongalegoda Banda and Dingirala few months later.

This pillar in memory of the freedom fighters led by Gongalegoda Banda and the Veera Puran Appu had been erected in the heart of the Matale town adjacent to the Government Agents Residency along the Matale-Kandy road via the V.T. Nanayakkara park and the Aluvihara stadium. The memorial pillar had been erected at the scene of the trial and the place of execution of suspects. The monument by itself is an impressive construction in the form of a monumental pillar with the figure of a lion at the top.

The monument reads,


Today it lies in the middle of the road by Alick Aluvihare Indoor Stadium of Matale. To reach the monument, take the William Gopallawa road from the Matale Roundabout travel 300 meters to find it in a island in the middle of the road.


  1. 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

Map of Memorial of the 1848 Matale Rebellion Freedom Fighters

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Driving Directions to Memorial of the 1848 Matale Rebellion Freedom Fighters

Route from Matale town to Memorial of the 1848 Matale Rebellion Freedom Fighters

Though :
distance : 300 meters
Travel time : 5 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map


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