Lost Ambalama of Moratuwa (මතකයෙන් ගිලිහුණු මොරටුව අම්බලම)

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Lost Ambalama of Moratuwa
Lost Ambalama of Moratuwa source : De Soysa Charithaya (1904)

Ambalama is a place constructed for pilgrims, traders and travellers to rest in Sri Lanka in the ancient past. Travellers either walked or used bullock carts to travel long distances.

It was believed that to build these Ambalamas for the use of travellers is a meritorious deed and to pollute them is an unpardonable sin. On this belief, people of means did not hesitate to construct these resting places in suitable locations and they tried their best to keep- them spick and span.

The Ambalama in Moratuwa, along with its location, has faded into obscurity. Yet, it holds historical significance as it was constructed by the philanthropist Jeronis de Soysa, father of Charles Henry De Soysa, some years prior to 1853.

The Ambalama, located in Kurunduwatta, Moratuwa, was designed to accommodate Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu priests, as well as the sick and young children. Alongside the Ambalama structure, a parcel of land adorned with diverse trees was generously donated to serve as its surrounding garden. (Bastian, 1904)

Ceylon Observer describes the Moratuwa Ambalama in 1853, describing the welcome of Jeronis De Soysa after he was appointed a Mudaliyar of the Governers Gate.

“A little beyond Ratmalane is the fine Ambalama erected some years back by Mr. De Soysa. At this spot, a decorated arch was thrown over the road, and here the Washerman of the District waited on the Modliar, requesting that lie would allow them to do him the honor of spreading white cloths on the ground for him to walk on until he reached his house. This being done, all of course dismounted and finished the journey on foot ….” (Skeen, 1879)

 Moratuwa Ambalama
Lost Ambalama of Moratuwa
FREE RESTHOUSE AND THE ORCHARD FOR WAYFARERS
Erected in Morottos ten miles south of Colombo, the late Mr. C. H. De Soysa, and endowed by him. Morotto is the country seat of the De Soysa family
Source : The Graphic. An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper (September 5, 1891) – from sketches by Mr. L. K. Van Dort, of Colombo

References

  1. The Graphic. An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper (1891) ‘LADY DE SOYSA’, 44th edn, 5 September, pp. 285–285.
  2. Bastian, C.D. (1904) De Soysa Charitaya or the life of Charles Henry De Soysa, Esq., J.P. . Colombo, Sri Lanka: C. Don Bastian.
  3. Skeen, W. (1870) Adam’s Peak – Legendary Traditional and Historic Notices of the Samanala and Sri Pada With a Descriptive Account of the Pilgrim’s Route From Colombo to the Sacred Foot-Print. Colombo , Ceylon: W.L.H. Skeen and Co.

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