Old Teldeniya Ambalama (පැරණි තෙල්දෙණිය අම්බලම)

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The old Teldeniya is today submerged inside Victoria Reservoir was ceremoniously opened in 1985 which was graced by Margaret Thatcher, then prime-minister of UK. Teldeniya Ambalama lied at the Narampanawa Junction in Teldeniya and rested on stone pillars and the wood work which had been richly carved with designs.

Henry H. Cave reports of the Teldeniya and its Ambalama with the above photo in 1908. Teldeniya is said to have been a royal hunting ground in Dumbara the time of King Rajasingha (?), who on one occasion in anger cleared off all the inhabitants for the fault of one, a crop watchman, who sounded his fearsome instrument the tagarapporuwa to scare away animals from the crops, in ignorance that the king was at the moment engaged in hunting them. The entire population suffered banishment and the village was re-peopled by others. The picturesque Ambalama at Teldeniya built on stone pillars was built by a Tamil in style which might be called either hindu or kandyan (Cave, 1908).

According to legend, Teldeniya Ambalama as well as the Kengalla Ambalama were built by Vythilingam Pillai, a Tamil planter from Tanjur, Tamil Nadu and member of Nayak dynasty who ruled the Kandyan Kingdom from 1739 to 1815 (Sathya, 2007). Kengalla Ambalama has been built in 1907 and the Teldeniya Ambalama too would have been built around this time or just before this as for Cave to report it in his book published in 1908.

Before submerging of the Teldeniya ambalama under Mahaweli, the pillars and timber carvings of ambalama has been removed and relocated at Balagolla Kali Kovil according to a news paper article (Sathya, 2007). However this is contradicted and it is said that these items were relocated to the nearby Bambaragala Viharaya for preservation (Abeyawardhana,2004).


  1. Cave, H.W. (1908) The Book of Ceylon, Being a Guide to its Railway System and an Account of its Varied Attractions for the Visitor and Tourist. London.
  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.
  3. Sathya, A. (2007) “Legend of the AMBALAMA,” Daily News, 30 May.

Also See

Map of Old Teldeniya Ambalama

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Travel Directions to Old Teldeniya

Route from Kandy to Old Teldeniya
distance : 26 km
Travel time :  45 mins
Time to Spent : —  mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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