Welanhinna Ancient Fort (වෙලන්හින්න පැරණි බළකොටුව)

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Welanhinna Ancient Fort lies between Diyatalawa and Walgahawela in the Badulla District of Uva province in the middle of a tea estate hidden away from the general public. To reach the site, travel either from Diyatalawa or Walgahawela up to the diversion to Welanhinna Vidyalaya and travel about 600-700 meters along this narrow but picturesque road to the top of the hill.

At present, this land is being cultivated as a tea estate and other areas are being encroached as private lands. Therefore, the only evidence to identify this historic place is about 3m deep, 3m wide and 15m long trench at the top of the hill.

The Idalgashinna Pass was a geographically strategic location in the Kandyan Kingdom. Just like the Balana Pass, the Idalgashinna Pass was a primary access point to Kandy from the Uva territory. Welanhinna Fort is located 4.7 km from the mountain range of Idalgasinna and 29 km away from Badulla city. With a 360-degree view from the site, this would have been an ideal location to observe enemy movements at Idalgashinna Pass and alert the soldiers at Badulla using smoke signals.

Most believe this to be a Dutch fort with established folklore on Dutch deployment of this fort. Other than the Dutch, there is a belief among the people of this area that John Davy visited Welanhinna Fort during the British era. It is fair to say that this area was under the British since they had conquered the Kandyan kingdom by this time. However, the fact that a British camp was established on the top of the Welanhinna mountain is irrational, as their military practice requires a lot of space to maintain a camp. This was not an ideal place for a permanent military base due to the unavailability of water sources and the difficulty of getting supplies.

Since there is no trace of any permanent buildings at the site, this would have been used by the Kandyan army as an observation and a communication point complementing the Haldummulla Fort. At present, the land on which the fort is located has been encroached for houses and tea planting. The only evidence to identify this location is the large trench cut across the top of the hill. The trench is not maintained well and it is difficult to identify the location of the trench.


Sources

  1. P. K. K. R. T. Witharana, 2021. An Exploratory Study on Indigenous Defense Tactics Displayed by the Welanhinna Fort of Ancient Kandyan Kingdom. Sri Lanka Military Academy Journal, 3, pp.100-121.

Also See

Map of  Welanhinna Fort

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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 Welanhinna Fort

Route from Nelumdeniya to the fort at Welanhinna Route from Nelumdeniya to fort at Welanhinna
Distance :8 km
Travel time : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map
Distance : 13 km
Travel time : 40 mins
Driving directions : see on google map

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