Kirinda Walauwa is an ancient mansion of an aristocratic family, which dates back over 200 years. 'Kirinda' is the name of the village, while 'walauwa' is the home of an aristocratic Kandyan family. It is situated in the town of Gampola, which is about 16 Km from the hill capital, Kandy. The walauwa lies in a picteresque valley, in a 12 acre estate of mixed plantation of spices, coconut and fruits, surrounded by mountains and lush green paddy fields.
A Brief History Of The Ancestral Home
The house itself is about eight to ten generations old, though each generation has renovated and has added modern conveniences for their comfort, it still has not lost its natural old charm. The structure remains the same; it
can be seen by the thickness of the walls, all built in solid stone and plastered in clay. The house consist of large airy rooms, and a long verandha which opens out to the garden. A well maintained tarred driveway leads to the house, through four hairpin bends and beautiful flowering foliage.
There is a sitting and dining room and a meda-midulla - an open courtyard in the middle of the house. This is traditional in all the old walauwas, where the morning sunlight stream into the house and the blowing of the
wind makes it cool on a hot afternoon. It also gives a touch of magic on a full moon night!
The paddy trashing field is right next to the garden. The fields belonging to the Walauwa are harvested and brought here for thrashing. Unlike today where it is done by tractors, buffaloes were used through the night. It was
a festive occasion with a lot of singing, drinking, eating and story-telling.
After each season paddy was collected and put into the barns. In the olden days the two most respected institutes in a village were the temple and the walauwa, the main sources of the villagerss needs. They earned their
living by working in the Walauwa lands and paddy fields or came for help in an emergency or a free meal, just as they always consulted the priest before making an important decision. The villagers depended on auspicious times
for everything they did before embarking on a journey, a new venture or in all household matters. There are many interesting tales of the past regarding the walauwa, about their elephants, beautiful black horses the lads who
used to ride furiously over hills and valleys.
Many of these ancestral mansions are fast perishing or have been sold due to lack of funds and labour to maintain the vast acres of land, hence some of the owners are compelled to make alternative arrangements for
their upkeep as they are of great archaeological and cultural value.
The Birds That Visit The Garden
The seven sisters, light brown in colour with yellow beaks and feet, very noisy but friendly and are always seen in sevens. Magpies, black and white in colour, have a mournful cry, with a story behind it - one for sorrow, two
for joy, three for a wedding! The kingfisher is another bird in beautiful bright blue, brown and white with a long brown beak, who waits patiently for hours for its prey. The woodpecker, dark red, white and brown in colour
with a red crown, is a working bird that goes from tree to tree digging holes. The minah, another friendly bird, dark brown and white with yellow around the eyes, beak and feet of the same color, can be trained to talk. Parrots of two or three kinds in beautiful shades of blue-green with long and short tails appear often.
Pigeons, gray and blue, the house and field sparrow, humming birds and water wagtails among others are the migrant birds that come during September/October to avoid the cold climate. The beautiful paradise fly-catcher in full
white and a long tail and a black crown, the golden oriole in bright yellow and black and yellow beak.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
Some of the tourist attraction that are within easy reach are the famous Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, the historical temple of the Tooth - Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Audience Hall and the museums which are 16 Km away.
Just 1 Km away are the two ancient temples of Lankathilaka and Gadaladeniya. Embakke is another temple which is well known for its wood carvings. The picturesque Victoria Golf course and the Victoria Dam, is one hour by road
Nuwara Eliya, which is one and a half hours away, is the hill station which the British called “Little England” due to the cold climate. The tea estates grown by them still spread across the hills. It also has a beautiful 18-
hole golf course which is one of the best is South East Asia.
On the way to Nuwara Eliya is the Kotmale hydro-power plant, only a kilometer away.
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