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Title: Walauwa  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, Seneka Bibile, Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact, Tissa Wijeyeratne, Mano Wijeyeratne
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Walauwa is the name given to a feudal/colonial manor house in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) built by native headmen. It is also reference to the feudal social systems that existed during the colonial era.

Kandyan Walauwas

There were 18 main walauwas in the Kandyan Kingdom of Ceylon. These were (in alphabetical order).[1]

  • Allepola Walauwa
  • Dehigama Walauwa
  • Dullewe Walauwa
  • Dunuwila Walauwa
  • Ehalepola Walauwa
  • Yahampath Arrachchi Walauwa
  • Eramuduliadde Walauwa
  • Erapola Walauwa
  • Eravwawala Walauwa
  • Kapuwatte Walauwa
  • Mampitiya Walauwa
  • Meegasthenna Walauwa
  • Moladanda Walauwa
  • Mullegama Walauwa
  • Mullegoda Walauwa
  • Nugawela Walauwa.[1]
  • Pilamathalawa Walauwa
  • Ratwatte Walauwa
  • Wegodapola Walauwa

Other Prominent Walauwas

In addition, there have been a number of other prominent, well known walauwas in Ceylon, outside and inside the Kandyan Kingdom. These walauwas comprised a mix of Sri Lankan, Portuguese, Dutch and English architecture. A notable feature of many of these walauwas was an interior garden in the atrium of the walauwa, known as the 'mada midula'. 186 of these walauwas are still in existence today and some of the notable ones are ;

  • Atapattu Walauwa [2]
  • Maha Kappina Walauwa

Sathara Korale Walauwas

There were 30 main walauwas in the Sathara Korale of Ceylon according to the Sathara Korale Viththi Grantha. There were in alphabetical order;

  • Aludeniya Walauwa
  • Aluth Nuwara Walauwa
  • Araupala Walauwa
  • Asmadala Walauwa
  • Arrachchi Walauwa
  • Athurupana Walauwa
  • Baminiwaththa Walauwa
  • Dodamthale Walauwa
  • Edanduwawa Walauwa
  • Halagiriya Walauwa
  • Handagama Walauwa
  • Harigala Walauwa
  • Hingula Walauwa
  • Kadigamuwa Walauwa
  • Kappagoda Walauwa
  • Kempitiya Walauwa
  • Keppetipola Walauwa
  • Kotagama Walauwa
  • Kumbal Oluwa Walauwa
  • Kumbaldiwela Walauwa
  • Leuke Walauwa
  • Madana Walauwa
  • Mahanthegama Walauwa
  • Makadawara Walauwa
  • Molligoda Walauwa
  • Nawa Uhangoda Walauwa
  • Polgasdeniya Walauwa
  • Rankothdiwela Walauwa
  • Udaththavan Walauwa
  • Valimanne Walauwa
  • Walgama Walauwa

Sath Korale Walauwa

  • Gopallawa Walauwa
  • Palipana Walauwa

Decline and current states

The word "Walauwa" may not have a Sinhalese origin, it is unclear whether it was a Sinhalese word from the beginning,but this word may have been adapted from the Tamil word "Walaw". In Sinhalese, it gives a plural sound rather than the singular word "Walaw" which means "Mansion". The English word of "Walauwa" is, "Manor" or "Manor-House",and it's a large house with lands. The Walauwas and its owners were supported by the larger lands and estates they possessed. These were either land grants from Kings (since the beginning of the Sinhalese Kingdom until the Kandyan era) or government service (during the Colonial era) or acquired by successful enterprise and passed down though generations. Their owners were the landed elites of Ceylon, as such they gained a status of power and wealth.

There is another theory about Walauwas. "Walavum" means a place where a judgement is given. Those people who occupied the Walauwas had the authority to pass judgement over people with the authority provided by a Royal decree either Sinhala or Engliish. The older walauwas were neither very large or highly ornate as the king had placed certain restrictions and laws. Many of the walauwas beyond the jurisdiction of the king or after the fall of the Kandyan kingdom sprang up to be large and oranate, displaying architectural influences from beyond Sri Lanka and south India. Mansions replaced the walauwas in the urban areas towards the latter part of the nineteenth century. Though they were referred to as walauwas by the public, the owners usually referred to them with modern names. There are many large mansions of more recent origin which are not walauwas both in the Kandyan and the Low Country areas.

This however has changed in the years after independence with the rise of a powerful middle class based on profession and enterprise. The elites held much power within the political cycles. The most significant change occurred in the 1970s when the socialist style land reforms that where bought into place. This limited private land ownership to fifty acres, and private home ownership to two houses. Most families sold off their lands or had them taken over by the government. They retained their Walauwas, yet over the years found it hard to maintain them, resulting in many falling into a dilapidated state, while some were razed to the ground such as the Maha Kappina Walauwa, and Ragama Walauwa which were constructed in the 16th century. Some were bought for state use or others have now been converted into hotels and Shopping complex such as the Ratwatte Walauwa, Rajamanthri Walauwa and the Nugawela Walauwa.

See also

  • Colonial era mansions of Colombo


Further reading

  • Sinhalese social organization : The Kandyan Period by Ralph Pieris (Ceylon University Press 1956) ISBN 955-9170-37-6
  • An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies by Robert Knox;

External links

  • All about Walavvas

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