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A Leopard’s leap



The rare Sri Lankan black leopard which succumbed to injuries resulting from a hunter’s trap on a tea estate in Nallathanniya in Hatton a few months ago is being preserved by the Department of National Museums. The stately creature is soon to join its other ‘friends from the wilds’ sheltered at the Museum of Natural History, Colombo.

by Randima Attygalle

Igniting the outrage of animal lovers, a black leopard that was snared at a tea estate in Nallathanniya, Hatton in late May this year, succumbed to its injuries a few days later. A rare subspecies unique to the island, Sri Lankan black leopard is a melanistic colour variant of the Sri Lankan leopard zoologically termed- Panthera pardus kotiya. Although leopards are commonly associated with a yellow coloured skin and dark spots, mutation known as melanism, as in the case of the ill-fated leopard, renders it distinct all black colour. It was the third black leopard to have been reported in the past decade adding to the ill-fated list of over 40 recorded leopard deaths in the country during the period.

In a bid to enable fu

ture research on this rare giant cat, the Department of National Museums is in the process of preserving both its skin and the skeleton. This taxidermy process (preserving of an animal’s body for display purposes) which is now nearing completion is one of the most challenging exercises the Zoology Division of the Department of the National Museum has embarked recently, Assistant Director (Zoology), Department of National Museums, Lankani Somarathna told the Sunday Island.

“Since the animal had suffered severe neck injuries and had gone through a post-mortem process as well, preserving its skin required a lot of effort. Moreover unlike in the case of an elephant or any other commonly sighted animal, understanding its habitat, positioning requires extra effort,” says Somarathna who was responsible for the supervision of the project.

On a request made by the Department of National Museums, the body of the black leopard was handed over to it by the Department of Wildlife Conservation last month. “After the postmortem on the animal was performed by the Peradeniya Veterinary Faculty and following the proper legal process, we were handed the body on July 13 and since then the taxidermy process has been in place,” says Somarathna.

A well-built young male about eight ft in length and four ft tall, was killed by human cruelty robbing the majestic creature of many more years in the highlands and the country of the very few known black leopards.

“Since the death of the last Sri Lankan black leopard eight years ago whose body is preserved at the Wildlife Museum in Giritale, (managed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation), the animal was believed to be extinct in the country and no trace of it could be found until this recent tragedy in Nallathanniya,” says the Zoologist who notes that sightings of the animal have been very rare for several reasons. Its low population, its habitat in the dark


er regions enabling camouflage and its solitary nature are cited by her as reasons for rare sightings.

In the study of mammals, their skeleton and skull features are fundamental, notes t

he Zoologist, expl

aining the rationale behind the preservation of the leopard’s skin and the mounting of its skeleton. Both these will soon be displayed at the Osteology Gallery of the Natural History Museum which exhibits the skeleton of the iconic blue whale, Heiyanthuduwe Raja, Lechchami the female tusker and many more four legged creatures and reptiles.

The taxidermy project was carried out by a team from the Department of National Museums comprising the Taxidermist Chamalka Kotelawala and conservationists Ravindra Wickramanayake, P. Gunasiri, Susantha Balasooriya and Ashan Sandaruwan. Counting 30 years of experience, Ravindra Wickramanayake who had played a significant role in ‘resurrecting’ many a wild creature says that the chief challenge in the latest exercise was cleaning of the leopard’s skin for conservation.


“This was largely because the animal had suffered severe neck injuries in its trap and skin trauma following the post mortem,” says Wickramanayake who also cites the moulding of its ‘artificial skull’ as another hurdle which had to be overcome. “Since the skull (and the skeleton) was removed for mounting, we had to substitute it with a fibre base and also its teeth retaining its original character as far as possible.”

A base made out of wire mesh on which plaster and gunny material are placed holds the preserved skin of the black leopard- the biggest of the cats he had helped conserve so far he says. “Unlike in the past, now the use of plaster of Paris is minimal to avoid the hassle in moving the exhibits due to its weight and also possible damage,” says Wickramanayake. An assortment of chemicals is used to conserve animal carcasses he says. These chemicals differ from animal to animal.

Thanking the Department of Wildlife and all other relevant authorities who facilitated the move of the black leopard to the Department of National Museums and applauding its skilled team of conservationists for a job well done, the Director General of Department of National Museums, Sanuja Kasthuriarachchi says, “sadly this Sri Lankan black leopard which ideally should have been part of our ‘live heritage’ is no more. By conserving it and displaying it at our Museum of Natural History, what we envisage is to enable research on this stately creature as means of contributing towards its future conservation in its natural habitat.”

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Wrecked by explosion



Jan.1931 sinking off Beruwala coast

The recent fire on the large oil tanker MT New Diamond, carrying crude oil when she was drifting about 20 nautical miles from our Eastern coast made international headlines. As the fires on the Japan-manufactured vessel, owned by a Greek shipping company, are doused by Sri Lankan authorities, Sunday Island revisits the ill-fated MV Tricolor laden with a cargo of dangerous chemicals which sank near Beruwala nearly 90 years ago, presumably making it the second deepest known shipwreck found in our waters.

by Randima Attygalle

By noon on January 5, 1931, the Norwegian owned MV Tricolor, a diesel-powered, 135-metre long, general cargo ship departed from the Colombo Port. The master of the ship was the 37-year-old Captain Arthur Johan Wold. The vessel is said to have carried a general cargo of over 825 tons including 48 tons that had come in from Hong Kong, Kobe, Yokohama and Moji which had just been loaded that morning. A significant amount of dangerous chemicals had also been in it.

The Tricolor, as the Tech Diving Expert and underwater explorer, Dharshana Jayawardena documents in his book, Ghosts of the Deep: Diving the Shipwrecks of Sri Lanka ‘was capable of 13.5 knots per hour. After the port boundary was cleared, the captain ordered full ahead. Three hours later and 65 km away from Colombo, the vessel arrived exactly atop its last resting place to be. The time was 3.10 pm that afternoon.’ As the writer goes on to record: “suddenly there were loud explosions and the ship shuddered violently. The explosions were so loud that, the crew of the French Steamer SS Porthos, which was a few kilometres away, actually heard it clearly and also saw the massive plume of smoke billowing out of the Tricolor immediately after the explosion.”

Wasting no time, the Captain of Porthos changed the course and headed towards the Tricolor to rescue the crew. Although the French vessel could rescue 31 crew members and all ten passengers, five crew members lost their lives including the 37-year-old Norwegian Captain of the ship Arthur Wold. The Captain of Porthos later recorded that Tricolor had sunk within five minutes after the explosion. The sinking was reported in the Norwegian press the following day. “As announced in a part of Norwegian Post about notice from Colombo, Ceylon that Oslo steamer Tricolor was sunk by an explosion. At this point, the information about the accident is quite sparse. According to telegraphic messages from the shipping company Wilh.Wilhelmsen, the explosion occurred shortly after Tricolor left Colombo.’

Although a substantial amount of dangerous chemicals had also been in the vessel, there are no records confirming the type of chemicals, says Jayawardena who has dived to the doomed Norwegian vessel five more times since his first dive in 2009. He further says that although chemicals are assumed to have contributed to the explosion on Tricolor, the exact cause still remains a mystery. Lying 65m deep, Tricolor is the second deepest known shipwreck found in our waters. It takes a ‘technically precise diver’ to explore the wreck and it lies beyond what is called ‘recreational diving limit’ as Jayawardena explains.

Like the MV Tricolor, the MT New Diamond, is a ship in peril. On a daily basis, all over the globe, thousands of ships are plying rough seas, carrying hazardous cargo, be it explosive chemicals (like the Tricolor), or crude oil (like the New Diamond) or highly dangerous explosives that can lead to catastrophic explosions similar to the one that happened recently in Beirut. “When a calamity of this nature happens, it is only recently that, the world has come to focus more on the environment aspect and the damage to the oceans that can come from marine traffic transporting hazardous cargo; earlier it was more focused on the human drama that surrounds a shipwreck and environmental pollution was never much of a concern in the days bygone. At the least this is a positive trend and a change of mindset. But clearly more attention is needed to take measures that can help disasters such as the MT New Diamond,” reflects Jayawardena.

When the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Alaska in 1989, 37000 metric tons of crude oil decimated the local marine environment and that damage took decades to recover if at all. The MT New Diamond is a much larger ship, with a length of 330m as opposed to the length of Exxon Valdez which was 301m in length. “Imagine the impact to the environment if the MT New Diamond ruptures and empties its crude oil? Depending on the currents, the whole of the southern east coast and south east coast, including the shores of the Yala National park could be at risk,” says the explorer.

In May, 2013, an email from the Norwegian Olav Anders Rasting to Jayawardena, left him astounded. “In it, Rasting claimed to be the great-grandson of Arthur Wold, the captain of the doomed Tricolor! He had come across the website I founded ( and was anxious to know if I had any information to offer about the ship steered by his great grand-father,” recalls Jayawardena. Rasting’s father Pal Arthur Rasting’s (grandson of Captain Arthur Wold) search for any clue to the wreck had driven a blank, says Jayawardena. Captain Arthur Wold had left behind a wife and little twin children- Per Wold and his twin sister Karin Wold. Years later, Karin would name her son Pal Arthur Rasting after her father who sank with Tricolor. “82 years after the MV Tricolor sank, his great-grandson’s search for the ill-fated vessel bore fruits,” says Jayawardena.

The first glimpse of the wreck of Tricolor as the expert diver recollects is “like seeing the bow of the Titanic.” ‘Fearsome and majestic’, the ship’s deck is a “gigantic skeletal structure consisting of reams of beams” reminding him of a “massive railroad stretching as far as the eye can see”, as he documents in his book. “I can feel the raw power of true wilderness chill my bones to the core,” writes Jayawardena who was kept company by a large shoal of silvery jacks and a small school of chevron barracuda! He describes the wreck towering over him like a “gigantic monster.” His dive to the wreck three years ago enabled him to retrieve a Norwegian-made plate and also locate the ship’s twin diesel engines. He also made a video recording of the site. The location referred to as ‘Barberyn’ in certain literature is actually Beruwala as he confirms. “The vessel’s last reported location was within a kilometer from the wreck, further confirming this.”

The diver’s experience each time he dived to the Tricolor, has been different. “Sometimes the visibility is amazingly clear and the currents have been slack. On the other extreme, visibility has been low but the marine life has been prolific, especially when there is extremely strong current making it really challenging to explore the Tricolor, given it is such a large ship and at this depth, which gives an explorer only short time in each dive to explore. But each dive has been rewarding in its own way and I have made small discoveries that have added to the circumstantial evidence that this is indeed the MV Tricolor.” The wreck of MV Tricolor, as Jayawardena notes, had been explored only by a handful of divers todate. “Its depth enabling only high tech divers to access it and its location unknown to many had rendered the wreck to be outside the mainstream list of dive sites offered by dive centres in the area,” he notes.


Pic credit: Olav Anders Rasting, Ramzi Reyal, Dharshana Jayawardena

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‘Healing touch’ of Dr Sarath



by Zanita Careem

Set in a healing serene ambience in Anuradhapura, the ayurvedic health centre ” Adhitya “offers congenial surrounding for the powerful cures of the most revered timeless healing tradition.

The doctors in this hospital headed by Dr. Sarath S. Gunawardhana will meet with patients, to share thoughts and discuss progress making your healing experience seamless and enjoyable. The term Ayurveda is a combination of two Sanskrit words Ayuh and Veda which roughly translates to the science of life.’

“Adhitya” Ayurveda hospital is very effectively provides excellent Ayurveda treatments and experience. This Ayurveda centre has a keen eye on health (medical) tourism and other numerous treatments. Ayuveda is a science of life and its scope is beyond medical system,focusing on the mind and body. Sri Lanka, being one of the leading Ayurveda wellness providers in South East Asia and Adhitya Ayurveda is now ready to grab the market share of the world medical tourism.

Spearheaded by one of the best heart consultant Dr. Sarath S. Gunawardena, popularly known as Gunawardena ‘Weda Mahathaya’ of Anuradhapura.

He knows the pulse of each patient and ensures quality ayurveda treatment and unbeatable exposure to each patient, according to suit their illnesses. Dr. Gunawardena is one of the pioneers in the field of Ayurveda in Sri Lanka and he has developed his own method of treatments for various ailments over his course of his illustrious career. He is very popular not only in Sri Lanka but also internationally.

This hospital is the brain child of Dr. Sarath Gunawardena. It is a globally approved centre for all kinds of treatments and every year hundreds of patients come to Sri Lanka to experience the very special soothing touch of healing

Indigenous medicine of Sri Lanka ‘Hela Wedakama’ is an ancient wisdom of

to native people. ‘We have everything that you would prefer at this Ayurveda treatment centre and we accept every goodness for deliver quality healing services’ said Dr. Gunawardhana

‘We also have a dedicated team of doctors, masseus and other service personals, we very specially strive to uphold the traditional and heritage values of native medicine’

Located in the city of Anuradhapura, this peaceful ambience allows those who undergo the healing service to get an experience really something evokes wellness.

‘Adhitya Ayurveda’ is an ideal destination for those wanting a truly Sri Lankan traditional Ayurveda experience. Located in close proximity to the National Hospital Anuradhapura, ` the Ayurveda centre provides specialised treatments and other facilities for all patients / guests with a wide range of conditions in a luxury setting.

`At ‘Adhitya Ayurveda’, our guests are all patients and people under treatment. No leisure travellers or walk in guests are allowed. Guests with prior appointments and E-channelling service are only allowed to see the doctor. Only after the consultation, the guest is allocated with a room and the treatment plan’ said Doctor Sarath Gunawardhana.

This a’ is a fully fledged five star rated hotel with 24 fully air-conditioned rooms including five Premier rooms, six deluxe rooms and 13 standard rooms, 12 treatment rooms, two modern wards with fifteen beds each for male and female, modern dining facilities, a sauna, hot tub and the rooftop swimming pool.

Adhitya Ayurveda’ is well equipped to handle all the medical needs of guests. Each room is provided with flat screen LED TV, running hot and cold water, bathrobes, juices and herbal tea making facilities, free bottled water, safe deposit box, slippers and hair dryer, free wi-fi along with modern en-suite bathroom with amenities. The meals are on par with star class hotels but only provided according to the doctors meal plan. But the partner, who shares the room with the patient / guest, is allowed to have a normal meal’ said Dr. Sandun Gunwardhana, the CEO/ Director of ‘Adhitya Ayurveda’.

All meals are provided for guests during their stay are sourced from their own organic farms in Oyamaduwa and the organic suppliers are focused on providing a well balanced diet as developed by physicians. The Adhitya Centre also firmly believes in promoting environmental sustainability and has a policy of maintaining zero singleuse plastics for day to day activities.

‘We do not serve any meat item at the ‘Adhitya Ayurveda’. All alcoholic beverages and coffee are not permitted in the premises. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served according to the doctor’s prescription. This will includes.soups, rasams, traditional kola kenda, rice, organic veggies and fruits, recommended fish and Sri Lankan breakfast items’ explained Sunil Abeyratne, the Executive chef of ‘Adhitya’.

`All our doctors are highly qualified in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a holistic philosophy, so it is important for our staff to work together to ensure that every aspect of guests’ visit contributes to well being’, Dr. Sandun said.

Dr. Sarath Somasiri Guanawardhana is a pioneer in Ayurvedic treatments in Sri Lanka with over 40 years of experience. His areas of specialties include cardiovascular diseases, female and male infertility, arthritis.

The treatment packages starts from Rs. 17,500/per patient for single room stay and RS 34,000/-FBD for standard room. The rate for treatments and stay at Premier room is RS 55,000/FBD, while a bed at the ward costs Rs 7,500/- per day and orthopedic disorders, diabetes, and neurological disorders. He received the ‘Vidyanidi’ presidential award in recognition of his services to the medical profession 2017. His youngest son Dr. Kasun Gunawardhana graduated from the Gujarat Ayurveda University in Jamnagar, India in 2015. He specialises in Panchakarma treatments along with Ayurveda and Sri Lankan indigenous treatments for many diseases. Doctor Kasun is a registered Ayurvedic physician at Sri Lanka Ayurveda Medical Board.


The cultural, medical and economical value of ‘Hela wedakama’ is not explored nor is it utilised to its full potential. The country is sitting on a gold mine without realising the value of this ancient knowledge. we are doing our best to promote this medical segment overseas. we have an office in Vienna, Austria headed my eldest son Doctor Sandun said Dr. Sarath Gunawardhana.

‘The entire production of medicine for treatments is done at our factory in Anuradhapura. our next plan is to go for the retail market. In that way we can expand the traditional treatments to more Sri Lankans’ he added.

At Adithya, overseas guests have many wellness and health treatment options that are administered alongside activities such as yoga and meditation, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a spiritual awakening as well as attaining mental and physical well being during their holiday in Sri Lanka.

This hospital provides excellent treatments. It is the privelege to extent the best service to every guest where there is no compromise on quality. These is no specific age groups as to who can go for an Ayurvedic treat’ments. ‘We follow the natural curative techniques and improve the health and conditions of an in vidual without side effects’ said Dr. Gunawardena .

Ayurvedic treatments with its dynamic and spiritual nature services to be a guide of human existance. Ayurveda is not only a form of medical science but a way of life. The Adhitya Ayurvedic Centre has incorporated this principle by traditional and authentic practices along with the finest hospitality and accommodation. With the help of experts and well experienced doctors and therapists, this centre is a home to all travellers and people who have major health issues.

Another highlight of ‘Adhitya is the Ayurvedic cuisines by master chef which helps a patient to heal from within.

Authentic Ayurvedic treatments are what ‘Adhitya’ stands for various therapists ranging from treatments to relaxing head massage, body massage, foot massage and may more are present, that are delivered in the true Ayurvedic way.

Complete relaxation is attached after the treatments which further assists to continuous an active and successful life.

To explore alternative decided treatments for heart diseases,is one of the most dangerous and vicious killers in Sri Lanka. Dr. Gunawardhana was concerned about these numbers. The treatment that was most commonly offered open heart surgery, bypass or angoplasty was expensive and often not affordable. His education and thirst for knowledge prompted him to design specific treatments in Ayurveda therapy for heart diseases which is one of the unique offerings of this Ayurvedic therapy centre .


Sunil Gunasena (name changed) a resident of Mount Lavinia underwent heart surgery and he swore never to get a surgery again after experiencing pain during the procedure and the side effects following medication When he was detected with three more blockings in his arteries, this time, he decided to undergo non-surgical Ayurveda based treatment. Today he says he is without any chest pain and breathlessness. We asked doctor whether non – invasive treatment actually work?

Yes, they absolutely do doctor said.

“We have treated many patients and our treatments are backed by scientific research says Dr. Gunawardhana. He is well known among the heart patients for the effective treatments, he provides by understanding their case history and present ailments. His immense interest in ayurveda and dedication towards his patients has given him great success: Through Ayurveda therapies, profound knowledge and wide experiences Dr. Gunawardena intends to make Ayurveda a lifestyle for well being.

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A gem of a Monument



Ratnapura National Museum housed in the historical Ehelepola Walauwa is being renovated and conserved, the first ever exercise of its kind since its establishment. The archaeologically important monument which was closed for a few years is soon to be reopened to the public.

Story and Pix by Randima Attygalle

Nestled in a sprawling green garden of nearly eight acres is a ‘gem of a different kind’ in Ratnapura- the land of gems and the domain of God Saman. An oasis in the midst of the busy Ratnapura town, a drive canopied by its ‘forest garden’ brings a visitor to the stately mansion. The legend has it that once there was a secret tunnel to access this building, its entry point no longer to be found. Its impressive lobby replete with an elaborate wooden doorway, a high ceiling and thick brick walls reflect Dutch and British architectural influence. A dolawa (palanquin) and a wooden oruwa, both several centuries old, are exhibited here today.

Originally built between 1811 and 1814 for the occupation of Ehelepola Maha Adikaram when he was serving as the Disawe of Sabaragamuwa, the building known as Ehelepola Walauwa, was later used as the official residence of the government agents of the Sabaragamuwa Province during the British administration, earning the common reference of Disapathi Medura. Its spacious rooms with high ceilings enabling natural ventilation today serve as the seven galleries of the National Museum of Ratnapura dedicated to the historical and cultural heritage of the Sabaragamuwa Province.

The history of the Ratnapura National Museum goes back to 1946. ‘The exhibition of the first set of museum objects took place in April, 1946. These were brought from the Colombo National Museum, particularly for their safety from any possible danger in Colombo during the Second World War,” says the Director, Cultural, Department of National Museums, Senarath Wickramasinghe. The museum objects were initially exhibited in a private residence in Weralupe, close to the Ratnapura town. In 1957 it was shifted to a building near the old CTB Depot in the town. The museum was opened to the public on May 18, 1988 in the present Ehelepola Walauwa, after the premises were acquired by the Department of National Museums. It was officially declared as an archaeological monument on September 3, 1993 under a special gazette notification by the Department of Archaeology.

The seven galleries of the museum are dedicated to the gems, rocks and minerals of Ratanpura, extinct fauna of Ratnapura, pre-history of the region, History of Ratnapura, textiles, ceramics and jewellery, Sabaragamuwa dance form and rituals and traditional industries and customs of Ratnapura respectively. Among the special objects on display are the sword of Ehelepola Adikaram and the four-poster bed used by Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thera.

Besides the objects of antiquity are newly done models reflecting Ratnapura’s well known gem mining, Balangoda man from the pre-history and Sabaragamuwa dance. Modern lighting systems in place enhance the finer intricacies of the objects on display. The gallery, ‘Extinct Fauna of Ratnapura’ features bones of some of the animals which lived in the Quaternary Period (the period between 2 to 500 million years before present) unearthed from gem pits in the area and replicas of some of these animals are found in the Paleo Biodiversity Museum Park- the first of its kind in the country, Wickramasinghe explains.

“Certain fossilized parts of large mammals which lived in the Quaternary Period have been found in the Ratnapura District among the layers of deposits in the areas such as Getahetta, Eheliyagoda, Kuruwita, Kalawana, Pelmadulla, and Kahawatta. These deposits are referred to as ‘Ratnapura deposits’ which belonged to the latter stages of the geological history; Pleistocene and Holocene (two million years before present) periods, found in wet soil layers of gem mines,” he said.

The fossils of the extinct species of animals in the Ratnapura District were first studied by the late Director of the Colombo National Museum, Dr. P. E. P. Deraniyagala. His research had confirmed that three species of elephants, two species of unicorns, one species of hippopotamus, buffalo, hunting dog, lion and wild pig had inhabited this region. The replicas which are exhibited in the Ratnapura Museum are based on the fossil data obtained from such studies.

It has also been recorded that Ratnapura district claims evidence representing all ages of prehistory in Sri Lanka. It is presumed that the stone tools that have been unearthed from wet layers of ‘Ratnapura mines’ represent lower and middle stages of the pre-history and also presumed that those tools belong to the period between 250,000 – 125,0000 years from today. The oldest skeletons of Homo sapiens who lived in South Asia have been found in Fa Hien Caves (Pahiyangala Caves) in Bulathsinhala and Batadombalena in Kuruwita. “These findings take us back to a definite time frame of 40,000 years from today and the findings of Batadombalena takes us back to 35,000 years, offering us clear evidence that prehistoric men continuously lived in these places up to 3500 BC,” points out Wickramasinghe. The excavations conducted in Bellanbendipelassa, an open space in the Ratnapura District located in the Walawe Valley had uncovered a burial ground of pre-historic men. The Pre-History Gallery of the Museum visually presents these findings.

An assortment of kitchen and agricultural objects of antiquity, exquisite jewellery worn by the Ratnapura aristocracy, ancient Buddha statues from temples, old coins, ceramics, garments and swords add to the grandeur of the museum. The Medicinal Garden, Bamboo Garden and Endemic Plant Garden surrounding it afford a tranquil setting to the stately building housing the museum meriting promotion among local and foreign visitors.

The first ever ‘conservation-renovation’ exercise since the establishment of the Ratnapura National Museum was a demanding task resulting in closure for several years during which the work was completed, remarks the Director General of the Department of National Museums, Sanuja Kasthuriarachchi. “In the process, while being conscious of the original architectural features of this archaeological site, we also had to do justice to Ehelepola Maha Adikaram who occupied this mansion as well as the historical and cultural heritage of Ratnapura,.” she explains. “The conservation project also aspires to be aligned with the proposed five-year Gem City Master Plan of the Urban Development Authority..”

“Here, we will be taking measures to conserve and develop the Bio Diversity Park of the museum as well, so that the premises can be promoted as a sustainable tourist attraction under the Master Plan,” she added.


Ehelepola Maha Adikaram

He was born to a noble family from the village of Ehelepola, nine miles from Matale and was educated by the Yatawatte Maha Thera before joining the Royal court. His first appointment was to the post of Paniwidakara Nilame by the King and later succeeded Meegastenne Adikarama as the Second Adikaram. Ehelepola was also appointed as Disave of Sabaragamuva which was held by Meegastenne. Following the death of Pilimatlawe Nilame, Ehelepola was appointed as the Maha Adikaram in 1811 under the reign King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha.

Following the brutal execution of his entire family by the King, (including his eldest son, the child hero Madduma Bandara), he aided the British in launching an invasion of the Kandyan Kingdom. Ehelepola became part of the British administration of Kandy but soon came under suspicion during the Great Rebellion of 1817–18.  The royal courtier was arrested by the British and exiled to Mauritius Island along with several Kandyan Chiefs in 1825. He died on April 4, 1829 in Mauritius Island. His tomb, which is a protected Monument, bears the inscription: ‘Sacred to the memory of Ehelepola Wijesundara Wickramasinghe Chandrasekara Amarakoon Wahala Mudianse, late First Adigar or Prime Minister to the King of Kandy, who died on 4th April 1829 aged 57 years”.

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