Southern splendour | Daily News


Maduwanwela Walawwa

Southern splendour

Maduwanwela Walawwa, an outstanding stately home in the southern region, was built by a reputed citizen Maduwanwela Mohottala who lived in Panamure.

Apart from Maduwanwela Walawwa, Panamure is reputed as the location where the Panamure Kraal, the Ethgala was situated. This was the area where a marauding tusker known as Panamure Eth Raja was kept in custody. The Ethgala was set up with a fence12 feet in height. Marauding elephants are tied together with tame elephants in the kraal. This was carried out by Elapatha and Korala. People of affluent families were there at the Kraal to witness this event because it was joyful one for them.

The nindagam 7,000 acres in extent was vested with Maduwanwela Mohottala by King Sri Weera Narendrasinha. It was Wijesundera Ekanayaka Abayakone Kodithuwakku Mudiyanselage Srimath James William Maduwanwela Maha Disawe who was the successor to Maduwanwela Mohottala.

The Maduwanwela Walawwa can be reached if one travels from Udagama junction in Embilipitiya. It is a distance of 10 kilometres from Embilipitiya.

Maduwanwela Disawe lived the life of a fully fledged statesman. He was well known in high society as well as by the lower income groups and the less fortunate.

He did not tolerate the less fortunate being downtrodden or harassed by anybody. He always treated them with kindness and helped them whenever the necessity arose.

Maduwanwela Disawe treated the affluent and the less fortunate alike.

His father died before his birth and his mother died seven days after his birth. He was brought up by his mother’s brother. It is said that young Maduwanwela Disawe was admitted to the Royal Academy in Colombo. A teacher one day punished him and he gave up education and returned home.

When he became Ratemahathmaya, he performed his duties to the utmost satisfaction of the villagers. There were occasions when he tied officials who harassed and caused inconvenience to the villagers to trees. There were kitul trees to which arachchis who commit offences were tied. Such kitul trees were known as arachchi kitula.

Once Maduwanwela Disawe punished an Englishman who was appointed as the government agent for Sabaragamuwa by tying him to a tree for not turning up for lunch at the exact time the Disawe asked him to come. The Englishman was untied only after a couple of hours.

Maduwanwela Disawe got married to a lady from Ekneligoda Walawwa. After her death, he got married to Kalawane Kumarihamy. Although Maduwanwela Disawe had transactions with the English, he loathed them and that was why he paved the floor tiles with a picture of Queen Victoria so that he could walk on the picture.

One has to pass two pandals before he or she enters Maduwanwela Walawwa. The Englishmen who arrive on horseback at the walawwa were ordered to get off their horses and arrive at the walawwa bowing, bending their heads as a mark of respect.

There is a portrait at the walawwa mounted on a board of ebony carved by craftsmen during that era portraying the Englishmen bowing to the Disawe.

Maduwanwela Walawwa was renovated on several occasions by the Department of Archaeology to retain its pristine glory by investing a colossal sum of money.

Every inch of the palatial building that was dilapidated was renovated under the guidance of experts in order to preserve it for future generations.

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