Appallagoda Ambalama - Kandy

The Appallagoda Ambalama is a traditional resting place situated in a rural environment in the village of Appallagoda, 6 kilometres from the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. Built in 1922, it is an example of traditional, indigenous architecture and is known to be the largest stone built "Ambalama" in the Kandy region.


Appallagoda Ambalama is an example of traditional, indigenous architecture.

The Appallagoda Ambalama has a floor area of approximately 80 square metres and it measures 5.6 metres from floor to pinnacle. The roof is supported by two sets of stone columns, 12 externally and 4 internally. Inside, around the Ambalama, there are seats made out of stone. Caste differences play a vital role in the management of society, especially in an area such as Kandy, and this is depicted by the level change seen in the seating area.

At the top of the roof there is a brass pinnacle which symbolises the architectural pattern of that period. A prominent feature of this Ambalama is the stone "pinthäliya", a traditional container in which drinking water is stored, that is situated in front of the Ambalama. Another prominent feature are the two broken stone columns in the north-eastern side of the Ambalama. The villagers in the area say that this was done deliberately when the Ambalama was built in order to ward off inauspicious omens.


Appallagoda Ambalama was built in 1922 when Sri Lanka was still under British rule. The villagers say that the structure was built in order to house travelling trade parties, which were apparently abundant in this era. Although there is no written documentation about this Ambalama (maybe because it is a fairly recent addition to the list of Ambalamas in Sri Lanka) the village folk say that the Ambalama was built under the orders of the "Arachchi" (head of the village), with the help of the villagers themselves. 

An folktale revolves around the four names engraved in the four internal stone columns. It is said that these four names belonged to some "thugs" who were from the southern part of the island, who had come to Kandy with commercial interests and settled down there. They had used their powers and engraved their names in the Ambalama. Thus, those names of times by gone still remain unhampered by the winds of change.

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