Royal Palace of Kandy – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Royal Palace of Kandy – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Royal Palace of Kandy - By Arundathie Abeysinghe

 

Royal Palace of Kandy - By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Royal Palace of the Kandyan Kingdom is located to the north of Dalada Maligawa. It was the royal residence of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (1798-1815), the last reigning King of Kandy as well as Sri Lanka. The palace dates back to the 14th century. King Wickramabahu III (1357-1374) and King Senasamatha Wickramabahu (1469-1511) of the Kingdom of Gampola constructed the palace. King Wimaladharmasuriya I (1592 – 1603) was the first king to occupy the Palace. Each king who resided in the Royal Palace made improvements to the structure of the Palace. The original palace walls were burnt during wars between foreign invaders and the Kandyan Kingdom.  The Palace was renovated during the Kandyan Kingdom after the wars without alterations to its interior.

Royal Palace Complex included the Royal Palace (Raja Wasala), Royal Audience Hall (Magul Maduwa – hall where the king met his officers and carried out his administrative duties. This hall is situated at the Northern end of the Royal Palace Complex) Queen’s Palace (Meda Wasala), King’s Harem Quarters (Palle Wasala) and Queen’s Bathing Pavilion (Ulpange situated on the edge of Kandy Lake to the left of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic).

According to chronicles, the section of the Palace facing Natha Devale is the oldest section of the Palace.

The Royal Palace is a long building with a central doorway and a flight of steps entering into an imposing hall beautifully decorated with stucco and terra cotta. The rooms of the Palace are situated in the two wings and there is a long veranda* facing the inner courtyard.

During the Kandyan Kingdom, there were three gateways (wahalakada in Sinhala) including a 2.4 meters (8 feet) high wall. These had been the main entrances of the Palace. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) and the Royal Palace were associated with religious and administrative duties during the Kandyan Kingdom.

According to chronicles, the section of the Palace facing Natha Devale is the oldest section of the Palace.

During the Colonial Era, the Palace was used by Government Agent Sir John D’Oyly, first Baronet of Kandy. Subsequently, his successors also used the Palace as their official residence.




Adjacent to the Royal Palace, there is a Victorian Era building which was used as Kandy High Court until recently.

At present, the Royal Palace is preserved as an archaeological museum. The Museum offers a glimpse into the artefacts that belonged to Kandyan Royals. There are over 1000 objects in the Museum. This Museum is of immense importance to scholars, researchers as well as students interested in learning about the history of Kandyan Kingdom. For history enthusiasts interested in satiating their curiosity, the Royal Palace is a place they can visit during their stay in Kandy.  

Veranda – Veranda or verandah is an open-walled roof or open-air gallery attached to the outside of a building or house. Usually a veranda was enclosed by a railing and was used to protect the entrance of a building. In the past visitors to buildings or houses were entertained in the veranda.

Natha Devale –14th century Natha Devale is the oldest devale (Hindu Temple) in Kandy. Natha devale is perched on a stone terrace with a wahalkada (solid panel structure). There are Bodhi trees and dagobas in Natha Devale premises. During the Kandyan Kingdom Natha Devale has played an important role in the establishment of the royalty. The king was given his royal name at Natha Devale. This is one of the four devales of Kandy. The other three devales are Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini.

 


 

 

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