Rathmale Ambalama (Matara)

Rathmale Ambalama is an old wayside rest in the village of Rathmale in Matara. It is considered the only two-storied Ambalama building in the country.
Rathmale Ambalama
Rathmale Ambalama

Rathmale Ambalama (Sinhala: රත්මලේ අම්බලම) is an old wayside rest in the village of Rathmale in Matara District, Sri Lanka. The remains of Nelumwewa Ambalama, another old wayside rest is located about 900 m east of this Ambalama. Rathmale Ambalama is considered the only two-storied Ambalama building in the country.


Ambalamas are traditional resting places built by locals to accommodate wayfarers who were travelling to distant places. They were also used as a place for people to gather, hold meetings and serve as a public place in society. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Ambalamas were spread all over the country. The Ambalama in Rathmale is believed to have been constructed in 1908 as the date found inscribed on a stone plate fixed in the ground floor of the building (Wikramaratne, 2015).

The Structure

This Ambalama is a two storey structure and the upper floor is made of wood. A wooden staircase is said to be there to reach the deck in the past (Wikramaratne, 2015). The three rear sides of the building are covered by full-height walls while the front side is open to the roadside. The roof is covered with semi-circular clay tiles locally known as Sinhala Ulu.

A Protected Monument

The doss house (Ratmale Ambalama) in Rathmale village in the Grama Niladhari Division of Bambarenda South in Dikwella Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.

Rathmale Ambalama
Rathmale Ambalama

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Books, Government Gazette Notifications

1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.5A.
2) Wikramaratne, I., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Matara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-54-2. p.63.

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