Magul Maduwa, Kandy

The Magul Maduwa
The Royal Audience Hall of Kandy, popularly known as the Magul Maduwa (Sinhala: මගුල් මඩුව, මහනුවර), is located on the premises of the sacred Tempe of the Tooth Relic, one of the World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.

During the Kandyan Period, the Magul Maduwa was used for both administrative works and judicial purposes (Jayasuriya, 2016). The hall was also called the Maha Naduwa by the locals as it was used as the Supreme Court for the administration of justice by the King in the presence of the Prime Minister and other ministers (Abeywardana, 2004).

The construction of this building is said to be commenced in 1783 by King Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha (1781-1798 A.D) and was completed during the reign of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe (1798-1815 A.D.), the last king of Kandy (Jayasuriya, 2016; Rajapakse, 2016).

The Magul Maduwa has occupied a significant place in the history of the country. A number of major events have taken place in this building. The handing over of the last native kingdom of Sri Lanka to the British throne was declared by signing the Kandyan Convention from here in March 1815. Also, the death sentence on Keppetipola and Madugalla, two chieftains involved in the Great Rebellion of 1817–18, was declared from the Magul Maduwa (Abeywardana, 2004).

The Magul Maduwa can be identified as an example of timber architecture of the Kandyan Period (Abeywardana, 2004; Jayasuriya, 2016). The building has been built on a stone-paved base by erecting 64 timber columns arranged in four rows (Jayasuriya, 2016; Rajapakse, 2016). The timber columns are elegantly decorated and their capitals end with inverted lotus carvings. The roof has been balanced on the timber columns and clad with plain clay tiles (Jayasuriya, 2016). The rafters and beams of the roof are also decorated with excellent carvings. The main entrance to the building has been set in the northern direction and two sub-entrances are also found in both eastern and western directions (Rajapakse, 2016).

Without harming the original elements, several alterations were done to the building by the British in 1873 to facilitate the welcome of Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales to Kandy (Abeywardana, 2004). They extended the length of the original building (18.06 m) by using 16 columns obtained from the Palle Wahala (the Queen's palace) and as a result of that the length increased by another 9.69 m (Abeywardana, 2004). The present building is 27.75 m long and 10.92 m wide (Abeywardana, 2004).

Independence Memorial Hall
Following the basic design of the Magul Maduwa, the Independence Memorial Hall was built in Colombo to commemorate the regaining of independence from the British throne in 1948 (Abeywardana, 2004).

A protected monument
Ancient Magul Maduwa situated in the premises of the Temple of Tooth in Kandy town in the Grama Niladhari Division of Gangawata Koralaya, is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 23 February 2007.

1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.20,284-285.
2) Jayasuriya, E., 2016. A guide to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN: 978-955-613-312-7. p.114.
3) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. p.8.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.125

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This page was last updated on 2 July 2022

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