Konakalagala Ambalama

Konakalagala Ambalama
Photo credit: Google street view

The Konakalagala Ambalama (Sinhala: කොනකලගල අම්බලම) is an old wayside rest situated in Konakalagala village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. 

History
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 at Konakalagala is believed to have been built during the reign of King Vimaladharmasuriya II [(1687-1707 A.D.) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009]. This is considered to be the first Ambalama found on the ancient route that ran between the Kandyan Kingdom and Trincomalee (Dasanayaka, 2018; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). However, according to folklore, this Ambalama was constructed along the ancient Kandy-Jaffna road by the locals under the patronage of Dunuwila Rate Mahattaya, a nobleman and the administrator of the area. The oral history further states that this Ambalama was erected by using the leftover wood used for the construction of the Magul Maduwa in Kandy. The woods that have been used in this building are apparently similar to those found in the Magul Maduwa in Kandy (Dasanayaka, 2018).

It is said that there was a note with a date on one of the wooden seats of this Ambalama, but it has been replaced during a later restoration (Dasanayaka, 2018).

The structure
As in the case of Godamunna Ambalama, this had also been built on a horizontal frame of four wooden beams (balanced on four rock boulders) and its roof was held by four pillars on the corners (Dasanayaka, 2018). At the beginning of the 20th century, it was expanded from all four sides by adding 12 more wooden pillars (Dasanayaka, 2018; De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Presently, the structure is square in shape with each side being 20 ft. 6 in. The capitals of the pillars used to hold the weight of the roof have been carved in various designs similar to the Magul Maduwa in Kandy. The structure was originally constructed on stones on which the wooden pillars rested similar to the style of Tempita Vihara. However, with the passage of time, the stones were replaced with a platform with cement flooring.

A protected monument
The ancient doss house (Konakagala Ambalama) located in Konakagala village situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Konakagala in Akurana Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 16 August 2013.
 
References
1) Dasanayaka, R., 2018. Ambalama saha samajaya (In Sinhala). S. Godage & Brothers.  pp.68-70.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.167.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary No: 1823/73. 16 August 2013. p.3A.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 12 March 2023

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