Holy Emmanuel's Church, Hanguranketha

Holy Emmanuel's Church
Photo credit: Google street view

Holy Emmanuel's Church (Sinhala: හඟුරන්කෙත ශුද්ධ එමානුවෙල් දේවස්ථානය) is a church situated in Hanguranketha, in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. It is considered one of the oldest churches established in the district (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

Although it is mentioned on the church building that it was built in 1886, the history of the establishment of this church runs back to the year 1815 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

During the early 19th century, the ancient route between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya was fallen through Hanguranketha (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). People used this route only during the daytime as there were robbers operating at night (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015). One day a Catholic priest travelling on horseback on this route stayed overnight at the spot where the present church is located as his horse refused to proceed (Abeyawardana, 2004). On the next day, the priest commenced his journey and found a dead body of a wayfarer who had travelled at night murdered by robbers (Abeyawardana, 2004). By thinking of the spot where he spent the night as a sanctuary, the priest later constructed the present church there (Abeyawardana, 2004; Wijesinghe, 2015).

A protected monument
St. Emmanuel's church in the Kottala Grama Niladhari Division in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Hanguranketha is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 6 July 2007.

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.253.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1505. 6 July 2007. p.548.
3) Wijesinghe, T.K., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Nuwara Eliya Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-36-4. pp.23-25.

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This page was last updated on 24 June 2022
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