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Lunuganga, Geoffrey Bawa’s Country Estate

Lunuganga [(Sinhala: ලුණුගඟ, බෙන්තොට (the Salt river)] is a landscape garden and former home of the internationally renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. It has been built on a promontory that projects into the Dedduwa Lake situated in Bentota in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003) was the son of Benjamin Bawa (1865-1923), a rich Colombo lawyer. He was also the brother of renowned architect Bevis Bawa (1909-1992).

Lunuganga, during the Dutch period, was a cinnamon garden and later a rubber plantation under the British (Robson, 1993). In 1949, soon after Sri Lanka gained its independence, Bawa bought it from its owner with the intention of converting the ramshackle bungalow on its centre into a weekend house and creating a tropical version of a European renaissance garden around it (Jones, 2011; Robson, 1993). He started his ambitious project but realised that his knowledge was no match for his imagination and therefore went to Britain to study Architecture at the Architectural Association School in London (Robson, 1993).

After qualifying as an architect in 1956, Bawa returned to Sri Lanka in 1958 (Robson, 1993). Since then he continued to develop the house and garden at Lunuganga along with his other professional projects throughout the country (Jones, 2011). During the 1960s and 1970s, he added structures to the garden, including a covered bridge over the ha-ha, a small house for office staff and the Hen House, a tiny square pavilion (Jones, 2011). In 1983, a garden room was built in the garden along with and an ochre-coloured Gothic Court (Jones, 2011). However, the major works on the garden ceased after Bawa experienced an illness in 1998 (Jones, 2011).

Bawa died in 2003 and his property at Lunuganga was later acquired by the Lunuganga Trust. Presently, it is open to the public and the buildings on the garden are run as a country house boutique hotel.

See also

1) DSC 0685-01 by Kosala Migara is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 
1) Jones, R., 2011. Memory, modernity and history: the landscapes of Geoffrey Bawa in Sri Lanka, 1948–1998. Contemporary South Asia, 19(1), pp.9-24.
2) Robson, D., 1993. Lunuganga: The story of a garden. In Historic Gardens and Sites. ICOMOS 10th General Assembly, Sri Lanka, 1993. pp.119-134.

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This page was last updated on 6 May 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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