Jawatta Cemetery

Jawatta Cemetery
Jawatta Cemetery (Sinhala: ජාවත්ත සුසාන භූමිය), also known as Liveramentu Cemetery, is a burial ground located in Jawatta in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

A church site converted into a cemetery site
As is revealed by the Portuguese reports (Portuguese Ceylon: 1597-1658 A.D.), the present cemetery is situated on the site of a Portuguese church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Virgin of Good Deliverance [(Liveramentu) Denham, 1912; Rajapakshe et al., 2018]. It is said that the miraculous statue of this shrine was purified using water taken from the well located at the site (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). However, this church was completely destroyed during the Dutch Period [(1658-1796 A.D.) Rajapakshe et al., 2018].

The old well
Although the church was destroyed, the remains of the church well are still found at the present cemetery site. The well is about 30 ft deep and its upper part is square in shape while the bottom is circular in shape (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). To collect water by going to the bottom of the well, there had been a flight of steps made of Kabok (laterite) stone (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Some coins belonging to the Dutch era have been discovered in the vicinity of this well (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Also, the evidence of an old foundation wall (probably a wall of the destroyed church) of a building has been discovered by archaeological excavations carried out at this site (Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Adjoining cemeteries
Commonwealth war grave
The cemetery also contains a Commonwealth War Graves Plot at the left rear corner of the site. It has been established to honour the Commonwealth servicemen who died during World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945). It preserves 610 tombstones, a cremation memorial and memorial tablets containing the names of Commonwealth servicemen who died during the two wars.

Muslim Cemetery
This cemetery is located on the neighbouring Jawatta Jummah Masjid premises. Memorial plaques of 27 people who died in the First and Second World Wars are preserved here.

A protected site
The old tombstone slabs and the well in Jawatta Cemetery in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Thimbirigasyaya are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005.

Jawatta Cemetery
See also

1) Denham, E. B., ed., 1912. Ceylon at the census of 1911: being the review of the results of the census of 1911. Colombo: Government Printer, Ceylon. p. 149.
2) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. p.45.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: No: 1401. 8 July 2005.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 July 2022

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