Naranwala Ambalama

Naranwala Ambalama
Naranwala Ambalama (Photo credit: Google Street View)

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

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 Naranwala is one such structure constructed more than 100 years ago by an elite of the village named C. D. Walgampaya (Dasanayaka, 2018; Rajapakse, 2016). His grave is found near this Ambalama and it mentions the year of his death as 1905 (Dasanayaka, 2018). Therefore, this Ambalama must have been built by him before 1905 (Dasanayaka, 2018). It has been erected for the usage of people who travelled along the old Kandy-Lankatilaka road (Rajapakse, 2016).

The structure
The square-shaped (20 ft. in length and width) Naranwala Ambalama has been built on an elevated platform of stones about 4 ft. in height (Dasanayaka, 2018; Rajapakse, 2016). Four stone pillars 10 ft. in height at the four corners of the structure hold the weight of the roof and these pillars are square in shape with eight-sided medial panels. The pillar capitals are decorated with Pekada carvings containing human faces. The height of the wooden seats inside the structure varies and this is probably due to the caste differences that prevailed in the society at the time of its construction. The roof is tiled with flat tiles common during the Kandyan Period.

1) Dasanayaka, R., 2018. Ambalama saha samajaya (In Sinhala). S. Godage & Brothers.  pp.88-89.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.75-76.
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This page was last updated on 29 April 2023

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