Ruwanwella Fort

Ruwanwella Fort
Ruwanwella Fort (Sinhala: රුවන්වැල්ල බලකොටුව; Tamil: உருவான்வெல்லைக் கோட்டைைை) is an ancient fort situated at the confluence of the Kelani Ganga River and the Gurugoda Oya stream in Ruwanwella town in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. 

This was originally constructed as a stockade in the 1590s by the Portuguese who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1505 (Mandawala, 2012). In 1665, the Dutch captured it and formed a palisaded encampment fortified outside with piles and inside with an earth wall (Bell, 1904; Mandawala, 2012). However, they abandoned it to the Kandyans within a few years upon the capture of Bibiligama Fort (Bell, 1904). In 1817, the British built a new fort with two bastions and used it as an outpost (Mandawala, 2012). To build this fort 47 acres of surrounding land were acquired from native holders at a cost of Rds. 2,851, stretching from the Danatigaha-ela on the north and east, to the Gurugoda Oya and Kelani Ganga on the west and south-west (Bell, 1904).

In 1818, the fort garrison consisted of 5 officers and 116 men (Bell, 1904). The Commandant was the accredited Agent of Government for Three Korales (Bell, 1904). The station gradually grew until it contained, besides barracks, the Kachcheri and court-house, Government arrack and rice stores and several streets (Bell, 1904).

The fort is presently used as a police station.
The fort
The fort, somewhat irregularly built, has two bastions and fronts the Gurugoda Oya (Bell, 1904). There is an entrance gate to the fort on the Karawanella side and it bears the initials of Sir Robert Brownrigg and the date 1817 (Bell, 1904). Brownrigg was the 3rd Governor of Ceylon from 1812 to 1820.
An archaeological reserve
The Ruwanwella Fort (land plots of A. 937 Pimbura 3, 4 and 7: consisting of 1 acre, 1 rood, 28.6 perches) situated in Ruwanwella in the Divisional Secretary’s Division, Ruwanwella is an archaeological reserve, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 22 September 1967.

1) Bell, H.C.P., 1904. Report on the Kegalle District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon: XIX-1892. Government Press, Sri Lanka. p.59.
2) Mandawala, P.B., 2012. Sri Lanka: Defending the military heritage; legal, administrative and financial challenges. Defending the military heritage; legal, financial, and administrative issues. Reports from the Seminar 16 – 17 May, 2011, in Karlskrona, Sweden, organised by ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Legal, Financial and Administrative Issues (ICLAFI) and the Swedish Fortifications Agency of Sweden. p.102.
3) The Gazette notification. No: 14480. 13 August 1965.

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This page was last updated on 12 June 2023

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