Vidurupola Viharaya (Old Wilson Bungalow)

Old Wilson Bungalow
Vidurupola Sri Piyathissa Pirivena (Sinhala: විදුරුපොල ශ්‍රී පියතිස්ස පිරිවෙන් විද්‍යායතනය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Gawaragammana village near Keppetipola town in Badulla District, Sri Lanka. It presently serves as a monastic college for the education of Buddhist monks.

The temple has been established in the Bungalow of Sylvester Douglas Wilson, the Assistant Resident and Agent of the British Government in Badulla (Withanachchi, 2019). Wilson who began his career in Sri Lanka as an Extra Assistant in the Secretariat, was promoted to the Third Assistant to the Resident and Judicial Agent at Kandy and Magistrate of Kandy on 12 June 1816 (Lewis, 1913). He was then appointed to the position of Second Assistant to the Resident Secretary to the Residency and Sitting Magistrate of Kandy on 1 October 1816 (Lewis, 1913). He finally succeeded Henry Wright at Badulla as the First Assistant to the Resident and Magistrate (Lewis, 1913). However, he was killed in 1817 at Hewilwela (or Etanawatta) in Yalkumbura Wasama.

Vidurupola Viharaya
The history of the Wilson bungalow can be dated back to 1815, the year of the fall down of the Kandyan Kingdom and annexing Sri Lanka to the British Empire under the terms of a treaty known as the Kandyan Convention that was signed on 2 March 1815 at the Magul Maduwa of the Temple of the Tooth Relic premises (Withanachchi, 2019). It is believed that the British troops used this residence as a centre for making war plans and military decisions (Withanachchi, 2019). The decisions taken from here are said to be communicated easily to nearby military establishments such as Welanhinna Fort and MacDowall Fort (Withanachchi, 2019).

Sri Lanka was granted independence in 1948 and after that, the ownership of Wilson Bungalow was in the hands of Horagolla Bandaranaike family. Then the property belonged to Thomas Saundaranayagam of Jaffna before it was purchased by Buddhist monks in 1968. Presently, the building is used as the dwelling of monks (Withanachchi, 2019). Only a few architectural features/elements of the original British structure such as the old chimney and old post office room are identifiable today (Withanachchi, 2019).

A protected site
The ancient building known as Wilson Bungalow situated in the premises of Sri Piyatissa Pirivena of Vidurupola in Gawaragammana village in the Grama Niladhari Division Gawaragammana in Welimada Divisional Sectetary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 1 June 2023.

Old Wilson Bungalow
Do you know?

1) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. pp.290,423.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Extraordinary. No: 2334/41. 1 June 2023. p.4A.
3) Withanachchi, C.R., 2019. The Temples and shrines, directly and indirectly, involved in the 1818 War of Independence in Sri Lanka, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ 1818 නිදහස සටනට සෘජුව සහ අනියමින් සම්බන්ධවූ විහාරස්ථාන සහ දේවාල. Asgiri Maha Viharaya, Kandy. p.439.

Explore Other Nearby Attractions
Location Map (Google)

This page was last updated on 3 December 2023
Previous Post Next Post