The Three-foot high mosaic lettering declares the entrance to the vast grounds of the Richmond Castle. A short drive or a long walk along the gravel pathway adorned with peculiar marble statues leads to a spectacular first sight of the majestic Richmond Castle.
The majestic mansion stands atop a hill, on a 42 acre estate beside the Kalutara-Palatota Road. The castle is just few minutes away from any Kalutara hotel Sri Lanka, such as the Avani Kalutara Resort and Spa.
The Richmond Castle in Kalutara, had been built at the turn of the century and is considered one of the most impressive architectural works of the era. It was the property of a wealthy landowner cum Mudliyar turned philanthropist, Nanayakkara Rajawasala Appuhamilage Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena.
The son of a wealthy and influential planter, the young Arthur De Silva Wijeysinghe upon completion of his studies in England was bestowed the position of Mudaliyar by the King and returned to Sri Lanka to take up rank.
Upon his return, the Mudaliyar said to have been inspired by the palace of his old school; friend from India; had built the Richmond Castle as a symbol of grandeur and power with every inch of it boasting of luxury.
All essential supplies for the building are said to have been sourced from abroad- from the floor and roofing tiles to timber, stained glass and decorative items and even the bathroom fittings. The Mudaliyar moved into Richmond Castle upon his marriage to a young beauty of noble rank.
The tale of Richmond Castle’s past is a gripping saga of events running parallel to that of its owner, a millionaire whose life turned from a fairy tale into surmounting despair. Once a palace, emanating much joy and attracting aristocrats and the upper echelon has today become an isolated piece of architecture, impregnate with memoirs and chronicles of a luxurious past.
Today, the majestic castle is a safe haven for underprivileged children, and is also a popular tourist attraction in the area.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.