Seemingly plucked out of a novel from the Western tradition, Richmond Castle is found in the unlikeliest of places. Towering over the more daintily-built buildings in Kalutara, Sri Lanka, the castle is a formidable architectural creation. Often called ‘walauwa’ (grand Sri Lankan ancestral home) by Sri Lankan folk, the castle is hardly that! Its ninety-nine doors and intricately designed stained glass windows prove that it was always meant to replicate a castle. The Richmond Castle is within easy reach from AVANI Kalutara Resort. It would be best to venture out of such a Kalutara beach hotel, Sri Lanka and comb the landscape for the most striking building in the vicinity. The castle remains the most conspicuous mansion in Kalutara.
Nanayakkara Rajawasala Appuhamilage Don Arthur De Silva Wijeysinghe Siriwardena, the owner of the castle, returned from his studies in England to be made the Mudaliyar of the district of Kalutara in the early 1900s. He far surpassed the expectations of the British government and those of his countrymen when he planned the construction of the Richmond Castle. The timber that was used in the construction of the mansion was imported while the castle itself borrows from the Roman-Dutch, Indian and Greek architectural traditions.
Parties raged in the massive hall while the garden overflowed with fruit and flowers much to the delight of the Mudaliyar and his wife. An impressive natural air-conditioning system was also in operation.
Despite being submerged in luxuries, the young couple had a heavy burden to bear. They were not blessed with children. In his garden, the Mudaliyar installed marble statutes of infants in order to suppress his longing. However, disappointment lead to separation and the Mudaliyar is said to have spent his last days alone, in a room in Queen’s Hotel, Kandy.
Today, the grandeur of the castle has not diminished! The stories that bounce off the walls of the castle must be heard and retold.
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+