Revered as master architect Geoffrey Bawa’s seminal creation Lunuganga Estate is a must-visit highlight for all visitors touring the breathtaking environs of Bentota. Built in the early 20th century the venue was a grand experiment in constructing a “civilized wilderness” near a captivating property bordering Dedduwa Lake. Spread out across 15 acres the six bedroom mansion’s chief attribute is of course its sprawling garden space which can be explored on a guided tour on request. Open to visitors from 9am to 5pm every day the Lunuganga Estate gardens are as dymanic and varied as the man who envisioned its creation.
Commencing the tour from the Entrance Court which serves as the main gateway to the bungalow visitors are transported to a garden of truly monolithic proportions. The chief highlight of a tour of the Lunugagnga garden is of course the Water Garden which was revered by Bawa himself as one of he most captivating sights in the property. With a man-made lake surrounded by tropical foliage the view from this part of the garden is only surpassed by the quaint beauty of the Red Terrace where the orange hued Laterite pathway lies flanked by towering trees on either side. The garden near the Glass Room is also worthy of exploration in addition to the Yellow Courtyard where ochre hued walls and neo gothic style windows gifted by one of Bawa’s dear friends adorns the ever encroaching wilderness.
Making up the eastern fringes of the Water Garden the Black Pavilion is an intriguing venue which also serves as the axis point of the elaborate Broad Walk. Running along the estate’s confines from the east to the western region the Board Walk occupies the foot of the main hill on which the bungalow and the terraced gardens are situated.
Serving as a departure dock for boating excursions the garden’s Water Gate is a stunning pier of sorts on the edge of the lake while the Plain of Jars is a curios portion of the garden laden with Ming jars. A sculpture of “Hindu” Pan by Bawa associate Narasingham also adorns the gardens where Cinnamon Hill and the infamous Cinnamon Hill House are also located. The Gate House is another small household surrounded by a verandah and trees while The Southern Terrace affords the most spectacular view of the garden to onlookers. The Western Terrace Lawns are equally mesmerizing as it connects the household with the outside world.
Travellers in search of the best resorts in Bentota will find no finer alternative to the Avani Bentota Resort. Providing guests with the best in contemporary facilities this luxurious Bentota hotel is well-suited for both business travellers and holidaymakers.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.