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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2555

A Painting on the Opening of the Paththirippuwa (The Octagon) | Sri Dalada Maligawa in 1802

Colombo, 10 April, (

Work in progress painting by Ms. Avanti Karunaratna is expected to be finished in early May, 2017 and will be displayed to the public in time for the celebration of Vesak and holding of the UN Day of 2017 Conference in Colombo.

The Paththirippuwa, which is regarded as the epitome or the most admired symbol and representation of Kandyan Architecture was built in 1802 A.D. by the Master Craftsman and Royal Architect, Devendra Moolacharya on the instructions of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinhe, who was the last King of the Nayakkar Lineage (1798-1815 A.D). The name 'Paththirippuwa' derived from the Tamil Language, means - ' to sit and see all around' .

' Parthu' means 'to see' and ' Irippu' means ' seated'. The octagonal part of this building symbolized the King's authority.This building being a master piece of Kandyan Architecture was octagonal in shape and the roof was an attractive creation with a steep gradient.

Devendra Moolacharya is also credited with the designing and construction of the Magul Maduwa or the Audience Hall, the Kandy Lake (Kiri Muhuda), “Walakulu Bamma” or Cloud Wall, Diyarella Bemma, among many other novel architectural contributions.

The Kandy Lake, which is in the heart of Kandy, adds a unique beauty to the city. This was built in 1807 under the watch and instructions of the last King of Sri Lanka; Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. This was called “Kiri Muhuda” or the Milky Ocean. Perimeter of the tank is 2.1 miles where the maximum depth is 60 feet.

The lake is surrounded by a wall called “Walakulu Bamma” or the cloud wall which is 2060 feet in length. This wall contains triangular holes which has been used to light oil lamps in the night. On one side of the lake is the Temple of the Tooth Relic whereas on the other side is the Malwatte Temple. On the Dalada Maligawa side there is a building which is partially situated on the lake which was used by the numerous Queens to bathe and therefore it is known as the Queens Bathing House.

There is a striking little land mass in the middle of the lake. According to legend the King built a dam from the temple of the Tooth Relic to the Malwatte Temple through this island but later he had it removed leaving this island behind.

According to folk lore Devendra Moolacharya had been born in Matale, and had been staying for some time in Kotmale and finally lived in Handessa, till his tragic death when he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Kandy Lake, fearing and feeling ashamed of losing one of his fingers on the orders of the King, who had listened to slander and court intrigue by jealous rivals, against this great craftsman.

Refer ' Great Royal Articifer of the Kandyan Kingdom - Devendra Mulachari ' by D..D. M. Waidyasekera, Colombo: Stamford Lake, 2017.

- Asian Tribune -

A Painting on the Opening of the Paththirippuwa (The Octagon) | Sri Dalada Maligawa in 1802
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